3 Things You Should Know About Money

3 things you should know about money

Money, the touchy subject. So many of us earn it but aren’t educated about it and the institutions that keep it. I’m not saying we all need to have financial degrees to handle our money but it would’ve been nice if we were teaching these few concepts in school. In the hopes to be your bearer of knowledge, I’ve put together some things I’ve learnt about money, and accounts that keep them.

3 Things you should know about money

1. Inflation

To manage your money the most effective way possible, you need to know that inflation exists. Inflation is a steady increase in the price of goods and services that lowers the buying power of your money. So, if you had money in the bank in 2010. The value of which, could buy you 100 pairs of shoes that year, the same amount of money would only buy you 70 pairs of shoes in 2015. So your money doesn’t decrease but what you can do with it does.

So now that you know about inflation, you can see the flaw in keeping your money in a banking account, which brings me to my next point.

2. Storing your money

Ah, the good ol’ bank account, great for everyday transactions but not so great for saving. A banking account, even the ones that don’t charge administration fees, is not a place for saving your money. To save money, your number one priority is to have your money in an account that at the very least beats inflation. You do not need to know what inflation is and how it works. Keep in mind that it is a percentage. Also know that your money needs to be earning that percentage (or more) yearly.

To find out your county’s rate of inflation use Google. Be sure to search “inflation (your country name) (current year)”. As an example, my search looks like this:”Inflation South Africa 2015″. All my results put the current inflation around 4.5%. When choosing an account for saving purposes I will look at institutions that will give me a rate of 4.5% interest or earning per year AFTER their yearly fees. This way you make sure your money increases with inflation and you can still buy your 100 pairs of shoes in 2015.

In my experience investment houses would be able to provide you with some money market accounts or unit trusts that beat inflation. I’ve not found banks in South Africa that are competitive with their interest rates. Speaking to financial advisers at investment houses are useful for direction on where to place your money.

3. Steer clear of credit

As years have gone by I’ve learnt that you can make your money work for you,regardless of how little you have. You just need to know where to put it, or speak to a financial advisor who will tell you where to put it. Purchasing on credit is the exact opposite of making your money work for you. With credit you’re, in essence, spending your money before you have it.

Having actual money and not living in an overdraft or credit facility is single most important tip I can give you. Cash is king. Your goal should be to pay off your debt as soon as possible. With credit, the interest that you could have been earning on your cash is going into your credit company’s pockets.

Yes certain debt is necessary, like the debt from buying a reasonable car or an affordable house. I’m referring to the unnecessary credit purchases like clothes, holidays and new furniture. These could have waited till you’ve earned enough actual cash to pay for them. That way, while you’re saving for that holiday, your money will be earning interest. With cash you pay your once off fee for your holiday and get on with your life. If you put your holiday on your credit card and pay it off over 6 months, your holiday will work out to double the price. This is due to the extra interest and fees you charged by your credit card provider.

With credit, your money is working for the credit provider. With cash, your money works for you.

I know this post barely scratches the surface on the topic of money but it’s a good start. If you would like some more specific tips and tricks for saving and managing your finances let me know in the comments.

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5 Things To Start Doing For a More Positive You

5 Things to start doing for yourself today

For some positivity is second nature and a natural state of being. For the rest of us life sometimes gets in the way. Over time that natural positivity fades away. Until we have nothing to cling to except our sanity (yes I’m slightly over dramatic).

The truth is, life treats us all the same. The only thing that is different is how we choose to react to the situations that we find ourselves in. Our reactions, in turn, affect our emotions. Or at least that is how it’s supposed to work. The problem comes in when situations directly affect our emotions. They bypass our minds and evoke emotionally charged responses. This way takes away our control and we are left to go about life at the mercy of life’s events.

You need to train your mind to recognise that you are in control. Even the most positive of people cannot control what happens in their life, it’s all in the response. You can recognise an interaction with a colleague as something out of your control and choose how to react. The best reaction to negativity is non-reaction. Non-reaction won’t lead to an emotion filled rage on your insides.

So here are a few tips from the peanut gallery on how to be positive

5 things to start doing for yourself

1. Ignore the news

Ah the news, our to connect to whats wrong with the world. I’ve realised that the news is a stream of negativity that in actual fact has no practical use in our daily lives. We already know bad things happen right? So why should we be listening to the gory details? There is no logical explanation for you to listen to the news. It’s a bad idea to let this stream of negativity into your life.
You won’t miss out on important world events. Those will reach you through the grapevine or internet somehow.

