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The ABC’s of Debt Consolidation – What It Is And How To Do It Properly

People all around the globe are currently struggling to pay numerous loans. If you’ve heard of debt consolidation and would like to know if it’s a viable option for you, then it’s this is the perfect opportunity to learn the ins and outs of this debt refinancing.

What is Debt Consolidation?

Debt consolidation involves taking out a new loan to help you pay off your other consumer debts and liabilities. It typically refers to unsecured debts. You combine all of your smaller debts into a single larger debt that usually comes with more favorable terms. This is most ideal for people who owe $10,000 or more.

You could get a lower payment each month, reduced interest rates, or a combination of both. You can use the money from this loan to pay your credit cards, student loans, and other assorted liabilities. This can reduce your stress levels because it’ll streamline everything into a single payment.

This type of debt refinancing has its pros and cons so make sure to get all the information you can before applying for a debt consolidation loan.

What requirements you need

debt consolidation requirements

Here is what you will need to prepare if you decide to go ahead:

  • Proof of income
  • Credit history
  • Creditworthiness or financial stability
  • Collateral or equity

Sample of documents you will need to prepare:

  • Proof of employment or letter from employer
  • Two months’ statements for every loan or credit card you want to pay
  • Letters from repayment agencies or creditors

Once everything is ready to go, you have to decide which one to pay first. The lender will decide this in a lot of instances. However, you should go for the one with the highest interest rate if you get a choice. When you pay this debt, you’ll move to the next one until you pay everything off. As long as you follow the plan, you can be debt-free in a few years.

Secured vs Unsecured Loans

When it comes to debt consolidation loans, there are two broad types available. You can choose a secured or unsecured loan.

• A secured loan uses your assets like a car or home as collateral. If you don’t pay your debt, you run the risk of losing whatever you put up for collateral.

• Unsecured loans do not have assets as collateral. This can be a relief, but it can also make them much more difficult to get. They come with lower qualifying amounts and higher interest rates to help minimize the risk.

Both types of loans usually come with lower interest rates than you’ll get with credit cards. A lot of these loans have fixed interest rates. This means that they won’t fluctuate over the time you repay them.

Your Most Common Options For Loan Consolidation

You have several options available when you consolidate loans into one larger payment. We picked out the most common ones for you below.

• Traditional Banks and Peer-to-Peer Lenders

The majority of traditional creditors like peer-to-peer lending platforms, credit unions, and banks offer debt consolidation loans. They’re great for borrowers who are having trouble managing the size of their debt or the number of monthly payments. If you want to pay down several high-interest debts, this is the option you want to choose because you get a lower rate and one payment per month.

• Balance Transfer Credit Cards

A second option you have is to take all of your current credit card debt and transfer it onto a new balance transfer card. This card usually gives you a set amount of months to pay down your balance with a 0% interest rate. Look for cards that come with promotional offers or bonuses. The goal is to pay down as much debt before the 0% APR stops.

• HELOC

Home equity lines of credit or home equity loans are another way you can consolidate your debts to make them easier to manage. As a bonus, you can typically deduct the interest on this loan from your taxes as long as you itemize all of your deductions come tax time. Your home is the collateral in this loan option, and this means you run the risk of losing it if you don’t or can’t pay it.

• Student Loans

debt consolidation student loan

You have several debt consolidation programs available for your student loan debt. The federal government sponsors many of these consolidation programs. You can use the Federal Direct Loan Program to consolidate any non-private loans you have into one easy payment with a lower interest rate. To get the interest rate on this new loan, the company will look at the weighted average of all of the previous loans’ interest rates.

You should note that opting in and getting debt consolidation services doesn’t erase your debt. All it does is transfer it to a different type of lender or loan. If you need debt relief and don’t qualify for a loan, debt settlement is a solid option. The goal of debt settlement is to reduce how much you owe instead of the number of creditors you owe. You’ll work with credit counseling services and debt settlement companies to try and negotiate your debts with the original lenders.

5 Steps To Getting A Loan Consolidation

Once you make up your mind, these are the steps you will be going through:

1. Get a good grasp of your expenses and income. List down your total monthly income alongside your total monthly expenses. This will allow you to get a good handle on how much you can afford to set aside for your debt consolidation payments.

2. Next, confirm your credit score. The higher your credit score, the likelier you are to get approved and even get lower interest rates. Remember that your goal is not just to consolidate your payables but also to get a lower interest rate in the process.

3. Make a list of all the debts you want to consolidate. Include your credit card balances and other high-rate debts.

4. Check out the different loans available to you whether they are from banks, credit unions or online lenders. Compare and contrast their charges and repayment schemes. Make sure that the latter fits in with your monthly income and expenditure.

5. Choose the best option for you and start the loan application process. Make sure to read all fine print including penalties.

Although your credit score may potentially suffer and your payment schedule may take longer, if it will help you clear all your debts in the long run, then you should come out on top.

The post The ABC’s of Debt Consolidation – What It Is And How To Do It Properly appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

An Easy-To-Understand Guide To Car Insurance Coverage Options

If you have car insurance, you most likely know that there are several car insurance coverage options available. Understanding what they all mean can help you in the event of an accident. You’ll know exactly what your insurance company will and won’t cover, and this can remove any nasty surprises you could get if you don’t understand your insurance. We’ll quickly go over everything you need to know below.

Five Car Insurance Coverage Options

A lot of states require that you carry more than one of these coverage options or complete coverage, but it varies from state to state. You can contact your local insurance agency to see what your particular state requires you to have.

Collision and Comprehensive Coverage

guide to car insurance coverage

If you purchased a car and used a company to finance it or if you leased a vehicle, the lienholder will require you to have comprehensive and collision coverage. Once you pay your vehicle off, both of these coverage types usually become completely optional.

Collision coverage is exactly what it sounds like. If you damage your car by colliding with an object or another vehicle, this coverage will help you replace or repair it. Collision coverage will help cover the costs to protect your car. Still, property damage liability will help pay for any damage you cause the other person’s vehicle if you cause the accident.

If you have comprehensive coverage, you have insurance that will help pay to replace or repair your vehicle if someone steals it or it gets vandalized. It also covers animal damage and things like hail. Both types of coverage come with limits and deductibles. The limit will dictate the maximum amount of money your insurance company will payout in the event of an accident. The deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of your pocket before your insurance benefits kick in and pay anything.

Liability

One of the most popular coverage options you have is liability. You can split it into property damage liability and bodily injury liability. If you get into an accident, bodily injury liability will help cover the medical costs for the other person. If you damage another person’s property during an accident, property damage liability will help pay for it.

Every state will set limits on the liability coverage your insurance must offer. The insurance coverage will outline the maximum amount they’ll pay for property damage, bodily injury per person, and bodily injury per accident. You can go above and beyond these requirements and buy an insurance policy that offers higher liability coverage maximum caps. You’ll pay higher premiums doing this, but it’ll offer you more protection in the event of an accident.

Personal Injury Protection and Medical Payment Coverage

guide to car insurance coverage option

Having coverage for any medical payments are optional, but many insurance companies will recommend it. Medical payment coverage will help to pay for the cost of your or any passenger’s medical expenses they incur after an accident like emergency room visits, x-rays, or surgery. It doesn’t matter who caused the accident with this coverage option.

Another coverage option you have is personal injury protection. This isn’t available in every state, but some states do require that you carry it. This coverage works very similarly to medical coverage. As long as you have a covered loss and need medical treatment, this coverage can kick in and help pay for the medical costs. It can also potentially cover other expenses you have while you recuperate from the accident like lost income or childcare expenses.

