Monday, June 24, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Smart saving for health


We can place a dollar value on many things; what it costs us to eat or to fill up our car with gas, what school costs or how much it is to go on vacation.

There are also many things in our life that we can’t place a dollar value on; things like our relationships and experiences with those around us that we care about.

The things we can’t place a dollar amount on are the ones that we value the most; they are the ones we remember and hold dear to our heart and the ones that we don’t want to lose or go without.

Although there are numerous factors that go into allowing and affording us our freedom to have those experiences, maintaining and improving our health by controlling what factors we can, is one that we can have influence on.

There are factors of our health that we cannot control such those related to genetics, gender and age, but there are also many strong factors that we can control, two of which are what we put into our bodies to provide fuel and energy for the day and prevent disease, and also how much we move our bodies to maintain things such as our strength and flexibility. Our health in relation to the value and scope of our experiences can be strongly affected by the foods we eat and the accumulation of physical activity that we provide ourselves each day.

In order to do the things we want to do and create those memories that do last a lifetime, we need to make the right healthy decisions that afford us that luxury.

If we think about all the times in our days, weeks and months that we have the opportunity to eat or move — it’s astronomical in size.

Each time we have an opportunity, we have a decision to make; and each time we make a decision you could say we are putting pennies in the bank with each healthy decision, and making a withdrawal with each unhealthy one. Accumulate many ‘pennies’ or good health decisions and we place ourselves in a better position to afford the freedom to ‘buy’ the things that money can’t — the experiences that come with a healthy body.

But don’t get too worried, it’s not all or nothing.

As we all know, if we have a bucket of pennies and take a few out (or make a few unhealthy choices) it shouldn’t have a large effect our overall bucket (or health); but if we keep making withdrawals through unhealthy decisions, or don’t have a very large bank to begin with, we risk losing control of our health and our freedom to do what we want and create those memories that are so valuable.

Our challenge this week is to start investing in our ‘bank’ so that we can experience what we want to out of life.

How do you start if you’re starting with an ‘empty jar’? Start small and accumulate. We can’t fill up our ‘bank’ overnight, nor should we try. The benefits are going to come when we keep adding, over time, with simple and small changes to our


Start with something active after dinner, change one type of food that you eat, eat out one less time per week, take the stairs, reduce the amounts of oil or sugar that you use in baking, switch to the grill instead of frying, stand instead of sit at meetings or when watching events, drink water instead of pop, turn off the television, go outside.

The possibilities are endless to get started and it doesn’t matter what you start with as long as you start and keep at it. Change can happen at any age, we just need to start investing.

To suggest a column idea or to ask questions, Jennifer Wilson can be reached at For more information on health and wellness, visit a fitness technician at Millennium Place or Glen Allan Recreation Complex.

Monday, May 13, 2013

JVC Kenwood's Heads-Up Nav System Keeps Your Eyes On the Road

Sure, in-car GPS navigation systems make it easier to know where you're headed. But it's all for naught if you're so distracted checking the map that you end up rear-ending someone. So to help ensure you're at least keeping one eye on the road, JVC Kenwood's new MDV-737HUD nav system includes a see-through heads-up display that sits right next to your rear-view mirror.

A more traditional and highly detailed map is still available via a pop-out LCD display in the dashboard, but the smaller HUD, which uses the same LCOS (liquid crystal on silicon) technology as a projector, provides simplified directions and easy-to-read instructions. So not only are the driver's eyes still on the road, the information being provided is easier to instantly comprehend.

Of course if you couldn't care less about distracted driving, the large LCD display on the base unit can also be used to watch TV, play DVDs, or serve as a speakerphone for your handset. And what would you expect to pay to (kind of) make your fighter pilot dreams come true? JVC Kenwood has priced the MDV-737HUD at around $2,500, so start saving your pennies Maverick.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Splendour In The Grass 2013 Lineup – The People React

After this morning’s highly anticipated Splendour In The Grass lineup announcement, social media has gone crazy with opinions. And the verdict is… *drumrooooollll* MIXED! What’s the deal, Splendour lineup? Can’t you please 100% of the people 100% of the time?

