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This week, Chelsea shares the most powerful, useful, and life-changing rituals from her everyday life.

This video is brought to you by M&T Bank. Learn more at https://bank.mtb.com/moneymanager. ©2019 M&T Bank. Member FDIC.

Chelsea's best and worst small-apartment purchases: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNq7X3f7QWU&t=148s

Watch more of The Financial Diet hosted by Chelsea Fagan here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD30V46E07RR99cC0gCjKUbt-BKoDUcnc

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Hi, I'm Lindsay Ellis.

I'm a YouTuber, film critic, and author, and for the month of January, I'm taking over Chelsea's Tuesday show on The Financial Diet, and we are going to talk about money and pop culture.  Hey, guys. It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet.

And this week's video is sponsored by M&T Bank. And today, as you can probably tell, if you are watching this video rather than just listening to it, I am in a completely new space. I have moved into my new apartment, which is extremely exciting, and if you follow me on Instagram, you've probably been seeing me posting a lot of stories about the move-in process and the decorating process.

Here are a few of the photos of my space, and, of course, if you want to see more of that, like I said, head over to my Instagram. But I'm going to be filming here now, which is very exciting. And this is, you know, the first space that we found to film.

It might change around a little bit depending, but I feel pretty good here. And I also encourage you to check out the last video that I made in my old apartment before we did the big move, where I talk about all of the things that were a good decision and that were a mistake when living in a 650-square foot apartment. This apartment that I live in now is about 950 square feet, so I no longer have quite the constraints that I did at that time, but all that that small apartment living taught me has proved extremely useful in a space that's even bigger.

So check that out. I will also link you to that in the description. And today, I thought I would talk about something that I absolutely love as a subject, but which I think often can feel very intimidating or kind of exclusive, and that is rituals.

A lot of times, you'll read articles with beautiful supermodels that talk about their beauty rituals or their nighttime rituals or their food rituals. And you kind of get a suspicion when you're watching these videos or reading these interviews that it's not exactly totally honest. But when it comes down to it, a ritual is simply something that you do on a regular basis.

And it does not have to be particularly aesthetically pleasing to have a huge beneficial impact on your life. I'm someone who used to be extremely chaotic in the way that she lived. I very rarely did things with consistency, and I often found the idea of a ritual extremely intimidating, because, frankly, I didn't even know if I could count on myself to be accountable each week.

A little by little, I started changing how I did things. I edited out what wasn't working for me. I added in things that were, and without even really trying, by finding the things that I enjoyed doing, I was able to embrace these rituals on what is now at least a weekly basis.

These have been the most useful and life-changing for me, and I encourage you to find yours. So without further ado, let's get right into the six weekly rituals that have changed my life. Number one is batch cooking.

Now I know that anyone who watches this channel knows that I love to cook, but something that may not come across as much is how much most of what I cook is something that is meant for at least several meals between two people. I basically don't make anything that either won't reheat for lunch the next day or, ideally, freeze for a dinner somewhere down the road. And that means at least once a week, making something like a huge amount of pasta sauce or soup or a braised meat or something that can be portioned out and frozen for time immemorial.

I didn't used to cook this way. In fact, I often used to approach each recipe and each night's dinner as kind of a blank slate, because I mostly enjoyed that fun, experimental side of cooking and the presentation and the thrill of trying something new. But that is not a sustainable or affordable way to cook for oneself, and quite frankly, since I have incorporated some of these other rituals into my life, which I will get into momentarily, I simply don't have the time to cook a meal from scratch every single night.

And even if I did have that time, that is not the way I would want to spend every single night of my life. My goal is to cook or have leftovers that I made four nights a week. And generally, I'm able to meet that.

Usually, that leaves one night a week for something like takeout or delivery, one night a week to go out, and one night a week that's, let's say, dealer's choice, which often means something like eating a pack of Korean ramen or going out for a work thing or maybe just having a dinner that consists of popcorn and other snacks eaten while watching TV. The point is, even as someone who absolutely loves to cook, getting to a place where at least four nights a week, you are eating a home-cooked meal is a pretty good goal. So if you're someone who doesn't love to cook, even that can feel really far away.

So I cannot recommend enough finding at least one night a week to specifically cook something which you can cook in a very large batch and portion out for many meals to come. Aside from taking a lot of the guesswork out of, what am I going to eat tonight for dinner, which is, quite frankly, everyone's dilemma when leaving work, it also ends up saving you a lot of money in the long run, because most of these big batch recipes end up being pretty inexpensive on a per serving basis. Batch cooking-- it's what the professionals do.

