Run down? 5 ways of dealing with it cheaply

The following is a guest post from My Canuck Buck – a lady who is finally starting to play closer attention to her bucks. Please check her out!

*Editor’s note: Thanks to Cat for helping me out! And uh….that’s my recomendation for being run down.  Take guest posts 😉 But seriously, make sure to go visit her site!*

Ever since Labour day, folks seem to be run down – fatigue, cold, flu, sinus infections – you name it. I don’t know if it’s the realization that summer is over, or the change in weather, or just back to school, but it seems like everyone is getting sick.

I haven’t been too bad, but I have had the odd sore throat and the sniffles (don’t know if it’s a cold or allergies). Here are some ways to deal with being sick without breaking the bank.

  1. Stay hydrated. Yup. Just drink water. Doesn’t need to be bottled water, coconut water, vitamin water, or any of that other fancy stuff. Just drink lots of water – I always feel better when I’m hydrated.
  2. For a sore throat – gargle with salt water.   I find it helps cut down on infection and it really does the trick when my throat feels raw. I try to do it in the morning and before I go to bed.
  3. Tea is also great for a sore throat – or some lemon juice and honey. Even just plain hot water can sometimes do the trick if that’s all you have. To save on costs, stock up on tea bags, or hope that your workplace is nice like mine, and supplies options like honey lemon tea!
  4. Pick up Kleenex when it’s on sale.  I tend to buy Kleenex in bulk. For work, I buy just plain Kleenex, as I also use it a napkin, for cleaning my desk,  etc.  For home, sometimes I splurge and get the stuff with the lotion, cause when my nose is red and raw, I really want that extra bit of comfort.
  5. Vaseline, or just the generic stuff – petroleum jelly.  I keep a container of it on my desk at work – it’s great for chapped lips. I also apply it under my nose if it gets raw from blowing it.

And a bonus tip – rest! It costs you nothing, and it’s the best thing to do when you’re run down.

What are some cheap and easy tricks you use for dealing with being run down?


Top Tips for Apartment Hunters

Editors note: A big thank you to Jordann! I’m extremely greatful for the chance to take a break from blogging! Plus, this post relates really closely to my current life as even though I’m not actively looking, I will be soon enough!

Apartment hunting is a pain in the ass. Checking the classifieds daily, weeding out the undesirables, and when I finally find a place that’s in my target neighbourhood at my target price – the place turns out to be a dump. As fun as it is searching for an apartment, the inevitable let down upon viewing ruins everything.

Apartment hunting doesn’t have to be that bad. I’ve learned over the past few years that the main reason I was having a hard time apartment hunting is because I wasn’t going about it in the right way. I was making key mistakes that not only made the whole project more difficult, it made it take longer to execute.

Here are my top tips for apartment hunting:

Check the Season

If you’re a young person living in a university town, looking for a one or two bedroom place, a lot of one year leases are going to end in May or September. This protects the landlords, who don’t want to get caught with an empty apartment for the summer. While the leases may end in May or September, they will be advertised as available long before that. In one particular city that I lived in, May leases started to be advertised in January. To make the best of your options, start looking early.

Make a Short Wish List

Another mistake I was making was that my wish list was way too long and specific. I needed good lighting, an open kitchen, laundry that wasn’t too far away, good sized bedrooms, my own thermostat, etc, etc. How could I possibly expect an apartment to hold up to that? These days, with two pets, my wish list is pretty simple: Good location, access to green space, pet friendly, good landlord, quiet neighbours This is a pretty basic list, because these are things I can’t live without. Everything else is pretty much doable, at least for a short period of time.

Figure Out the Landlord

Probably the single most important thing that will define your renting experience is your landlord. I’ve had bad ones (entering the apartment without notice, without even knocking) and awesome ones (actively helped me hide the fact that I had a cat from the building owners for two years) and I’ve gotta say, I’m a lot more willing to put up with the weird quirks a place has, if the landlord is good. The easiest way to get the truth about a landlord (because he/she will seem awesome while showing the place, the true personality not emerging until the lease is signed) is to interview the tenants.

Interview the Current Tenants

I’m not saying you need to sit down and have an hour long conversation with them, but if they happen to be in the apartment, ask for their email or phone number so that you can start up a dialogue without the land lord present. If they say no, oh well. But if they say yes, they’ll be able to give you the little known facts that may make or break your renting experience. Plus, since they’re leaving, they’ll probably be candid. Are the neighbours super scary or loud in the middle of the night? Does the garbage truck come at six in the morning on Sundays? Is the land lord really evil incarnate? The current tenants will know.

