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8 Simple Ways to Save Money & Help Stop Poverty

8 Simple Ways to Save Money & Help Stop Poverty

    According to GlobalRichList.com, I’m in the top 0.82% richest people in the world.

    That’s not to brag, though. Almost everyone with the means to read this post is in that top one percent somewhere.

    But there are billions more people out there who are not in the top one percent, and they’re not in the top two or three either. The majority of our planet is living in poverty.

    Economic crises (and the accompanied fear mongering) aside, we sometimes look at the world as a prosperous place with a few unfortunate pockets of poverty strewn about. It’s so easy to forget that the majority of the world lives in poverty, or pretty damn close to it. Easier for us, at least.

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    The UN definition of poverty is living on less than a dollar a day; I’d suggest that’s a number chosen to keep the sheer statistical size of this situation from light, since it’s hard enough to live on $30 a day. Sure, not as extreme, but by no means easy in many areas of the world. We are incredibly lucky to be a part of this miniscule percentage of people who are, by all means, rich.

    Even if you’re in debt and have a terrible credit rating, you’re rich compared to much of the world. I don’t say that to deride anyone, but remind us all that we’re lucky, even when times are terrible by our own standards. There is something everyone can do to help. Even a mere dollar makes a difference; that’s a doubling of daily income for many.

    Here are a whole bunch of ways you can save more money that we’ve discussed on Lifehack. If it’s this easy to find a few dollars, it’s easy to help stop poverty.

    Make Your Own Coffee, Use the Library, Get Netflix

    Chris Brogan shares a list of ways you can cut a significant number of expenses easily and immediately, from making your own coffee with an espresso machine instead of heading out to Starbucks, using the public library instead of splurging on books all the time, drinking at a friend’s place instead of the pub and laying off the lead foot on your accelerator.

    With some or all of the money you free up using these tips, you could fund a loan with Kiva; and you’re not even losing money since the majority of these loans are fully repaid!

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    Stick to Your Budget

    Here’s a list of 32 hacks to help you stick to your budget. I’m willing to bet that most of us run out of money just before payday because we’re terrible at staying within the boundaries of our budget. If you can get yourself to stay within your budget for just one month, you could still make a difference. Maybe keeping up with a few good personal finance blogs will help in this regard as well.

    With the savings you could help out an organization such as USA for UNHCR, an organization that helps refugees; people who are not only living in poverty, but displaced from their own countries, cultures and families as well.

    Wallet-Padding Tips for Troubled Economies

    Our Thursday published a list of ways you could fatten the wallet up a bit even during harsh economic times. My favorite is the last item: stop paying attention to all the fear mongering in the news. Many are more practical, such as beefing up your resume and learning new skills so you can land a higher income.

    With the savings you could donate to an organization like the Global Fund, which fights AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries.

    Insulate Your Crawl Space

    Kyle Potts writes that by insulating your crawl space, you can save plenty of money on your energy bill over the long-term. You won’t just save on your energy bills: a poorly insulated or vented crawl space can lead to mold and rotting in your flooring, which can cost a fortune to repair.

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    A few dollars freed up on your energy bill can make a big difference, perhaps by making it more affordable to sponsor a World Vision child.

    Save Money on Your Phone Bill

    Do you tend to blow the budget on your phone bill? Not that long ago I wrote an article that described how you could save thousands on your iPhone bill, though many of these tips – and software suggestions – are adaptable to all sorts of mobile phones, especially any kind of smartphone or PDA that tends to run the bill sky high.

    Whatever you save on your phone bill, you could give to World Concern, an international humanitarian non-profit doing some great work.

    Use Your Digital Camera

    Thursday strikes again with a list of ways you can save money with the help of a digital camera or your phone’s camera. The list covers everything from taking snaps to help you recall things that, if forgotten, will cost you more, to monetizing your best shots on stock photography sites.

    You might use your savings to donate to the Action Center to End World Hunger.

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    Get Organized

    Just keeping organized can save you a heap of dosh. I know the difference on my tax return between years when I keep meticulous expense records and years when I don’t is huge; organization certainly pays in that regard. Lorie Marrero lists a whole bunch of other ways that good organization keeps your bank account that bit fuller.

    Getting organized can free you up to donate to Poverty Fighters, a microcredit organization.

    Bring Your Own Lunch to Work

    The amount of money you can save by bringing your own lunch to work instead of heading out to an eatery or the corporate cafeteria over the course of a year is pretty amazing. According to this article, the savings come to as much as $988. That’s almost three years worth of earnings for many people living in poverty. If you could pay for one person to live for three years, three people to live for one year, or thirty people to live for a month, wouldn’t that at least bring a smile to your face?

    While you’re saving on food money, help feed someone else by donating to the Friends of the World Food Program.

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      Last Updated on April 8, 2019

      22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

      22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

      Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

      Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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      1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
      2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
      3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
      4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
      5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
      6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
      7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
      8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
      9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
      10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
      11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
      12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
      13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
      14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
      15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
      16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
      17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
      18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
      19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
      20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
      21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
      22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

      Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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