Rental Reimbursement

This is optional insurance coverage. If you choose to have this coverage, your insurance company will help to pay for the cost of renting a vehicle while a shop fixes yours after a covered event. Check with your insurance company’s limits with rental reimbursement coverage. It usually comes with a set number of days and a specific dollar amount they’ll payout per day.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist

If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance will protect you if you get into an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance. Normally if you sustain injuries in an accident that the other person causes, their liability insurance will help to pay for any medical expenses you incur. However, this won’t happen if the driver that caused the accident doesn’t have auto liability coverage. If this happens, your uninsured motorist coverage would kick in and help pay for any medical expenses you rack up in response to the accident.

If you have underinsured motorist coverage, it works the same way. If the other driver causes the accident has insurance with liability coverage that has lower limits than will trigger your state’s underinsured motorist coverage to kick in and pay, your coverage will pick up the costs. You do want to check with your state’s limits and insurance requirements about this coverage, so you’re not stuck with huge medical bills.

Car Insurance Coverage – Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is there a such thing as full coverage?

Technically, there is no such thing as getting full coverage with your car insurance. However, you can customize your policy by picking and choosing which coverage options you want to have to help protect yourself and your passengers in the event of an accident.

2. What is a car insurance deductible?

The deductible is the set amount you have to pay out of your pocket before your insurance company will pay for a covered accident or loss. Popular deductible amounts range from $500 to $1,000. The higher your deductible is, the lower your premium will be.

3. Can you change your coverage?

Yes. Many insurance companies allow you to change your coverage options any time you like before an accident. You can contact an agent or log into your account and look at your policy. You’ll see an option to make changes and pick the date you’d like the changes to go into effect.

The post An Easy-To-Understand Guide To Car Insurance Coverage Options appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

12 Frequently Asked Questions About Student Loan Debts

For millions of Americans, student loan debts are something that is always in the back of their minds. They can be very complicated, and this can lead to a lot of questions. We’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about student loan debt to give you the answers you seek in one place below.

What types of student loans are available for college expenses?

You can break student loans down into three broad categories. There may be Federal Pell Grants available, but you can borrow from the government if you don’t qualify. Your choices are Direct Stafford loans, Perkins loans, or PLUS loans. Direct Stafford loans come in Subsidized and Unsubsidized forms, Perkins loans are for students in great financial need, and PLUS loans are for a college student’s parents to apply for to help fund their education.

What is the FAFSA?

student loan debts fafsa

FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application determines whether you can get grants you don’t have to pay back. It’ll also determine your eligibility for student loans through one of the three programs we mentioned earlier. You have to report all of your income and your parent’s income on the application, and they assign grants and loan amounts based on need.

Can you invest your excess student loan funds?

According to Best Student Loans, it depends on the type of loan you get whether or not you can legally invest your student loan funds. If you have private student loans, there aren’t many restrictions attached to them. However, investing any excess funds from a subsidized federal government loan could require you to face legal action or pay subsidized interest on the amount you invested.

Is it possible to cancel your loans when you’re in school?

Yes. You can cancel your loans even after you signed the promissory note. You can cancel a Stafford Loan, Perkins Loan, or a PLUS Loan if you tell your school that you won’t accept the loan payment within 14 days of your school telling you the lender disbursed your loan. If it’s later, you can wait until the first day of the payment period and still cancel it. You can return the funds to the school and refuse them as well.

What repayment plans are available?

student loan repayment

If you want to make your payments more affordable, you have several repayment options available. Keep in mind that you will end up paying more in interest the longer you repay your loans. We listed the repayment options below.

  • Standard – You’ll pay a fixed amount every month for 10 years.
  • Extended – You’ll pay a fixed amount every month for 25 years.
  • Income-Based – You’ll pay a monthly payment amount capped at your income level and family size.
  • Graduated – You’ll pay smaller payments to start with, and they’ll gradually increase to standard payments over time.
  • Consolidation – You can consolidate your PLUS, Perkins, and Federal loans into a single loan with a fixed interest rate.

What is Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

Under this program, you’ll make 120 qualifying payments using a qualifying repayment plan. You also have to work full-time for a qualifying employer and submit proof that you stayed employed with them throughout the payment process. When you make it to the 120 payments under these conditions, the government will forgive whatever balance you have left. If you miss a single payment, it starts over. Also, the IRS can tax you on any balance the government forgives. You can find out more by clicking here.

How do you find out which type of government loan you have?

Student loan debts can easily blur together, and it can be challenging to find out which type of government loan you have. However, the National Student Loan Data System on Studentaid.gov will tell you who holds your loans with your contact information.

What happens if you can’t make your payments?

If you’re struggling to pay your student loans, you can apply for deferment or forbearance for one year at a time. If you defer your loans, it freezes everything for a year. Forbearance also freezes your payments, but your interest still adds to your balance each month. You should contact your loan servicer and see which one they suggest.

Can student loans get canceled?

There are a few circumstances where the government could cancel your student loans. They include the borrower’s death, permanent or total disability based on a condition you didn’t have when you took out the loans, the school closed while you were going or 90 days after you withdrew, and false certification. False certification is where the school signed your name on a promissory note without your knowledge.

Does declaring bankruptcy means the government discharges your loans?

Rarely. For this to happen, the bankruptcy court has to believe that keeping your student loans would cause undue hardship. This is very rare, and you could still have loans in default after you declare bankruptcy.

What is loan rehabilitation?

Once you default on a student loan, the lender will give you one chance to rehabilitate it. You’ll have to make nine consecutive monthly payments that are affordable and reasonable to you. Once you do, the lender will put your loan back in good standing and remove it from the default status.

When do you start paying back your student loan debts?

You’ll start to repay your student loans after you drop below half time status or finish your schooling. Perkins loans have a nine-month grace period before you have to pay, and Stafford loans have a six-month grace period. Your loan lender will send you monthly payment notifications when your grace period ends. For PLUS loans, you start repaying it 60 days after the disbursement date, even if you’re in school. You must make each payment in full by the due date. The only exceptions are if you made a deal with the lender or signed up for forbearance or deferment.

The post 12 Frequently Asked Questions About Student Loan Debts appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The Four Most Simple Mistakes That Renters Make All Too Often

There are over 100 million renters in the USA, meaning around a third of people in the country do not own the roof above their head.

That number is 74% higher compared to the 1960s and it’s a result of a variety of reasons, from the high cost of buying property to the freedom which many value of not being tied down. There are also various other factors such as economic recessions and personal circumstances that might dictate the decision to take the leap and become a homeowner.

Whatever the reason though, with so many Americans opting to rent, there are several things they should know. Firstly, it’s essential to understand your rights as a renter and next to avoid mistakes which can potentially cause big issues. Simply by being aware of these house renting tips, renters can avoid foregoing their rights or losing out on their hard-earned cash.

Avoid Renting a Property You Have Not Physically Seen

renter mistakes

It sounds obvious, but one should never rent a property that they haven’t seen. If this can be avoided, never sign for a property without viewing it!

There are many reasons why you may not be able to view a property before you sign an agreement. Perhaps there’s a need to move quickly, or you may be in a different city or country and need to move for work. There is some practical advice for how to deal with this, but be sure to do your due diligence and avoid making what could be a costly and upsetting error.

Even if you currently reside far away, if you are physically able to visit a property to view it before signing a rental contract, then there is no excuse for not doing so. Even if you find yourself in a rush to find a new residence, don’t rely solely on photographs or sales literature as this can often be misleading. Take a Skype tour, find someone you trust to view the property, and remember if the deal seems too good to be true then it probably is.

It’s not just important to view a property in person to check out the property. When visiting a potential rental, you get a clearer picture of the surroundings. During a visit it’s also a good idea to locate any amenities or transport hubs like trains or bus stops that are close by.

