Weight Loss Goal Achieved!

CAM00421 It wasn’t easy, but I have finally achieved my weight loss goal. As most of you probably already know I bet $3000 back in April that I could lose 30 pounds in six months. My weight loss started off fast and then plateaued for most of the summer. This last month I kicked the weight loss into high gear again since I was in serious danger of losing $3000. The last few pounds to lose were very stubborn. I was stuck with about five pounds to lose for two weeks. This week I watched my diet very carefully and exercised and was finally rewarded with meeting my weight loss goal. I would have preferred to have lost more than my goal, but just hitting the goal is still a big accomplishment. I’m celebrating meeting my goal by eating some foods I’ve been denying myself this weekend. After that I’m going to get back to losing weight. My new goal will be to get to 170 pounds which is considered a healthy weight for my height. I’m hoping I can hit that goal early next year. The all-inclusive vacation next month and all the holiday food might make that goal difficult, but I think I can do it.

I just sent the email to HealthyWage.com to claim my winnings. I don’t think they have anyone working the weekends, but I’m hoping it won’t take too long to process the winnings. I’ll let you know how the process of collecting my winnings goes and do a review of my experience with Healthy Wage once my bet has been paid.

Blog News – Royals Playoffs Edition

I’ve been working at a temp job for the last couple of weeks so the blog has been neglected. I don’t know how people who work full-time and blog do it. Once I’m done with my work day I don’t feel like doing anything the rest of the day.

A few things have happened since I last blogged here. I’ll let you know about them briefly here and I might write blog posts on some of the things later depending on interest. That is both your interest in reading about them and my interest in writing about them.

I’m not really a baseball fan, but I have to give props to my hometown Royals. They are in the playoffs for the first time since 1985. When I was a kid I was a big Royals fan. It was an ideal time (late 70s to mid 80s) to be a Royal fan since they made the playoffs almost every year. Although they did end up losing to the damn Yankees most of those years. Even though I’m not a big fan anymore, I am glad to see them break their long playoff drought. Between the Chiefs’ big Monday Night Football Fan and the Royals Wild Card win this has been one of the best Kansas City sports weeks in a long time.

I’m very close to meeting my weight loss goal and winning my Healthy Wage bet. If the bet had been for 25 pounds like I intended rather than 30 pounds I would have already won. The low carb diet has been working very well for me. Last week I had a dental bone graft and had to eat soft foods for a couple of days. Most of the soft foods I could think of weren’t low carb, but I figured that would be okay since I’d still have a very low-calorie diet. I was wrong and I put on weight both days of eating soft foods even though I was eating less than 1000 calories a day. I switched back to low carb and the weight has been coming back off slowly. I’m hoping to announce that I met my weight loss goal tomorrow. The weight has to be lost by Tuesday or I lose the bet so the weight has to be lost soon.

I sold my car last month. That car purchase and sale wasn’t a good financial move for me. I probably should have bought it for less and sold it for more. I decided to get rid of it since it looked like it was going to require too much maintenance and repair to keep it going. I’m not sure yet whether I will replace it.

My GF, my mother and I are going on vacation to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun the first week of November. I was able to get a Southwest Companion Pass for free so my GF’s flight is free other than taxes. My flight and my mom’s are also free other than taxes since I had lots of SW miles from signing up for their credit card and shopping through the SW portal. My mom is a travel agent and she is getting the room free. This should be a very low-cost vacation. I’m guessing the cost for all three of us will be less than what one person usually spends for this type of vacation.

I’ll write more about the weight loss soon. If you would like me to write more about any of the other topics let me know and I’ll get a post up as soon as I have time.

August Safe Withdrawal Rate – 37.25%

My SWR for August was 37.25%.  While writing this post I noticed that last month I stated my SWR rate was 37.58% in the post and 35.22% in the title. I’m not sure which one of those is correct.  Depending on which is correct my SWR either slightly improved or got a little worse. I didn’t add to my savings in August, but the stock market did pretty well so I think the SWR probably improved slightly.

My goal is to get the SWR down to 4% so the lower my SWR is the better. That goal is probably many years from being met. The 4% SWR translates into having 25x your annual expenses in savings or 300 months of expenses in savings. Once I reach that point I will consider myself financially independent.

I have 32.21 months of living expenses saved which is a slight improvement from 31.92 months saved in July. This amount went up due to the stock market rebound in August. I didn’t add to my savings in August.  I calculate my months of living expenses saved by dividing the average of my trailing twelve months of expenses by my total money saved. When I don’t add any money to my savings the only changes to my SWR and months of living expenses saved are from my investment performance and the average of my trailing twelve month’s of expenses going up or down.

How Do Payday Loans Work in Canada

In Canada, payday loans are available for those with bad credit that need cash immediately. These are untraditional loans that have high fees associated with them. The Canadian Government has put regulations in place stating that a lender cannot impose more than 60-percent interest on a payday advance. Additional information of the process and qualifications are below.

Qualifications

The qualifications for obtaining a payday loan in Canada are rather simple.

What you need to qualify:

  • Proof of Canadian residency
  • Permanent employment
  • Valid bank account
  • Must be at least age 18

Based upon your request and your verifiable income, an amount is determined that you can safely borrow. Other bills are typically not included in this qualification process.

Application Process

During the application process you must provide proof of identity, proof of residency, employment verification and proof of your valid bank account. The application asks basic demographical questions such as your address, age, place of employment, amount of funds needed and in some cases, other household bills.

