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Get Rich(er)

Get Rich(er)

Get Rich(er)

    It is true that no one can serve two masters, and slavish devotion to unrighteous mammon is indeed a road to misery.  Ambition to produce and “be rich” is not necessarily a bad thing, though.  And if you’re reading this, you’re likely among the richest 1-2% of people who have ever lived.  Historically speaking, you’re not just rich.  You’re super-rich.

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    This means a couple of things.  First, it means that foregoing generations have left us with the capital, technology, and institutions we need to produce staggering amounts of wealth (which isn’t just “stuff;” wealth is whatever people value).  They have done this by establishing legal systems conducive to trade, by establishing an ethic of inquiry, and by refraining from consumption so as to leave us with plenty of resources that we can use to produce current and future output.  How, then, in this environment, should one grow wealthy?  And what are the social implications?  Here, I will relay some of the best advice I have gotten and discuss some of the social implicaitons of “getting rich.”  First, here’s how to do it:

    1.  Stop renting and buy a house. Homeowners build equity while renters line their landlords’ pockets.  This require a few important caveats.  First, don’t buy a house you can’t afford by agreeing to terms you can’t meet embedded in a mortgage you don’t understand.  Second, it is better to rent than to buy if you are only going to be somewhere for a very short period of time.  We bought our first house about a year ago, and we bought conservatively: we bought in a nice, semi-urban neighborhood based on the assumption that we would have to pay for the house on a single income.  We’re happy, we’re building equity, and we aren’t over-extended (yet–we have a six-week-old!!).

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    2.  Step away from the latte. The Automatic Millionaire author David Bach refers to what he calls “the latte factor,” which consists of the money we spend on small, incidental purchases: a $3 latte here, a $15 lunch there.  It all adds up.  Of course, there is something to be said for having your morning coffee, and for some of us, it is more efficient to get our fix from Starbucks.  A first step might be to size down–Starbucks does sell a “short,” though it isn’t on the menu–or to go with a regular coffee that costs $2 rather than a $4-5 specialty drink.

    3.  If you’re being paid $50,000, do $55,000 worth of work. One of the best ways to ensure job security is not to do the bare minimum necessary to get by, but to do enough that you are competitive for another job.  In academia, our brass ring is tenure, which gives us wide-ranging freedom to explore the world of ideas.  Last summer, I heard it put this way: “don’t worry about being competitive for tenure.  Worry about staying marketable.”  If you’re marketable–and you may be perfectly content wherever you are–then you shouldn’t have to worry too much about job security.

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    4.  Save. If you aren’t contributing to your 401k or your 403b and you don’t have an excellent reason not to (we didn’t during my first year at Rhodes because we were saving cash to buy a house), you’re throwing money away.  A Roth IRA is a fantastic deal if you’re young, and a 401k can reduce your tax liability considerably while giving you room to grow your capital in the future.

    5.  Bank the raises. What do you do with those little boosts to your income?  Do they go straight down the drain on a bunch of stuff you don’t need?  Or do you put them in the bank?  We have a system that has worked reasonably well in our house.  Whenever, we get unexpected shocks to our income, we split it four ways.  The bank gets 25%, the kids get 25%, my wife gets 25%, and I get 25%.  This has proven to be a somewhat reasonable and easy way to splurge every so often while making sure that we are wise stewards of what has been entrusted to us.

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    6.  Be a cheapskate. This is something we have some trouble with.  When your income goes up, it’s fine to splurge a little.  My wife and I both have iPods, and we have a nice TV.  However, we had one car for our first four years of marriage, and we bought a deeply-used second car last summer from a Rhodes graduate who was advertising it on Craigslist.  We’ve never had cable, we just switched from cable internet to AT&T (slightly slower, much cheaper), and we try to take advantage of cheap entertainment (our church library, for example, has a ton of stuff).

    7.  Go with equities if you’re young. The younger you are, the better it is to invest in stocks because you have plenty of time to take higher volatility in exchange for higher returns.  As you get older, you will want to make your portfolio more conservative, but now is the time to take on risk.  Even in the current crisis, there is reason for optimism because it’s a great time to buy.  After you’ve salted away two or three months’ income in order to deal with unanticipated emergencies–like the new kitchen floor we had to get last month–you should begin investing in equity-heavy mutual funds.  Many companies offer funds that rebalance toward greater conservatism over time, substituting bonds and safer securities as you approach retirement.

    8.  Get educated. The market is screaming “stay in school!”  Wages for low-skilled occupations have stayed flat while wages for high-skill, high-tech occupations have risen dramatically.  If you’re serious about it, college is a great investment.  Strange as it may sound, the increasing cost of college is another reason to be optimistic.  Higher costs for higher education suggest increasing productivity in other sectors as well as general expectations that there are great opportunities in the future for the educated.

    9.  Be generous. Finally, it is important to remember all the cliches about wealth.  All that glitters is not gold.  George Bailey was the richest man in Bedford Falls.  It doesn’t profit a man to gain the world and yet lose his soul.  Ebenezer Scrooge, for all his wealth (which produced higher incomes for many people, by the way), appears to have had a miserable and wretched life.  Money cannot buy happiness or love, but it can buy a lot of things that contribute to happiness–such as the ability to help people who truly need it.