Document the Condition of the Property

Once you sign the contract and get the keys there are important steps that all renters should follow. For many of us, we want to make our rented property feel like our home as quickly as possible. However, before you put down that new rug, document the condition of the house /or apartment. Ideally this should be before you move in, or at least before unpacking your belongings.

Documenting can be tedious work depending upon the age of your rental. You should make notes of cracks, electrical problems, structural problems, or anything that just doesn’t look right. The slightest of problems should be noted, including small holes in walls where picture frames have been hung; no imperfection is too minor to note. If you document these problems them in an inventory, the landlord may fix these prior to moving in.

Pictures can help as visual proof to accompany any written documentation. Taking photographs beforehand is advantageous for when you move out. If you happen to have a dispute about deductions from your security deposit, you might need photographical evidence to support your case.

Documentation could save money down the line if you happen to identify a minor problem that could turn into a major problem.

It depends on the terms of the contract, but the burden of responsibility at the point of documentation is usually on the homeowner so long as it’s an issue noted in the walkthrough prior to moving in. Always discuss an inventory with landlords as it proves the state of the property when you move in, helping to avoid any disputes when you leave.

Consider taking out insurance

When buying a property, it’s almost unheard of that the homeowner won’t take out insurance. Yet so many renters do not even consider rental insurance.

A landlord, or the property owner, will have insurance to cover the property in case of fire, natural disasters, or other types of damage, but this insurance does not extend to cover the contents of the tenant. This could be a particularly expensive mistake if you are unfortunate enough to become victim to a fire or flood in your rented home.

When assessing the terms of renters’ insurance or if you should insure the contents of your home, consider the items of value and the cost to replace them should they become damaged. Some personal contents insurance policies also pay-out if you happen to fall victim to burglary. Take the time to carefully review the terms and conditions of potential insurance policies to see what’s covered.

Know Your Responsibilities

When moving into a new property, rented or not, it’s important to understand contractual responsibilities. In a proper contract, it should be clear when the renter is responsible for maintenance or when responsibility falls on the owner/property manager.

For example, gardens are always a bit of a grey area. Establish who is responsible for the upkeep of any external areas and get a clear idea of how often it will need to be tended to.

For larger, more complex maintenance cases there will be many responsibilities that lie with the owners. However, always ensure that it’s legally written in the contract that it is the owner’s responsibility to undertake major works and inspections. Details regarding the frequency of maintenance works and inspections should be clearly notated. Legally it can vary state-to-state, but as a tenant you should be aware of how often a fire safety inspection should take place. Other important areas of maintenance and inspection duties include security. Establish in writing whether it is up to the tenants as a collective (i.e. if you’re renting an apartment in a building) or the responsibility of the landlord or property owner.

In Summation

mistakes that renters make

Remember it’s your responsibility to know your rights. Ignorance of the law does not exempt you from responsibility. Legal precedence states that a person who is unknowing of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely due to being unaware. Do your homework and seek legal advice if needed, as there’s a plethora of free resources out there. Even if you pay for a legal consultation for a contract review, be rest assured that for tenants especially, knowledge is power!

The post The Four Most Simple Mistakes That Renters Make All Too Often appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

7 Ways to Splurge Money Wisely

Yes, you read that right!

Splurging – a word so decadent that just the thought of it is followed by strong guilt.

When you are brought up in a middle class household, the money mindset you have picked up – whether consciously or unconsciously – forbids you to think of splurging.

You will be looked down upon, judged, frowned on and lectured if you even think of extravagance.

But that doesn’t have to be the case.

We all have our guilty pleasures – the ones where the cost doesn’t seem to matter. Comic books, shoes, clothes, perfumes, pens, alcohol, watches, knife set, desserts, markers, belts, purses, socks, jewelry, art, memorabilia – the list is endless.

If splurging is making you unhappy or guilty, you are probably doing it wrong. When done wisely, splurging improves our relationship with money. Intelligent splurging is all about being aware of what’s most important to you and your happiness.

For example – I never feel bad when I spend thousands on buying books. There is no guilt about spending money eating healthy or paying for a gym membership/personal trainer. Of course, there is a ceiling based on what I earn – because let’s be honest, if I cannot afford it, it will be followed by guilt.

Here are some ways you can splurge money wisely.

Instruments Of Your Trade

spending money wisely

One right way to splurge is on the tools you need for work. If buying two LED monitors helps you with your productivity, then don’t hold back. If you are going to be working from home, then it is better to invest in a good ergonomic chair and a 2-in-1 standing desk, to allow you the flexibility of standing and working. If you are an athlete, splurging wisely on tools of your trade will mean buying good equipment you need for the sport you are an athlete in.

More than once, I have regretted buying cheap earphones and pinching dollars on a laptop, only to regret it later. Not investing in a comfortable chair, when my work involved sitting and working proved more costly for my back.

Wherever you can, try and go for quality because these are tools you will use on a daily basis and probably even multiple times in a single day!

Necessities Of Your Life

Splurging on necessities that you can use in the long run saves you a lot of frustration and time. Buying a good pair of knives or proper machines to help you in the kitchen can be a huge time saver and enhance the taste of your food.

Similarly, investing in a good mattress is like investing in your quality of sleep. Good sleep, on most days, is the difference between a good or a bad day.

The stuff you consider a necessity is the stuff you use a lot and regularly so might as well buy a durable one which can stand the test of time.

Celebrating Milestones

Milestones are important. Celebrating adds a special zest which makes them memorable. And making them memorable often has a cost attached to it.

As the days pass by, you will not remember what it cost but you will surely remember the memories that the day brings, which makes splurging on them a very wise decision.

The ones you remember are the ones you celebrated, so splurge on those celebrations a bit without feeling guilty about it.

Health

I want you to look back to the times you were sick. How well did you perform? How much work were you able to get done? Let me guess – not much!

A healthy brain and a healthy body are your two most important assets. For you to go out and achieve your dreams, you need to have a brain that can think and a body which is healthy and free of diseases.

Sickness is inevitable but splurging on our health – gym memberships, personal training, diet, medical tests – will ensure we minimize such days. It will enable us to be in top shape when opportunity arrives at our door and, in the long run, will pay off manifolds.

Thoughtful Gifts

way of spending money wisely

I love this one because I have firsthand seen the effects of this! The delight on the face of the recipient is priceless and it gives both of us memories of a lifetime!

Research shows that an unexpected present or being surprised is a real booster for people. This is equivalent to you finding a thank you note left on your desk by some grateful colleague or you discovering some money in pockets of an old pair of pants!

More importantly, these are the moments and the stories people tell wherever they go.
One example of this – a friend I know loves using planners. I feel they are a waste of money. Yet, I ended up spending a considerable amount to buy her a planner she had been eyeing! And it’s been worth every penny!

Buying back time

You already know your time on this earth is limited so why not buy back some of it?

We all have our nagging task list – a leaky tap, a lawn which needs landscaping, roof full of dead leaves, an AC that needs to be serviced. How much of it can you really keep up with? Most of the time, it is not about the money but about your mental health. If money can help ease the stress by having someone take care of something for you, what is the harm?

If you can afford it, pay the extra couple of hundred dollars so you can take a direct flight and spend the night in your own bed. Paying someone to cook and clean in the house means you get a couple of hours in a day back – time which can be spent catching up with a loved one or strengthening existing relationships or just catching up on your nagging tasks – which let’s be honest – you wouldn’t otherwise have time for.

Not living like a CEO when you are a sandwich artist

To splurge wisely, you have to do it within your budget and frequently. As Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO of GirlBoss says,

“You cannot live like a CEO if you are a sandwich artist!”

The key is modesty – doing it in limited quantity and under the umbrella of your income. Splurge small and frequently. You get to decide what it means to you.