2. Be conscious of your environment

Taking stock of the elements in your environment is key. Things like the music you listen to, movies you watch or the games you play do have an influence on your mood. Maybe not immediately but in the long run it can. Rap and rock are my genre’s of choice but I noticed it’s filled with negative lyrics. I urge you to do an experiment, exclude these environmental negativities for a while. Replace them with other music or a game that have a positive affect on your mood and note the difference. As a rule after conducting my own trail run, i’ve excluded rap and rock from my playlist at work. I now listen to music with no lyrics at work.

Test the effects of the following genres on your mood. Reggae, Jazz Fusion (Jazz and Latin American) and Classical.

Another way to be more conscious of your environment is to start meditating. Meditation helps you to become a better observer of the situations you find yourself in. Better observation allows you to take a step back and respond in a manner you approve of. Meditation can help you in be more present in the moment which is excellent for getting off of auto pilot.

3. Make gratitude a part of your day

If there is anything from these tips that you should actually take away and incorporate its this one. Gratitude will assist you in recognizing the positive things. Appreciating things will train your mind to take note of the positives in your life. The things you do have, that you have accomplished, the things you can do. You’ll also learn to ignore all the “nots” and “cants”. Start by being grateful for what you have, say them out loud or write them down. I know for some this practice starts with great amounts sarcasm. For me it started with:”Good on you cat, you got onto the counter and ate off the dirty plates. I’m grateful that you found a snack, sista’s doin’ it for themselves.

Alex Ikonn has a 5 minute journal that is worth checking out as a way to introduce gratitude into your life.

4. Take a look at those around you

Take stock of those around you. During my stock take i saw that most of my negativity stems from growing up in a society that loves to complain. A complaint is the easiest way to strike up a conversation. “Oooh this que is taking forever” is met with many grunts and nodding heads. Saying something positive like:” I love your shoes” results in the person feeling uncomfortable. Also my family is so logical. By that I mean bordering on the verge of cynical, which has trained me to hope for the best and expect the worse.

Do your stock take. See what habits of negativity you’ve learnt from those around you. Be aware of them and choose to break those habits. That way you will not fall into those conversational traps and thought patterns.

5. Acceptance of those who aren’t

Some of us can’t choose who we have in our company for most of the day. You can’t choose your colleagues after all (unless you have some blackmail on someone in the HR department at work). You also cannot tell those around you how to live. (You may want to but you can’t). You can’t change people’s outlooks and their love for complaining. The best reaction to those around you who are negative, is no reaction. Putting energy into dealing with someone who isn’t a positive influence in your life is a waste of time.

You should focus your energy on things and people who you find worth while. Where you spend your energy, that is the aspect in your life that will grow.

So yes that’s my two cents worth.

If these tips are helpful, or if you have more please share them with me.

Are You “Taking a Break” From Something? A Guide to Getting to Things Now

Are you taking a break from something justbepixie

Hello there friends, I’m back.

So I’ve been missing for a couple of months and the reason behind it isn’t an excellent one.

I had a lot going on in my life. In March I started a new job and had to fall into a new routine. My logical thought was to give myself a break from writing. I also assumed there would be a point, after a month or two at most, at which I would feel like writing again. When that time comes then I’d automatically make time for it. So now close on half a year has passed and I’ve come to a scary realisation.

You will never feel like it!

Now I feel the need to elaborate. Yes, you can enjoy doing something, whether it is a project or a hobby but a day will come where you don’t have the energy, the motivation or the will to do it. Your brain will play nasty by making excuses for you. Who can blame it? That’s it’s job, to keep you in your comfort zone so that you don’t feel overworked, overwhelmed or fatigued. But in doing so, you stay on your comfort zone aka the zone where you don’t grow. You need to be exposed to discomfort in order to push through and learn to cope, it’s how you grow, right? Yes.

So previously my theory was that if you love something enough, it will exert a force great enough to overcome your brain’s excuses for staying in bed, or keeping you on YouTube instead of doing something productive. Now I’ve learned that nothing can exert a force strong enough to get you to do it without ifs butts and coconuts. There will always come a day where you just say: “Nope” and promptly hit the snooze button.

So you, yes you, in the middle of taking a break from gym, diet, writing, starting a website, putting that proposal for work on paper, creating a capsule cupboard, scrap booking or insert your life changing activity here. You are the person in charge of making sure that you become all that you envision yourself to be. In the big world there are no parents to tell you:”No you can’t have ice-cream for breakfast”, “You can’t spend the whole day in your pajamas, get up and brush your teeth”. It’s all on you. It’s your job to FORCE yourself.