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    Art Carden

    Art Carden is an Assistant Professor of Economics and Business at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

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    Last Updated on April 19, 2021

    40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

    40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

    Ever had those moments where you really wanted to eat something delicious and healthy but didn’t have the financials means to do so? Whether you’re a student or parent, this compilation of 40 great, healthy, and inexpensive recipes will make every night special and help you get fit! No more meals where you have to force the food down! It’s time to make that budget your best friend and turn it into great recipes. Enjoy!

    1. Fish Tacos in Crunchy Shells ($3.56 per serving)

    Is there a better way to end the day than a Fish Taco dinner filled with protein and nutrients and is easy on the wallet? This recipe calls for a boys’ or girls’ night in front of a good movie or game.

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      2. Mini-Meatball Noodle Soup ($3.43 per serving)

      We’ve heard of the delicious spaghetti and meatballs recipes, but imagine having that same meatball goodness in a soup? It’s like Christmas in a bowl. Healthy, warm, and only $3.43 per serving.

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        3. Spaghetti and (Vegan) Meatballs ($2.13 per serving)

        Now it’s time to look at the traditional spaghetti and meatballs recipe, but with a little twist: vegan meatballs. This way, you can enjoy the Italian tradition without adding on the extra calories. I’m sold!

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          4. Kabocha Squash and Lentils ($3.12 per serving)

          Absolutely delicious way to end the day with a Kabocha Squash and lentils dinner. The beauty of this recipe is that you can actually make many other things from the mixture, from dips to full-on meals. All under $5 per serving.

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            5. Baked Coconut Lentils ($0.91 per serving)

            Coconuts are always a good idea, but it doesn’t have to be eaten only for dessert or breakfast. With this great recipe, you can now eat a lunch or dinner filled proteins and a coconut twist. Yum!

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              6. Easy Marinated Roasted Chicken ($3.40 per serving)

              We love chicken and at less than $5 per serving, we are in heaven with this recipe. Add some vegetables and rice on the side and you’ve got yourself a full meal!

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                7. Organic Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin ($2.36 per serving)

                This is absolutely divine. You get in your healthy greens and your fat macros with this great recipe. Takes only a few minutes to make and it’s easy on the wallet. Bon Appetite!

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                  8. Beef Pot Roast ($3.22 per serving)

                  One word: perfect. This meal will warm your insides and fill you up with the high protein content.

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                    9. Fajita-Style Quesadillas ($0.43 per serving)

                    If you want to eat Mexican tonight but want to stay in your budget, this Quesadilla recipe is your best friend. It’s tasty and filled with healthy ingredients for less than a dollar per serving.

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                      10. Fish Tostadas with Chili Lime Cream ($2.82 per serving)

                      Another great lunch idea for the busy days ahead. Prep this in the morning or the night before and you’ve got yourself a healthy and cheap lunch meal!

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                        11. Beef and Black Bean Chili ($1.36 per serving)

                        Might not look like much, but this amazing chili is actually extremely healthy for you. The protein from the beef and the carbs from the black beans will fill you up in no time, and keep you full for a long period of time. Delicious and warm, just right for the winter!

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                          12. Crispy Fish and Peppers ($2.18 per serving)

                          Amazing recipe for anyone looking to change up their meals while keeping their macros in check and not going overboard on spending. Satisfies your crunch tooth (see what I did there?) and gives you all the protein you need to stay full and lean.

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                            13. Vegetarian Gumbo ($1.50 per serving)

                            You have the perfect macro mix here with the carbs, fats, and proteins. At less than $5 per serving, you’ve got yourself a meal that will last for the whole week!

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                              14. Mexican White Bean Soup ($0.99 per serving)

                              With the cold weather creeping in, it’s not a surprise that soups are coming back in style. This great Mexican White Bean Soup dish will keep you warm for winter without making a hole in your pocket.

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                                15. Black Beans with Mango & Cilantro ($0.38 per serving)

                                Mangoes make every dish a little bit sweeter, which is why we absolutely love this recipe. A normal rice and bean dish might be a little meh, but add the sugary taste of mangoes and you’ve got yourself a party!

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                                Black-Bean-Cilantro-Mango

                                  16. Bean Burritos ($0.71 per serving)

                                  If you’re having people over tonight and don’t want to spend too much time or money on food, this dish is a great option! You can even cut up the burritos into pieces and make finger foods while everyone’s watching the game or gossiping.

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                                    17. Five-Spice Beef Kabobs ($2.43 per serving)

                                    The spices in this recipes add a delicious twist to the beef kabobs, which is definitely worth trying!

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                                      18. Cornmeal Crusted Pork ($1.92 per serving)

                                      If you like the fried crunch but want to opt for a healthier alternative, cornmeal is your man. This healthy recipe will satisfy all your fried desires without making you pop open your pant’s button.

