Aug 132012

A new study by experts reveals that only 1/3rd of Canadians will admit to being overweight, despite national statistics suggesting the real proportion of people overweight is approaching 2/3rds.  Speaking in general terms, maybe we’re just too afraid or embarrassed to admit how we really feel about ourselves. A professor at the University of Calgary said that “we collectively as a nation don’t tell the truth on our driver’s license. We’re two inches taller and five pounds lighter.

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But denial isn’t just a river in Africa. It’s time we faced reality. This will become a big social and economic problem down the road if we don’t do something about it now. I strongly believe that self motivation is more effective than any government program. So instead of lobbying for more public awareness, education, or medical funding, I say we take this matter into our own hands.

Here is one way you or your friends can live a healthier lifestyle. A CMA study suggests that for households making less than $30,000 a year, only 39% reported to have very good or excellent health. But for those making more than $60,000 a year, the reported number is 68%!  The lesson here is obvious. Wealthy is healthy. You can increase the quality of your health just by making more money. Canadian doctors agree. And best of all, it’s free \(^_^)/

There you have it! One more reason to become financially stable. You can potentially live longer and decrease your chances of diabetes and other illnesses just by making more than $60,000 a year. There are many ways to do that. Here’s one example from personal experience. Work diligently and live modestly, and put any savings towards dividend growth stocks. Over time as your wages and dividends grow, you should eventually reach a combined income of $60,000. You may take on a second job to speed up the process . It may take 5 or 10 years, but it’s not impossible. Think about all the good it will do for your health, according to medical experts anyway ( ̄ー ̄)

Of course nothing beats the old fashioned way to a healthier lifestyle. From now on I’ll try to eat more whole foods, and less junk/fast foods. Watch my meal portions. Drink lots of water. Watch my caloric intake and go get me some exercise (^◇^)Feel free to join me!

Random Useless Fact: The word count for this post, without the title, is exactly “404”

May 282012

Last month I tried to go for 25 days without spending any money. And it worked. I passed my April no spend days challenge.  Here is a break down of all my expenses.


April 2nd: Paid mortgage, strata, and some other reoccurring expenses. April 1st was a weekend.
April 3rd: Paid $58.24 for internet bill using my credit card.
April 12th: Paid $1492.50 for a special levy to clean and repaint the building’s exterior. At least my condo looks newer and more modern now.
April 30th: Paid $523.19 for my credit card balance, $29.19 for electricity, and $3.95 for the bank fee.

Since I only spent money on 4 days out of 30, I have successfully completed my 25 no-spend-days challenge \(^_^)/ It was easier than I expected. Most of my time in April was spent either at home, or at work, so there wasn’t a lot of opportunities to spend money anyway. Below are my April bank and credit card statements so you can see the details of my spending for yourself. I had to censor some sensitive information like my account numbers obviously but I kept visible the relevant bits to this post. The only withdrawal transaction I didn’t include with my expenses was a transfer of $1,500 on April 16th, from my bank account to my brokerage account. I don’t consider that to be an expense because I haven’t used the money to buy anything yet, only moved it around between my own accounts. My credit card billing cycle ends mid month so that’s why I included two credit card statements.

Left: bank statement. Right: credit card statements. click to enlarge

If I had a family then I would have failed this challenge for sure. But as a single adult, I don’t really need to buy a lot of stuff to be happy. The basics I want are shelter, food, transportation, and internet. Once these aspects of my life are met to a certain standard, I think everything else is a luxry ( ・_・). I didn’t buy food in April because I still had lots left over in my pantry and fridge, plus there are other places to get a free bite to eat like open houses, Costco, and sometimes even on the job (my workplace has a basket of oranges and bananas, free to all employees,) I usually commute by car but since mine is really fuel efficient I only buy gasoline once every 50 days or so.

I don’t drink coffee, or smoke, or buy apps for my phone. I also don’t mind cooking all my meals at home. In fact as recent as 6 years ago when my living condition wasn’t as comfortable as they are now I had to eat almost every meals at home, couldn’t afford a car or even a cell phone, and had really slow internet. Today however, my lifestyle situation is much improved (^_^). I even have a blu-ray player now. But I think old habits are hard to change because I don’t feel overly constrained about my old ways of spending. During the no-spend month of April I also lost 8 lbs because I was eating more healthy. I didn’t eat out at all. I incorporated more fruit into my diet (from work), and had smaller meal portions in general. So the best part about this no-spend experience has been about health, not money. No spend days are a great way to save for those with a habit of frequent, but unnecessary spending, but it’s not really effective for someone who doesn’t often spend money anyway. I’m glad to have done the challenge but don’t plan to do it again any time soon.