Don’t let a good manual be hard to find. Get more value from purchases.

Are you getting the most value from purchases?

Set aside some time to review the manual of a new item. Go so far as to schedule a second review!

What return on investment does reading and reviewing the manual yield? The answer is a shorter learning curve, better use of features faster, and by extending the useful life of the device if it is able to continue meeting needs and remaining functional through comprehensive use, updates, repairs, and troubleshooting.

What is a good way to store the manual? A safe place like a file cabinet or bankers box may be all you need for this piece of reference material. Does the manufacturer offer an electronic manual? If so, save and store that in your reference folders on a computer. When storing electronically, include the date or year of purchase in the naming convention and consider saving it in the cloud to prevent loss.

What other information could help during the life of the device? Try adding details like the date of purchase, part/ model/ SKU/ serial numbers on a designated area of the manual like the front or back page for easy reference later. This important reference and identifying information could otherwise become forgotten or tucked away in inconvenient places, like on the back/bottom of something heavy or on the inside of a battery compartment. Having these details readily available could make checking for drivers or tracking value easier. This could also come in handy for times when warranty or insurance claims are necessary as could a copy of the receipt.

If you’re trying to minimize carbon footprint, adopt more minimalist ways, or create and tighten up a budget on your own or with a system like Financial Peace University in the #debtfreecommunity, getting the most value from a purchase can help.

Have you held on to the item for “too long”?

Ask and consider, does it:

  • function properly?
  • meet performance needs?
  • cost more to replace than to repair?
  • have resale value?
  • fit in the space available?

When a repair is needed, comparison shop service providers, and ask if existing manufacturer warranties exist or could be voided based on which repair provider you choose. The receipt and device identification numbers saved for reference will come in handy here.

New Year: 2018 Begins

Happy New Year! The start of a new year is a great time for fresh starts, goal setting, and resolutions. What I’m hearing from the great guru and mentor collective is a focus shift from resolutions to long-term solutions. After getting burned on short-lived resolutions, we’re all learning to dig deeper, think long-term, and focus on creating real lasting change, and seeking out those who can help us along that path.

I’ve been “in production” for online courses and empowerment groups that will get rolled out as the year progresses.

Creating new content and synthesizing what I’ve learned is something I enjoy. In preparing to communicate the content in a learner and life-change-friendly way, I’ve been able to revisit some of my favorite resources, experiences, and lessons, pulling them together in a meaningful and supportive way. I was able to start from a place of service. Early on, I was thinking in terms of empowerment and building upon knowledge, skills, and abilities to create true skill transference, helping those ready and willing to participate to set and reach their goals in new ways.

Online courses or empowerment groups can take someone from swimming in resources to having some of the very best resources pulled together with added support and the ability to progress from the start to finish. Complete a module, apply it to an area of your life, and repeat the content later for a refresher.

When trying to achieve well-defined goals, it may make sense to focus and increase activity towards that goal with a little more of available time for a few weeks or months to meet a deadline before shifting to the more balanced use of the time available across roles for maintenance. The new skills come in handy when it’s time to get creative and apply guiding principles to a new challenge.

 

The Great Pen Round-Up

This morning, I’m having a great Pen round-up. Do you have an item that accumulates in different places? I go to grab a pen to write something and it lands on the kitchen island as I stop to get my son something. Day-after-day this activity generates a small collection of pens on the island. Pens also accumulate in areas that I tend to leave or look through my purse (and inside my purse).

How to do your very own round-up: First, pull together all the like items in one spot to see how many there are. Next, return the items to a “home” where they belong. Toss, swap, sell or donate the excess. Identifying a home location and consistent maintenance the item’s location saves time, reduces replacement purchases, and keeps flat surfaces and work areas clear. Small actions add-up.

Consider a great round-up of your own. Will you round up pens, hair bands, books, notebooks, or something else?

Do you start a task but get easily distracted? Believe-it-or-not, this can get in the way of finishing the task you set out to accomplish. Setting a timer and every once-in-awhile ask “am I doing what I set out to do?”

The Time Timer® productivity tool may help. The clock shows the passage of time visually with a color disc that gets smaller and smaller as the time passes. Check it out and remember: Focus on getting started! Starting on a task for a minute or five can feel less overwhelming than thinking about completing the whole project. It’s our actions that help us make progress and you can’t finish without first getting started.Affiliate Badge -square

Cross-Country Drive Planning Online Course Coming in 2018

Have you ever thought about traveling cross-country but felt like a driving trip that far would be overwhelming to plan? Maybe you didn’t know where to start or what to plan for.

