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Attack Your Financial Stress With Knowledge

Tool to Attack Your Financial Stress expensify.com

Financial stress is something that can affect anyone.  This post is about potentially reducing your stress by actually facing your finances and learning about them… not ignoring them.  Knowledge is power. One tool I will discuss is Expensify.com

I know from talking with many people that one of the most potentially powerful stressors is financial stress.  Worrying about money.  And one of the things I find from many people when they are worried, is that they begin to ignore the details, to try not to think about them.   For example, they may have a large credit card bill that keeps piling up…but they believe that by sweeping it under the rug and just not thinking about it, their stress will go away.

Sweeping A Financial Stress Under The Rug Does Not Make It Go Away

What I have found is that when mentally trying to ignore something, you 1) actually spend a lot more time thinking about it, because you have to keep thinking about it to ignore it 2) your energy becomes very negative because it is spent on avoiding rather than welcoming in to your heart and 3) the very action of ignoring something leads to uncertainty, because you constantly worry about what “could” be happening…which is in itself very stressful.  It is far better to know something…only that way can you lay it to rest.  And attacking your financial stress can be done by learning everything you need to know about your enemy.

Attack Your Uncertainties…Learn As Much As You Can About Your Financial Stress

One thing that I counsel people on in reducing financial stress  is in attacking their uncertainties.  What does it mean to not have enough money?  It usually means they are spending more money than they really should be.  And when we dig into this further, the reason for this is because people have no idea where their money is going…they have never taken the time to actually track their expenditures.  If you know where your money is going, where it is being spent, then you have already won half the battle…because you have removed the uncertainty, the uneasy background feeling of not being in control of your money.

Rule: Spend Less Than You Earn

I was reading the Wealthy Barber Returns by David Chilton, and this was one of the rules he had in his book.  Seems pretty simple, but just thought it was worth bringing up here.

Expensify.com Is One Tool You Can Use

Expensify.com is one tool you can use in attacking the uncertainty that leads to financial stress.  It is a website where you can enter all your expenses, categorize them, and then create reports to see how much you are spending and on what.  What I did was download a version to my blackberry, and EVERY time I spend ANYTHING I quickly input how much, to whom and for what into the program.  Literally takes 10 seconds.  It is so convenient.  Then when I set some time aside in my schedule to follow up on this, I log onto the Expensify.com website on my computer, and I find all the things I entered into my blackberry already there, and I just organize it.  You may be surprised at how much you actually spend on the little things….they can add up.  You can print out a report to share with your family if you want to provide them with knowledge.  Just the fact of knowing your spending patterns is very empowering in itself, because it feels like it has helped you take some control back over your financial situation…rather then your financial stress controlling you.

The Latte Factor

David Bach talks about how the little things add up, and calls it the Latte Factor.  You may find it interesting.

A Task For You

So here is a task for you … if you are up to it.  Check out the expensify.com site (I don’t get anything for promoting them, I just have found their services useful … and free … and love to promote things I think are good).  And if you use some other tool, like another website, or program, or even good old pencil and paper…just do it. Attack you financial stress.   Invest some time to learn about your spending habits.  Decide if you like what you see…and if you don’t…then change it.  But you can’t change it if you don’t even know what it is.  Empower yourself with knowledge!

Matcha Green Tea!

matcha green tea

For a number of years, I have been drinking something that I feel is worth its weight in gold…Matcha Green Tea.

I had read about it in various magazines and sites, and finally journeyed into the health food store to purchase some.  One stuck out to me (DoMatcha) because it had a really cool “ancient” looking label.  (Yes marketing really does work…lol!)  So that is the tea I originally bought and continue to do so…tastes good, is healthy, and looks cool…what more could I ask for?

Matcha Green Tea Finally Allowed Me To Avoid Colds?

I drank it over that winter, and whether it was a coincidence or not I am not sure, but that year was THE year I broke free from getting winter colds! (Amen bothers and sisters!)

