CleverDudes Can Cook: Shredded Pork Enchiladas Edition

Posted by Brock | May 27, 2015.

CleverDude_PorkPlate

A Cleverdude (or Dudette) is someone that watches their spending and gets maximum value for his or her dollar. A Cleverdude is also not afraid of little DIY project if it means saving money Yes, Clever Friends, we are a multi-talented breed. There’s one skill that I haven’t talked much about here yet and it’s time to start.

Cleverdudes can also cook.

There’s no reason to waste your money dining out when a fantastic meal can be made at home for little effort, and a fraction of the cost. Welcome to first edition of Cleverdues Can Cook, where I’ll be showing you a recipe that I saw recently and has made it into heavy rotation at the Kernin home.

Let’s make shredded pork Enchiladas.

Grocery List:

  • 1 package of lean pork loin country style ribs: $5.28 (varies by weight)
  • 1 package (2 cups) Kraft Mexican Blend Cheese: $2.98
  • 2 small cans of enchilada sauce: $2.76
  • 1 package flour tortillas: $2.68

Total Cost: $13.70

Step 1:

Put the country style ribs in a slow cooker on medium heat. Pour one can of enchilada sauce over the meat and let cook for 8 hours.

CleverDude_PorkSlowCooker

Step 2:

Drain most of the liquid from the pork (leave some for moistness). Shred the pork using two forks. After 8 hours in the slow cooker, the meat will just fall apart on it’s own.


3 Financial Decisions I’m Glad I Made in My 20’s

Posted by James | May 26, 2015.

207f98d2fe044938839ed5d593ba5533I just turned 29, so I haven’t crossed the hump into my 30’s yet. But I’m old enough to be able to reflect on everything that happened in my 20’s, and make determinations about how different decisions panned out in the long term. Just a few biographical materials to give these decisions a bit more context. I graduated from college at 21, and didn’t enter a job in my field. I got married at 24. I bought my first house at 27. I started the career I’m in now at 27 as well. I don’t have any real debt, other than the house. Basically, at this point in my life I’m feeling happier than I’ve ever felt before. I think there’s good stuff ahead: starting a family, traveling, spending more time with people I love, etc. But all of that good stuff is based on beneficial financial decisions that happened within this past decade. I can’t take credit for all of them. Many of them were given or even imposed upon me. But I’m still benefiting from them years down the line.

  • I Had no School Debt. All of this credit goes to my parents, who were not going to let me take out a loan to go to school. I’m not 100% against school loans, but I had no idea what I was doing in life when I entered school. Expensive education would have been wasted on me, so I’m glad I didn’t go to an expensive college. The thing is, a lot of people from my generation who did know what they were doing when they entered college, still didn’t get a good job on the other side of graduation. We’re the same in that regard. The difference is, I didn’t have any debt weighing me down when I graduated.

I’m Not Going Grocery Shopping This Week: The Meal Plan

Posted by Brock | May 25, 2015.

CleverDude_UseItUpMenu

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I mentioned last week that the stockpile of food at our home had reached an all time high, and something had to be done. This week I’m challenging myself to make meals for my family using the items we already have within out home, the only exceptions being dairy, and fresh produce. Over the weekend my wife and I did our meal planning by looking in the cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer.

Here’s our meal plan for the week:

Breakfast

We don’t plan specific items for breakfast, but we determined we have an ample supply of cereal, mini-pancakes, eggs, and oatmeal for the week.

Lunch

My son eats at school, but my wife and I both pack our lunches to take with us to work.

Monday

  • Lunch : Ham and Turkey Sandwiches with chips and grapes.
  • Dinner: Smoked chicken drumsticks with baked beans and asparagus.

Tuesday

  • Lunch: Lean Cuisine meals
  • Dinner: Tuesday is taco night at our house, and I make a pound of taco meat at a time. However, we don’t eat all the taco meat, so I usually put the leftovers in the freezer. We’ve accumulated enough left over taco meat to have it for a meal, and then some. We also have hard shells, taco sauce, and cheese on hand. Add to that some shredded lettuce (fresh produce purchases are allowed), and we’re having taco night!