I’ve been there and I’m putting together a Travel Planning Course specifically for Cross-Country Driving that will launch in early 2018. The course will be available online, designed to give a few take-away ideas that will greatly improve your planning and travel experience and will be reasonably priced. The course may include some product examples and a list of resources for further reading, research, and planning tools.
I’ve been the passenger or planner of at least five cross-country drives (33 to 40 driving hours) with children and on many more of what I’ll call half-country drives (16 to 21 driving hours). When researching for these trips, I often had to hunt for good information that was scattered everywhere. I would interview someone who had done it before and ask about their itineraries for reminders of the really important things to plan for.

If you’re planning a long-distance domestic road trip in 2018, let me know what kind of questions if answered would make a big difference for you.

Thank you,

Laura

Good Sam Travel Assist

Healthier Meals Fast: Save Time & Money

With meal planning methods, keep more money in your pocket, spend less time in the car, and get big results in the kitchen on a reasonable amount of time. Try implementing one or two changes at a time for long-term success.

You can take it with you.

Portion out travel-friendly healthy snacks and have them on hand. When hunger kicks in, you may be able to live long enough to get home and prepare a meal despite feeling otherwise. Almonds or other nuts may fit in a purse or bag and travel well. When you decide not to make the drive-through an option, you’ll creatively problem solve to avoid being caught without a meal and snack plan to avoid the hunger pains and tantrums. Consider protecting snacks in a small hard sized container. Be honest about a snack that is on hand but you buy/eat other things – let the less desirable snack go, replace it, and move forward with the healthiest snack that can beat out other cravings.

Shop Smarter, Not Longer.

Separate a shopping list items by store area (or isle) in the order shopped. Some stores have isle layout maps available online. Stores that have primarily groceries and less general merchandise will make for a faster trip.

Forgo the impulse buy with the “maybe next time” approach.

Don’t shop while hungry. Take the healthy snacks along. Get in and out of the store faster with the list that is based on the plan. But, what about all those potential impulsive buys that bust the budget, fill up the cart, or grab your attention for an added 5 minutes of contemplation? Learn to say, “maybe next time”. Leave the item on the shelf and consider it for the next store list. The list was designed to meet needs and budget, if it’s not on the list, it’s not getting in the cart.

More peels, less plastic.

Peel, dice, chop, or eat it whole: less packaging can lead to lower costs and better health. Shop the perimeter of the store where they keep produce and spend less time in the prepared food isles.

One ingredient used 3 ways.

Take a protein ingredient and make a big batch. Freeze some to thaw and use the next week. Portion the remainding out to season three different ways for use as a main dish with a side or topping for pizza, tortilla, pasta, tacos, and salad. While adjusting to a new ingredient, it may help to have a small amount each day for a few days.

Beans cost less than bacon. Swap, substitute, and stretch to win.

In the PlantPure Cookbook, Author Kim Campbell creates meals in the simplest way possible without adding a lot of fats and oils. The book is filled with practical advice on staple ingredients, preparation, storage, cooking methods, and tools. This cookbook includes more valuable information than most plant-based cookbooks and can serve as a resource and reference.

  • cut down on unwanted calories from sugar, fats, and oils,
  • familiar recipes for meals that sound like something we’ve heard of before
  • easy to find ingredients
  • quick and easy recipe prep with good seasoning recommendations
  • portion control support
  • lower glycemic index options for those trying to lose weight or maintain their blood sugar levels (it’s not all pasta!)
  • substitute, swap, and DIY ideas for sauces, condiments, eggs, and milk
  • composition formulas for ingredient rations to craft veggie burgers
  • how to create great textures and creaminess without animal products

If you’re not ready to leave out meat, try using less and incorporating other filling proteins like beans, lentils, and tofu to the recipe or meal.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman is another good resource on the topic of eating whole plant foods.

Make it easier!

Try the Instant Pot® for making healthy meals faster with deep flavors and textures that would usually take a longer cooking time to achieve.  Make quick beans, vegetables, and complete meals.

Go Green with Juices, Smoothies, and Soups

Use the Cuisinart Smart Stick to immersion blend cooked vegetables and their broth for a quick and easy soup. The Dash Chef Series Digital Blender may also get a lot of use for smoothies, soups, and more.

Mason jars are available in a variety of sizes and great for storing homemade meals, sauces, and condiments and can be used for meal prep and to take along in a lunchbox.

For juicing, I use the Breville BJE510XL Juice Fountain Multi-Speed 900-Watt Juicer. There is a newer model, the Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor that will have a higher price as compared to a discontinued model.  How to store juice? Keep some in the fridge for up to 3 days (give-or-take) and some in the freezer. When freezing juice, fill the container up and leave a little room for expansion. Drink frozen juice soon after thawing before it has a chance to start to spoil. When storing in the fridge, fill an airtight container up leaving without much room for air to keep the juice fresh longer. Keep in mind fruit will increase the sweetness but also the sugar content.

Like some of the products featured on this blog? If you did and use the links to purchase, I, Laura Baca would be a paid Amazon affiliate.  Please see a full disclosure on the laurabaca.com homepage.

Laura Baca is a NASM Certified Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. NASM logo designation