Honestly, Saving Bucks Is Not That Hard

Have you ever been discouraged by the high down payment on a house or the cost of that car you’ve been wanting for a long time? Have you been depressed by the slow or even negative growth of the number in your savings account?

While nowadays, our minds tend to get derailed by the impulse to seek pleasure, it’s not surprising that even highly paid workers complain about how hard it is to save money. However, despite the fact that the cost of living has grown rapidly in recent years, has the ability to save money become a fortress that can’t be attacked?

Honestly, it hasn’t.

Attitude takes the lead

Before discussing methods, we need to correct our attitude toward saving. There is no doubt that saving money requires strong resistance to desire. The difference between success and failure lies in how we treat this resisting process. If you regard it as torture, your mind will be totally engrossed with the idea of hardship, which will prevent you from clearly seeing the long-term benefits—and will definitely hinder you in pursuing them. But this scenario can be completely reversed when you become aware of how saving money enhances your capacity for self-control and leads you to a better life.

Remember the famous marshmallow experiment? The kids who succeeded in resisting temptation for 15 minutes got a bonus—two marshmallows instead of one. Your bonus for resisting temptation on a daily basis would be far larger than that. Maybe a house, a car, or sufficient funds to travel around the world, start a business, and support your children through a top-tier college. When you aim at how much you can get from resisting, you get a purpose for saving those bucks, leading to accumulation and self-development, not torture.

You track, you learn

Once your attitude is on the right track, you can start preparing. The first rule, the one that comes before everything else, is never spend more than you earn. Many people don’t take this seriously, as it seems so simple and like something “everyone knows.” However, this is exactly where people fall down. To observe that rule requires you to check and compare your expenses and income continuously, not just each month or once a year. You can rob February’s budget to pay January’s extra expenses, but you just delay your financial crisis, not solve it.

With the top rule rooted in your mind, the next step is to build your personal balance sheet. Set up a new spreadsheet with an encouraging file name like “See how I become a money saver.” You can set up your accounting cycle based on your pay cycle or any fixed period you wish. The key elements on your sheet include expenses, income, and balance. Under expenses and income, there should be different categories for what you spend money on and what your income sources are.

Besides the above three key elements, you should also add an extra line/column for notes. At the end of each accounting cycle, skim through the sheet and note anything you find worthy of attention, alert, and praise. As you review the sheet, evaluate your financial performance and you’ll start to learn how to do better in the future. This process will have you making improvements and moving toward your goal.

If building a spreadsheet isn’t your preferred method, try an accounting app that serves the same purpose. Choose your means, and do your job.

Time to save

Okay, we finally come to SAVING.

When it comes to saving and where to direct those funds, we have more than one choice. You can put your money in the hands of investment professionals and wait for returns. You may also consider investing in real estate, which is often a safe bet compared with other complicated financial products. However, all these options require that you have the necessary funds already. Those who are just starting out on their own or are trying to play catch-up have more limited choices, but you must start by saving from every penny you earn.

Your plan should begin with a real savings account, which you cannot use for daily expenses. To make it more conspicuous, you can give it a nickname indicating its future use, like “My first house.” Every time you see that name, you’ll be reminded of your goal, your intention, and the efforts you’ve made along the way. Together, these tactics help fuel your determination and defeat the impulse to spend that can rise out of nowhere.

To put money into that account, you can go with either a fixed or flexible amount. As the name implies, the former option requires you to save a fixed amount of money within each accounting cycle. Take a look at your personal balance sheet, and set up a number that is reasonable for you. Let’s say you earn $5,000 a month and you believe you’ll be able to set aside about a fifth of that each month. What you want to bear in mind is that you have to put that $1,000 under expenses, so that the money you’ve saved is out of reach, making it no different from what you’ve spent.

If you’d prefer to add a little novelty to your savings journey, you have some flexibility. There are, after all, 52 weeks in a year. Try this: Clip 52 pieces of paper and mark each with a different number from 10 to 520 (in increments of 10). Put them in a jar, and draw one each week—that number is the amount you’ll save that week. So if you draw 30, then you save $30 that week. If you’d prefer to start from 100 and increase by 5, go for it! The point here is to set a goal and meet it. Don’t forget to mark the amount you save as an expense on your spreadsheet or in your app.

