The PANK Perspective: Brides + Babies + Birthdays = Broke

With the holidays approaching and with me having a Type A personality, I’ve been thinking about gift ideas and putting funds away into my savings account since August. I want to avoid the credit card crash with the typical effect of overspending that occurs in November and December.

It can be very easy to shop til you drop with Holiday gift giving and with retail introducing sales and products as soon as Halloween is over it’s hard not to spend.

Add bridal showers, weddings, baby showers and birthday present ideas to the mix and ta-da, a big chunk of your income has gone to others. I love giving gifts, both gifts for women and for men; I think I’m pretty good at it. I’m creative and like to think of things that have meaning and are somewhat personalized.

For example, for a wedding gift, I purchased a custom print from my friends Dad, D. R. Laird which had a winter scene with Newfoundland Labradors which the couple had two of. The print was professionally framed and personally signed by the artist.

Once for a bridal shower, I gave the bride carry-on luggage for her honeymoon complete with travel safe toiletries, a magazine and a luggage tag.

Giving the monetary gifts is not my style; however I’m finding it harder and harder to think of unusual gifts and Christmas gift ideas that are practical and personalized but don’t cost a fortune.

So with the holidays approaching and a family member with a birthday in each month of the year (yes, there is one Every. Single. Month.), anniversaries, baby showers, weddings and bridal showers, how do you avoid going into debt by giving gifts?

Do you like to DIY your gifts? Are you a re-gifter? Do you only shop during sales and or use coupons? Share your tips and secrets; I’d love to know how you budget for life events for family and friends.

 

About the Author:

Diane Morris is a PANK; Professional Aunt, No Kids and works for Mabel’s Labels as the Sales Coordinator. She’s an Aunt to two boys, and an “Auntie” to her boyfriend’s niece and nephew. She’s a sucker for romance, country music and peanut butter.

Diabetes the next health crisis?

Diabetes is on the rise. The International Diabetes Federation says that the global burden of those living with this disease will surge from 382 million to 592 million by 2035 and that approximately one in ten people have or will have diabetes worldwide.  The age of onset is getting younger and younger with kids as young as 8 being diagnosed with what used to be called “adult onset diabetes” and is also known as Type 2 Diabetes. According to Health Canada nine out of ten people with diabetes have Type 2. The Canadian Diabetes Association estimates that 9 million Canadians have diabetes or pre-diabetes, many of them without the diabetes symptoms that would prompt them to get help.

Most of this disaster is preventable. Ignoring the problem will further burden individuals and their families as well as put additional strain our health care system. Today is the day to start making changes.  What causes Type 2 diabetes? Lifestyle choices have the biggest impact on preventing this disease that causes nerve and kidney damage as well as increased risk of liver and heart disease.  Diabetes prevention is that simple. Maintain a healthy weight to reduce your risk. Weight loss of just 10% of your current weight has a massive impact on your health.

Here are some ridiculously simple weight loss tips to help protect yourself:

  1. Get more sleep. A lack of sleep has a profound impact on weight gain, even or perhaps especially in children. Cut back on one superfluous activity each day (TV? Gaming? ) and go to bed.
  2. Simply dropping liquid calories from your day can make up the difference.  We drink 300-500 calories each day from beverages such as cream and sugar loaded coffee beverages, juice and pop.  Go for 50% reduction today. Ditch the soda, water down your juice and half the sugar in your java.  Go all the way ASAP!
  3. Implement NEAT in your life. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis. That simply means all the action you do in your day that isn’t actually working out.  Parking at the end of the lot and walking an extra 3 minutes actually saves you time trying to troll for that spot near the door. And, it pumps up your metabolism. Walking up or down a flight of stairs is more efficient that waiting for an elevator and goes a long way toward getting an extra 30 minutes of movement into your day. That is all you will need.
  4. Be sure you are getting enough fibre. Not only does it bulk up your stool, new evidence shows that a healthy gut converts fibre to a chemical called acetate which passes the blood brain barrier to activate the brain’s “full” sensors.
  5. Add chia to your day. This tiny, tasteless grain contains plenty of micronutrients plus is the best form of both fibres you can find.

 

Managing diabetes is a difficult, uphill battle but preventing it is almost completely within your control. Do you have any tips or a diabetic diet for weight loss to share?

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

The Many Faces of Abuse

November is Women Abuse Prevention Month in Ontario, and I have a story to tell.

How long will our society allow abuse to happen?

Growing up, I had a teacher and a mentor I was extremely close with. With only ten years between us, as an adult, our friendship strengthened and we have remained connected throughout my life. Although I spent much of my twenties traveling and living abroad, our friendship never waned. She was that friend who always got the call from the labour and delivery room when I had a new baby, whose daughter was my flower girl, and who is the Godmother of my youngest daughter.

Almost two years ago, she seemed to disappear. I never thought much of it – everyone gets busy and consumed in daily life. I never questioned it because our friendship has stood the test of time and circumstance. I got a little curious when she cancelled a trip we had planned. Next, she skipped my daughter’s (her God-daughter’s) birthday and finally, she didn’t turn up for our little girl’s First Communion. I certainly thought it was odd and she didn’t offer any real excuses, but I’m not a grudge-holder and never questioned her love for me or my family.

Shortly after the missed events, she turned up at my house one night after the kids were tucked into bed. She looked emaciated, having lost a ridiculous amount of weight since I last saw her. Her face was pale and her eyes looked lifeless.  At that moment I truly thought that she was coming to tell me she was sick and dying.

I was wrong. Even though she looked completely vacant and she had lost a part of herself, she was not dying. Over the next several months, we spent nearly every night together talking through the end of her 31 year marriage. I discovered why she had become the shell of the vibrant and spirited woman she once was as she admitted to enduring years of financial, psychological, and emotional spousal abuse. These soul destroying acts had taken a terrible toll on her.

Twenty months later, and after countless hours of abuse counseling and group therapy, my determined friend has faced her situation with bravery. Not only is she committed to her own successful recovery, she is passionate about advocating women empowerment for others who are living the same nightmare. This is her message of strength and hope that she will share with the world.

With the timing of the Jian Ghomeshi fiasco and November’s designation, it is a good reminder that women like my friend are everywhere. They are living among us. They are us. And they’ll only share their stories when we are prepared to listen.

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

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