My tips are:

1.     As soon as you have a thought or an idea, action it.

So if in the morning your alarm goes off because the previous night you thought it would be a nice idea to get up early. Do it immediately. Don’t let your mind talk you out of it and make excuses to keep you in bed. No! You can’t snooze the extra 30 min.  Your sound mind made a choice whilst it was motivated and your groggy mind is overriding that decision the next morning. Don’t entertain your zombie brain. Sure it’s going to be hard, it’s like ripping of a band-aid, just do it. You’ll be better off for it in 30 min time.

Similarly if you have a great idea, do not let it pass, make it happen by writing it down or telling someone about it. That way you get the ball rolling, your thought becomes something solid.

2.     Stop the negative internal dialog

I find that envisioning yourself reaching your goals is a good way to stop the negative talk. Focus your mental power on looking at your future self. So for example, the future you after three months of diet and exercise. The future you in your own office and an extra bit of spending money because the proposal went over great with the directors of the company you work for.

3.     Tell people about it

Share your ideas, dreams and visions for yourself with people. You are much less likely to climb into your comfort zone if you have people holding you responsible to be more and do more for yourself. People who have high expectations of you and who want to see you succeed are the best as they hold you accountable.

Its all on you to break that cycle and to ignore or be louder than the voice in your head that makes excuses for you! Do it by any means necessary.

Just remember your comfort zone is where you lack, have less of everything it is that you want. The only way to go beyond is to get out of it.

The lady who inspired me and opened my eyes is Mel Robins

How to Overcome Bouts of Sadness

How to overcome bouts of sadnessI think all of us have reached a stage in our lives, at some point or another, where it’s hard to get up and start the day. Living your life seems tedious and exhausting. All your energy and life force have been dragged out of you to the point where a vacation won’t do the trick (maybe a month of sleep will). Some might called this depression, I prefer calling it a bout of sadness.

Bouts of sadness can be caused by anything from hormones, vitamin or nutrient imbalances or too much mental, emotional and physical stress. Overcoming them seem hard to do when you’re in the middle of the situation but they can be overcome quite easily if you follow these steps. Bouts of sadness can also pass with time as your hormones correct themselves and you receive the correct nutrition.

How to overcome bouts of sadness

1.     Avoid caffeine

Lower your coffee intake during bouts of sadness. Coffee is a comfort for a lot of people but during bouts of sadness caffeine can hinder rather than help the situation. There is no conclusive evidence that coffee causes depression. However, the increased alertness that comes with the consumption of coffee can translate into feelings of anxiety and cause insomnia, which can indirectly affect your mood and cause bouts of sadness. I would not suggest that regular coffee drinkers stop having coffee all together but limiting yourself can make you see results and a relief in your symptoms.

2.     Have your fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients and vitamins that can help reduce feelings of sadness caused by poor nutrition. Iron deficiency is the main culprit when it comes to feeling sluggish and tired.  Most of us forget to eat proper meals during times of stress. The symptoms of poor nutrition lead to sadness, which for most means more junk food. If vegetables and fruits aren’t your thing, go buy some multi vitamins as an alternative.

3.     Get your 8 hours

Some people function on less than 8 hours sleep a day and some people going through a hard time might want to sleep way more (that month of sleep I was talking about earlier). It is important that you first and foremost make sure that you are giving your body enough time to sleep. Sleep helps your body heal and reset. Without that time your hormones will go out of whack. If you’re awake more than you should be, you are using resources that your body doesn’t have which can lead to burnout. Similarly, you should not be oversleeping, set your alarm for 8 hours of sleep every night and wake up when your alarm goes off. This feeds into one of the points below of not breaking routine but also avoiding the negative side effects of oversleeping.

4.     Do not isolate yourself

As tempting as it may seem to draw the curtain on the world when you’re having a bout of sadness, don’t do it. Do not take a sick day and stay at home alone, do not say “no” to visiting your friend on the weekend. Isolating yourself is feeding the problem instead of working toward a solution. You could be adding feelings of loneliness and a lack of support to your arsenal when you isolate yourself. So despite how badly you want to stay at home, get out there, go to work and stay social. (You might want to forewarn your friends that you wont be a ton of fun).