The cost of matcha green tea is…well it is not cheap…you get a small container…but it lasted me for a long time because I only added a tiny bit of the powder.  And some days (being a financial advisor I try to think of small ways to save money here and there) I would just keep refilling it with hot water as there was still powder in there, and the flavour was always still great!  It truly was the gift that just kept on giving.

Matcha green tea is a high-quality green tea that is covered before picking to accentuate the color, then stone-ground after being picked and before being sealed into small tins. Matcha tea can be enjoyed in many ways.  I know they say you can just make a paste out of it, or you can drink it as a tea…or I am sure there are other ideas.

Health Benefits?

Here are some claims that have been made about the health benefits of matcha green tea.  I am simply reporting what I have found and I do not support any of these as truth necessarily…use your own judgement. 

“A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that matcha green tea extract has unique thermogenic properties that promotes increased fat oxidation” (taken from this website).  So basically some people are claiming that drinking matcha green tea could help you burn fat quicker and lose weight.

Other claims are such (and again…I am just reporting what others say may happen)

That matcha green tea is very high in antioxidants, some claiming it could be over 100x more (I guess it depends on who is selling it…lol!)

Theanine (ingredient in matcha green tea), may help to reduce mental stress reactions…and that sounds good to our  readers who are planning to participate in the next 21 day health transformation!

And according to the website Miss Olive  studies seem to indicate that consuming matcha green tea may potentially help with:

  • control high blood pressure
  • control cholesterol
  • be used as a natural diuretic
  • reduce the risk of diabetes
  • reduce physical and psychological stress
  • improve mood and alertness
  • boost the immune system
  • reduce bad breath
  • prevent tumor growth
  • reduce strokes by 21%
  • promotes the oxidation of fats
  • improves metabolism
  • stabilizes insulin
  • prevent influenza
  • prevent cataracts
  • prevent glaucoma
  • improves longevity by supporting anti-aging

So wow!  With all that how can you not help but go and buy some right now!  lol!

Listen, whether or not matcha green tea can actually do any of those things, I cannot tell you with any certainty.  All that I can tell you from personal experience is that since I started drinking matcha green tea about 4 years ago, I have been able to escape/fend off/elude colds almost completely (knock on wood).  Of course I have also done other things, eaten healthier, exercised, ect…but my intuition tells me that this tea plays a role in it.

Let me know if you have ever tried it or plan to!

 

 

 

Veggie Tacos

veggie taco

Here is a quick and simple recipe for veggie tacos (with no soya in it)

Naturopath says avoid soya…

We went to a naturopath the other day, and one of the things she suggested was to avoid soya products as much as possible.  

Yikes…but we love veggie tacos!

One of the things we love of late are veggie tacos, and we use the fake meat soya product in it, because we were always used to ground beef in our tacos from years back.   So being told not to eat soya (which I know is a good thing to avoid as much as possible) was a bummer.  My daughter really wanted tacos, and so was disappointed.  So I went to the grocery store, got some salsa, and … actually bought some ground beef (that hasn’t been in my shopping cart for years).  The problem is that after I brought it home my wife and both agreed that it just didn’t seem right to do that…there had to be a better way.   So I went through my memory banks, looked through the internet a bit, and came up with an idea I wanted to try.

Veggie tacos instructions

Step 1: sauté a medium minced onion in a bit of virgin olive oil

Step 2: add some diced red and yellow bell peppers

Step 3: add one cup of water and regular taco seasoning

Step 4: add one can of black beans fully rinsed

Step 5:  cook until most of the water is gone, but still juicy

Step 6: Heat up taco shells (we like the hard taco shells because they give a satisfying crunch)

Step 7: We add LOTS of all of the following….grated carrots, shredded lettuce, salsa, guacamole (cheese if you want)

Step 8: Serve with water to drink, place mats and napkins because it is VERY messy!!!

Anyway, I thank my family for trying my quick experiment, and everyone agreed it was quite delicious.   There are left overs, and they are going to go great over top of my salad tomorrow.

Eating better will definitely help reduce your stress in soooo many ways. 

Peace!

 

Take Time For Yourself

Take Time for Yourself

You need to take time for yourself. 

Even if you are crazy busy.  Even if it seems like the last thing you can do is take time for yourself.