Hey, look ahead

Envision the future. You’ll no longer be frustrated with saving money because you know saving is for the sake of a better life. You’ll keep improving your financial performance with what you learn from your detailed balance sheet. You’ll hold on tight to your goal and never let your savings account skip a beat. And one day the money in that account will fulfill its purpose.

You are ready to start from this moment because now you know that saving is not that hard. Start your personal plans with Elisi today!

By Elisi Studio

10 Tips to Eliminate Excessive Anxiety (2/2)

6. Stop thinking. When you find yourself stuck with thoughts that are causing anxiety, tell yourself “Stop!” This word is short, quick, and effective.

Practical steps
Tell yourself to stop each time you start thinking about a situation that makes you anxious. If you continue to do this, it will soon become a habit.

7. Take care of and help others. Anxiety and worry can lead people into excessive self-concern. To get out of the cycle of self-blame, a good countermeasure is to consider what you can do for others. Think about how you can help your friends and family. If you know people who are going through a tough time, act now to support them.

Practical steps
Send a thank-you card with a short, thoughtful note or call a friend to follow up about a current situation.

8. List and plan. Empty your mind by creating a list of all the tasks you are worrying about. This will give your brain room to think about other things. In the same way, planning can also help to free your mind from endless worries and fears by organizing your thoughts.

Practical steps
List all the things you want and need to do, prioritize these tasks, and implement your plan. If you start to worry about something you’ve already arranged and organized, tell yourself: “Stop, I have this planned!”

9. Experience being in the moment. When you find yourself thinking about something over and over, take a deep breath and look around. Pay attention to the sky, the trees, and the sounds of nature. Remind yourself to wake up from your “daymare” and you will start to feel differently.

Practical steps
When you find yourself in a negative mood, practice appreciating the beauty of the world around you.

10. Ask a professional for help. When anxiety becomes overwhelming, long-term, and interferes with your daily life, consider getting professional help. A meditation class or a visit with a therapist can calm a tired mind and improve your life.

Practical steps
Find a therapist or counselor, or attend a meditation class.

(By Elisi Studio)

10 Tips to Eliminate Excessive Anxiety (1/2)

1. Blame the problem on the brain. This is not to blame all the anxiety problems on your brain, but you need to know that anxiety may come from the neurophysiological structure, and bad thinking habits are one of the reasons for creating additional anxiety. For example, excessive or lack of a certain chemical substance in the brain, or excessive activity in certain areas of the brain, may cause anxiety in your body. Think of excessive anxiety as a natural consequence of chemical changes in the brain rather than your personal weaknesses, this idea is helpful in relieving anxiety.

Practical Steps
Tell yourself “Don’t worry, it’s my brain that enters an anxious environment.”

2. Hold hands or embrace with who care about you. When you are highly anxious, you will find it’s difficult to calm down. At this time, handle and hug can effectively reduce the stress response. Once you feel your emotions are alleviated, you can try other techniques to divert your attention.

Practical Steps
Holding hands or embrace with someone until you are calm. If you don’t have a companion around you, you can give yourself a massage or take a deep breath.

3. Use your invisible “support circle.” If no one around you can give you comfort, just think of the people who support you and the things happened before that you have received support. Recalling our family and friends can give us a sense of security, which reduces our stress.

Practical steps
Write down the person who is important to yourself on the card, put the card into the wallet. When you feel pressure, take out the card and read it. Whether in the office or at home, put some photos of people you value.

4. Breath with your abdomen. Learn the abdominal breathing method and use it as a relaxation technique. Deep breathing can send an “all good” signal to the brain. Relax your body with deep breathing and your brain will relax too. You don’t need to set aside time to practice as you do meditation, taking deep breathing as a daily breathing method.

Practical steps
When you start feeling anxious, start taking a deep breath with your abdomen. This breathing method can initiate a relaxation reaction.

5. Relax or exercise yourself. Meditation and yoga are common ways of self-relaxation, there are also loud singing, reading, chatting and knitting sweaters, etc. Even washing dishes can eliminate anxiety. For people who are energetic but physically stressed, exercise is more effective than self-relaxation. 20 minutes of exercise can reduce anxiety and improve resilience. Aerobic exercise can consume chemicals that make you nervous, such as adrenaline. Even walking around can offset the side effects of sedentary.

Practical steps
Choose activities that relax your mind and body to alleviate your anxiety, or just go out for 20 minutes every day.

(By Elisi Studio)