The people who are happy with their mansions and luxury cars are the people who can actually afford them. Going into heavy debt to splurge is exactly how not to do it!

Even when you splurge on the stuff mentioned above, you have to do it keeping in mind your income. In college, I spent 4 years with a cheap netbook just because it is all I could afford. Until I got my first paycheck, I slept on an air mattress and when I finally bought one, it was a spring mattress for $80 because I still couldn’t afford a mattress costing thousands.

Splurge lavishly and cut ruthlessly.

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Expand Your Brand Using Business Cards

Every successful business expecting high returns should have investment projects. Just like any other advertisement plan, a business card is crucial. It links up your company and the potential customers easily. It’s cheaper to design and distribute the cards.

However, for a startup business which is low on budget and high on initial expenses, designing the card may be a significant challenge. But, it should not stop you from being a successful entrepreneur. You can create it yourself or have the best free business card makers Shopify for perfection.

How to Design Your Business Card?

making business cards online

To make your business cards online, you should first understand the content to display. It will depend on the type of your business, your potential customers, your expectations and your budget. Thus, make a shortlist of your content bearing in mind that the card is small and can’t fit a ton of data.

Besides, a large number of people ignores typically long statements tending to concentrate on short ones. Make it appealing, readable and don’t overwhelm it since the appearance of the card speaks about your brand.

The card should display a positive image of your business brand. You should incorporate your business name, email and business products. Customers need to know the business location and any contact to use while reaching you.

If you do your business online, remember to include your website URL. Also, you can add a QR code which will help in mobile shopping. These codes make iPhone and android users shop faster by merely scanning them to access your products.

You should likewise know how to arrange all the data on the card and its size. Usually, the right business card size is 3.5 x 2 inches. Decide on the card formatting design where you can either choose from portrait or landscape layout.

You can either follow one side or double side design depending on data length while making the card. Don’t forget the visual aesthetics such as colours, font sizes, patterns, lines and logo if you have any. Make sure the visual branding of the business is fantastic, communicating and attractive.

See Also: Choosing Brand Colors: How to Pick The Best Hues For Your Business

Why Do You Need to Have a Business Card?

using business cards

A quick first impression

Business cards always make the first impression of any brand. For your business to stand out, you must immediately seize the customer’s attention even before they notice your products. Your card must be attractive and create a positive impression of your brand.

It delivers business details

It displays all the contact details about your brand with clarity. Customers usually lack time to go searching for shops, so having the business name, contact number, and location is a must.

It gives a personal touch

In this digital age, a business card gives that special personal touch. It lets a potential customer who may otherwise forget you, have a chance to whip out your card and contact you. At best, your business card will be shared with friends and family thus widening your reach and increasing your sales.

See Also: Here’s Why Business Cards Are Still Useful

The post Expand Your Brand Using Business Cards appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

12 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Few activities have stood the test of 2500 years. Today we still have running, music, writing, swimming and… mindfulness meditation (among scarce others).

Such ancient interests that are still practiced today have a good reason for thriving so many centuries later. But while our ancestors could feel the benefits of meditation, they didn’t have the luxury of modern science to support their claims; it seemed to improve their lives, so they kept doing it.

Now, as western researchers have applied scientific rigor to mindfulness meditation, the results are in… and they’re more incredible than you might have imagined. Below are twelve science-based benefits of mindfulness meditation that will blow your mind.

Make your brain younger

A Harvard neuroscientist and her team wanted to determine whether meditation can change the brain over the long run.

Amazingly, their research found that 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter (brain cells) as 25-year-olds in the prefrontal cortex (a key brain region used for decision-making and memory), which normally declines with age. The scientists concluded that “regular practice of meditation may slow the rate of neural degeneration.”

Meditation has also been shown to fight age-related cognitive decline and even slow cellular aging. While most peoples’ memory and other brain functions decline as they get older, these effects aren’t seen to the same degree in long-term meditators.

Increase pain tolerance by 57%

mindfulness meditation benefits
Meditation has been shown to increase pain tolerance.

Your read that right: After just four days of training in mindfulness meditation, participants in one study found painful hot sensations to be 57% less unpleasant on average.

This may sound too good to be true, but there’s solid neuroscience to suggest why. As you learn to meditate, your brain can begin to separate the physical sensation of pain from your emotional reaction to it. Most of the suffering we experience, scientists have found, is a result of our psychological reaction, rather than the pain itself.

See Also: Easing Back Pain: 7 Things You Can Do To Promote Comfort

Gain back half of your waking life

Harvard researchers found that we spend an average of 47% of our days lost in thought. That’s nearly half of your waking life spent in some kind of mental simulation, daydreaming about the future or past. And the same study found that many of those thoughts are negative!

Mindfulness meditation can help you regain presence and spend less time mind-wandering. As you practice, you’ll spend more time immersed fully in whatever you’re doing and get more out of your life.

Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression

In our modern western world, millions of people suffer from anxiety and depression.

This has also led many of them to take up meditation, which has been shown to help with both mental problems. One of the reasons that mindfulness meditation helps in this area is that it teaches you to identify and detach from the harmful stories you might be telling yourself. Anxiety and depression, after all, are both negative narratives that get repeated over and over again in a mental loop.

Become more self-aware

This isn’t something that can be studied in the lab, but it’s one of the first benefits that every meditator notices at some point.

Having sat for some time directing your attention inward during mindfulness meditation, you’ve trained in the art of self-awareness (or what psychologists refer to as “introspective metacognitive awareness”). To put it one way, your mind gets good at observing itself.

This benefit doesn’t just help others, who have to deal with less of your annoying habits, but it’s also a fast path to self-improvement. Us humans are the only species on earth with this skill of “5th-degree metallization,” the mind’s capacity to become aware of its own processes.

Improve your concentration and working memory

In our current distraction crisis, it’s never been more important to have control of our attention. Furthermore, working memory is your ability to hold something in your mind in the short-term and is something that seems to be declining. Could you remember a 7-digit phone number if you had to?

Mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve both of these key areas of cognitive functioning. So to all the kids drinking insane amounts of caffeine to get better test scores, try meditation instead!

Diminish inflammation

Inflammation is a major underlying cause of many illnesses, including depression, heart disease, acne, and fatty liver disease. While most people look to decrease inflammation by going on a special diet or exercising, there’s another option available that takes just a few minutes each day.

Studies have confirmed meditation’s ability to help diminish inflammation. Because of the mind-body connection, mindfulness meditation benefits your body’s health as well as your brain.

Overcome addictions

Whether to a chemical drug or something more minor, like chocolate, meditation has been shown to help reduce cravings and even addiction.

Addiction recovery centers are now using meditation, along with traditional treatments, to help addicts. Brown neuroscientist Judson Brewer, Ph.D. and his team found that mindfulness meditation was as effective as any other method for helping people quit smoking.

Reduce feelings of stress

mindfulness meditation benefit
One of the benefits of mindfulness meditation is that this happens less often.

The modern world is full of things that stress us out, from traffic jams to an unreturned text message. But your brain often can’t tell the difference between those minor issues and a lion attacking you on the savannah, as it sets into the motion the fight-or-flight response.

When you meditate, the brain goes from active beta brainwave states to slower and more rejuvenating alpha and theta brainwaves. One of the first things you’ll learn to activate on command is a state of deep relaxation that you can spend more of your time immersed in.

Boost your immune system

Nobody likes getting sick, and oftentimes we think of washing our hands as the best preventative.

But it turns out there’s another way to help bolster a healthy immune system. Some of the top meditation researchers in the world, including Richard Davidson, Ph.D. and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. found that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training significantly increased key antibodies compared to a control group.

Cultivate positive emotions, like compassion

While you won’t feel happy all the time, training a mindful mentality will gradually build up positive emotions. You’ll come to appreciate the smaller things in life more and better bear turbulent times.

