Get With the (10,000 Step) Program

Kung Hei Fat Choy!!


One of my many goals which I’m working on starting this January is be fit and trim… in the most frugal way possible.    


I recently learned of 10,000 Steps Program.  Studies have shown that a person who walks 10,000 steps a day will burn between 2,000 and 3,500 extra calories per week, resulting in a vastly better health profile and longer lifespan.  Two recent studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association have confirmed that this lifestyle approach can be as effective as a traditional exercise program.


It should be noted that 10,000 steps is the recommended daily step goal for a healthy adult.  If your goal is to lose weight, start slow and gradually work yourself up to walking 12,000 to 15,000 steps a day. Walking is a great way to lose weight—and keep it off.   


For the past few days, I wore the pedometer I recently bought at JHC and discovered that I walk less than 5,000 days a day, placing me firmly in the “sedentary lifestyle index” bracket.  I suppose the continued advances in technology (and the continued popularity of high heels) makes our lifestyle more sedentary:  it will require a concerted effort to make active choices.


What equipment will you need?

1.     A pedometer.  It does not need to be fancy.  I found a perfectly functioning one at the Japan Home Center for only P88. Tip:   The pedometer should be worn in a location above the hip so that it can detect the leg movement.  I also learned that you can’t just stick it in your pocket but rather,  should firmly clip it to a belt or waistband around your waist in order for it to work properly.

2.     Sturdy shoes.  Preferably with plenty of cushion. If you have any concerns about your joints (ankles, knees or hips) discuss your exercise plans with your doctor.


These shoes were made for walking.. that’s just what we’ll do.

·         Start out by wearing the pedometer each day for two weeks and don’t do anything to change your normal routine.  Log your steps at the end of each day for the entire two-week period. What’s your daily average?

·         Take the highest number of steps you have walked on any given day and use that number of steps as your daily step goal.  Aim for your goal each day for the next two weeks. Let’s assume your first step goal is 2500 steps. That means that for the next two weeks, you are going to try to walk 2500 steps each day. Before bedtime each night, be sure to log in the number of steps you actually took.

·         At the end of that two-week period, review all the steps you took each day and decide if you are ready to add another 500 steps to your goal. Your new step goal is now 3000 steps a day for the next two-week period.

·         Continue in that manner, working up as slowly as you wish, until you finally reach the goal of 10,000 steps a day.

·         Check with your physician if you experience any pain or discomfort that concerns you. Remember, the goal is to keep you active for the rest of your life.  It’s better to be the tortoise than the hare.  =)

·         Be prepared to dedicate yourself to your daily goal each day for a minimum of six months. If you do that, you are much more likely to maintain this goal permanently.

But it’s soooo hard!!!!  Here are a few ideas on where to find those extra steps:

  • Park the car further away from the entrance to shops
  • Walk to get your lunch or go for a walk during your lunch break
  • Get up and do something…  walk to the water station to get more glasses of water…. walk and talk with a colleague instead of emailing.
  • Get your family and officemates involved. I’m reviving an old family tradition and going out for a walk with my son after dinner.  It solves the problem of looking for more steps but also provides a priceless bonding opportunity.

Well there you have it, a frugal way to achieve good health or to lose weight.  Just remember, put your pedometer on when you dress in the morning, and don’t take it off until bedtime. Every step you take counts!


For more information on the 10,000 Step Program go to:



Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

Subscribe to my feed or subscribe via email to get notified of my next post.

Setting up an Emergency Account? Automate!

 “E.Q be damned.  I want that _____!  I’ll just double my savings in the next paycheck.”

Does this sound familiar?

Over the past few months,  a few readers have gotten in touch with me, realizing the need to build their 3-6 months emergency fund.  The problem they were facing was how to operationalize this.    We are surrounded by temptation and the increased convenience in which we can get things makes it extremely difficult to exercise restraint.  It is particularly difficult for young families who, come payday, are tempted to head out and treat themselves at the nearest grocery/toy store/restaurant/spa. 

My suggestion is to automate your savings via regular scheduled transfers.  When you make things automatic,  you remove the human element,  making it more difficult for you to mess up.  There are a number of financial institutions such as ING Direct, HSBC Direct and M&T Bank which offer high-yield online savings accounts such as M&T Online Banking with low minimum maintaining balances.  Put you money in the right place.    David Bach,  author of The Automatic Millionaire said it best:  “Not earning interest on your emergency money is almost as bad as burying it in your backyard.”  

What is important is that you do your research now and get your search engine working to find the best high-yielding savings account for you.  Oh, and remember,  in addition to a great interest rate your money should not tied up for a specific length of time, giving you convenient access to your funds.  Otherwise,  it would not be an emergency fund account.  =)

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

Subscribe to my feed or subscribe via email to get notified of my next post.

A special invitation for guilt free luxe shopping at!

Have you ever pushed and shoved your way through a sample sale?  Endured the crowds at the mall looking for the perfect bargain item?  Waited patiently until your favourite designer or luxe brand has an end-of-season sale? 

