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Budget Management: 10 Simple Tricks to Help You Save Money

Budget Management: 10 Simple Tricks to Help You Save Money

Stress is a pretty silent but a very strong killer and the most common source of stress people are dealing with today, is money. Being something that we can’t live without and that simultaneously isn’t a thing a lot of people can gather easily, money can be a serious issue.

You should get rid of this raining cloud that keeps following you around. First of all, it’s important to understand that the chances of a distant cousin leaving you with a huge inheritance and turning your luck around are quite negligible and you shouldn’t count on them.

However, the good thing is that you can enjoy your lifestyle and improve it significantly if you introduce a couple of changes to your life.

Make a Realistic Plan

People who overspend usually do it because they are unaware of their spending limits. Having nice things implies that you have to work hard for them – so, be realistic. If you want to stop starving during the last week of each month, you should begin them by making a budget plan. Thus, you’ll be able to stretch your budget, afford all the necessities and direct those leftovers towards enjoying yourself.

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Mind Your Cooking

First of all – if you don’t prepare your meals at home, you should start. Eating healthy should be on the top of your priority list; it’s the source of your health and energy – and it’s less expensive than eating out.

Once you’ve got quality sorted out, you need to focus on quantity. A huge number of households are wasting enormous amounts of food by preparing too much, eating too little and throwing out the rest. You will need some time to harmonize the amounts of ingredients in your meals, but until you’re a pro, you should eat leftovers – simple as that.

Goods Exchange

Instead of purchasing new clothes or books, you should settle for used items. Many great organizations and websites out there are built as mediums and serve to connect people who want to exchange their used goods for others or sell them for a lower price than those you’d expect to see in stores.

Turn off Cable

Most households still subscribe to cable TV because out of nothing more than maintaining a habit. The truth is that you can spend more time with your personal computer or smartphone than watching TV and it seems like this appliance has become more of a noise regulator than an entertainment source. Besides, everyone is turning towards mediums like Netflix, as they are less expensive and a lot more user-friendly.

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Use Public Transportation

Other than being a green alternative, trains and busses are also a cheaper transportation method that can actually be faster if you harmonize your schedule with theirs. Sure, cars are comfy, private and all that, you’re used to that luxury, but it’s a thing you can live without. At least for now.

Change Your Phone Plan

Many people just sort of go with the plan their mobile career selects for them – you should change your phone plan because you can. You should evaluate how much you actually use your package because I bet that you spend more time using Wi-Fi. Considering the fact that your smartphone is one very personal item, you should adapt it to your needs.

My suggestion is to think about mobile phone insurance as well, so that you have a backup if it gets lost, stolen or damaged – you won’t have to worry about those costs if that time comes.

Collect Coupons

If you’d like to spend less money, you should invest more time. In order to cut your shopping costs regarding the essential list of items you find necessary like groceries and hygiene products, you should gather coupons and use them wisely. Almost all supermarkets and stores have an extensive list of discount offers you should definitely take advantage of.

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Entertain Guests

These changes will affect your social life as well, but that doesn’t mean that you should withhold from socializing – simply move it from overpriced bars and restaurants to your home and entertain your guests.

My suggestion is to make a selection of must-see things – your favorite band having a concert or an exhibition you’ve been waiting to see for a really long time and save up for those events. Going out should be all about spending quality time and doing the things you like – I’m sure you got bored on numerous occasions by following your friends to an event you’re indifferent about and this change is going to have a positive effect on that.

Think about Electricity

Simple things – I’m sure you’re already familiar with this because every single article about saving money mentions it – like turning off lights when you leave the room, make a significant difference at the end of the month and you should apply them.

One more thing that’s less known – you should unplug all appliances you don’t use because that way, you won’t spend any “phantom energy” those very same appliances are draining even when they’re not turned on.

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Consult Professionals

People go to school in order to learn how to manage budgets, so this is a skill you learn. If you don’t seem to make a difference and you still end up getting back to old spending habits, you should either consult a professional or sign up for a class.

This investment of your time into learning about money and how to treat your budget properly will make you a happier person in time – it did so for me. Life is a better place when you don’t have to worry or stress out over bills each day.

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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