Meditators commonly report feeling like they can better “surf the waves” of life, even when the ocean waters aren’t perfectly calm. And you also might uncover a natural well of untapped compassion within yourself as your practice continues.

Enhance your sleep

massage therapy deepen sleep

Sleep is something that’s often viewed as a waste of time… until we get a bad night’s sleep and realize how important it is for mental clarity, mood, and productivity.

Shockingly, 40% of U.S. workers chronically under-sleep, costing over $63 billion in lost productivity each year.

And while some people try to use various cocktails or drugs to knock themselves out, oftentimes they are just knocking themselves out rather than actually sinking into a restful state.

Better to do it the old-fashioned way with an ancient practice that’s been the hero of our story: mindfulness meditation. In a randomized clinical trial, meditation significantly improved sleep quality and lessened fatigue.

How much would you pay for a “magic pill” that accomplished all of the same benefits of mindfulness meditation? But all it takes is a few minutes each day. And if you’ve tried meditation but it didn’t seem to work, it’s likely that you weren’t taught correctly.

So if you feel like getting all of these benefits for yourself, here’s where to start:

The Best Way to Learn Meditation

Many people find it best to learn from a professional app, where they can meditate on-the-go and access some of the world’s best instructors in their pockets at any time. But most of the apps provide only surface-level instruction and are trying to make a quick buck.

That’s why we recommend one app in particular, the FitMind meditation app, which was created with the help of neuroscientists and monks and takes a more in-depth approach to meditation. Unlike the other apps, you’ll learn over 50 different methods, progressing from beginner to advanced techniques.
fitmind mindfulness meditation benefits

Via fitmindFitMind teaches this same program at Fortune 500 companies, like Amazon and Uber, and was recently named the #1 meditation app for better sleep and less stress by CNET.

If you’re trying to start a meditation practice or take your current practice to the next level to reap the full benefits of mindfulness meditation, we recommend giving the FitMind program a shot.

The post 12 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Choose The Right Apartment Insurance Policy

Apartment insurance is not exactly something a lot of people enjoy talking about but it is actually something which is very important and is often ignored. Apartment insurance, also known as renters insurance, covers a lot of things when you have issues with your apartment. If you don’t have this policy then you risk losing your belongings should something go wrong with no kind of compensation.

This is what makes choosing the right renters insurance policy quite tricky. Don’t worry though as we have put together some advice that can help you to make the right decision. Keep reading to find out more.

Choosing The Company

choosing the right apartment insurance policy

One of the most important things that you need to consider when picking out apartment insurance for your home is the company that you are going to buy it from. Some insurance companies put their customers first while others try to get out of paying out any kind of money when something goes wrong. It might be worth taking a closer look at the company and reading some reviews. If you know someone who is happy with their current policy, ask them for a recommendation.

Checking What Is Covered

Just like with other kinds of insurance policies, you will find that renters insurance can cover a variety of things. Some policies will cover more than others and this can be risky if you don’t read the policy carefully. Standard policies should cover personal property, personal liability and medical bills and temporary living expenses.

Within these categories, there are certain things that you will want to look for. You might want to get some extra coverage for your expensive items including electronics or jewellery.

Reading The Terms and Conditions

choose the right apartment insurance policy

When was the last time you read over the terms and conditions that came with your insurance policy? This is a big mistake that many people make when buying a policy and it can be quite risky. The terms and conditions are something which you are agreeing to when you buy a policy and sign a contract. This means that you will be held to this contract should anything happen and you need to make a claim.

Some of the terms can include exclusions that you aren’t covered for as well as deductibles. The best advice that we could give you is to spend time reading over this and make sure that you are choosing the right policy for you.

Comparing Prices

Our final tip for those who are on the hunt for a new apartment insurance policy is to make sure that you are comparing prices. Of course, you shouldn’t always just go for the cheapest option as this can sometimes indicate that the policy is not as good as you are hoping.

A good way to compare prices to compare the type of cover at the same time. A certain policy could be more expensive but it could also save you money in the long-run should something happen. Don’t forget to compare prices as this can often be key to choosing the right one for you.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a new apartment insurance policy then you should make sure that you spend some time looking for one that will cover everything that you need. Whether you are adding on extras or going for basic coverage, time spent researching should come in handy.

Follow all of the advice that we have given you in this article and this should help you to come to the right conclusion and find the best policy.

See Also: Explaining The Importance of Insurance For Renters

The post How To Choose The Right Apartment Insurance Policy appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

8 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Few activities have stood the test of 2500 years. Today we still have running, music, writing, swimming and… mindfulness meditation (among scarce others).

Such ancient interests that are still practiced today have a good reason for thriving so many centuries later. But while our ancestors could feel the benefits of meditation, they didn’t have the luxury of modern science to support their claims; it seemed to improve their lives, so they kept doing it.

Now, as western researchers have applied scientific rigor to mindfulness meditation, the results are in… and they’re more incredible than you might have imagined. Below are science-based benefits of mindfulness meditation that will blow your mind.

Make your brain younger

A Harvard neuroscientist and her team wanted to determine whether meditation can change the brain over the long run.

Amazingly, their research found that 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter (brain cells) as 25-year-olds in the prefrontal cortex (a key brain region used for decision-making and memory), which normally declines with age. The scientists concluded that “regular practice of meditation may slow the rate of neural degeneration.”

Meditation has also been shown to fight age-related cognitive decline and even slow cellular aging. While most peoples’ memory and other brain functions decline as they get older, these effects aren’t seen to the same degree in long-term meditators.

See Also: The Profound Effects Of Meditation On The Mind

Increase pain tolerance by 57%

Your read that right: After just four days of training in mindfulness meditation, participants in one study found painful hot sensations to be 57% less unpleasant on average.

mindfulness meditation benefits
Meditation has been shown to increase pain tolerance.

This may sound too good to be true, but there’s solid neuroscience to suggest why. As you learn to meditate, your brain can begin to separate the physical sensation of pain from your emotional reaction to it. Most of the suffering we experience, scientists have found, is a result of our psychological reaction, rather than the pain itself.

See Also: Easing Back Pain: 7 Things You Can Do To Promote Comfort

Gain back half of your waking life

Harvard researchers found that we spend an average of 47% of our days lost in thought. That’s nearly half of your waking life spent in some kind of mental simulation, daydreaming about the future or past. And the same study found that many of those thoughts are negative!

Mindfulness meditation can help you regain presence and spend less time mind-wandering. As you practice, you’ll spend more time immersed fully in whatever you’re doing and get more out of your life.

Become more self-aware

This isn’t something that can be studied in the lab, but it’s one of the first benefits that every meditator notices at some point.

Having sat for some time directing your attention inward during mindfulness meditation, you’ve trained in the art of self-awareness (or what psychologists refer to as “introspective metacognitive awareness”). To put it one way, your mind gets good at observing itself.

This benefit doesn’t just help others, who have to deal with less of your annoying habits, but it’s also a fast path to self-improvement. Us humans are the only species on earth with this skill of “5th degree metallization,” the mind’s capacity to become aware of its own processes.

Diminish inflammation

Inflammation is a major underlying cause of many illnesses, including depression, heart disease, acne, and fatty liver disease. While most people look to decrease inflammation by going on a special diet or exercising, there’s another option available that takes just a few minutes each day.

Studies have confirmed meditation’s ability to help diminish inflammation. Because of the mind-body connection, mindfulness meditation benefits your body’s health as well as your brain.

Reduce feelings of stress

The modern world is full of things that stress us out, from traffic jams to an unreturned text message. But your brain often can’t tell the difference between those minor issues and a lion attacking you on the savannah, as it sets into the motion the fight-or-flight response.