We live in a crazy fast paced world where things can get away from us really quickly.  Often we don’t even realize that things are getting away from us, until we are really sick, or just feeling burned out. 

Our bodies need time to recover, to recoup….mentally and physically.  We need to allow ourselves to refocus.

Lately I have been super busy at work…and I am not complaining…that is a good thing.  However, I found myself going non-stop through the day, days on end…and before I knew it I lost focus.

Have you ever found that?  Doing something and forgetting why you are doing it?

So one of the things I have learned to do, to ensure I take time for myself, to refocus,  is to put in my calendar some time just for me, even if it’s just for 30 minutes.   I turn off my phone.  I close my eyes if I feel in a safe place.  I just allow myself to think about things, I let my mind wander where ever it wants to go, I breath deeply, I relax my body.  It is amazing how rejuvenating this can be.  I may go for a walk .  I may listen to music.  I may read an inspirational book. I may cook.  I may clean.  I may plot out basketball plays. 

If I am out on the road and need to refocus, here are a couple of my favorite places.

  I will usually have a pen and paper with me, because I find I am often struck with inspirations when I am least expecting it:

Chapters (book store)…I just find walking through the isles, browsing books by people that I look up to…I just find it very inspirational.

The food court at the mall…What?  Am I serious?  Yup.  I don’t know why, but I get some of my best me time at the food court.  There’s never any pressure at a food court…I mean people are just there to sit and eat, and people are more relaxed, and I can just sit there and stare aimlessly around, scribble an occasional note, nibble at something.    I am telling you that I have come up with some amazing ideas doodled on the back of a napkin in a food court…many of which have led to my BEST business campaigns!

Go see a movie.  This allows me to escape for a few hours, and let the movie carry me away.  I try to see movies my wife doesn’t want to see…lol!   I was in Vancouver on business one time, I was so busy, so tired, and I missed my family.  I found myself rapidly become unable to be productive…but I couldn’t stop…could I?  There was so much to do!  But I ended up listening to my gut,  just put my stuff down, saw a movie, and came out refreshed, invigorated, and immediately got everything I needed to do with vigor.

I know a lot of people use exercise to spend time with themselves.  Others use meditation.  There are sooo many ways to do it.

Question:  What are some other ideas (crazy or not) that you do to take time for yourself?

 

 

What Inspires You?

what inspires you

What inspires you?

What are your dreams?

What motivates you to jump out of bed and embrace the day?

Can you shout it out loud right now?  Is it on the tip of your tongue? Are you having difficulty identifying it?  Do you know?  You did know!  But perhaps you have forgotten?  It is easy to happen.  Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves. 

Life is meant to be wonderful! Life is meant to be full of wonders!   It inspired me!  

What inspires you?

I went for a walk today with Shandog, and tramped through the fallen leaves.   They made rustling noises as we trecked on.  There was a beautiful breeze that both shocked and tickled my face.  The sun played with the clouds, peaking in and out.  Shandog saw a squirrel across the park and took off at the speed of light…not to catch the squirrel…just to let it know she was there.   Running all out through the leaves, totally free, I could imagine a huge smile on her face.    It seemed so clear to me that was her inspiration.  

It was a priceless moment. I was filled with beauty and awe.  It reminded me that I need to take a second and remind myself of what inspires me.

At times like that the energy of the universe shoots down into me and fills me with the most beautiful feeling in the world.  I get that feeling when I see my family smiling, my Sabrina feeling confident and ready to take on the world, or hear my Sierra humming happily at night.  I get that feeling when I see my wife so proud of the family we have raised.  I get that feeling when I think of my parents and how much I love them.  I get that feeling when I coach my girls basketball teams, when I see the fun they have, or the pride they have in overcoming obstacles or doing more than perhaps they thought they could.  I get that feeling when I have just done a KICK ASS workout.

Yes life is meant to be wonderful!

Make sure you take a moment each day to remind yourself what inspires you!   Daily life can make us all tired, and lose focus.  So make sure you get that focus back! 

Take a second and stop to smell those roses baby!