Costco vs Sam’s Club – Why Not Both?

Posted by Brock | May 22, 2015.

SamsCostco_pic

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I renewed my executive Costco membership in April. We buy as many food and household products as we can there to make the most of the 2% cash back rewards program.   As a freelance writer I technically own my own business so I also have the business American Express which earns me additional cash back rewards.

Since I’m invested heavily in maximizing my Costco membership, one would think that I would have no use for a Sam’s Club membership.   One could think that, but that would be an incorrect assumption because over the weekend I dropped the $45 needed to renew my Sam’s Club membership.

I had been thinking about the decision for a couple of weeks, and there are a couple of reasons why I wanted to keep my Sam’s Club membership:

  • Meat Department : Sam’s Club has some cuts of meat that Costco doesn’t commonly have in their meat case. For example, the Costco near me does not carry full beef brisket. The only other convenient business that has full briskets is Walmart, but they are usually pretty small, and don’t look very good.
  • Snacks: There are some snacks that I really like at Sam’s that Costco does not carry. One such example is frozen pizza. Costco’s selection of frozen pizza is horrid.
  • Produce Selection :   Both Sam’s and Costco’s fresh fruit and vegetables are head and shoulders above anything else in my local area. Sometimes Costco gets a bad batch, as does Sam’s. Having both memberships gives me constant access to fantastic produce.

Use It Up Challege: I’m Not Going Grocery Shopping Next Week

Posted by Brock | May 20, 2015.

CleverDude_useItUpFullFridge

Image courtesy of patpitchaya at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I pride myself on my meal planning and grocery shopping efficiency. I used to laugh at the emptiness of the cupboards and the refrigerator as the end of the week, but we always had food for every meal. It was purposeful, it was concise, and it worked.

Somewhere along the way, we got off track a little bit.

I think it started when I decided to start buying a few extra items to give us a extra meal choices each week. Add to that the fact that we’ve been eating out a little more frequently over the last few months and the result has been a slow but steady increase in our food stockpile.

I think our home has hit critical mass. I found it difficult to find room to put last week’s groceries. The freezer in our side-by-side is full, so are the cupboards, and the chest freezer has gotten to the point where I can’t see all the contents because I have to stack food on top of each other. I stated aloud that we could probably go at least a week without buying groceries at all.

The idea has been stewing in my brain all week, and I’ve determined that It’s time to do something about it. Next week the Kernin family is going to live (almost) entirely off of what we already have at home. Before we do meal planning for next week, my wife and I are going to take inventory of what we already have, and then plan the week’s meals using those supplies. The only exception is that we will be allowed to purchase fresh fruit, vegetables, and dairy. Everything else MUST come from what we already have.


Credentials of Wealth Managers in Geneva

Posted by Clever Dude | May 20, 2015.

Arguably, the most notable wealth management institutions are found in Geneva. The phrase “deposited in a Swiss Bank account” has been effectively branded regardless of the actual institution. In the financial community, those who manage the assets of high net worth individuals (HNIs) operate with different strategies than financial advisors for traditional (average) investors. A wealthy investor often looks for two things when interviewing a prospective manager at a Geneva wealth management bank: track record and credentials.

General Categories of Wealth Managers

The wealthy hire advisors from a range of specialties. They do this in order to manage their retail banking, legal-financial concerns, taxes, estate planning, and long-term investments. Some examples are:

  • Chartered Financial Consultants
  • Certified Financial Planners
  • Chartered Financial Analysts (USA)
  • Chartered Strategic Wealth Professionals (Canada)
  • Chartered Financial Planners (UK)
  • MBAs and other credentialed professional money managers

General Categories of Advisors

It helps by starting with the major categories of financial advisors. They generally fall under the categories of Financial Planner, Wealth Manager, or Broker. In detail, these designations mean:

  • Financial planner – financial planners are held to a high fiduciary standard. They generally hold the CFP credential. Often, insurance providers will call themselves financial planners in order to generate business. True financial planners focus on developing a written financial plan that is executed elsewhere. They make their money through an hourly or project-based fee for the financial plan only. This helps keep them as an unbiased source of information.