When you meditate, the brain goes from active beta brainwave states to slower and more rejuvenating alpha and theta brainwaves. One of the first things you’ll learn to activate on command is a state of deep relaxation that you can spend more of your time immersed in.

mindfulness meditation benefit
One of the benefits of mindfulness meditation is that this happens less often.

Boost your immune system

Nobody likes getting sick, and oftentimes we think of washing our hands as the best preventative.

But it turns out there’s another way to help bolster a healthy immune system. Some of the top meditation researchers in the world, including Richard Davidson, Ph.D. and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. found that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training significantly increased key antibodies compared to a control group.

Enhance your sleep

Sleep is something that’s often viewed as a waste of time… until we get a bad night’s sleep and realize how important it is for mental clarity, mood, and productivity.

Shockingly, 40% of U.S. workers chronically under-sleep, costing over $63 billion in lost productivity each year.

And while some people try to use various cocktails or drugs to knock themselves out, oftentimes they are just knocking themselves out rather than actually sinking into a restful state.

Better to do it the old-fashioned way with an ancient practice that’s been the hero of our story: mindfulness meditation. In a randomized clinical trial, meditation significantly improved sleep quality and lessened fatigue.

How much would you pay for a “magic pill” that accomplished all of the same benefits of mindfulness meditation? But all it takes is a few minutes each day. And if you’ve tried meditation but it didn’t seem to work, it’s likely that you weren’t taught correctly.

So if you feel like getting all of these benefits for yourself, here’s where to start:

The Best Way to Learn Meditation

Many people find it best to learn from a professional app, where they can meditate on-the-go and access some of the world’s best instructors in their pockets at any time. But most of the apps provide only surface-level instruction and are trying to make a quick buck.

That’s why we recommend one app in particular, the FitMind meditation app, which was created with the help of neuroscientists and monks and takes a more in-depth approach to meditation. Unlike the other apps, you’ll learn over 50 different methods, progressing from beginner to advanced techniques.

fitmind mindfulness meditation benefits
FitMind’s science-based meditation training program. Via FitMind

FitMind teaches this same program at Fortune 500 companies, like Amazon and Uber, and was recently named the #1 meditation app for better sleep and less stress by CNET.

If you’re trying to start a meditation practice or take your current practice to the next level to reap the full benefits of mindfulness meditation, we recommend giving the FitMind program a shot.

The post 8 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

12 Clever Ways You Can Earn Money From Your Computer Today

In today’s digital world, working from home has never been more accessible. At-home jobs are the perfect opportunity for those who have kids or those who have trouble finding employment locally. Even better, there is a huge host of different jobs you can do. All you need is a computer and a steady internet connection.

Translator

Do you speak, read, and write two or more languages? If so, translators are in high demand. Translators usually have to translate audio recordings or documents from one language to another, and you can work for yourself as a freelance translator. There are also companies that offer a huge range of remote translation services, but you may have to past a test first to prove your fluency.

Online Tutor

If you love helping people learn, an online tutor can be a fantastic job to do what you love. You can pick your subject or subjects and set your hours around your schedule. For just a few hours a day, you can make several hundred dollars within weeks or months using Studypool. This website has tutors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to answer students’ questions.

Virtual Travel Agent

If you love to travel and see new places, working as a virtual travel agent or consultant is the way to go. You can work part or full time dreaming up the perfect flight plans, itineraries, and activities for your clients who want to travel. As a bonus, many virtual travel agents get steep discounts that allow them to travel anywhere in the world they want without spending a lot of money.

Online Writing or Editing

A person who has a passion for creating engaging content or has a way with words can make a living writing or editing online. The pay varies from company to company or with private clients. A lot of freelance writers are full-time, but it’s also a nice side gig to make money around your schedule. The average salary for a freelance writer in $24 per hour.

See Also: 10 Tips for Freelance Writers That Really Work

Virtual Graphic Designer

Anyone who produces their best work outside a traditional office and has an artistic flair can get into virtual graphic design. You’ll assemble typography, images, and motion graphics for clients in the digital media, published, or printed sectors. You may draft logos, labels, packaging, or advertising materials for brands. You’ll want skills in software, typography, Adobe Photoshop, web design, and technology.

Airbnb Host

Do you have a house in a desirable location? Maybe you know all the hot spots in town, and you love meeting new people. If this sounds like you, becoming a host on Airbnb is a quick way to earn extra money. You set up and manage your profile online to offer short-term rental of your home. If you love to host and keep your house clean, rent out your guest bedroom or your guest house. Just make sure your community lets you have short-term rentals.

Virtual Assistant

Highly organized people that can multitask can find steady work as virtual assistants. Dozens of companies hire virtual assistants on a contract basis to help save on employment costs. Once they hire you, you’ll help organize people’s lives. Common duties include managing calendars, replying to emails, managing social media posts, and entering data.

Transcriptionist

Anyone who needs a job with no or very little experience can break into the transcriptionist industry relatively easily. You will have to have great attention to detail and be able to type quickly. You’ll listen to audio files and type out what you hear, and many job positions only require you to have a keyboard and computer to start. Most companies let you make your own schedule, and you could find yourself transcribing everything from a college lecture to a presentation.

Website Testing

Companies need people to test their websites to ensure they’re easy to navigate and intuitive. They’ll give you instructions to follow and ask you to rate how easy it was. It usually takes around 15 minutes from start to finish, and you get paid per test you complete. However, it’s first-come, first-serve. You have to stay on top of it and register for multiple companies.

Vlogger

Do your friends and family ask how you created that wreath or how you make those perfect cookies? Maybe you create stunning makeup designs. A vlogger is someone who uses platforms like YouTube or Instagram to showcase how-to videos and video blog posts. You get money per views and sponsorships, and it can range from under $100 a month to thousands. Make sure you enroll in YouTube’s Partner Program if you choose to use this platform.

Customer Service Representative

great customer service

People who are good at talking on the phone, de-escalating situations, and have a lot of patience can excel as customer service representatives. Basically, you help people that call you find the correct product, place their order, or resolve conflicts. Big brands and hotel chains employ thousands of home-based customer service representatives, and you get a reliable schedule.

Insurance Company Representative

This job does usually requires at least six months of training before you work on your own from home. However, it can be lucrative. You can make over $100,000 annually. As a representative, you’ll help customers navigate their insurance policies. You may have to answer questions, see if a service has approval, and talk to hospitals about a patient’s coverage. You also generally have to dedicate at least four-hour blocks at a time.

Bottom Line

It’s possible to find fulfilling and challenging work from home and make money with a computer. However, you should take your time and find a job that matches your wants, needs, schedule, and desired pay. It can pay off in a big way, and you get to make a living while working without the traditional nine to five job.

See Also: 4 Biggest Challenges of Being A Freelancer (And How To Deal With Them)

The post 12 Clever Ways You Can Earn Money From Your Computer Today appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

7 Best Low Impact Cardio Workouts

Regular training provides an opportunity to strengthen the cardiovascular system, increase endurance, and keep the body in good shape. Any workout that makes the heart work in a fast mode is related to cardio loading.

Here are the best low impact workouts for your cardiovascular health:

Treadmill

low impact cardio workouts treadmill

If you like running but do not want to train outdoors in bad weather, you can head for a treadmill. It allows you to exercise in a more comfortable environment, particularly during the winter season.

Choosing a bowflex treadclimber, you will burn more calories than you would on an exercise bike, stepper, and rowing machine. If you compare the track with an elliptical trainer, there is no consensus on which one burns more calories. The figures are approximately equal.

See Also: Get To The Grind: Hop on, Hop off Treadmill Sprinting

Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical trainer will appeal to those who do not like running but want to burn as many calories as possible. This trainer simulates climbing stairs or skiing.

