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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 Afford Graduate School

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Earning a bachelor’s degree is an excellent accomplishment. It places you on a path towards your career goals and provides you with the knowledge needed to succeed in your chosen field of study. However, if you’re an individual who wants to pursue a graduate degree, you may be wondering where you can secure the money needed to pay for additional education. Here are four avenues you can seek to obtain the funds required to continue schooling.

Utilize Your Savings

Starting with funds you don’t have to pay back is an ideal way to cover your graduate course studies and living expenses. If you can use personal savings to cover the cost of additional education, be sure you have enough money in your bank account each month to pay for necessities, like rent or car payments. Creating a budget should help you safeguard against not having enough money to survive each month. You don’t want to have any stress hanging over your head when you’re trying to focus on completing your education. If you can use a portion or all of your savings to fund your education expenses for the next few years, it should pay off in the future when you have a job and begin receiving an income.

Explore Student Loans

Getting accepted to grad school places you one step closer to pursuing your career. After evaluating your finances and determining you need assistance to pay for higher education, you may want to explore student loans that are tailored for graduate degrees. Applying for a student loan with no cosigner may be a good option to help you pay for graduate school on your own when you’re pursuing an MA, Ph.D. or MS degree.  Ascent Student Loans just announced a new loan designed for these types of career programs. Ascent is a private lender that helps students understand the value of their degree, future income they can expect to make, and ultimately help them make the best financial decisions for their education and career. 

Secure Scholarships

Receiving graduate school scholarships can also help alleviate the cost of pursuing higher education. If you have done relatively well in school already, it may be worthwhile to pursue this option. You may have to do some in-depth research to find the types of scholarships fitting your academic and career profile, but it can be well worth it if you are awarded any funds that will reduce your overall cost for graduate school. Pursuing this avenue is typically done by contacting the department heads at the school where you’ve been accepted or checking their website.There are also tons of other scholarships available that don’t have major or career requirements. Ascent is a good place to look, they give out at least $1,000 every month on their Instagram.

Work for the School

Working for the school as an assistant or another type of position can also be an excellent way to cover the cost of tuition and living expenses. Being a graduate assistant requires you to work a specific number of hours each week. In return for your service, you should receive a waiver and possibly a stipend for room and board. Duties are typically assigned by the faculty member or department and might include assisting a professor, conducting research or teaching courses.

Checking out all of these resources should assist you in finding a solution that works best for your specific requirements. While it may take using a combination of more than one option, you’ll probably find it was well worth it after you graduate.

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Design your Office based on these 5 Trends

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Gone are the days when working at an office translated to a cramped-up lifestyle – at least for the time you work. You used to go home, all groggy and tired from bending over your desk all day, but thanks to dynamic workspaces, your office is becoming your go-to place even on the weekends! From pop-up privacy booths to all-expenses-paid snack bars, there is no more left for a one-size-fits-all workspace.

Let’s shed some light on the following 5 trends to learn how you can design your office as per your staff’s requirements.

1)     Dynamic and Multi-Functional Workspaces

Your office is perhaps the only environment where you can experiment with innovation to see how your employees react and adapt. Multi-functional, dynamic workspaces are taking the lead in boosting the economy with their ergonomically lightweight, moveable, and easily accessible elements.

Instead of installing cubicles all around, revamp your office space by including a workspace with furniture-forward elements. Install eco-friendly dividers on wheels, comfortable workstations, and smart lounging spaces with TV sets, gadgets, and books.

2)     Sustainable Flooring

Instead of plastering your office with typical and traditional drywall construction, choose flooring options that offer better sustainability and durability. Today, people want to work in workspaces that are pro-environment and minimize the risk of injuries as well.

Laminate Flooring provides easy DIY installation as well as sustainability with its unique touch of realism. Infused with HydroSeal and Scratch Guard innovative smart technology, laminate flooring is not only resistant to stains and scratches but also surface moisture as well! Quickstep.co.uk offers wood, vinyl, and laminate flooring options exclusively for office workspaces to ensure a decent work-proof and easy-to-clean work environment. 

3)     Mimicking Work-From-Home Environment

Since office-goers are transforming into digital nomads, working from home is taken as a lucrative perk instead of a mere suspension trial. Offices are trying to match their work environments to that of their employees’ homes so that they can encourage them to work in the premises. Offices are installing bars, fireplaces, game rooms, and comfortable furniture to entice the community with hospitality.

Working flexibly from home can, at times, limit progress that requires a collective input or expedited work delivery. Instead of confining the entire team to a seminar room for a discussion, introduce a human-centric, collaborative workspace with comfortable cushions or sofa sets for facilitating discussion. Your mind works better when you are relaxed – so implement a dynamic, multi-functional workspace to boost creativity and productivity!

4)     Privacy Booths

Not many people are comfortable with working in open workspaces. For people who still want to have some privacy but do not want to limit themselves to a tiresome cubicle – enter pop-up privacy booths! A pop-up privacy booth has enough space to house a single person without making them feel the least bit claustrophobic. Install a handy phone along with a workstation in the booth to facilitate maximum privacy and concentration.

5)     Smart Premises

Smart data-tracking furniture, sensory architecture, and movement-tracking products are allowing office campuses to introduce smart AI-integrated technologies to their work environment. Sensory rooms can track your presence in the room and customize lighting or temperature settings by recording and tracking your data. Similarly, you can monitor and control your interior working space with the help of custom apps that allow audiovisual sensory systems or entire floors to adapt to your behavior.

Today, many employees prefer committing to a long-term job after ensuring the working conditions of the office. To ensure maximum productivity, employees require peace and tranquility, but not for the sake of their comfort. Offices are moving ahead with open workspaces instead of confined cubicles to provide a disruption-and-distraction-free work environment.

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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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