Number two is Pilates. Now listen, I don't want to be the person who talks about how much she loves working out any more than you want to listen to the person who talks about how much she loves working out. But all those annoying people who love working out are kind of right.

It really feels good. And despite what you may assume, working out on a regular basis actually gives you more energy, because your body is not constantly in a low grade state of decay. Because of my move and traveling for the holidays and lots of other stuff, I haven't been to Pilates in like a week and a half, and I feel like I'm dying.

But also, I just feel kind of lightly disappointed with myself, because I should be going with more regularity. I feel at my best when I'm going to Pilates three times a week, and it's not just because I'm getting a good amount of workouts in. It's also because when I'm going to Pilates, it prevents me from doing other dumber things with that time.

For example, I usually go to either a class on a Friday afternoon or a Saturday afternoon, which is time that would be otherwise spent going to things like bottomless brunches or happy hours or shopping for crap I don't need or sitting on the couch for three hours watching TV shows I've already watched a dozen times. And the ones I generally make no matter what-- Sunday and Monday night-- are a really good way to stave off that low key Sunday night depression and/or start my week off on a really good note. As I mentioned at the beginning of this video, one of the things about rituals is that it's very difficult to enforce yourself to take on a ritual that you don't really enjoy.

And for years, I tried to find some kind of workout routine that I would stick to. I found pretty quickly that no matter how fancy the gym, a membership to just a gym where you go in and figure out whatever you want to do and have no accountability and no teacher and no class setting didn't work for me. And the extremely expensive classes for things like reformer Pilates, which I generally don't do-- it's so expensive-- or HIIT or barre generally left me feeling so guilty about the expense of each individual class that I never ended up going or reduced the amount of times I went down to an absolute minimum, which sort of defeats the purpose of exercise.

Point is until I found a class that I enjoyed in a setting that was very, very convenient for me with a schedule that fit into my lifestyle, I wasn't able to make exercise any kind of ritual. But once I found those key ingredients, it became pretty effortless. I actually found myself wanting to go.

Whether or not you want to hear it, provided you are able-bodied, exercise should be a regular part of your life. And it's up to you to find the kind of exercise at the kind of place that you can actually make into a ritual. Number three is my Saturday morning cleaning session.

If you follow me on Instagram, chances are Saturday mornings are your least favorite time on that profile, because it's always just stories of me being like, I love bleaching my kitchen. And here's the thing. I used to hate cleaning on weekends.

I was like, this is my time to enjoy myself. Why the hell would I do more stuff that feels like work? But the truth is I used to just sleep in on Saturday mornings, so I was spending that time just being unconscious, which isn't really me enjoying my free time.

Once I decided to start getting up earlier on Saturdays-- and early is relative. I generally get up around 9:00 AM-- I found that those first few hours, I was just sitting on the couch browsing the internet watching TV and doing nothing, which is enjoyable to an extent, but is also a colossal waste of time and something I can easily do on weeknights. So I decided to start cramming all of my deep cleaning into Saturday mornings.

I dedicate a few hours each Saturday morning to doing all of the cleaning stuff that I usually avoid like the bathrooms, deep cleaning the kitchen, floor boards, baseboards, that kind of stuff, changing linens, et cetera. Now not only does this allow me to flex on the 'Gram about how productive a human being I am, it's also a time to listen to the podcasts that I really love, and, by the way, a nice way to motivate myself to do this is I treat myself to the most extravagant and delicious coffee drink that I want during this time. But it also means that my house is generally quite clean all the time, and I don't have to constantly be worrying about it on weeknights when I am extremely disinclined to clean because I'm exhausted.

Once that's done, the rest of the weekend is all to myself. It also, frankly, makes me appreciate the home that I live in much, much more. I used to be a very messy person, and I often thought that being a clean person was just kind of an intrinsic thing that you either are or you aren't.

But the truth is once you embrace cleaning on a regular basis and get used to the idea of having a clean home, it starts to really bother you not to have one. I am very convinced that basically anyone can become a tidy person. You just have to commit to doing it at least once a week on a regular basis.

By around week four, you start to love the feeling of a clean home so much that it doesn't even feel like work anymore. And you find yourself enjoying your space infinitely more. Number four is reviewing my purchases.

One of the things I found that has a huge impact on my financial health and actually feels kind of like an interesting and fun game is going through all of the purchases I made that week and really considering which ones I'm actually grateful for, slash, got value out of. I am very prone to emotional spending, as well as boredom spending on the internet, and particularly if I'm feeling stressed out or insecure, there's basically no limit to the amount of crap I can justify buying. Everyone has their different vices when it comes to spending, and it's completely natural to buy things that aren't necessarily worth it for you in the long run, because you're not always thinking clearly at the cash register and/or online checkout cart.

