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Losing Weight Is More Than Math

Emile Is Greedy

Today I have the pleasure of intro­ducing my friend Mike. He’s a deep thinker and a local sports writer (with regular posts on Yahoo! Sports and Nolan Writin). I always enjoy hearing his thoughts, and the topic of this one will certainly get you thinking! This is the second in a two-part series click here to check out part one.

Emile Is Greedy

This is why I don’t eat with Emile…

But that’s not all, my friends!

There’s more to this than the plus and the minus. In thinking about it for at least a couple of weeks now, I’ve come up with several more ways in which your diet and your budget mirror each other.

It Pays to Plan Accordingly

If you sit down in your kitchen at the end of the month, calculate what you’ll make in the next 30 days, and decide how you’re going to spend your money, what are you doing?

If you sit down in your kitchen at the end of the week, write down what you want to eat in the next 7 days, and then go to the store to buy the stuff from your list, what are you doing?

See my point?

Theo­ret­i­cally, if you do your homework and plan ahead, you should be able to control where and how your money is spent. In the same way, you can also plan out your diet beforehand.

There’s no reason that a smart, capable adult can’t avoid excessive amounts of sweets and junk food, espe­cially if you make your decisions before you even set foot in the grocery store.

You’re a Part of the Equation

How often does someone budget because someone else told them to? Almost never.

If you do sit down and do the work, it’s because you’ve decided that the way you were living your life no longer makes sense. Your prior­i­ties have changed and you’ve made the conscious choice to do things differently.

This applies to both your finances and your health. No one can nag you into improving yourself. It’s up to you to make that decision.

Do it for yourself and don’t blame anyone else if you fail. If you really want to change, you will.

Don’t Stop, Even When You’re Done

What do you do when you’ve finally paid off your credit card? Do you go apply for a new credit card and buy a bunch of stuff with it? Maybe you do, if you’re an idiot.

Unfor­tu­nately, this is what a lot of people do when they “go on a diet.” They eat right and exercise for a week or a month or 6 months; then they go back to doing exactly what got them into trouble in the first place.

Before long they’re right back where they started, but why does this happen?

Part of it, I think, is the way that our culture looks at dieting. If summer’s on its way and you want to look good in your swimsuit, then cutting out carbs for a few weeks is fine.

But a lot of people don’t need a sprint; they need a marathon.

For many people, it isn’t about quick fixes and “losing a few pounds.” It’s about deciding what your prior­i­ties are and then adopting a lifestyle that matches those priorities.

Crash diets generally don’t work long-term because they’re not supposed to work long-term. They don’t teach you how to eat better; they teach you how to cut corners without giving you the tools to live a better life.

If you really want to change, that change should be funda­mental, not temporary.

This Isn’t About John McClane

When you were born, were you already bad with money? Were you already a glut­to­nous slob?

Hopefully you answered “no” to both of the questions above because the way that you eat and the way that you spend your money are both learned practices. You might have gotten it from your parents or from the culture; maybe you developed some of it on your own.

Regard­less of where you learned it, you did learn it. If that’s the case, you can unlearn it too.

Habits aren’t impos­sible to break, but it takes time and effort and it won’t always be easy. Some of your habits may go back decades and you know what they say about old habits.

They die hard.

(See what I did there?)

Beware the Impulse Buy

Maybe this has happened to you before…

You go to Best Buy to get something that you need. Maybe your head­phones broke and you need a new pair of head­phones. You’re there with a purpose and you’ll be in and out in less than 5 minutes.

But then you see this sign over by the DVD section and it says that select movies are Buy 2, Get 1 Half Off. “Holy cow, what a steal!” you exclaim to yourself.

Before you know it, you’ve walked out of the store with 3 movies that you’d never intended to buy and, maybe, you were so excited about the unex­pected “bargain” that you even forgot about the head­phones that you came in for!

Maybe this has happened to you before…

You’re out eating with friends, having a good time. You’ve finished your meal and the waiter asks if any of you would like dessert.

You ponder for a moment because you did see the picture of the hot fudge sundae on the back of the menu and it looked really good and you’ve been really good on your diet for the last month and you’re an adult, so why shouldn’t you get a sundae if you want a sundae?!

Before you know it, you’re lying on the floor of your apartment in a sugar coma with hot fudge and shame smeared all over your face!

Generally you buy something impul­sively because you assume that it will make you happy. It isn’t planned, it just sort of happens, and it can completely derail both your diet and your budget.

It also rarely makes you happy because it doesn’t take long for you to realize that nobody really needs to own Monkey Bone on DVD, even if it seemed like a good idea when you bought it.

Even If You Get It, You Might Not Get It

Watching how you spend your money should be easy, shouldn’t it? Most people would agree that it makes sense to have an emergency fund and savings and to live within their means. In fact, what disad­van­tages are there to budgeting? Don’t the pros far outweigh the cons?