Many people are absolutely loving the announcement, and to be honest so are we. The massive list of 77 bands, set to play over 3 days in July, contains some absolute gems, especially further down the list – HAIM, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Surfer Blood, Wavves and Laura Marling are all acts we’re super keen to catch in Byron Bay.

Others, however, are noting what they see as a lack of headlining acts, though with bands like Mumford & Sons, Frank Ocean, The National and TV On The Radio, we’re not sure what more people need. Many are lamenting the fact that larger names like Phoenix and Kanye West are missing from the bill, despite many being discounted in our final countdown wrap-up.

There’s a lot of interest in certain buzz bands this year, with English guitar band Palma Violets sure to win over some Australian fans and prove worthy of the hype, and triple j darlings Everything Everything and Fidlar coming to live up to the constant plugging from our national broadcaster.

Many have been disappointed in the number of recent return trips to Australia, with acts like Of Monsters And Men and Ms Mr returning to Australia having just played Laneway Festival at the beginning of the year. The same goes for James Blake and Deap Vally, who both came out for 2-date promo tours in March and April.

One thing most people can agree on is that The Polyphonic Spree performing The Rocky Horror Picture Show is going to be something worth catching, and definitely a refreshing twist on the well-trodden grounds of festival performances. Can you see 30,000 mud-splattered punters dancing The Time Warp led by Tim DeLaughter in fishnets? Epic!

What are your thoughts? Opinions? Gripes, rants, exclamations? Let us know on social. For now, we wait – general release ticket details should be coming very soon, so get ready to spend those pennies you’ve been saving. The full Splendour lineup and ticketing details are on our announcement page, and under the very frothy tweets below.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bridgnorth drinkers turn down Chancellor’s beer saving

Punters asked for the cost to go up after the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave drinkers an extra penny in their pocket in his recent budget.

Mr Ireland, 59, said he was keen to pass on the 1p saving to his customers but was amazed when they turned it down.

But Mr Ireland said: “The customers are revolting and say they do not know what to do with the 1p change,” he said.

“We have three charity boxes and they are already nearly full and have filled up quite quickly with the extra pennies.”

The pub is collecting for the Bridgnorth Music and Arts Festival, Bridgnorth Hospital League of Friends and spinal research.

Mr Ireland, who stepped in to run the Bell and Talbot, in Salop Street, last month after the previous licensee left the premises, said he had never known anything like it in his 17 years in the pub industry.

“I have never known any customers complain before about a price reduction. It is unprecedented in all my years as a pub landlord but we have now put the price back up.

“We are trying to boost trade after the licensee left but we thought if Mr Osborne was kind enough to reduce the duty we would not be accused of profiteering and reduced the price the day after.”

Mr Ireland is a director of Odley Inns Limited, which also owns Odfellows Wine Bar in Shifnal, and the Coach and Horses in Swan Hill, Shrewsbury.

Last month Chancellor George Osborne scrapped a planned 3p rise in beer duty and replaced it with a 1p cut in the price of a pint.

He also said the alcohol duty escalator - which adds inflation plus two per cent to the price - would be abolished for beer completely.

The brewing industry and real ale drinkers’ group Camra welcomed the news as brilliant’ and ‘momentous’.

The escalator will remain for wine and spirits.

Monday, March 18, 2013

7 Incredible Bank Promotions that Make Up for the Horrible Interest Rates Today

High-yield deposit rates may be a rare find, as interest rates today continue their steady progression toward flat-lining at zero, but this doesn’t mean you have to be on the losing end with your banking institution. Instead of settling for pennies in return for your business, look into the best bank promotions currently being offered by large and local banks and credit unions.

