Travel Thursday: How to Make Your Vacation Work-Out

I’ll admit, I’ve never been very athletic. I love participating in heart-healthy activities, but I hate going alone, and forget about working out while I’m on vacation (thank you 5 months in New Zealand, I think I went running 4 times??).  Glamour’s Vitamin G blog has lots of health and fitness tips, and I searched for the easy ones to pack along on vacation with you.

This easy ab workout can be done in your hotel room in front of the tv or out on the porch watching the sun rise or set. . This move targets your abs, but also–bonus–your shoulders and obliques. All you need to pack is a pair of shoes (check!) and a long, rubber exercise band. There are also three good exercises to keep your behind toned up for all those LBD’s you’ll be wearing out and around your exotic location. It might be hard to take along an exercise ball, I like leaving extra room in my suitcase, but squats and lunges can be done anywhere! Other good options: the never-fail run (if you’re ambitious), or a long walk on the beach. Just don’t go too slowly.

Glamour plus some healthy snacking tips. Let’s be honest, eating healthy foods on vacation rarely happens. This list makes it easy, like putting healthy foods within eyesight so you are more likely to choose them, and eating more frequently throughout the day. I am always a fan of the afternoon energy snack and love anything that can be thrown into a Zip-Lock baggie and brought along in my bag.

What are your healthy vacation tips? Any snacks that have to come along or any exercises that you do no matter where you are? Here’s to a happy, healthy vacation!

Cheers,

Jenna Kate

U.S. News & World Report: 15 Free Things

I love finding good articles to share again, and normally I’m a fan of paraphrasing. But this one is just too good, so it’s going on in its entirety. I did add a few photos to make things more interesting. Please leave comments with other things you should be getting for free, and good freebie websites to use!  

15 Things You Shouldn’t Be Paying For

by Phil Taylor, Thursday August 19, 2010

provided by US News & World Report

So much money and energy is wasted on things we could get for free. If you’re into new, shiny things and collecting stuff, this is not for you. But if you want less clutter in your life and want to keep more of your money, then check out these 15 things you shouldn’t be paying for.

Basic Computer Software — Thinking of purchasing a new computer? Think twice before you fork over the funds for a bunch of extra software. There are some great alternatives to the name brand software programs. The most notable is OpenOffice, the open-source alternative to those other guys. It’s completely free and files can be exported in compatible formats.

Your Credit Report — You don’t have to pay for your credit report. You could sign up for one of the free credit monitoring services online to get a quick look at your credit report. You just have to remember to cancel the service before the end of the free trial. Or you could do one better and visit www.annualcreditreport.com, the only truly free place to see all three of your credit reports for free once a year.

Cell Phone — The service plan may be expensive, but the phone itself doesn’t have to cost a thing. Most major carriers will give you a free phone, even a free smart phone, with a two-year contract.

Books — There’s a cool place in your town that’s renting out books for free: the library. Remember that place? Stop by and put your favorite book on reserve. And if you don’t feel like getting out, visit www.paperbackswap.com and find your books there (small shipping fees apply).

Water — Besides the monthly utility bill, there’s no reason to shell out $1 for every bottle of water you drink. Bottled water is so last decade anyway. We’re over it, and into tap, filters, and reusable water bottles. It’s cheaper for you and better for the environment.

Credit Card — With as many credit cards as there are available on the market today, it’s easy to avoid a credit card with an annual fee. Unless you’re dead set on a particular perk that a fee card brings, skip the annual fee card and pocket that money yourself.

Debt Reduction Help — Speaking of credit cards, if you’re in over your head with credit card help, there are many free sources you can turn to for help with your debt. No one is going to be able to magically wipe away your debts, but there is help out there that will set you up on a debt reduction plan you can handle. Start with a visit to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

Basic Tax Preparation — If your tax situation isn’t that complicated, then you should probably be preparing your own tax return using one of the many free online services. It’s now common for e-filing to be free as well with many services. You won’t even need a stamp.

The News — Leave it to a blogger to try and kill off traditional print. I’m not anti-newspaper. I just don’t find them practical anymore. Skip the daily .50 cents and get your news online. And for you dedicated coupon clippers, you can get most of your Sunday coupons online now too.

Budgeting Tools — There are many budgeting tools (both online and desktop) that offer up the service for free. Don’t ask me how they do this, but who cares. If you’re looking to rein in some of your spending, the good news is you can do it for free.

Pets — This is a controversial one, I know. But there are likely many pets down at your local animal shelter that could use just as much love as the pure-bred types. There may be a small fee due to the shelter for shots and basic care, but you’ll have your pet home without paying a mini-fortune.

Shipping — If you like to buy online, you probably use coupons to get a percentage off of your purchase. Take your skills to the next level and look for coupons or promotion codes that offer free shipping. If in doubt, visit a site like www.freeshipping.org.

Checking Account — Isn’t it nice when a bank takes your money, lends it out to earn money, and then has the audacity to charge you for the service? What a joke. Checking should be free. If yours isn’t free then move to one of the many banks that offers a checking account for free. And the same can be said for ATM fees, teller fees, and checks.

DVD Rentals — Did you know that you can rent DVDs from RedBox locations for $1 a night? And better yet, if you use one of the coupon codes from www.insideredbox.com you can avoid the $1 charge. Free DVD rentals! Most libraries now have free DVD rental as well.

Exercise — Skip the expensive gym memberships. Visit your local park for a walk or run. Do basic push-up and sit-up programs in your living room. Rent a workout DVD from the library. There are many free workout programs you can download online as well.

Photo source, source, source, source, sourcesourcesource.

Some other great articles cited on Yahoo! Personal Finance:  Why Spending Less Can Make You Happier by Stephanie Rosenbloom and  Get Out of Debt the Right Way by Laura Rowley. More from USNews.com includes: 8 Painless Ways to Save Money20 Things You Should Never Buy Used, and  5 Ways Spending Money Makes You Fat.

Can you think of other things you should be getting for free? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, along with any other freebie sites you recommend!

Cheers,

Jenna Kate

A Toast to your Health

After 5 months of Cadbury’s Caramello bars, returning to a healthy body has become really important to me. Self recently put out a list of ‘12 Cheap and Healthy Foods:’

– Brown rice
– Raisins
– Snap peas
– Green tea
– Broccoli
– Plain yogurt
– Bananas
– Black beans
– Whole-wheat penne
– Apples
– Lentils
– Sweet potatoes

The only problem for me is my allergy to yogurt, but otherwise not eating these foods would be a matter of personal preference. I love this list for lots of reasons. Sweet potatoes are my ultimate comfort food. From now on I’ll just have to watch the butter and cinnamon sugar I normally pile on top. I’m a fan of apples and bananas as well, and I think fresh fruit is really important. The thing is, I’m really not sure what the heck a lentil is. I’ve tried to look it up online, and from pictures it looks like a weird bean, but I still have no idea (pictured right). I did find interesting ideas for lentil soup, lentil salad, and lentil cookies (which look really healthy) on The Food Network. So between your yogurt snack pack and broccoli alfredo, you can have an afternoon treat that’s healthy for you. I also found a really yummy recipe for lamb kabob with broccoli lime rice. Something to try!