There is an awful lot of advice around on the subject of how to save money. Many tipsters recommend that you should cut back on things like your usage of electricity in the home. They also advise changing your social habits by staying in instead of going out, and if you do venture out, go to cheap venues like local museums.
There’s a plethora of completely free resources to help you save money. Here’s 40 right off the bat to get you started. Some of these ideas are harder to adopt than others. But one of the easiest, and most impactful ways of saving money is to change your shopping habits, and that’s what we’re going to look at in today’s post.
Don’t be too easily swayed by advertising
Like everywhere in the modern, civilised world, consumers are bombarded with advertising. The annual spend on adverts here in South Africa last year was an enormous 36.6-million Rand. Most of this amount (21% in fact) goes on TV and video advertising. The second-largest spend is on internet adverts. People are driven by adverts like herds of sheep.
It tends to be the bigger, more expensive product brands that get noticed. Hardly surprising because it’s these guys who have the largest advertising budgets and they are incredibly successful at influencing their target audience. The more active they become, the larger their target audience becomes too.
Being trendy costs money
It comes as no surprise to see that the top three clothes brands in South Africa are Nike, Adidas and Levy. Everyone wants to be seen sporting their wares, from kids at school, to streetwise youngsters and everyday fashionistas. But, of course, they all come at a price, and it is not an easily affordable one.
What it all boils down to, however, is being seen to be trendy. Although the quality of these top branded products is excellent, they are many other far cheaper products on the market. If you forgo the kudos and buy these less expensive alternatives, it is a sure-fire answer of how to save money.
Better burger deals
The same can be said for food and drink. It’s another marketplace where the advertising agencies reign supreme, both in the supermarkets and the fast-food stores. Take MacDonald’s, for example. They opened their first restaurant in South Africa in 1995. Just 21 years later, they have 200 in total across the country, serving 8 million customers per month.
But as with Nike of Adidas, don’t just follow the herd and flock to MacDonald’s. There are plenty of other cheaper burger places around, and some great two-for-one deals. You can share these with friends, so it is a top tip on how to save money while still being sociable.
Great tips to save money on grocery shopping
Buying top food brands in supermarkets is a waste of money. Forget the advertising and try some of the supermarket own-brand alternatives. Many are just as good taste-wise and are significantly cheaper. Check out https://www.privateproperty.co.za/advice/property/articles/10-easy-ways-to-save-on-your-grocery-bill/6639 on how to save money on grocery shopping. It has some excellent tips.
3 Simple Tips to Getting Over Jet Lag as Quickly as Possible
One of the biggest shocks after finishing your first long-haul flight is the jet lag that comes after it. Jet lag happens when your internal clock doesn’t match the time zone you’re in, and can come with feelings of nausea, digestive issues, and sleepiness. Jet lag is generally worse when you travel east, and the more time zones, the worse the symptoms. There are several things you can do to try to get over it quickly, though.
Melatonin is the hormone that your body releases when it expects that you’ll be going to sleep soon, and is one of the triggers to start making you feel sleepy. Often, when jet-lagged, our body is expecting to wake up while it’s the middle of the night in the country you’ve landed in, or that you’ll have to go to sleep when your body feels like it’s the middle of the day.
Taking melatonin an hour before you want to go to sleep can help your body start the process of getting tired, allowing you to sleep for the full night and wake up on the correct time zone. Zach Attack Supplements is an excellent place to visit to find supplements to help you sleep.
Start adjusting before you go.
If you have a few days before the trip where you can prepare, start setting your clocks to the time in the country you’re flying to, and begin transitioning before you leave. A good routine is to start adjusting around three days before you plan to leave, and go to sleep 1-2 hours later or earlier than you usually would towards the time zone you’re aiming for.
If three days isn’t possible, then try to get at least as close to the time zone as you can the day before you leave. If you’re traveling across six time zones, try to wake up six hours earlier than you usually would. This will be tiring, but when you arrive at your location, you’ll be ready to go to sleep and wake up at the correct time.
Use lights to your favor.