What you find may surprise you, as they are often valued at exponentially more than the paltry returns generated from almost non-existent interest rates. Soothe the sting of low rates with these impressive bank promotions available now.
Most Exciting Bank Promotions
#1. US Bank – S.T.A.R.T. Savings

Customers of US Bank can link a new or existing US Bank checking account to the bank’s S.T.A.R.T. savings program for cash back rewards that are rare to find. In order to start saving money, you can either set up standard automatic transfers from their checking account to their savings account, or establish an automatic transfer of $0.25 – $5 per check card purchase.

After reaching the first $1,000 in the savings account, you’ll receive a $50 U.S. Bank Rewards Visa Card. Those who maintain a $1,000 or more account balance in the S.T.A.R.T. Savings fund after a year will receive an additional $50 Visa card — essentially a 10% return in total.
#2. Plaza Bank – Online Bill Pay

The best bank promotions give you perks for the doing the things you’re already doing. At Plaza Bank, customers receive the convenience of online banking features that turn banking into a seamless experience. Their current offer encourages customers to take advantage of the full online banking process with its online bill pay functionality.

Customers who have set up online banking, but do not use automatic bill pay, can receive a $25 Target gift card if they clear three) bill payments online within the month of February, March and April. Those who already use automatic bill pay more than three times per month, must make seven bill payments within each month to still qualify for the $25 Target gift card prize.

While this promotion is already in full swing, it’s apparent that Plaza Bank knows how to reward its loyal customers.
#3. Sovereign Bank – Checking Account Packages

Having options is always ideal, and Sovereign Bank ensures that you retain control of your own financial success with tiered bank promotions that let depositors choose how much cash back they receive.

Upon activating one of three checking account packages by March 31, you simply need to make a minimum of five debit card purchases or one direct deposit processed by May 1. Those who fulfill these requirements receive a cash bonus of $50 – $125, depending on the checking account package selected.

#4. PS Bank – eStatements

Green living and exotic cruises may seem like two totally disconnected concepts, but the team at PS Bank bridges the them together with arguably one of the best bank promotions available. Those who sign up for eStatements will be entered into a drawing for a 3-4 Night Bahamas Cruise with Royal Caribbean with a guest.

It’s as simple as that. The promotion is scheduled to run until April 15, 2013 and the winner will be selected at random.
#5. BBVA Compass Bank – Checking Account

Most financial institutions, especially big banks, have eliminated high deposit interest rates and rewards programs from checking account product features. At BBVA Compass Bank, customers receive something else that’s just as helpful: A Kindle Fire HD tablet. Simply open a new checking account with the bank and provide a minimum $25 opening deposit. Then, make three qualifying payments and setup one direct deposit into the account within 90 days to receive a Kindle.

These types of bank promotions help you regain the financial advantage regardless of low interest rates today. And the incentives don’t stop there — mortgage loan bank promotions are extremely popular these days, as the housing market begins to see improvement.

If you’re in the market for a new home, look into the following bank promotions that add significant savings to your bank account.
#6. Premier Bank – Mortgage Freebie

Premier Bank’s current Mortgage Madness TV Giveaway promotion offers customers the chance to win a free 42″ flat screen TV. There are two ways to enter: 1) Submit a mortgage or refinance application by April 4, 2012, or 2) Fill out an entry form at a Premier Bank location.

One entry is permitted per person, per day, so increasing your chances of winning one of three TV prizes is easy. There is also no purchase necessary to enter or claim the prize. What better way to redecorate your home than with a new television you and the family can enjoy?
#7. American National Bank – Mortgage or Refinance

Mortgage payments are usually the biggest monthly expense homeowners contend with, and can be difficult to manage despite today’s affordable interest rates. American National Bank provides its customers with a generous opportunity to win $1,000 mortgage payments for an entire year.

When you open and activate a mortgage loan, mortgage refinance, home equity loan or home equity line of credit from now until the promotional period (December 31, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. Central Standard Time), customers are automatically entered into the drawing. The total cash value of the prize is an impressive $14,000.

With so many bank promotions, rewards and prizes waiting to be claimed, there’s no reason to let interest rates today hinder you from getting more for your money.