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                                        19. Chicken, Tomato & Cucumber Dinner Salad ($2.57 per serving)

                                        Easy to do, extremely healthy, and super delicious. A must-try!

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                                          20. Lentil Soup with Beef and Red Pepper ($1.90 per serving)

                                          I can’t believe how cheap this meal is, especially for all the nutrients it contains. You can make a big pot on Sunday night and divide it into small portions to last you a whole week.

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                                            21. Smoky Mushroom Stroganoff ($1.90 per serving)

                                            Craving pasta but not sure what to top it off with? How about smoky mushrooms with a twist?

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                                              22. White Bean Tuna Salad ($1.36 per serving)

                                              You can add this White Bean Tuna Salad in your sandwich or just eat it as-is for a quick lunch on a busy day.

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                                                23. Sausage Eggwiches ($0.80 per serving)

                                                Who says you have to eat fast food to get an eggwich? This delicious recipe will give you an amazingly healthy eggwich for less than a dollar per portion. Can you say Breakfast?

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                                                Sausage-Eggwiches

                                                  24. Baja-Cali Black Bean Salad ($1.17 per serving)

                                                  Great snack to add to a movie-night with friends. You don’t have to use chemically-processed salsas anymore, you can now use this homemade salad for your chip dips.

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                                                    25. Gnocchi, Sweet Corn & Arugula in Cream Sauce ($2.24 per serving)

                                                    Italians always knew how to make carbs look good! This delicious Gnocchi recipe will give your lunch a whole new meaning. Easy to make and only $2.24 per serving.

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                                                      26. Vegetable Lasagna ($1.73 per serving)

                                                      If you were looking for a healthy lasagna, you’ve just found it. At under $5 per serving, you can fill yourself up right away without putting on the extra calories.

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                                                        27. Fajita-Ranch Chicken Wraps ($2.05 per serving)

                                                        Don’t know what to make for lunch this week? How about delicious chicken wraps with a healthy ranch? This recipe will make all your lunches, even the quick ones, healthy and colorful.

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                                                          28. Quinoa with Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts ($1.24 per serving)

                                                          A dish that has quinoa and brussel sprouts can’t be unhealthy, it just can’t, which is why this dish is one to keep in the books. Easy to make, healthy, and will keep you full for a long period of time.

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                                                            29. Butternut Squash Chili ($1.04 per serving)

                                                            You don’t need meat to make chili now that you have this recipe! It’s 100% healthy, filling, and smells absolutely delicious.

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                                                              30. Fast Shrimp Bisque ($2.03 per serving)

                                                              Seafood doesn’t have to be expensive if you know how to do it right, and this fast shrimp bisque is a great recipe to try if you’re in the mood for some seafood!

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                                                                31. Chicken-Noodle Casserole ($0.98 per serving)

                                                                Looks divine doesn’t it? This super easy to make dish will satisfy all your taste buds without burning a hole in your wallet or adding a few extra numbers on the scale.

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                                                                  32. Burrito Cups ($1.18 per serving)

                                                                  Entertaining someone tonight and don’t know what to make as appetizers? These burrito cups are a great alternative to chips or other greasy finger foods. All you need to enjoy it is a spoon and a cup.

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                                                                    33. Lemon-Dill Shrimp & Pasta ($2.45 per serving)

                                                                    Another impressive shrimp recipe under $5 per serving. The lemon-dill twist adds a great taste to the dish.

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                                                                      34. Potato Frittata ($0.87 per serving)

                                                                      If you want to eat potatoes for breakfast but still want it to be healthy, this is the recipe for you. At under a dollar per serving, this potato frittata will make you see potatoes in a whole new light.

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                                                                        35. Grilled Pork and Pineapple ($2.67 per serving)

                                                                        Meat and fruits? Oh, yes. The juiciness of the pork mixed with the liquid sugar in the pineapple will make you wish you knew about it sooner.

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                                                                          36. Greek Honey-Lemon Pork Chops ($2.15 per serving)

                                                                          Another splendid recipe mixing sweet and salty for a healthy meal. Easy to make and absolutely mouthwatering.

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                                                                            37. Jamaican Pork Stir-Fry ($2 per serving)

                                                                            You can add this healthy stir-fry to any dish as a side or amply enjoy it as-is for lunch or dinner. You can even make a wrap sandwich out of it if you’re in a rush to eat.

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                                                                              38. Herbed Salmon ($2.49 per serving)

                                                                              Salmon contains a healthy dose of fats that will boost your metabolism, lower inflammation, and make you happier. At under $5 per serving, need I say more?

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                                                                                39. Five-Spice Pork Kabobs ($1.96 per serving)

                                                                                Exquisite recipe under $5 per serving that will most definitely awe everyone at your dinner party.

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                                                                                  40. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Mango-Black Bean Salsa ($1.24 per serving)

                                                                                  You don’t have to eat sweet potatoes alone anymore with this flavorful recipe.

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                                                                                    Featured photo credit: Featured Photo Credit: 5 Dollar Dinners via 5dollardinners.com

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