5.      Do not break routine

Yes you’re drained and feeling exhausted and now I’m being mean and telling you not to break routine by carrying on with all the hard work that caused this in the first place. As I said before we aren’t trying to feed the problem, we are solving it. Staying in routine is the best thing you can do for yourself. Still go to gym, still go to work and still cook your own meals. Going off routine is not a good idea as you might be adding feelings of being lost, empty or like something is strange or missing.

Bouts of sadness are temporary, they are a speed bump in your mental health that can be overcome by taking better care of yourself for a little while.  If after reading this you think that you are suffering from depression, which is a pervasive sadness and dulling of experience that won’t go away without formal intervention, you should consider seeking help immediately.

Dash of Positivity

turn your head toward the sun motivation

 

Yes I did hear this in Rihanna’s song but no, she isn’t the one who said these inspiring words originally. Its an old Maori proverb and I first came to know of it through my biology teacher wrote this in my journal when I graduated primary school.

I love this motivational quote because it makes us responsible for the lightness as well as the darkness we experience. All that matters is our focus. It simply states that focusing on the positive things in life will distract focus from the bad.

Taking responsibility for your own happiness or lightness is so empowering. It is easier said than done. I think I should tackle this topic and post a link here when I’ve completed it.

How to Act in an Interview


how to act in an interview

Congratulations, you’ve finally been called in for an interview. The labour intensive part of the job search has been completed. Follow these tips to ensure that you are not overlooked as a candidate in this crucial part of the job application process.

Interviews have a certain vibe and you can walk away with a clear sense of how it went by the flow of the conversation and your feelings during the interview. After you’ve completed your interview preparation, this is what you do in the interview. These tips are designed to make the interview flow smoothly and leave both you and the interviewer with a good vibe. It’s like going on a first date the first impression is important and largely dependent on the atmosphere created by both parties.

 how to act in an interview
Position your chair

When you sit down to the interview make sure that your chair is in the correct position. Your chair should not be facing the interviewer head on. Facing the interviewer head on makes for a confrontational type conversation, which is not the vibe we want the interview to have. Placing your chair slightly askew or not sitting directly across the table from your interviewer will create a more conversational interview. (This is partly because you are less likely to view the interviewer as raging bull facing you head on). If you forgot this step don’t panic, you can always turn your body slightly sideways in the chair to have your chest facing away from the interviewer ever so slightly.

Speaking style

In your interview to be sure to describe concepts clearly and answer your questions in a comprehensive manner that leaves the interviewer with little to no questions about what you have just stated. Be sure to remove all if, buts and coconuts from your vocabulary. If you need time to think about your answer say: “Give me time to think abut that”. Do not fill your sentences with “uhms” “likes” and “uhs”.

Listen

Interviewers like to talk as much as any other person. There are times where you should quiet your mind and listen tentatively. Do not think about what it is that you would like to add in next. This tentative listening will enable you to ask the interviewer relevant questions later on when you need information about the position or the company.

Sometimes you’ll have to lead the interview

Most interviews’ bad vibes are created by bad interviewers. Some don’t ask the right questions to trigger important responses or don’t ask about your key accomplishments or why they should hire you above anyone else. It is up to you to make sure that these facts about you do not get overlooked. First, you need to know when you have a bad interviewer. Bad interviewers will be talking more than listening, they are incapable of leading the interview. A bad interviewer is evident in an interview with a lot of awkward silences or they will ask questions that evoke poor and non specific answers that do not target your unique attributes.

My tip is, if there is an awkward silence and the interviewer is looking down at his notes or your CV, say something like :”You will notice in my CV that…(I had my own company for a while which afforded me the opportunity to be in a position of high responsibility)” or “During my tenure at… (That Company I implemented employment wellness strategies)”. Keep your tone light and conversational, like you’re just trying to get to know each other better. These statements will prompt the interviewer to ask more questions in the relevant direction. (This will work in most cases. Some interviewers need to be spoon fed information about you).

Make sure that you know what you want

In order to make sure that you are not swayed into taking a position that you’re not interested in, you need to set your boundaries and standards before the interview. Some companies do not advertise how much they would like pay you each month. Some might hope that you’re willing to switch paths from your previous experience (administration to marketing or sales). With clear boundaries you won’t be taken off guard when someone offers you something contrary to what it is that you want. You would quite simply be able to say that you’re not interested.

So be sure to think about; Your acceptable salary range, the type of position you’re looking for and the environment you want to work in before you enter your interview. You would save yourself and the company a whole lot of effort by being clear about your wants.

Have you successfully created a good vibe in an interview before? Who has had some bad interviews before? I like reading your interview stories, please post them here.