Know Your Rights

Every province has a Tenants Act or some equivalent, detailing the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. Read yours. Knowledge is power after all, and by knowing the ins and outs of your rights as a tenant will help you make sure that you get what you want with minimal fuss. Think the place needs some repairs or a fresh coat of paint before you move in? Your Tenant’s Act will probably stipulate that things like that need to be included in writing, on the lease, before it’s signed.

Following tips like these has allowed me to vastly improve my renting experience over the past few years, to the point where I have no interest in buying a house for awhile. Renting can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, if you go about it properly.

Everyone has their renting horror stories. I want to hear yours!

Jordann is a part time runner, yogi, local foodie and personal finance aficionado, and a full time marketing professional living and working in Atlantic Canada. She writes about her life at her blog, My Alternate Life.


How To Turn Losing into Winning With Your Money

Average Joe blogs about topics he finds entertaining at the cleverly named “Average Joe’s Money Blog.” He’s also the co-host of the relaxed money podcast Two Guys & Your Money.
I remember as a kid I was fascinated by these huge domino chains:

I’ve come to realize that part of my fascination might be what the simple act of dominos falling means to me. I love watching one positive result lead to another. Even when all doesn’t go exactly according to plan (they had to roll the marble twice AND there was a break in the chain at one point).

One positive result has a tendency to create another one. In fact, I tell my son all the time when he becomes frustrated that 90% of the time, it’s his actions that ultimately created the frustration.

He doesn’t want to clean his room. If he’d take ten minutes in the morning to make his bed and pick up his clothes (or even hang up clothes the moment he takes them off), he wouldn’t have to do it on my schedule.
The computer isn’t working right, and it’s eleven o’clock the night before the paper is due. Why does he wait until 11 o’clock to finish the project? If he’d finished earlier, he wouldn’t have to worry about last minute tech malfunctions.

Likewise, we all have this with our financial situations, don’t we?

– Donald Trump began investing in houses with his father at a young age. He learned the ground rules for real estate early on, which led to bigger projects and ultimately, a real estate empire.

– Warren Buffet invested in stocks as a kid. He paid attention to the numbers behind public companies. Today he can quickly evaluate a company’s business prospects and make investment decisions which beat those of nearly any other investor.

– Steve Jobs took a calligraphy class. Many people say this attention to lines and shapes helped fuel his love of style and character, which made Apple the sexiest tech company of all.

On a smaller level, I saw this with clients:

– A client began max funding his 401k starting at 22 years old. He could barely do anything else, but he socked money away. At age 28, he already had $160,000 saved toward retirement. Using the rule of 72, if that money grows at 8%, it’ll be roughly $2.56 million dollars at retirement. …better yet, that’s if he doesn’t save another dime.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only domino chain that can happen. Momentum can be your best friend or a total bitch. How about this:

How’d your stomach feeling watching that train-wreck-in-slow-motion? While this may not be familiar, the feel of negative momentum might be:

– Credit card payments become so high that just paying the interest is a chore. No matter how much you pay, it seems like you aren’t touching the principle…and when you do, something comes up that forces you to spend more money on the card.

– Student loans force you to take a second job. The second job is so exhausting you to fall asleep at your real job, and the boss decides you aren’t working as hard as others. At best you’re denied promotions and raises. At worst, you’re fired.

– You don’t have money for car repairs. Your car breaks down on the way to an important meeting. You lose out on income you would have had, if things had gone right.

Do any of these sound familiar? Does it sometimes seem like you’re rolling a boulder uphill?

Whether life is going well or poorly, you have to remember two concepts:

1) Momentum itself is neither good nor bad, but it exists. It’s just Newton’s Law: a body in motion tends to stay in motion. It’s going to be hard to create the friction to stop momentum. You’re going to have to exert a ton of effort to turn negative events around, but once you do, this momentum will work in your favor. Remember this on the days that you’re ready to give up: it’s going to be difficult to stop negative momentum. But once you do, life is going to be much, much easier….

Because…..

2) Once you have positive momentum, you can then work equally as hard to continue it. Now, every good result is amplified. As your momentum increases, it creates a widening array of opportunities you never would have imagined. One good domino fuels many, many more. Have you ever wondered how Donald Trump can execute so many transactions a day? Why Warren Buffet can have a hand in so many companies? Their secret is simple, and it’s the same one in front of you now:

They started building momentum by toppling one domino.

***Editor’s comments: Thanks Joe-this is definitely helping me with my blogger burnout! And yes, I can see how I got into debt by a domino effect. Better yet, I’m getting out of it by doing the same thing–one thing at a time but in the right direction this time 🙂 Oh, and I *never* waited until the last minute to do a report and have the computer crash…..***