With an elliptical trainer, you can move large handrails, reducing the load on the legs and increasing the tension of the body and arms.

Some elliptical trainers can work in stepper mode.Their movements resemble stair climbing.

Exercise Bike

Compared to running on a track, the load on the joints is minimal when exercising on a stationary bike. This is one of the reasons why it’s considered a gentle and safe form of cardio even for people recovering from injuries.

However, only the lower body works on the exercise bike. The arms, shoulders, and body are devoid of even the insignificant load that falls on them while running or using simulators like the elliptical and rowing ones.

Running

Although it looks like it provides the simplest and most natural load for the body, running is not suitable for everyone. Any person can start running, but whether he will benefit from it depends on many factors.

If you are overweight, have problems with your legs joints or have poor physical fitness, you need to be very careful when choosing a load. If you prefer running, you need to gradually increase the intensity of your training. Although running will not help you build up muscles, it can be enough to keep them in good shape.

Running at the slowest pace requires more effort than quiet cycling. This makes cycling a great start for people with poor physical fitness. Unlike running, there is no shock load on the legs while cycling. This is another pro for people who are not accustomed to serious workloads. Moreover, cycling at speeds up to 15 kilometers per hour is helpful for people with varicose veins.

See Also: How Runners Can Easily Improve Their Foot Strength

Swimming

low impact cardio workouts swimming

Swimming is a perfect workout for overweight people and those who have problems with joints. The probability of getting injured while swimming is low since the load on the joints is minimal.

Swimming can help strengthen the legs, arms, shoulders, and back. It can strengthen your abdominal muscles, too.

Any cardio load has a positive effect on the respiratory system, but swimming definitely outperforms other sports. While swimming, exhalation is not carried out into the air, but into the water.

It’s a denser environment, which requires more effort. The swimmer needs to hold his breath for a certain time after inhalation. Due to this training, the lungs’ capacity increases and breathing becomes fuller and deeper.

Stepper

This trainer simulates climbing stairs.

There are several types of steppers:

  • The classic compact simulator — it comes either without handrails or with two types of handrails and a display.
  • Balancing stepper with expanders — this enables you to turn from side to side while allowing both legs and arms to be involved in the movement.
  • Rotary stepper with a rotating handle — it allows you to completely rotate the body from side to side while walking.

Depending on the simulator, different muscle groups are trained.

The classic stepper mainly loads the legs muscles, calves, hips, and buttocks. The simulator with expanders, meanwhile, provides pressure on the arms and abs. It also improves your sense of balance. In addition to the legs, the rotary stepper also trains the muscles on your back, chest, and shoulders.

Aerobics

This is a great option for someone bored with doing cardio exercises alone.

Aerobics includes active walking, jumping, exercises for stretching, and working out different muscles on the floor. Dance aerobics can include elements of a variety of dance styles. Examples include Latin dance, mamba, hip-hop, zumba (this is just a mix of aerobics and dance) and many others, at the discretion of the coach.

Step aerobics is a popular choice as well. The exercises are performed on elevations and include active walking on the steps with tilts of the body and hand movements.

Why Cardio Training Is Important

Cardio training develops the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It also improves the endurance and aerobic capabilities of a person.

Moreover, they are needed for:

  • Weight loss
  • Increasing stamina
  • Increasing the intensity of the cardiovascular system

Cardio exercises are necessary for everyone. The right choice of cardio load and the right intensity can increase aerobic performance without compromising muscle.

The post 7 Best Low Impact Cardio Workouts appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Get Familiar With Your New City After a Long-Distance Move

Whether you’re moving a town over, a state over, or across the country, leaving everything familiar can be overwhelming. Maybe you had an unexpected obligation pull you away, or you got an offer for your dream job. Don’t panic. As long as you have the right attitude and our tips, you’ll find yourself settling in a new city just fine.

Download Local Apps

moving in a new city

Spend a little time researching the local area and figure out which apps are useful and popular in your new city. You could find public transit apps, restaurant ordering apps, on-demand grocery delivery services, and more. Chances are, every service in your city will have a mobile app. These apps can make it convenient to travel or exist for the first few weeks.

Join Organized Groups

From kickball leagues to nonprofits, even if you don’t normally go join activities, joining an organized group is an excellent way to meet new people. Start with something you like or a hobby, and search for a group. If you’re an animal lover, check out the local humane societies and shelters. Better yet, try something you’ve never done before. Being new at something lets you connect with other newcomers.

Start Off on the Right Foot

A move, no matter the size, is stressful. However, you don’t want to start your move out on the wrong foot. Don’t try to do it yourself. When you search online, make sure to add in your location. For example, search Google for reputable long distance movers in Dallas. These movers will ensure your pending move goes smoothly, and they’ll coordinate everything. In turn, this frees up your time to concentrate on your new city and everything you have to do when you get there.

Stay Somewhere Comfortable

For at least the first six months, concentrate on staying somewhere comfortable. You don’t have to be in a rush to find out the best bars, restaurants, or areas in the city. Instead, work on creating a safe space around your home. Pick out a few different areas and learn all about this. Maybe you want to live with a relative or friend for a few months before branching off on your own. Whatever it is that makes you comfortable, do it for six months.

Mark Out Important Properties

When you get to your city, you’ll be able to settle in better if you mark out where the local stores are in your neighborhood that can meet your needs. Look for your new go-to grocery store, pharmacy, gas station, drug store, and coffee shop. Once you map everything out and know right where it is from your home, your new city will start to feel more like home.

Look for Co-Living Opportunities

settling in a new city co living space

If you’re not quite ready to live by yourself, check into co-living spaces. Most co-living areas give you your own bathroom, kitchenette, and studio apartment. There is a larger family room, living area, and kitchen for all of the other inhabitants. Co-living facilities offer fun events, mixers, and outings. This will help you make new friends, and most co-living spaces are geared toward a certain demographic like young professionals or families.

Say Yes

You’re in a new area. This is why you have to start saying yes to everything to help you find your life essentials. Going out and going to events will help you find a few friends, a best friend, and activities to keep you entertained. You won’t find this sitting home waiting for it to come to you. Join events, go to date nights, galleries, wine tastings, or whatever interests you, and meet people.

Give Yourself a Year

At the bare minimum, give yourself a year in your new space. Settling in a new city takes time, but it should eventually feel like home. Anything you find yourself doubting yourself or where you’re at, remind yourself that you’re still in transition. Moving is hard, and leaving everything is harder. But, you deserve to give yourself a year before making any judgments.

Keep in Touch

inviting friend in a new city

You may have left your old town, but don’t forget your friends, connections, and family there. Make an effort to keep in touch with them. Go back to see them every once in a while. When you get comfortable, invite them out and show them the city. You never know, they may even fall in love with it and decide to move out by you.

Set up Dates

Before you move, go to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter to see which connections live in your intended area. Send them a quick message and ask to meet up once you get moved in. Ask your current friends and family if they know anyone in your area. You may just be surprised at what you find.

Know Your Transportation Options

Many small or rural towns don’t have public transportation, but larger cities do. It’s important that you learn about your new transportation options. Find out about bus transit lines, subway systems, ridesharing services, and bike-sharing programs. It may take a little trial and error to find the best routes to your work or around the city, but it’s worth it.

Look up the Area on Reddit

Almost every city has an area on Reddit. To find your particular city, look under reddit.com/r/cityname/ and see what comes up. Look through the historically popular questions, and ask any burning questions you have. Reddit will tell you about potentially unsafe areas you want to avoid, opportunities to meet people, and how friendly the locals are. What’s even better, you’ll get honest answers.