Your body’s circadian rhythm is closely connected to the amount and type of light it’s being exposed to. If you expose yourself to a lot of blue spectrum light, then your body will naturally think it’s the morning or daytime and will start its internal processes of waking up. If you reduce these lights and stick to red or warm lighting, then your body will start to think the sun is setting and will get ready to sleep.
If you need to wake up and stay awake, then the best thing to do is to find the sun or somewhere with bright lights. If you’re trying to sleep at a time that feels like the daytime to your body, start reducing the amount of blue spectrum lights around you. This includes electronic screens, which are notorious for being bad for your sleep schedule.
6 Ways Gaming Can Make You Happy
When was the last time you played a video game that stirred your emotions till you lost touch with what was going on? Video games have the ability to spice up your boring weekends. Playing video games is not only entertaining but is also good for your physical and mental health. Games like EA Sports Active are designed to get you out of your couch and enjoy your workout while you also get entertained.
I find the social aspect of video games very interesting. There are games which require you to verbally communicate and coordinate with other gamers. This adds a whole new dimension to video gaming as you are no more an asocial dweeb who doesn’t socialize enough with other people. It’s important to always stay social, especially, if you are a naturally introverted person.
Here are six ways gaming can make you happy and help you live a wholesome life.
1. You get a temporary respite from stress
Stress and anxiety are so prevalent in today’s society that it has become an accepted norm. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it. People are constantly looking for ways of self-expression so that they can connect with other human beings in an authentic way. I guess not being able to express yourself and being too caught up in the mundane daily routine are some of the reasons behind stress in the younger generation.
There are many ways to get a temporary respite from being stressed out. Some people prefer exercising while others play musical instruments. However, there is a certain percentage of people who are big fans of playing video games. Gaming can make you happy and relieve stress in a matter of minutes. Knowingly or unknowingly, their addiction to video games is making them happy.
2. It puts a healthy amount of pressure on you
An Iraqi university studied the effects of the stress created by a video game on players. They were curious to know the mindset of a gamer who is under pressure of winning the game. This is what led them to the realization that playing video games can also reinforce the cognitive elements of gamers. However, it is important to know the type of games that are good for your brain and the ones that are detrimental to your cognitive abilities.
There are 4 main types of genres of video games that are capable of inducing a healthy level of stress in gamers. They 4 genres are Puzzles, Runner games, Fear based games and Excitement causing games. From the above 4 categories, playing Puzzles and Runner games provide immediate benefits like increased concentration, enhanced memory and feeling relaxed. Fear based and Excitement games scare the gamer for a short period and it’s up to the gamer how they interpret the stress.
3. You instantly become a part of a worldwide community
For the last couple of decades, online gaming communities on websites like Reddit have been a lifesaver for kids who grew up as introverted. School life can be tough and create a lot of stress. Even for adults who are in college or are working, the burden of assignments or work can force them to lead a life of loneliness and despair. Playing video games and joining relevant communities online can give them the emotional support they desperately seek.
Gaming can make you happy in ways you cannot conceive. Imagine going from a fully introverted person to having friends all over the world. I understand that these friends are virtual, but you can meet them in person at gaming meetups and conventions. Having a common hobby and being passionate about it will help you connect with other gamers without putting much effort.
4. You always have something exciting to do
No wonder why people get addicted to video games. I have seen both kids and adults take gaming so seriously as if their life depended on it. Video games can be a great way to spend your weekend afternoons when most of your friends are either resting or busy with their family commitments. Keep in mind that, addiction is a result of letting a single thing take control of your life. Gaming can only make you happy if you indulge in it in moderation.
5. It keeps you healthy as you grow older
Playing video games in moderation is not only beneficial for young people but is also equally good for the elderly. It is no secret that, as you get older, your cognitive abilities begin to decline and your thinking capabilities suffer. This is more likely to happen if you don’t make enough efforts to keep your mind sharp and agile. Your mind is also a muscle. It needs to be exercised regularly or else it becomes weak and fragile.
According to a recent study by the University of Cyprus, playing online video games can have beneficial cognitive effects in older adults. They concluded that the people who play video games in their twilight years have better reaction time, memory, and attention span than other people of the same age group. Furthermore, 3D video games like Angry Birds and Super Mario 3D World can improve their postural balance and muscle strength.
