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Healthy Swellness: Let’s practice some #moneymindfulness

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Did you know that it’s Credit Education Week November 13-16th? We partnered with Capital One Canada to learn more about money mindfulness. What a great way to remind yourselves of smart financial habits or to kickstart being more mindful with your money.

Did you know that 44 percent of Canadians believe that their mental health takes a toll due to their financial situation? I’m not that surprised by these stats, especially when living in an expensive city like Toronto, well, it’s safe to say I’ve experienced this toll on my mental health (when you work freelance, finances are often a big source of stress since you can’t be sure when the next paycheque is coming). That stat comes from a recent survey conducted by Capital One Canada and Credit Canada Debt Solutions. And as someone who has lost sleep over money matters myself, these other stats aren’t too surprising either (should I be comforted in that I’m not alone in this?):

  • 30 percent of Canadians cite financial stress as a larger worry than their overall health
  • Canucks spend 7 hours per week worrying about their finances (sounds about right based on my personal experience)

What is a shocking number, though, is that this actually totals 365 hours a year spent stressing about finances.

So, let’s get this stress under control! Rather than live a life sacrificing vacations, eating great meals out, or even skipping personal grooming due to the cost (all named as cost-cutting measures in the survey), this Credit Education Week, wouldn’t you say it’s a great time to learn some ways to manage your financial stress and get into a good place when it comes to your money? Yes, let’s do this!

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I attended a Capital One Money Mindfulness event recently and it included a few different tools to use to be more mindful while also learning financial facts about Canadians. For example, I learned that Millennials are carrying the most unsecured (aka non-mortgage) debt in Canada. There were also helpful reminders that we all know but sometimes forget to do (or simply feel we can’t do because you feel like you’re living paycheque to paycheque), such as aiming to contribute to a savings fund each month. And to help illustrate and drive the point home about how putting aside a bit of money can have an impact, it was an eye opening exercise to spend time actually looking at my lifestyle habits for where I can cut back a bit.

For example, if I were to cut out a daily $3 coffee (but let’s be real, my latte costs $4…) and eliminate $25 weekly of other spending (I probably spend that much if I go out for brunch on the weekend, or if no brunch, I buy random treats like magazines and ice cream throughout each week), over five years, I would save $7,194.

Other key takeaways from the morning spent at the Capital One Money Mindfulness:
  • Spend mindfully when shopping. Try to stay on track when you go to the mall or shop online. Get what you need and planned to buy but then stop yourself from adding the extra items you come across.
  • Know the details of your financial statements, including paying your bills on time, what the interest rates are, and what you’re paying each month (is it more than the minimum payment?).
  • Practice being mindful about your money on a daily basis. Being aware of your money situation every day is what will help you stay on track and reach your goals.

It’s time we stress less about financial matters by practicing smart habits to improve our financial health. I’m going to put some of these tips to practice (starting with putting aside a bit of cash into a savings account each month, I used to and then stopped!). How are you going to practice money mindfulness?

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Leave a Comment November 12, 2018

Travel Swellness: Camping with the GMC Acadia Denali

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Not that I’ve ever been the type to hate nature (although I do not like bugs…) but I’ve always considered myself a city girl. Over the past few years, though, I’ve been seeking out more time in forests, or by the water, but always with creature comforts (does having showers and flushing toilets count as a creature comfort?). I’ve gotten into camping (my first trip was last summer); just car camping (where you park on your campsite) — I have yet to do back-country camping (I don’t know if that’s something I’m ready to tackle quite yet).

For my most recent camping trip this summer at Grundy Lake Provincial Park, I had the opportunity to drive the GMC Acadia Denali. I was a bit nervous the vehicle would feel enormous like some of the recent cars I’ve driven (the Ford Explorer, the Cadillac Escalade), but to my relief, the Acadia Denali was not so over-sized for me that I felt nervous driving and parking it, and yet it had loads of room for me, two friends and two dogs and the piles of equipment you need for camping.

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Equipped with OnStar 4G LTE WIFI Hotspot, which is handy for road trips since you may drive through dead zones with no data service, the Acadia also featured OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation, which got us to Grundy Lake, to Burger’s Priest in Barrie (where we stopped for lunch on our drive back) and home with ease. I get very stressed out when lost as I have no sense of direction, so having a reliable and easy to follow navigation system is a must for me, and the OnStar was easy to use (the interface is clean and it’s all very intuitive).

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The WIFI also is handy when you’re in the car for a few hours, too. You know the two of us not driving would be looking up essential celebrity gossip and all of those other nonsense things you must google asap as we made our way north.

The Acadia is equipped with Apple Carplay, which we didn’t use much of during our camping trip, but it was useful when I had the car to myself and I had to make calls while driving. Safety first, after all, and I was able to call my friends to let them know I was soon arriving using Siri. Music-wise, for our road trip, we had fun checking out stations on Sirius (indie music for easy listening and old school hip hop for when we were needing something more hype).

Grundy Lake camping

The trunk area was spacious enough once we lowered down the last row of seats to make room for sleeping bags, coolers, the tent and food. When you’re car camping, you store all of your food in the car so as to avoid attracting bears, so you’re in and out of the car a lot, so it’s by no means a new feature but the button to close the trunk is a simple but most useful feature. The Acadia features the hands-free liftgate but I admit I always forget to use it. It’s funny how you can operate on autopilot, isn’t it? (For example, I still often forget I can turn right on red here when I drive, since I learned to drive in Montreal, and you can’t turn right on red there.)

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The interior of the car is the perfect blend of luxury and outdoors ruggedness. The leather seats were comfortable and easy to clean up after two dogs traveled in the vehicle (just a quick run through with my Dyson). And the exterior was Blue Steel Metallic, which is a very sexy colour; deep and mysterious and yet more special than just black. It’s a colour that makes you take a second look at the car.

At the end of my stint with this GMC Acadia Denali, I think it bridges the gap and suits both aspects of my lifestyle: life in the city (dinners out, errands, mini excursions to explore other nearby cities) and the outdoor adventures that I’m more and more drawn to (hikes with Billie Jean, camping). It is indeed “a luxury crossover vehicle,” smart marketing, haha. Granted it’s on the large size for just me and my dog for city stuff, but then again, you do need to bring a lot of people with you to eat the towers of lobster and crab at Fishman’s Lobster Clubhouse, so perhaps it’s just the right size.

Thank you GM Canada for GMC Acadia test drive! Next up, the GMC Terrain. I’m interested to see how this compares to my experience with the Acadia.

Billie Jean Grundy Lake

 

 

Leave a Comment September 12, 2018

Fitness Swellness: Register now for the 2018 Global Energy Race by Dempster’s

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Stoked to run the Global Energy Race by Dempster’s 10k again this year. If you recall, I had a blast with my friends in last year’s race. I may bring Billie Jean this year (dogs can take part in the 3K family run/walk, btw). I’m hoping the weather is not as insanely hot and humid this year, and that I don’t have an awful cold again (check out my race recap from last year here)!

Need more incentive? If last year was an indication, there’ll be loads of snacks at the finish!

Hope to see you there! Register now to take part in a good cause (for every kilometre completed, Dempster’s is donating two slices of bread to the North York Harvest Food Bank). Also, be sure to use the code KAREN for $10 off of your registration!

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Leave a Comment August 28, 2018

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