Oct 10: Best from the blogosphere

October 10, 2016

By Sheryl Smolkin

As the days get shorter and the temperature goes down, staying fit is often a challenge. Joining a fitness club can be expensive, particularly if you don’t use it regularly. On a windy, chilly morning it seems a lot easier to just take the car rather than walking even a short distance to work.

But if you modify your schedule now to incorporate some fun, inexpensive activity into your day, you will be healthier and less inclined to hibernate before the first snowfall. Here are some online resources that will both inspire you and give you some ideas.

I really like Nia Shanks on Lift Like a Girl, where she encourages women of all sizes and from all backgrounds to start strength training. Shanks writes empowering articles about how women can be more, not less, the best bodyweight exercises to do, and why exercise should never be considered punishment for eating.

If you are a runner, or always wanted to run but haven’t gotten around to it, take a look at Couch to 10K and Beyond: My Journey to Becoming a Runner by Alison Micelli. Her advice is, “Grab a friend, a crew or a mentor and give it a go, use it as a way to explore your city, get outside or switch up your routine. You’ll be amazed at what you can do and the things that you can accomplish when you stick with it!”

Dave Smith from Make Your Body Work, was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” in 2013. There are lots of great ideas in his blog How To Exercise At Home: The 50 Best Free Online Workout Resources. The YouTube videos he links to include workouts of all different kinds from kick boxing routines to yoga to Pilates.  CafeMom Studios is a very popular YouTube channel that helps moms build their body back after pregnancy and childbirth using postnatal workout videos for cardio, pain-reduction, circuit training, and yoga exercises for strength and flexibility.

On his blog Frugalwoods, Mr. Frugalwoods has posted The Ultimate Bike Commuter’s Guide to Winter Cycling. He shares both safety tips and how to stay warm. Why bike to work through notorious Boston (substitute Saskatchewan) winters? He says:

  1. It could be the fastest way to get to work.
  2. You need to exercise anyway so you might as well combine exercise with commuting.
  3. It’s a focused way to start and end the day.
  4. Bike commuting saves a bunch of money.

And if you are planning to participate in winter sports like skiing or skating, now is the time to check out 10 Exercises for Winter Sports: Increase Strength & Reduce Injury. While winter sports are great fun, you definitely don’t want to underestimate the workout they provide.  In fact, if you’re not fully prepared physically for the season you could be at a high risk for injury.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere?” Share the information on and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

Dec 28: Best from the blogosphere

December 28, 2015

By Sheryl Smolkin

This is the last Best from the Blogosphere for 2015 and I’m taking a break, so the next one will be published on January 25, 2016. We wish all readers a healthy, prosperous New Year.

As we look back on 2015 and ahead to 2016, there is much to think about. We have a new Federal government, the loonie is at an all-time low and Canadians have extended extraordinary hospitality to Syrians and other refugees from war-torn lands.

Here are some interesting stories we are following:

In TFSA vs. RRSP: How are Canadians saving? I interviewed Krystal Yee (Gen X), Tom Drake (Gen Y) and Bonnie Flatt (Boomer) to find out how Canadians are taking advantage of the tax-sheltered savings vehicles available to them.

In What Sean Cooper Really Achieved By Paying Off His Mortgage In 3 Years Robb Engen from Boomer and Echo tells us that Sean Cooper didn’t just pay off his $255,000 mortgage in three years; he taught us all a lesson in personal branding. Mr. Cooper, a pension analyst by day, mild-mannered blogger by night, took an almost Machiavellian-like approach by achieving fame through mortgage freedom at age 30.

Jim Yee offers some Year End Finance Strategies that will take advantage of ongoing changes to our tax rules. For example, in 2016, the new Liberal government will be lowering the tax rate on the middle income bracket from 22% to 20.5% so those individuals making more than $45,283/year but less than $90,563/year, deferring income to next year might save some tax dollars.

On the Financial Independence Hub, Doug Dahmer writes about the timing of CPP benefits. He says the CPP benefit for a couple can be in excess of $700,000 over their lifetime and the study demonstrates that the difference between starting your benefit at the least beneficial date and starting at the best date can be more than $300,000.

And finally, Rob Carrick at the Globe and Mail offers some thoughts on how to prepare for a frugal retirement. Frugality is assumed to be a virtue in the world of personal finance writing, but on the outside, frugality is sometimes a synonym for cheap. He refers to a blogger on Frugalwoods who argues that making the choice to be frugal is about asserting your independent thinking about money.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere?” Share the information with us on and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.