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The Basics of Making Your Money Work for You

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It’s a common misconception that growing your wealth is a function of how hard you work. Your dedication to the grind plays a pivotal role, to be sure, but it is by no means the only driver on your way to a more comfortable financial situation.

If you’re willing to dip your toes into the money management world, you’ll soon realize that there are simple steps you can take to maximize your paycheck beyond the number you see on your bi-weekly stub. Here are three of those steps for you to consider, apply, and improve your quality of life:

In Your Best Interest

It’s quite easy to find a high-interest savings account that will pay you twenty to thirty times more interest than a savings account at a major bank. This is because interest rates in the developed world are currently quite low, allowing certain financial institutions with low overhead costs to pass these savings along to you.

The idea here is to open one of these high-interest accounts and fund it with the money you reserve for basic expenses. That way, whatever is in it will grow at a steady monthly clip as you go about your day-to-day life. If you’ve done business with your current bank for many years, you may find it more convenient to keep two accounts open—one high-interest savings, and one chequing—and transfer spending money from the former to the latter.

Starting a Business

This point is about creating additional income streams for yourself beyond your main source of employment. Consider hobbies you enjoy that you could monetize and eventually build into thriving businesses, or you can be more strategic and identify a field with an unmet need you’re compelled to find a solution for.

You don’t have to be an expert in your business so long as you’re willing to learn, save some start-up capital, and put in the hard work to give yourself a solid foundation. Part of that foundation should include knowing that, even if you take every precaution as an entrepreneur, setbacks will still find a way to show up at inconvenient times.

It’s conceivable that you might need to resort to a payday lender to get yourself out of trouble. But before you do, shake off the stigma of looking for advice on getting a loan and crunch some numbers to make sure it contributes to your overall financial plan.

Investing in Stocks

Long-term investing means buying shares of stock in the world’s leading companies to participate in their growth, usually through index funds or their actively-managed counterparts. Owning these shares represents an essential step toward long-term wealth accumulation. Over the last two or three decades, they’ve returned an average of 7% per year.

You can open a TFSA or RRSP at any major bank and automate investment contributions to coincide with your paycheck. Thanks to the power of compound interest, your money will appreciate in value as the companies you own become more profitable through new products and services.

Why deprive yourself of a more comfortable financial cushion when the means to acquire one are within reach? In addition to working for money, go ahead and shop around for bank accounts, cook up a new venture or two, and invest surplus funds every month to get your money working for you.

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How to Save Money by changing your Shopping Habits

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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.

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3 Simple Tips to Getting Over Jet Lag as Quickly as Possible

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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

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.

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6 Ways Gaming Can Make You Happy

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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

6 Ways Gaming Can Make You Happy

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.

In Conclusion

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.

Resources:

  1. “The Beneficial or Harmful Effects of Computer Game Stress on … – NCBI.” Accessed June 22, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6037427/.
  2. “Video Games and Other Online Activities May Improve Health … – NCBI.” Accessed June 22, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796895/.

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