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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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      Joel Falconer

      Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

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      Last Updated on August 12, 2019

      How To Start a Conversation with Anyone

      How To Start a Conversation with Anyone

      The hardest part of socializing, for many people, is how to start a conversation. However, it is a big mistake to go about life not making the first move and waiting for someone else to do it [in conversation or anything].

      This isn’t to say you must always be the first in everything or initiate a conversation with everyone you see. What should be said, though, is once you get good at starting conversations, a lot of other things will progress in the way you want; such as networking and your love life.

      Benefits of Initiating a Conversation

      First thing is you should acknowledge why it is a good thing to be able to initiate conversations with strangers or people who you don’t know well:

      • You’re not a loner with nothing to do.
      • You look more approachable if you are comfortable approaching others.
      • Meeting new people means developing a network of friends or peers which leads to more knowledge and experiences.

      You can only learn so much alone, and I’m sure you’re aware of the benefits of learning from others. Being able to distinguish the ‘good from bad’ amongst a group of people will help in building a suitable network, or making a fun night.

      All people are good in their own way. Being able to have a good time with anybody is a worthy trait and something to discuss another time. However, if you have a specific purpose while in social situations, you may want to stick with people who are suitable.

      This means distinguishing between people who might suit you and your ‘purpose’ from those who probably won’t. This can require some people-judging, which I am generally very opposed to. However, this does make approaching people all the more easier.

      It helps to motivate the conversation if you really want to know this person. Also, you’ll find your circle of friends and peers grows to something you really like and enjoy.

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      The Rules

      I don’t have many rules in this life, for conversation or anything; but when it comes to approaching strangers, there are a few I’d like used.

      1. Be polite. Within context, don’t be a creepy, arrogant loudmouth or anything. Acknowledge that you are in the company of strangers and don’t make anyone feel uncomfortable. First impressions mean something.
      2. Keep it light. Don’t launch into a heartfelt rant or a story of tragedy. We’re out to have fun.
      3. Don’t be a prude. This just means relax. This isn’t a science and conversation isn’t a fine art. Talk to people like you’re already friends.
      4. Be honest. Be yourself. People can tell.

      Who To Talk To?

      I’m of the ilk that likes to talk to everyone and anyone. Everyone has a story and good personalities. Some are harder to get to than others, but if you’re on a people-finding excursion, like I usually am, then everyone is pretty much fair game.

      That said, if you’re out at a function and you want to build a network of people in your niche, you will want to distinguish those people from the others. Find the ‘leaders’ in a group of people or ask around for what you’re looking for.

      In a more general environment, like at a bar, you will want to do the same sort of thing. Acknowledge what you actually want and try to distinguish suitable people. Once you find someone, or a group of people, that you want to meet and talk to, hop to it.

      Think of a few things you might have in common. What did you notice about their dress sense?

      Building Confidence

      The most important part of initiating conversation is, arguably, having confidence. It should be obvious that without any amount of self-esteem you will struggle. Having confidence in yourself and who you are makes this job very easy.

      If you find yourself doubting your worth, or how interesting you are, make a few mental notes of why you are interesting and worth talking to. There is no question you are. You just have to realize that.

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      What do I do? What is interesting about it? What are my strong points and what are my weak ones? Confident people succeed because they play on their strengths.

      Across the Room Rapport

      This is rapport building without talking. It’s as simple as reciprocated eye contact and smiles etc. Acknowledging someone else’s presence before approaching them goes a long way to making introductions easier. You are instantly no longer just a random person.

      In my other article How Not To Suck At Socializing, there are things you can do to make yourself appear approachable. This doesn’t necessarily mean people are going to flock to you. You’ll still probably need to initiate conversations.

      People notice other people who are having a blast. If you’re that person, someone will acknowledge it and will make the ‘across the room rapport’ building a breeze. If you’re that person that is getting along great with their present company, others will want to talk to you. This will make your approach more comfortable for both parties.

      The Approach

      When it comes to being social, the less analytical and formulaic you are the better. Try not to map out your every move and plan too much. Although we are talking about how to initiate conversation, these are really only tips. When it comes to the approach, though, there are some things you should keep in mind.

      Different situations call for different approaches. Formal situations call for something more formal and relaxed ones should be relaxed.

      At a work function, for instance, be a little formal and introduce yourself. People will want to know who you are and what you do right away. This isn’t to say you should only talk about work, but an introduction and handshake is appropriate.

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      If you’re at a bar, then things are very different and you should be much more open to unstructured introductions. Personally, I don’t like the idea of walking directly to someone to talk to them. It’s too direct. I like the sense of randomness that comes with meeting new people.

      However, if there is rapport already established, go for it. If not, take a wander, buy a drink and be aware of where people are. If there is someone you would like to talk to, make yourself available and not sit all night etc.

      When someone is alone and looks bored, do them a favor and approach them. No matter how bad the conversation might get, they should at least appreciate the company and friendliness.

      Briefly, Approaching Groups

      When integrating with an established group conversation, there is really one thing to know. That is to establish the ‘leader’ and introduce yourself to them. I mentioned that before, but here is how and why.

      The why is the leader of a group conversation is probably the more social and outgoing. They will more readily accept your introduction and then introduce you to the rest of the group. This hierarchy in a group conversation is much more prevalent in formal situations where one person is leading the conversation.

      A group of friends out for the night is much more difficult to crack. This may even be another topic for discussion, but one thing I know that works is initiating conversation with a ‘stray’. It sounds predatorial, but it works.

      More often than not, this occurs without intention. But if you do really want to get into a group of friends, your best bet is approaching one of them while they are away from the group and being invited into the group.

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      It is possible, like everything, to approach a group outright and join them. However, this is almost an art and requires another specific post.

      Topics Of Conversation

      Other than confidence, the next thing people who have trouble initiating conversations lack is conversation! So here are a few tips to get the ball rolling:

      • Small talk sucks. It’s boring and a lot of people already begin to zone out when questions like, “What do you do?” or “What’s with this weather?” come up. Just skip it.
      • Everything is fair game. If you are in the company of someone and a thought strikes you, share it. “This drink is garbage! What are you drinking?” “Where did you get that outfit?”
      • Opinions matter. This is any easy way to hit the ground running in conversation. Everyone has one, and when you share yours, another will reveal itself. The great thing about this line of thought is that you are instantly learning about the other person and what they like, dislike etc.
      • Environment. The place you’re in is full of things to comment on. The DJ, band, fashions; start talking about what you see.
      • Current events. Unless it’s something accessible or light-hearted, forget it. Don’t launch into your opinion on the war or politics. If your town has recently hosted a festival, ask what they think about it.

      Exiting Conversation

      Although I’d like to write a full post on exiting strategies for conversations you don’t want to be in, here are some tips:

      • The first thing is don’t stay in a conversation you’re not interested in. It’ll show and will be no fun for anyone.
      • Be polite and excuse yourself. You’re probably out with friends, go back to them.  Or buy a drink. Most people will probably want to finish the conversation as much as you.

      Likewise, you could start another conversation.

      If you’d like to learn more tips about starting a conversation, this guide maybe useful for you: How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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