Applicants with minimal income may require a co-applicant. The co-applicant is also legally responsible for the repayment of these funds should the primary borrower default.

In Canada, payday loans are not all immediate. Your application must be reviewed. Upon approval and acceptance of the terms of the loan, the funds are deposited into your bank account within a single working day. Approvals take, on average, 15 minutes to 24 hours. You will be notified if your decision does not come instantaneously.

Repayment

Most Canadian payday loans must be repaid within 14 days. These terms rarely vary as the Government heavily regulates this industry. The interest on the principal is 23-percent and the annual percentage rate is 599.64-percent on average. Some lenders may charge more interest. On a simple, $300 payday loan, you can expect to repay $369.

Stiff consequences, such as criminal charges being filed against you, can be sought by the lender for non-payment. This can also occur if you do not have sufficient funds in the bank account when the account becomes due. It is important to only take the loan if you can honestly afford to repay it in –full and on time. The Canadian Government regulates how many loans a citizen can have at one time and over a period of time. This helps to prevent the payday loan cycle from sucking you in and leaving you in financial despair. 

Doing Vegas on the Cheap

Earlier this year, I took an almost free Vegas vacation by using credit card bonuses. I still think that is the easiest way to get a cheap or free Vegas vacation, but I recently discovered a couple of new ways to reduce the cost of a Vegas Vacation. A post on the Mr. Money Mustache forum informed me of the MyVegas Rewards and Social Rewards programs that can be used to earn things such as free rooms, free buffets, free show tickets, and more.

MyVegas Rewards is a program set up by MLife which is the rewards program for MGM resorts. The basic idea of MyVegas rewards is that you can earn real comps by playing slots and table games on the MyVegas Facebook page. Playing the games rewards you with loyalty points which can be redeemed for free rooms, free meals, free show tickets and other rewards. After about a month of playing I have about 36,000 loyalty points which I could use for three nights at Circus Circus, two nights at Excalibur, or one night at New York New York or Monte Carlo.

I would suggest you join a group such as MyVegas Friends which will help you earn points faster and has guides on how to optimize your play. You might want to consider setting up a separate Facebook account for playing the game since all of the postings from the game can clutter up your news feed. Setting up a second account for games is a violation of Facebook rules so you will have to decide whether it is worth the risk that Facebook might possibly shut down the new account. Another thing to consider is that you still have to pay resort fees when you redeem for a free night. Excalibur charges about $20 a night in resort fees. Last time I was in Vegas I stayed in a non-casino hotel and paid about $35 a night so a free room is only saving me about $15 a night. I do enjoy playing the MyVegas games though so I think the rewards are a pretty good deal.

Social Rewards is a much simpler program. It is affiliated with TotalRewards which is the rewards program for Caesars Entertainment. Between these two programs you have most of the casinos on the strip covered. You get rewards for this program by sharing information about Caesars resorts and casinos on your social media accounts. You are limited to three shares a day so it is quick and easy to do this program each day. I’ve earned a little over $20 in free rewards since starting to use this program about a month ago.

Another thing to consider that I haven’t tried is legal online gaming while you are in Las Vegas. Some of the Las Vegas casinos now also have legal online casinos.  They also have online casino new jersey. The interesting thing about these casinos is that some offer a bonus for signing up online and making a deposit. The catch here is that you have to be located in New Jersey or Nevada when playing online. I think you would be able to play online while visiting New Jersey or Nevada, but I’m not sure. This is something you might want to explore for yourself.

Although these programs aren’t as great as I first thought they are still a pretty good deal in my opinion. Since IS enjoy playing MyVegas slots and Social Rewards doesn’t take much time I’ll keep using these programs. Rewards from these programs should make my next Vegas vacation very inexpensive.

Weight Loss Bet – 5 Month Update

Before I get to the weight loss update I want to give an update about the blog’s appearance. When the latest edition of WordPress came out I updated and noticed that all of the comments on the blog were no longer visible. I couldn’t figure out how to make them visible again. I figured it had something to do with my Thesis theme so I attempted to update to the latest version of Thesis. I was able to upload it, but kept getting an error message when trying to access the manage skins tab. This meant that my site was a blank page so that wouldn’t work. After several hours of trying to get my comments restored and make the them work I gave up and decided to just switch themes. I’m now using the free 2014 theme that comes standard on WordPress. Although it doesn’t look great it looks good enough and I don’t want to spend any more time on the blog’s appearance. The site should at least function correctly now. Let me know if you have any problems with the site and I’d also like to get feedback on the new appearance.

I now have less than one month left on my weight loss bet. The bet will pay me $3600 if I manage to lose the weight ($3000 of the amount is my own money being returned to me) and if I don’t manage to lose the weight I’ll be out $3000. The idea behind the bet is that the prospect of losing $3000 will motivate me to lose the weight.

After backsliding a little earlier in the month I now have less than ten pounds to lose. I’d prefer to have already lost the weight rather than taking to the last-minute to lose the weight, but I’m still confident that I will lose the weight. I’ve been experimenting with a low carb diet the last three days and I’ve lost over a pound a day on the diet. If I’m able to maintain that rate of weight loss I’ll easily lose the weight in time to win the bet. There is a two-week weigh-in period that starts on September 23. That day also happens to be my birthday. It would be pretty sweet if I could meet my weight-loss goal on that day. I’m making that my goal now. I’ll update you when I have met the goal.

Extreme Frugality – How to Live Well on Very Little