Four Men: Four Different Incomes


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Four Men, Four Incomes

If you’re looking for some weekend reading, Johnny and I loved looking over this article that’s been going around the web the last couple of weeks: 4 Men with 4 Very Different Incomes Open Up About the Lives They Can Afford. We thought the article was super interesting and eye-opening to read such different perspectives on money. So we wanted to share some of our takeaways from the article and hear what you thought, too!

Lifestyle Inflation

Everyone in the article needs more money to have the life they want. While it’s great to aspire to make more money and be successful, it’s surprising that none of them (mostly the top two earners) are satisfied where they’re at. It’s a never-ending mirage, an unquenchable thirst that we all have — which manifests through lifestyle inflation. It’s part of humanity to always want more than we have, and while it’s great to have goals, we can all do a better job of finding satisfaction where we are right now.

Happiness

For the most part, their happiness on any given day wasn’t that different. The guy making $1 million a year put himself at an 8 or 9 for overall happiness (on a scale from 1 to 10). The guy living on the poverty line said his happiness was at a 7 or 8. This goes along with the old saying Money can’t buy happiness. It can buy peace of mind, security, hope for the future, and it can open doors that would otherwise be shut. But happiness? It’s got nothin’ on that.

Hard Work is Hard Work

As much as society likes to tear down the wealthy for being greedy and selfish, it’s hard to dislike the millionaire shown in this article. He watches every penny, his number one goal is to pay off his parents’ debt, and he’s set up a trust fund for his children so their futures can be bright. Some of what he says obviously sounds pretty out of touch with the average American, but he doesn’t sounds like a bad guy. And as a first generation American from an immigrant family, he’s worked very hard to get to where he is. We think it’s worth celebrating successes such as his, rather than demonizing it all the time like our country tends to do. Of course, the wealth distribution in this country is clearly out of whack, but the solution shouldn’t be to discourage people like the millionaire from budgeting and succeeding.

The Hustle

We also found it interesting that the two wealthiest men in the article don’t want to retire. They don’t see retirement as the end goal. Certain personality types live and breathe for working and creating and hustling, and it’s clear both of them feel that way.

Budgeting in Poverty

We found it very eye-opening to look at someone’s budget who lives below the poverty line. Budgeting would be almost impossible because there are food stamps and subsidized rent and then the actual money you’re making can’t cover your day-to-day costs. Budgeting would feel like a frustrating, fruitless effort. And that’s not to say budgeting shouldn’t happen, but it would be hard to feel like it would make any difference.

Time

Time still might be the most valuable commodity. The wealthiest guy is having to work more hours than he’d like, and the impoverished guy is having to work more hours than he’d like, too. Regardless of what their time means to their employer, they still realize that time is their most valuable commodity. It, more than anything else, affects their ability to accomplish what they’d like.

It’s easy to make assumptions from this one article, but it’d be foolish of us to extrapolate any conclusions from a sample size of one from each of these income levels. But it is a good conversation starter, and we’d love to hear what your thoughts were! How do they agree or differ with ours?

Healthy Food for the Whole Fam: Blue Apron Review Pt. II


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Blue Apron meal

Just a heads up, this post is sponsored by the folks at Blue Apron. This should go without saying, but all opinions are our own and came straight from our own noggins.

Life is as newly-minted small business owners is as busy as ever. And while we’re keeping our kids clothed and fed, it’s not quite the quality we’d like a lot of the time. Sally’s hair gets thrown up into a quick pony tail, Winnie’s barefoot more often than not, and oftentimes they end up with a half-hearted dinner made by yours truly. We’d love to sit down together each night and have quality family meals, but the time to plan, hunt for budget-friendly deals, grocery shop, and cook just isn’t there like it used to be.

To help ease the stress of meal planning while still having quality, home-cooked meals, we’re teaming back up with Blue Apron to take care of some of our home-cooked meal woes. When Johnny and I first tried it in November, we did the 2-person plan as a yummy, healthy meal to eat once the girls were in bed. But this time, we decided to try the family plan, which delivers two meals a week for a family of four. We wanted to try our hand at getting some meals that would provide an excuse to use our dining table and have a nice family dinner together.

Blue Apron ingredients and Persie the cat

In a nutshell, Blue Apron delivers all the ingredients in pre-measured amounts to our door, with the recipes and detailed cooking instructions included. We actually weren’t home when our package arrived, but it was all in a refrigerated box, so the ingredients stayed fresh. It was exciting to know we had two delicious, healthy meals to look forward to. And while each meal is chef-designed and not our typical mac and cheese fare, one of our favorite aspects is that they spell out all of the cooking instructions so that even the most novice of cooks can put together a first-class meal. I know that first-hand because Johnny prepared both of them all by himself! Despite Johnny’s limited cooking know-how, they turned out just how the recipe showed. It wasn’t one of those “Hmm, this looked way better in the picture” situations. And it was delicious!

Sally helping

Another big draw for us was that we could choose a healthier option that costs less than our family of four getting take out or eating at a restaurant. I want at least some of our children’s memories of eating dinner as a family to have taken place in our own home, and this is one way to make it happen. From start to finish, all of Blue Apron’s meals can be prepared in 40 minutes or less, which makes it very doable for this busy time of our lives. Even better, we ended up having leftovers for both meals, which we enjoyed for lunch the next day.

Sally chowing down

Wynn drinking

Something I really liked about the family plan is that though the meals were unique and new, they were still something our very picky girls Sally and Winnie were willing to eat. One of the meals was Roasted Pork and Spinach-Farro Salad. Johnny and I had never had farro before — didn’t even know what it was. But it was familiar enough that the girls ate it the way they would rice. Cooking the meal opened our eyes to other possibilities for future meals. One of the yummiest parts was the roasted carrots, which we simply sliced, sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper, and thyme, and cooked in the oven. It was so simple, yet we’d never cooked carrots that way before.

Pork with Spinach-Farro salad

Blue Apron has been a really awesome option for us to fall back on when life gets super busy. I stress over our kids’ nutrition so much, and on especially busy weeks, this takes that stress away. We can skip or cancel the service at any time, which means I can pick and choose which weeks we want it, and there’s no contract (hallelujah!). We enjoyed this experience just as much as the first time around. And the very best part? Johnny loves cooking their meals, so I just get to take the girls to the playground and come home to a hot meal on the table. Win-win.

Ready to eat

If you’ve been flirting with the idea, this will help sweeten the pot. Blue Apron is offering two free meals to the first 25 OFB readers who make their first order! Just click here to snag it!

Has Budgeting Made Me Stingy?


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Has Budgeting Made Me Stingy?

As I was driving home from from the grocery store yesterday, I was thinking about how I hate spending money. I’d gone to the grocery to pick up just a few items, and somehow my grocery bill had ended up costing almost $100. When the cashier had told me the…

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