But the more you force yourself to go back and confront your purchases and really think about them critically in the cold, harsh, sober light of day, the more you will naturally begin to stop yourself when you're about to make another bad purchase. And once you accept that this time of reviewing your purchases is not about punishing yourself, but about learning about yourself and making better choices every day, and it's actually a positive activity, you don't have to dread looking at it. I used to avoid looking in detail at my account statements like nobody's business, because I knew that what I would find there would likely make me feel like a complete POS.

But now I give myself permission to look at those purchases and to do so without any judgment on me, because I know that even in my error-prone moments, I'm still just making human decisions. Reviewing my purchases on a regular basis is something that has become an indispensable part of my day-to-day life. Number five is making a mood board.

As I mentioned, I can be very inclined to purchase stuff that is really not worth it to me in the long run, and one of the most effective ways I found to stop myself before either making a purchase that's a mistake or, perhaps, one that I could be better served to wait on until it's a better price or until I find a more inexpensive version of the item is to make a mood board of what I'm looking to buy. For example, as I mentioned, I have just moved into a new home, and that is obviously a time in which a lot of purchases can be justified. And I have made some purchases.

This chair is new. I have a rug that's new, a TV console, but most of the things that are new are things that I really needed for this space, because, as I mentioned, it's 300 square feet bigger than our old one and has a completely different setup. But there's also a lot of more frivolous stuff that I wanted to buy, such as an ottoman in the shape of a yak.

And one of the primary ways that I avoided leaning into my more unnecessary instincts was by making a mood board around said item, because not only did it allow me to express my creativity and to use my imagination and to project myself onto that future room or item, it also encouraged me to go browsing online for things like more inexpensive dupes or possibly decide that after taking the time to put it up against all the other stuff I was going to be combining it with, that I didn't really want the item to begin with. Quite frankly, often, the time between you and a frivolous purchase is just a couple of hours for your cortisol levels or whatever to go down. But I also love to make mood boards for things totally unrelated to an individual purchase.

I'll make them for things like curating my winter wardrobe or planning a future trip or just looking at pretty colors that look nice together. The point is, at least once a week, I'm making a mood board for no other reason than my own enjoyment, imagination, creativity, and to stop myself from thinking that just swiping a credit card is an easy solution to any of those things. Number six is my Sunday evening prep.

I am liable to fall into a bit of a spiral on a Sunday evening, just like any of you, but I have decided that the only way to fight the inevitable Sunday series is to take Sunday head on, look deep into that abyss, and say, I'm going to prep my outfit for tomorrow. On Sunday nights, I go through. I prep my entire outfit for tomorrow, as I mentioned.

I will pack my lunch, if applicable. I do a little bit of tidying. I have my Pilates class.

I'll go through my emails and make sure there's nothing big waiting for me when I come back, as well as do a little bit of sorting and preparation for Monday morning. I plan out my menu for Monday night's dinner, because I always like to cook a special and fun dinner on Monday nights, which makes Monday feel like way less of a depressing moment. And I generally give myself every tool that I possibly can to make Monday morning feel effortless and productive.

Sunday evening is going to come whether or not you want it to. In fact, I'm coming at you live from a Sunday afternoon after a holiday weekend, and you better believe that as soon as this camera's off, I'm going to start my Sunday prep. It is up to us to decide how we approach Sunday evening and Monday morning and to what extent we go out of our way to make these good experiences.

Dreading Monday on some level, is a choice, and you can find ways, no matter your job or obligations on Monday, to make that day feel less dreadful. For me, it's cooking a special meal on Monday evenings, but for you, it could be planning to go to a movie or to see a friend or saving a new episode of a TV show you love. Whatever yours might look like, creating a Sunday evening routine for me has allowed me to feel way more in control over my week, as well as the cycles of happiness and excitement and anticipation that I'm generally going through each week.

I love Sunday evenings now, and you can, too. And if you are like me and want to find the perfect bank for creating better financial rituals, I could not recommend more that you check out M&T Bank. M&T understands what's important to their customers and is committed to helping them prepare for a better tomorrow.

Whether you're looking for a new way to manage your money or simplify your finances, M&T's Money Smart Financial Management tool lets you see a robust dashboard of your finances, customize your budget, set goals, forecast debt payoffs, and track your transactions to spend less time balancing your budget and more time enjoying your life. Learn more at mtb.com/moneysmart, or click the link in our description. As always, guys, thank you for watching, and don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and to come back every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for new and awesome videos.

Bye