So it is with dieting and exercise. Nobody really wants to be unhealthy, but many of us don’t even bother trying to change ourselves, even if we know it’s for the best.

Why not? Is it worth trading a longer, more comfort­able life for the little bit of grat­i­fi­ca­tion that comes from an extra milkshake every couple of days?

Are you finally tired of rhetor­ical questions? Good, ‘cause I’m almost done.

One Final Thought

There’s more to the connec­tion between personal finance and health than what I listed above. The fact is that, if you’re 30 pounds over­weight, you’re costing yourself money down the road.

Being unhealthy takes its toll as you age. You might have knee problems later on in life, which could require surgery. You may also suffer from something more serious, like heart disease or stroke.

Some of those things may happen anyway, but some of it can be avoided. If you knowingly live an unhealthy lifestyle, you’re putting your life and your financial wellbeing at risk.

If you are going to put yourself at risk, don’t do it for an extra meat patty on your cheese­burger. Do it for something noble, like saving your ex-wife from German terrorists!

Are there other areas where finance and health inter­mingle? Are there other places in your life where the prin­ci­ples of budgeting can be applied? Let me know in the comments!

Contain Your Wallet…and Your Belt


Today I have the pleasure of intro­ducing my friend Mike. He’s a deep thinker and a local sports writer (with regular posts on Yahoo! Sports and Nolan Writin). I always enjoy hearing his thoughts, and the topic of this one will certainly get you thinking! This is the first in a two-part series s0, come back Tuesday for part two!

Obesity is a serious problem in this country. Countless Americans are over­weight and many assume that they can’t do anything about it. They say that dieting doesn’t work for them, either because it’s too hard or they don’t have time or a hundred other reasons excuses.

But what if you started looking at it differ­ently? What if you applied the prin­ci­ples of personal finance to your eating habits? Would that change the way that you thought about dieting and losing weight?

The Numbers Game

Budgeting is simple, right?

You figure out how much money you make and then you spend less than that amount. There is more that goes into it, obviously, but that is the essence of budgeting. That is it at its core.

So, what exactly is dieting? It’s the same thing!

Everybody takes in calories when they eat, but they also burn calories. If you eat better food you can control caloric intake. If you exercise, you can increase burn.

To lose weight, all you have to do is burn more than you consume.

Math! That’s it!

My First Budget

I’ve heard Alex’s story of the first time that he tried to budget. If you’re a regular reader of Entre­pre­life, you’ve probably heard it too.

He sat down one night and guessti­mated all of his monthly expenses. He made a lot of assump­tions and, as it turned out, he was way off in some areas.

I decided to do the same thing a couple of weeks ago, but with my stomach instead of my bank account.

For 6 days I ate the way that I normally do and at the end of each day I added up the calories using myfitnesspal.com. I decided that 1600 calories per day was a good place to set my “budget.”

This is how it broke down:

  • Monday +305
  • Tuesday +104
  • Wednesday +481
  • Thursday –120
  • Friday –73
  • Saturday +392

All of these numbers are approx­i­ma­tions, mind you, but it was an inter­esting exper­i­ment nonetheless.

Just like Alex, when he reviewed his first budget, I started to see where I was going wrong. Things like pancakes (800 calories including the syrup) can dras­ti­cally affect your totals, though most of us wouldn’t think about it when we’re ordering a short stack at IHOP.

That’s really what this is about. If you stop and look at your finances, you’ll start to see that you’re not as good with your money as you thought you were.

Your diet is no different. Even if you’re pretty good, I’ll bet that you still have your trouble areas. I’ll bet that you can do better.

For instance, I drink too much sweet tea. It isn’t that I dislike unsweet tea. I actually really like it! I just like sweet tea better, even though I know it isn’t good for me.

Think about yourself for a moment. Are there parts of your diet that could be just a little bit better without much effort? Let me know in the comments!

Should You Do Less?

Happy New Year! I was going to start my year-in-review today, but this guest post written by my good friend Mike is too good to pass up! Enjoy.

It’s very rare that our answer to a problem is LESS. Usually the presented solution is MORE.


If a govern­ment program is floun­dering, we can just throw money at it, right?

But what about the money they already have? When was the last time that we actually stepped back to reeval­uate? When was the last time that we really looked for waste instead of want?

The same can be applied to personal finance.

Sure, everyone wants a high paying job. I do.

But what are you doing with the money you already have? Could you be spending that money better? Could you be spending that money smarter?

Even if you already have a solid budget, have you reeval­u­ated it recently? Most people aren’t exactly the same today as they were yesterday. We are always evolving.

Maybe you have different prior­i­ties. Maybe you want to give more. Maybe you want to save more. Maybe you want to save for different reasons.

Maybe you like things the way they are and that’s okay.

