I’ll admit it—I hate the idea of cooking for myself during the week. I may or may not play out my Chopped dreams in the kitchen sometimes, but I hate the inevitable mess and stack of dishes. After a busy day, taking the time to cook and clean is flat out unappealing and that leaves few options. Fast food is generally unhealthy. Healthier fast food is generally more expensive. It's a conundrum. Enter the Crock-Pot.

This bad boy is a gamechanger, I tell you. It’s perfect and here’s why:

1. Man, it's convenient

Cooking with a Crock-Pot is pretty much foolproof. Most recipes are just: dump ingredients in, set the temperature, and check on it every few hours. Even if there’s a little of prep work involved, it’s just a fraction of the time you’d need to set aside if you were cooking in an oven or on the stovetop. Ingredients by day, meal by night. Miraculous. 

2. Budget-friendly recipes

It’s kind of a given that cooking at home is cheaper per meal than dining out or picking up fast food. Inexpensive Crock-Pot recipes are all over Pinterest, which is especially convenient after I spend a weekend swiping my debit card like a blissful idiot.

You’re also pretty much guaranteed to have leftovers, which is half my goal when cooking. Work smarter, not harder.

3. You're in charge, Chef

You can’t control what goes in Panera’s soup and you might feel annoying asking a waiter if you can alter a dish. Part of the beauty of the Crock-Pot and cooking at home in general is your ability to play around a little. Swap out full-fat components for light or fat-free. Get a little creative.

4. Meal prep away

You can prep your week’s eats in the glorious basin that is the Crock-Pot. Oatmeal, whole potatoes, soup, chicken— all so simple to make and put in Tupperware for quick, effortless meals later. Added bonus: staple meal-fillers like rice and beans are stupid easy to whip up.

5. Easy clean up

Boo dishes, you suck. With the Crock-Pot, there’s less to clean and the ceramic base lifts out. For messier meals, just soak the pot before scrubbing it.

6. The confidence factor

It’s really hard to “mess up” a recipe in a Crock-Pot. The only “oops” I’ve had is adding too much broth to chicken and dumplings, and it wasn’t the end of the world. It was soup. As someone who’s burned balsamic Brussel sprouts, in comparison, this is a win.

The point is there’s something incredibly gratifying about making a yum-worthy Crock-Pot. I’m not saying a Crock-Pot is going to make you the next Gordon Ramsay but maybe you’ll get some of that glowing confidence.

7. It's inexpensive

A decent Crock-Pot is a $30-40 initial investment. Guaranteed life-long happiness. It's a good deal. If you're full on committed and don't mind to splurge for the extras, check out the Crock-Pots with digital timers. You do you, boo. 

Whether you’re trying to eat healthier, cut down your food budget, or you’ve found yourself entering that weird “adulting” point in life that inevitably happens, a Crock-Pot might be that boost to a more blissful life that you’re looking for. Save your time, save your money. Get yourself a Crock-Pot. We can trade recipes.