Personal Finance: Save money with these three tips 0 71992

There are a lot of things that are infinite – the universe, the human imagination, love, etc.; one of the few things that isn’t infinite though is money. Yes, money. Like most things in this planet, money is not infinite. Like our health, we have to plan how we use it or we inevitably run out. We don’t need to tell you that money might just be the most important currency on the planet. Here are a few tips to help you manage yours better.

Plan budget

Most people live off salaries. It’s not some big shame or some evidence that you belong to the middle class, it’s just the way things are – meaning some have more money than others. And so, when your salary comes in, the smart thing to do is budget said salary to make sure you don’t run through it before the month is over. When people hear the word “budget,” they think only people who don’t make enough do that, “or it’s just for married people.” It’s not. In fact, budgeting is a sign of thoughtful financial planning. Budgets are designed to help you curb your more impulsive spending habits and they can help you set aside a significant sum of money for a plan you might have in the not-so-distant future. Perhaps you want to move out of your apartment and rent somewhere better, surprise your kid with the car of her dreams, or simply plan for retirement. There is no limit to why you need extra money; bottom-line is saving is good and it’s achievable with a sound budget plan. When making your budget plan here are a couple of things you need to know:

  • How much you spend: This is important because you want to know what a typical month of unplanned spending costs before you budget to prevent it. It would help to retrace your steps and gather your receipts, credit card bills, and bank statements to help outline your past spending habits.
  • How much you make: It might shock you to know that the amount that was promised when you took your job isn’t the amount that is in your bank account at the end of every month. 🤔 In fact, it’s usually quite a bit less. You need to get a bank statement and look at your salary after all the deductibles have been removed, that understand the real amount you make. While you’re at it, you might want to add all external sources of income like dividends, side projects, and other minor sources.
  • How much you save: There is always a purpose to every cent saved away. Once you have determined yours, you are ready to plan your budget.

Your budget plan should typically entail certain amounts sets aside for specific fixed and expected expenses. After all fixed and expected expenses have been addressed, the remaining amount should be deposited into a savings account to restrict access to it and limit your tendency to spend it when you should be saving it for the future.

Seek balance

Having quantity over quality is never a good compromise, but sometimes things don’t have to be so black and white. If you are looking to save, then you need to embrace a grey area. Sometimes to shave certain amounts off your monthly expenses, you should consider looking for a cheaper version of a product that you are used to. For example, instead of opting for farm fresh milk, you could look for a cheaper farm fresh milk that is not as expensive. Saving more money doesn’t have to include unimaginable budget cuts. Sometimes looking for a cheaper product that does the same thing is not a bad idea.

Limit spending

This part is probably the hardest yet most obvious way to save money; that is why we saved it for last. Cutting back on your spending can be terrifying and hard, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a way to get rid of some of the unhealthy and life-threatening habits that might be ruining your life. Obviously, some habits are not as deadly as we make them out to be, but they might as well be.

When you are trying to cut down on spending, you should consider not eating out so much. These little dinners and lunches at your local restaurant could not only be unhealthy, they could constitute a bulk of your expenses. Reducing the frequency from say 10 times per month to a modest 2-3 times per month, could save you a lot of money. Other unhealthy habits you could cut down on too are; smoking, ordering food, unused gym memberships, etc.

Saving more money can sometimes be a sensitive subject that most people avoid because they have so little control of their finances. However, it doesn’t have to be such a trying and an emotionally testing subject. Budgeting, cutting down your expenses, and compromise can give you that much-needed control over your money.

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5 Yoga moves to add to your daily stretching today 0 53353

Introduction

It’s no surprise that the practice of yoga has grown in popularity over the last couple of decades. It has several benefits like core strengthening and improved flexibility. However, yoga has several poses and positions that can get a little confusing when choosing what poses to do to achieve your goals. Whether you are just starting out, or are looking to raise the bar during your yoga, this is the post for you.

A brief history on the origin of yoga

Modern yoga as we know it is a combination of different poses and forms, evolved over centuries and modified by different practitioners. Take the first ever recorded instance of yoga, which dates as far back as the 2nd century which, although it was not clearly described as yoga, involved a sitting posture described to require a steady form and comfort. The form was assumed for meditation, not unlike what we have today. In about the 11th century, there was a description of a non-seated pose in which the practitioner balances on the hands. As the centuries passed, yoga became more evolved, and more adapted to modern cultures like ours.

Simple forms

Even though yoga has changed over the years, there are simple poses that have remained relatively constant through the ages, retaining their simplicity and form.

Here are 5 of those simple forms that can be incorporated into your daily routine

  1. Lotus Position: The lotus is one of the most fundamental positions in yoga, with a long history like we discussed. The lotus has a special position among all the stretches and positions not just because it is the oldest, but also because it is key to meditation, which is a big part of yoga.

To enter the sitting position:

  • Sit on the mat with your legs and your back straight
  • Fold your legs so that your feet now rest under your thigh as you relax and let your feet rest comfortably on the floor.
  1. Cow position: The cow position is also a relatively easy position to attain. It is especially good for stretching and relaxing the back muscles as it involves stretching the vertebrae (back bone) and the spinal muscles.

