Month: September 2015

Just Breathe

I was riding along the beach over the Labor Day weekend when I confirmed something that I’m not doing properly:  breathing. But isn’t it something we do naturally? Well, let me explain.

I was approaching my third hill having ridden over 5 miles and feeling good about the ride. I went through the second hill at a good speed, even easily overtaking a guy that blasted past me on the downhill prior to the hill.

But then as I approached the third hill, a group of four riders passed me. I was already thinking of taking  a slower approach to the hill because the last half is steeper than normal. The first rider said something about my bike and did a thumbs up. As usual it took me a few seconds to fully comprehend what he was saying. He was complimenting my bike and I was too late to reply a “thank you” or something nice.

That few seconds of distraction was enough to make me forget breathing for a few seconds. By the time I reach the hill’s halfway point I was feeling fatigued. Two lady runners even started overtaking me. My sweat glands was working overtime and I could feel by body core getting hotter.

I finally got to a traffic light where I planned to make a u-turn and head back. There was a slight cool breeze, sunny skies and tall waves crashing on the beach a few hundred yards away. I took a drink of water and was feeling good again.

I reached a long gently inclined hill on the way back. I did a lot of deep breaths just before the hill. I increased my speed and focused on catching a couple that passed me a few seconds ago. I did forced breathing while going up. I started gaining on the couple. It wasn’t my intention to overtake the two – just to see if my fitness is better.

I reached the top of the hill without any fatigue. I was still breathing gulps of air and not feeling tired at all. It then dawned on me that the suffering on the hill just five minutes ago was due to lack of oxygen. The current hill was longer but I reached the top almost effortlessly. I quickly made a mental note of paying attention to my breathing.

When I was recuperating from my heart surgery, and my blood pressure would go up – the nurse instructed me to do some deep breathing and relax. It worked. My blood pressure would go down in a few minutes. All because of a good supply or air.

There are many versions of relaxation breathing technique. One of them says breathe in slowly for 7 seconds, hold for 20 seconds, then release slowly for 4 seconds. This simple process really helps in relaxation especially if eyes are closed and shoulders relaxed.

I’m sharing this because even though breathing is the most normal thing we do everyday, at times we forget to breathe. I myself always experience this while riding.  While exercising it’s best to pay attention to the breathes we take.

Breathe in….

Breathe out….


Phrases To Make Us Spend

In marketing material goods, advertisers usually resort to using catchy phrases. I can’t tell you an example because a company might charge me money for using their copyrighted phrase. These enticing word combinations always try to get us emotionally excited about their product. If you really think about it, majority of the things we buy are emotionally triggered.

So let me discuss a few phrases used that are not copyrighted. Then ponder it and hopefully, you will conclude (just like I did) that these seemingly magical words are really a trick to make you part with your hard earned money.

Here they are:

Because you deserve it! 

Sometimes they want us to buy a $700,000 house on a $50,000 income or a $50,000 car on a $28,000 income. But I often wonder how did they come to the conclusion that we deserve it. I mean at what point of income do we start deserving something? It’s open to interpretation, right? We should watch out how we interpret it.

Buy Now, Pay Later!

The term “buy” is very attractive in itself, you add the word “now” and visions of instant gratification start flashing in our mind. We want to enjoy something now and the future be damned. That’s why “pay later” becomes an afterthought. Something to worry about in the future. Something that will make us pay dearly in the form of interest payments.

You’ll be One of the First Ones to Own it!

The problem with owning the first model is that all the glitches and mistakes are not discovered yet. If you own it, you’ll be the guinea pig for the second edition. The second edition are usually much better and sometimes less inexpensive.

Only three left!

By giving us a perception of scarcity, we are subconsciously prodded to make a decision now to acquire it right at this very moment. They fail to mention that another five dozen will arrive next month.

By Invitation Only!

This tries to hook us into thinking that this place is exclusively for special people only. If we join then we are part of that special group. If we are a member, it could mean that we have “arrived”. You’ll notice that humble and frugal people are immune to this.

Buy Now and Get This One Free!

This is okay if we actually need the free item. Most of the time we don’t and more often than not, the cost of the “free” item is already included in the first item. So we spend more money while they get rid of their inventory fast.

Money back guarantee!

This is actually the only one that may persuade me to buy something because I know I would get my money back. However, how many times have you returned something for the guarantee? For me, it’s zero, nada, zilch! My returns are usually because I feel guilty for spending it on an unnecessary items. Buyers remorse I have plenty.

All the above will never affect our spending if we practice smart money management: having a budget, sticking to a budget, buying 90% of the time based on needs and 10% on wants, buying durable and reliable items instead of trendy, etc.

Let’s think twice before we buy…