But it certainly doesn’t hurt to stop and think about these things every once in a while.

Alex is a Hoarder


Today I have the great honor of intro­ducing you to my beautiful wife, Rachel! She’s written a post to let you in on my creative process (yeah, that’s good spin). I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


In 40 years, this will be my clean room

My name is Rachel Humphrey. This post, however, is not about me – it’s about Alex.

My husband, Alex, has many roles. He is a great husband and compas­sionate friend. But there is something about him you would not expect.

Ever seen the show on tele­vi­sion about hoarders?

If you have not had the express joy of observing these phenomena; please view this brief, concise expla­na­tion. I will allow Wikipedia to explain:

Compul­sive hoarding (or patho­log­ical hoarding or disposo­phobia)is the acqui­si­tion of posses­sions (and failure to use or discard them) in excess of socially normative amounts.”

I first noticed Alex’s tenden­cies when I saw his house for the first time. His room – immac­u­lately spotless; His desk – covered with every kind of sticky note, ruled note card, or scrap of paper imag­in­able. Every note covered with discreet bits of infor­ma­tion jotted in his hand­writing. Books or websites he wanted to read, videos to watch, quotes that brought a new perspec­tive into his life. The seri­ous­ness of the situation never really hit me until observing his open browser page. Who knew fifteen tabs could be open at once? I mean, seriously, fifteen? (editor’s note: it’s usually way more than 15). And then there are the links. I find links saved, jotted down, or zipping about in emails on a non-stop basis!

Ok, so I am joking with my impli­ca­tions just a bit. My husband does have notes in carefully struc­tured stacks. He does open (ed: at least) fifteen tabs in a browser window at once. He does save and view any link he thinks is intriguing.

But, Alex is not a hoarder.

Alex loves to share. He finds inspi­ra­tion in the words and thoughts of others. And then he shares that inspi­ra­tion with you, me and anyone who is inter­ested in learning and growing together. This is one of the things I find so amazing about my husband.

How can you influence inspi­ra­tion in others?

[image credit]

Spending Power

My friend Mike sent this to me a few days ago, I thought it was a perfect way to end the My Money Story series. For the rest of the series, click here

For the last month or so, Alex has been running a series about his money story, where and how he learned to spend respon­sibly. Reading those posts has led me to think about my own money story, which has a lot to do with the way my parents spend their money (money see, money do, if you will).

Even­tu­ally I stumbled upon an inter­esting truth that I had never really considered:

Although it may not have always been the case, the phrase “I can’t afford it” has become synony­mous with “I can’t buy it”.

This is a dangerous line of thinking because, compared to a lot of the rest of the world, Americans have virtually unlimited spending power. There is almost nothing that I cannot buy as long as I can convince someone to loan me the money for it.

And, at the end of the day, a loan is just as good as the money you’ve earned, right?

The trap that a lot of people fall into is purely philo­soph­ical. Without knowing how to separate the ideas of “can buy” and “can afford” you’re likely to start using a credit card to excess or getting a mortgage on a house that’s bigger and more expensive than what you need.

I’ve fallen into this trap myself, but maybe I’m a smarter person for it. If nothing else, I’ve learned from my mistakes and, because of them, I have a far better grasp of where and how my money (my actual money) should be spent.

What have your money mistakes taught you?

Third Check Month

This is a guest post by my friend Steve Stewart of Money­PlanSOS. Steve is a Financial Coach and blogger. I asked him to write a guest post for me and he’s written a great one! Show him some love in the comments and make sure to check out his website: MoneyPlanSOS.com

For many employees, September will be a “3rd check month”. What I mean by this is that employees paid every-other Friday will get paid three times in two of the twelve calendar months each year. And September 2011 is one of those months.

What’s your plan?

Does this include you? If so, what are you planning to do with the 3rd check? If you are like most Americans you don’t even realize an addi­tional payday is coming, espe­cially if you have direct deposit. (more…)

The Pros and Cons of Business Insurance for Solo Entrepreneurs

This is a guest post from Carol Wilson who writes for business insurance reviews. She contributes articles about a variety of marketing, business, stock market, and small business topics. She can be contacted at: wilson.carol24@gmail.com.

Define Insurance

Credit: Alan Cleaver (CC)

For spirited indi­vid­uals who are just beginning their venture into self employ­ment and small business ownership, one of the last things we take into consid­er­a­tion is small business insurance. Caught up in the excite­ment of new employees, devel­oping a brand, creating a website, finding a customer base, devel­oping a marketing strategy, and so much more, boring things like insurance are typically the last thing on our minds. However, things like lawsuits, thefts, injuries, and any other kind of damage have to be a high priority for new business owners. Small business insurance is designed to protect busi­nesses against oper­a­tional loss. Many business owners question whether business insurance is really a worth­while venture for young, small online busi­nesses. Because online busi­nesses typically have a very low start-up capital, it is reason­able for small online business owners to be skeptical of (sometimes) expensive insurance policies. However, there are plenty of reasons that small business insurance is an important venture in your new small business.