To perform the cow position,

  • Start by kneeling on all fours (hands directly beneath shoulders, and knees directly beneath the hips)
  • Breath in and turn your head upwards as if to look at the ceiling, forming an upward facing curve with your back (the hollow facing upwards)
  • Breath out and return to the neutral position
  • Repeat as necessary
  1. Child Position: The child pose is different from the cow position, only because it stretches the back in the opposite direction, as well as the neck, arms, and legs. It also tones and strengthens the core muscles, giving a mild general body stretch. The child pose is especially good in situations where you don’t have a lot of time during the session. It is a great pose for stretching a lot of areas at once.

To enter the child position:

  • Kneel on all fours like in the cow position
  • Lower your hips so your thighs touch your calves
  • Lean forward, and extend your arms so your elbow and hands touch the mat
  • Maintain the position for the desired length of time
  • Repeat
  1. Bridge pose: So named because of the way the body resembles a bridge when done correctly. The bridge position can be considered the opposite of the child’s pose because here, the back is active and extended, with the hips and knees flexed and bearing most of the body’s weight. The bridge is good for stretching the abdominal muscles and the thighs.

To enter the bridge position:

  • Lie flat on your back and bend your knees
  • With your bent knees, elevate your body so your buttocks and lower back lift off the mat
  • Bring your arms forward so they are positioned directly beneath your body
  • Be sure to keep your upper back and head on the mat during the pose
  • Hold for as long as necessary and repeat as desired
  • Repeat
  1. Locust Position: The locust position is an intermediate level position, because of the core strength it requires to execute. It is very similar to the “superman” in resistance training. While the superman is for strength building, the locust is for stretching and relaxation. It concentrates on the arms, legs and upper back.

To enter the locust position:

  • Lie on your chest with your arms and legs stretched out on the mat
  • Lift your legs from the hip off the mat, while simultaneously lifting your head, arms, and upper chest
  • Maintain the position for the desired length of time
  • Repeat

Incorporate these stretches and positions into your daily routine to increase strength, flexibility, and improve inner-peace. Let us know what you think!

New year resolutions that work 0 69467

For most people, new year resolutions are like second chances: A second chance at being a better you; a second chance at getting another year right; a second chance at your goals and dreams. The feeling you get from making brand new decisions in the new year is almost a high, making you feel empowered. But with a success rate of less than 20%, most new year resolutions don’t make it to February, which can leave us feeling insufficient and undisciplined. However, there are ways to make and achieve new year resolutions and that’s what this post is all about.

Most new year resolutions are made half-heartedly. We cross our fingers, close our eyes, and say the resolution in our minds with wishful optimism as we blow out birthday candles. As a result, the resolution disappears into thin air like candle smoke, listless and without energy. Resolutions never happen that way. But to be fair, the intention and energy that follows a new year resolution is dependent on why the resolution is being made in the first place. People make new year resolutions for more reasons than are immediately obvious. Sometimes we make resolutions because we actually want to make a change. But other times, it is not so simple. Other times, we make resolutions because it is simple. Sometimes, we make resolutions because it would be weird if we didn’t. And sometimes, our resolutions are simply an avenue for us to get out of doing things that we know we ought to do. And because resolutions rarely work, we can simply blame our failure on the resolution’s inconsistency.

Making and acting on new year resolutions involves more than just wishing they were true. It requires a certain stick-to-it-tiveness that most people are not prepared for when they make the resolutions. Fortunately, there are simple steps that can bring us that much closer to achieving our new year resolutions.

  1. Set resolutions that you actually want to achieve: The most  important thing when setting a new year resolution is to only set resolutions that you want to achieve. The chances of achieving new year resolutions that you do not really want are slim to none. And, as we know, things don’t just happen because we wish them to. Hitting your new year goals begins with wanting it.
  2. Set realistic and achievable resolutions: The very nature of resolutions are that they are things that see yourself doing. A resolution of a big-boned individual to be as ripped as Dwayne Johnson is simply unachievable. It is more realistic to set a particular amount of weight you want to lose.
  3. Dream BIG: Just because your resolutions should be realistic does not mean they cannot be ambitious. Set resolutions that challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone. If the idea is to grow and improve as an individual, why not become the most improved individual you can be. For our big-boned friend whose resolution might be to lose 50 lbs for instance, he could make it an ambitious 100 lbs.
  4. Make your resolutions into goals: Research shows that you are 40% more likely to achieve the goals that you write down, and until you make it into a clear written objective, a new year resolution is just wishful thinking. When you write down your new year resolution, you are committing yourself to following through, which increases your chances of achieving it. A goal-oriented resolution might be to lose 10 lbs every month.
  5. Break them down into small actionable steps: It can be daunting to look at the ambitious goals you have set for yourself in the new year. It can often be overwhelming because sometimes, you don’t even know where to begin. At this stage, it helps to break the resolutions into simple, easy-to-do daily action points. With the steps broken down into pieces, you can make daily progress without the strain of feeling like you have to do it all at once. An example may be to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, three times weekly.
  6. Celebrate your progress: Sometimes, we fall short of our goals and that’s alright. Remember to take a minute to review your progress and how far you’ve come and grown!

We all want to be better versions of ourselves and new year resolutions can help us do that and even though they can be quite difficult to follow through and execute, they are a huge part of the growth process. Making resolutions and sticking to them will help us grow as individuals and we all know that growth is arguably the most important part of being human. As you continue the year, make, tweak, and stick to your resolutions and watch yourself evolve into a happier, more fulfilled individual.

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