Well,  that could all change courtesy of  This wonderful website features fairly current items from your favourite designers and brands at a fraction of its retail cost.   Get that gorgeous Donna Karen Tote you’ve been drooling over at over 60% off.  How about  that Valentino dress at 75% off?   Items range from dresses to shoes to jewelry,  children’s items and even stationary.    The only hitch is that shipping is currently only offered within the U.S.    

How does work?

All sales (women, men, children & home start at Noon ET/9amPT and last 36 hours.  You’ll receive an email  when each day’s sales start.  Additionally, each Monday,  a digest is emailed to all members of that week’s upcoming sales to help you plan ahead.   All items are available at the beginning of all sales and prices don’t change, so log on at the start of the sale to get the best selection.  [I kid you not.. it’s like ebay at its peak]


Membership is by invitation only.  Our sister site has been extended a special invitation which we would like to share with all our readers.  Go to this page to sign up.  =)

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

Subscribe to my feed or subscribe via email to get notified of my next post.

Lessons from our forefathers (and mothers): Greatness is never a given. It must be earned

“In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash
of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg;
Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction. ”

— Barack Obama, 19 January 2009

For complete transcript of Obama’s inaugural speech, go to

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

Subscribe to my feed or subscribe via email to get notified of my next post.

Barack Obama: “‘What I Want for You — and Every Child”

It could be said a politician’s family makes the ultimate sacrifice:  privacy and any semblance of normalcy.   For Malia and Sasha,  tomorrow marks the start of a new life lightyears away from the one they left behind in Chicago.  I appreciate President-Elect Obama for sharing with us the letter he wrote to his children.  It talks about his motivation for running for the highest office in the land: 

“…  it is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential. ……These are the things I want for you-to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world. And I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have. That’s why I’ve taken our family on this great adventure. “

To read the entire letter,  go to

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

Subscribe to my feed or subscribe via email to get notified of my next post.

The Obama Inauguration: Get a Piece of history

The excitement in the air is almost tangible.    On Jan 20,  2009,  Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.    For me, his presidential campaign was remarkable not just because he was making history as the first black president but because he generated a feeling which had been missing in American politics for a long long time.  Hope.  Belief in the Power of One.  The idea that we can bring about change.  

inaugural-pigObama mania shows no sign of abating.   It seems as if everyone wants to get a piece of history.   The Inaugural Collectibles Online Store is doing extremely well,  selling everything from fleece jackets and onesies to champagne glases and bronze medallions.   For me,  the best of the bunch is the cute transparent blue piggy bank with the 2009 Inaugural Seal.    Your kid will outgrow the clothes or might not appreciate the commemorative coins but this piggy bag will,  I am sure,  stand the test of time.  It is a great opportunity to remind the younger generation that on this day,  a man was sworn into the highest position of this land,  swept into office largely because of the grassroots support he and his supporters were able to generate.   The Obama campaign was an overwhelming success on all fronts:  from the numbers of new votes it was able to enlist to the number of small donors who enabled him to become the  first major-party candidate since the system was created to reject taxpayers’ money for the general election.   Yes,  one vote,  one dollar can make a difference.  

Let this be start of something new. 

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

Subscribe to my feed or subscribe via email to get notified of my next post.

Analysis Paralysis: What are the Best Financial Products for You?

Ok.  So you’ve  decided that 2009 will be the year in which you will commit yourself to putting your financial house together.   You’ve done a financial health check and discovered the vulnerable areas which need additional attention e.g  too much debt, too low a return on savings or onerous finance charges which could be restructured.   You’ve come up with an Action Plan which now needs to be implemented.

Then what?  Where do you go from there? 

The search for the best financial solution for YOU begins and quickly falters, faced with a gargantuan pile of leaflets and brochures from various financial institutions.  I wish there was a reputable Cliff’s Notes version,  wherein someone comes in,  sifts through the various products being offered and comes up with a crisp, concise, objective summary.  

Hmmmm…..welcome to the club of those stuck in analysis paralysis. 

There are a number of websites such as which act as product aggregators:  trawling the country to find financial institutions which offer the best CD rates, Online Savings Accounts/Checking Accounts, credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, insurance, personal finance calculators.   Go to them when searching for the best low interest credit card or for one which will allow you to balance transfer w/ no fee.  It is up to you to decide which structure is best for your financial situation.     Be sure to explore all the options available to you and most importantly, read the fine print before signing on the dotted line.    You might discover that the institution offering the best rates may not be giving you the best terms.

Not sure what is the best action point for your particular financial situation?  Grab a copy of Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan.   Go to the topic which worries you the most.  She cites numerous situations and suggests actions which you could take to improve your financial standard.  No matter what situation you’re in, you will find a plan of action and the answers to your questions about:

* Credit * Retirement *Savings and Spending*Real Estate*Paying for College* Protecting Your Family

 “In times of great stress, it is natural to react by making decisions and taking actions that bring instant relief.  When it comes to financial matters, often the decisions that calm us amid tumult are actions that can imperil our long-term security.” — Suze Orman

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

Subscribe to my feed or subscribe via email to get notified of my next post.