6. Improves your cognitive and emotional skills
Over the last three decades, video games have evolved in a way that nobody had expected. They have changed the way people spend their free time and provided an emotional outlet to those who are unfortunate not to have the social skills to make friends in the real world. According to the Entertainment Software Association, kids are not the only demographic who are interested in playing video games. Males and females in their 30’s are the biggest consumers of the gaming industry.
Gaming can make you happy by making you more smarter and hence win big in all areas of your life. According to a Spanish study, playing video games can improve cognitive and emotional skills in young adults. To come to this conclusion, there were 35 studies done separately and the results were then processed by several Italian and Spanish universities. They considered the effects of both commercial and non-commercial video games.
There are so many studies providing enough evidence that gaming can make you happy but you should also be aware of the darker side of it. Teenagers in countries like South Korea and Japan are struggling with gaming addiction and there also have been a few deaths because of it. Like every other activity, gaming is beneficial only when you indulge in it with the right mindset.
- “The Beneficial or Harmful Effects of Computer Game Stress on … – NCBI.” Accessed June 22, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6037427/.
- “Video Games and Other Online Activities May Improve Health … – NCBI.” Accessed June 22, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796895/.
Getting Out of Debt Can Take Years—Why Patience Pays
It’d be nice to snap your fingers and watch your debt melt away. But the truth is that getting out of debt can take years. Here’s more on what to expect, and why patience pays.
How Long Does It Take to Eliminate Debt?
There’s no easy answer on how long it will take you to eliminate your debt. It depends on how much, what kind and which strategy you pursue.
Paying the minimum balance will almost certainly take the longest, which is why it’s not considered a sustainable strategy for the long term. As Real Simple reminds us, it would cost a consumer with about $16,000 in credit card debt—approximately the average amount carried per American household—$11,000 in interest alone if they only pay the minimum balance due each month. And it will take a long time. Interest creates a lot of extra work, so it’s generally smarter to pursue a more aggressive strategy for paying down debt.
Every debt elimination strategy worth its weight in gold takes time. In fact, consumers should probably be wary about any “get out of debt quick” schemes they come across while doing research. It’s very normal for a process like debt settlement to take 24 to 48 months, for instance; many positive Freedom Debt Relief reviews come from people who’ve been enrolled in the program for years, making steady payments into an account and working toward settling their debts one by one.
Another example is debt consolidation, in which you take out a loan to cover your high-interest debts which you then repay at a fixed rate over time. Many debt consolidation loans have terms of three to five years, although some are shorter and some longer.
The moral of the story? It’s better to work sustainably to pay off debt over several years than to throw a lot of money at debt repayment inconsistently. At least if you have a plan in place, there’ll be light at the end of the tunnel.
Staying Motivated to Pay Off Debt on Your Own
Half the battle when it comes to paying off debt is staying engaged mentally. It’s easy to get discouraged every time you receive a collection notice or experience a financial setback. Instead of thinking of debt as an all-or-nothing proposition—either you have debt, or you don’t—think of it as a journey. Celebrate each milestone and use it to fuel your determination.
Many people prefer the debt snowball method in which you order your debts from smallest to largest, then tackle them in ascending order. With each balance you pay off, you can snowball the money you’re saving into paying off your next-largest debt. People say it’s a good motivator because you experience a series of triumphs that keep you forging ahead toward being debt free.
As NerdWallet writes, “If a debt snowball offers the kind of reinforcement that will keep you motivated, it’s worth the premium to get your finances on track.” The premium is that you may pay more in interest over time if you order your debts by size rather than by interest rate. Others find more incentive in the debt avalanche method because it involves knocking debt out from highest to lowest interest, a move that can save you money overall.
Some people prefer to work with a credit counselor or a debt settlement program because it involves someone else helping them stay accountable. Of course, you’ll likely pay a fee to use services like these. Whatever keeps you going, stick to it. Motivation goes a long way in helping you find the patience to stick with whatever debt elimination strategy you ultimately choose.
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