Basics of Business Insurance

There are several different types of business insurance available that cover virtually any risk that a business could possibly face. For small busi­nesses, however, there are generally four basic cate­gories that cover most of the risk faced by small business owners: profes­sional liability insurance, product liability insurance, general liability insurance, and commer­cial property insurance. These four cate­gories protect different aspects of small businesses.

  • Commer­cial property insurance is very similar to tradi­tional homeowner’s insurance, covering buildings, struc­tures, and the contents within the property.
  • General liability insurance covers small busi­nesses against legal claims for injuries, accidents, libel, or slander.
  • Product liability insurance is for busi­nesses that are focused on manu­fac­turing, distri­b­u­tion, or retail. This insurance protects the assets of a small business, defending a company against claims of defective or malfunc­tioning products.

Cons of Purchasing Business Insurance

The most obvious con to purchasing small business insurance is obviously going to be the price of the insurance policy. The cost of small business insurance depends on several factors. Some of the most basic factors include, how large your business is, how many employees you have, the nature of your business, and much more. While the cost of business insurance can be extreme at times, often it is necessary or even required by law. The question for small business owners, espe­cially those operating online, is whether insurance is worth the cost or not.

Pros of Purchasing Business Insurance

The biggest pro of business insurance is protec­tion. Small business insurance provides a company with thorough protec­tion from issues that are out of their control. Sadly, when things go bad in the business world, it is often because of issues that business owners cannot control, such as lawsuits or financial losses. For this reason, business insurance is likely a worth­while invest­ment if you want your company to withstand the unex­pected. There is so much risk that already exists in the business world (espe­cially with small online busi­nesses), that the cost of business insurance is probably worth the reas­sur­ance that you are covered.

Guest On The MoneyPlanSOS Podcast!

This week I had the honor of being a guest on the Money Plan S.O.S. Podcast!

MoneyPlanSOS.com is financial coach Steve Stewart’s blog. He blogs and podcasts about personal finance, getting out of debt, and living like no one else.

This week, Steven and I discussed my post Everyone Is Normal and what “normal” means when spending money. It was a great discus­sion that you don’t want to miss!

You can hear the podcast on his website here.

Or, you can (and should) subscribe to iTunes and get his podcast every week. It’s a great podcast that works through the basics of money and regularly has awesome guests who can help you with your finances.

New To The Blog

If this is your first time at Entre­pre­Life, check out the Money 101 series to see what I’m all about and then head over to my About page to read some of my favorite posts.

Guest Post at Stretched

Savor the Flavor

This picture makes more sense at Jon’s Blog

Today I am guest posting over at Jon Stolpe’s blog Stretched. Before he contacted me I had never heard of his blog, but after reading a few posts I was hooked! Here’s some info from his about page:

I often feel “stretched” by all the things going on around me – career, marriage, parenting, church, running, reading, friend­ships, extended family, rela­tion­ship with God, etc…My hope is that this blog will provide an oppor­tu­nity to express some of my “stretch marks” and to possibly hear your thoughts as well.

My guest post is about a “talk” my wife and I had last week that stretched me. It’s safe to say that talk changed my life. You can read my post “Learning To Savor” here.

While you’re there, why not subscribe to Jon’s blog? His posts are insightful and always interesting.

Guest Post at Big B

My friend Brandon asked me to guest post over at his blog, Big B: Ampli­fying God’s Kingdom, while he’s away on a mission trip. He is 16 and already he has more wisdom (and is a much better writer) than I was at his age.

If you have come here from his website, check out my About page to learn more about the site and read some of my most popular posts.

For my readers, I’m responding to comments on his blog so check out the post over there and while you’re at it, subscribe to his blog — you won’t be disappointed.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Jesus Is Weird

Have you ever thought about how weird Jesus is?

It sounds blas­phe­mous, but read through the gospels and the first thing you should notice is how weird the guy is.

My Bible study has been reading through the book of Mark and in chapters 4 and 5 alone Jesus does some really weird stuff:

  • He yells at a storm (4:35–41) (and the storm listens to him!)
  • He confronts an army. (5:1–13) (The army of thousands freaks out when it sees Jesus and begs him not murder them!)
  • He tells a man he’ll cure his daughter who is moments from death, and on the way he ignores the situation so he can talk to a woman who didn’t want to talk to him anyway. (5:21–34)
  • His conver­sa­tion keeps him long enough that the dying girl dies. Jesus tells the doctors that she’s only sleeping; he gets mad when they don’t believe him; and then he tells the girl to get up…which she does! (5:35–43).

There is one word for that kind of behavior: weird.

Read the rest by clicking here