Bottom Line

Moving to a new city can be overwhelming, but there are several things you can do to help the transition process go smoothly. When you’re settling in a new city, just remember to take it slow. You’ll eventually find your routine, and it’ll feel like home.

See Also: 7 Things to Consider When Moving to a New City

The post How to Get Familiar With Your New City After a Long-Distance Move appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Making A Financial Plan: How to Set Financial Goals To Live Your Best Life

Financial planning is a crucial part of adult life, yet 40% of Americans have never had a budget.

Sticking to a budget can help prevent you from falling on hard times. It can also help you achieve your goals in life.

However, contrary to what most people are thinking, financial planning and budgeting aren’t just for retirement. It’s not just the practice of foregoing the occasional latte.

Making a financial plan can give you peace of mind and, eventually, the life you’ve always wanted.

Why Is Money So Stressful?

make a financial plan

People who have a financial plan are two times as likely to meet their financial goals as those who do not have such a plan, yet two in five people have never had a budget. More than one in three people spend more than they save, and two in three say they easily overspend when using a credit card.

But it’s not all bad news. 48% of Americans say they save at least 5% of their income, 65% say they have emergency savings, and 79% are either debt-free or they are actively paying down their debt.

Of consumers who report having a budget:

  • 62% say they are in control
  • 55% say they feel confident about their finances
  • 52% say they feel secure about their financial situations

Of consumers who do not have a budget:

  • 19% feel out of control with money
  • 18% are constantly worried about their finances
  • 17% report being stressed about money

When it comes to retirement, even though many people are saving, they still don’t know why or how much. In fact, 75% of Americans aren’t sure how much they should be saving, while 40% of those with retirement savings have no idea how their money is allocated. It’s no wonder the thought of budgeting and saving money is so stressful for so many people – even when we know that we are supposed to be doing it, we still often have no idea how.

See Also: GenZ and Money: How GenZ Faces Their Financial Fears

Setting Financial Goals And Sticking To Them

how to make a financial plan

If you are at a point in life where you are able to save money, congratulations!

Now, it’s time to ask yourself why you are saving money in the first place. Sure, everyone should be saving money for emergencies. But once you get past your emergency savings, there are all kinds of other savings you should be doing, from retirement to enhancing your quality of life.

So how do you want to live and what financial goals can you set to get to that point?

Sometimes, setting financial goals starts with reinventing yourself.

What kind of career would get you out of bed every day? How would you spend spare time if you had it? Is there something you would like to learn or a new educational goal you’d like to meet?

Last year 39% of Americans said they wanted to save more money and for many, that means making a career change.

Setting goals for yourself helps you to understand what steps you need to take to meet them. 97% of parents say they want to pay all or part of their child’s college tuition, yet few understand just how much money that is or how much they should be saving right now in order to accomplish that goal. Currently, only 27% are on track to meet those goals.

Setting goals and then figuring out what action you need to take now in order to achieve them is critical.

Once Basic Goals Are Met, Make Your Life Worth Living

The main reason for financial planning is that someday you will want to be able to live life on your own terms. The better your financial planning, the sooner you will be able to live the life you want because of it.

Once you have enough to cover all of your financial goals, it’s time to figure out how to buy back some of your time. There are apps and tech gadgets that can take over your daily tasks like cutting the lawn, cleaning the pool, and hiring a handyman. Using these services can help you feel like your hard work has been rewarded when you are able to do the things you want instead of having to do the things that need to be done.

Financial planning is an important first step toward the life you want. Learn more about freeing up time, reducing stress, and living your best life through financial planning below!

The post Making A Financial Plan: How to Set Financial Goals To Live Your Best Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

A House-Buying Guide For Millennials

Buying a house can be an exciting time in anyone’s life, and it’s a huge milestone that you should celebrate. Millennials buying houses is nothing new, but there’s a new surge of younger homebuyers throughout the United States.

If you’re one of them, read on for a few great tips to help you get the home of your dreams without breaking the bank.

Pay Off Your Debt First

Before you go out and get into more debt, consider paying off any you already owe. Student loans, personal loans, and credit card debts are the big three that come to mind. When you pay them off, you have more money available for your mortgage, down payment, or savings. Work to pay your debt off as quickly as possible, so you’re free and clear to buy a house.

Look for a House that Fits Your Lifestyle

millenial house buying

Buying a house can be a lengthy process, but don’t be tempted to rush into a home that doesn’t match your lifestyle. Purchasing the wrong one–whether it’s a mismatch for your needs or leaves you financially overextended–can lead to problems later on, and you may even end up selling prematurely, which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to build equity. Instead of focusing exclusively on what’s inside the house, consider the its distance from work and family, the outdoor space (especially if you have kids or pets), and the overall carrying costs–not just the monthly payment. You can find yourself stuck and stressed out if you don’t.

Buy With the Future in Mind

What will your future self want in a house? If you’re young and single, buying a house in the center of a city by thriving nightlife may seem like a dream, but what happens when you settle down? If you buy a small house, what happens when you have kids if you plan for them? Take a few minutes and think about your longer-range plans, and see how your house falls into them.

Consider the Current State of the Property

So many videos, blogs, YouTube channels, and television shows make home improvement seem so easy. The truth is, it can be a big time and money suck if you’re not sure what you’re doing. It’s usually worth it to buy a home that is in good repair instead of saving a few thousand by buying one that isn’t in a good state. Those few thousand you initially save will be gone very quickly on renovations.

Save for a Down Payment

Many young people forget to put money aside for a down payment, and it comes back to haunt them later. The more you can put down for your down payment, the more affordable your payments will be. Ideally, you should have at least 10% of your home’s purchase price on-hand and ready to use, if not 20%.

Shop in a Buyer’s Market

A buyer’s market is when there are more houses available than meets demand, so the sellers compete with lower prices. The homebuyer has the advantage here, and you can shop through an area and see how the prices differ. If the house has been available for a while, the seller may be willing to reduce the price just to get it off their hands.

Calculate How Much Home You Can Afford

millenials house buying

Before you start shopping, consider how much home you can afford. This way, you don’t get your hopes up on a house that is way out of your budget. Ideally, you want to keep all of your housing-related expenses like mortgage, insurance, and any HOA fees to no more than 25% to 30% of your monthly take-home pay. This amount will leave you with enough money to fix up your home or build savings.

Get Preapproved for a Loan

This point goes back to knowing how much home you can afford. Millennials buying houses tend to skip this step, and it can set the home search back. For example, you can’t make an offer on the house without a pre-approval letter, and the letter can take a week or two. In this time, the home you had your eye on could be long gone. Start home shopping with a pre-approval letter in your hand, and stay in your budget.

What is Your Exit Strategy?

Normally, the first home you buy isn’t your forever home. When it’s time to move on, how will your home fare with your exit strategy? Will it be easy to rent out or sell? Is it big enough for a couple to start their own family in? How is the local school district? What are your neighbors like? Keep all of these things in mind when you’re on your search.

Keep the Process Moving

Once you start the homebuying process, see it through. Stay in the loop so you can stay on top of your agent or any other third parties, like the inspection company. If you can avoid it, never make a seller wait during the contingency period. You want to get the deal done as soon as possible, without tempting the seller to explore backup offers from buyers willing to move faster than you.

Be Honest and Authentic with the Seller

For many people, selling their home is a very emotional process. You can try to connect with them by sending them a short, handwritten note that explains why the home would be perfect for you. This letter can give you an emotional connection with the seller, and make them more likely to entertain your offer.

Buying a home can be a rewarding but overwhelming process, especially if you’re not prepared. Use our 11 tips to help streamline your home buying process and find your dream home.

See Also: Here’s What Millennials Want When They Buy A Home

The post A House-Buying Guide For Millennials appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

An Easy Guide to Food And Wine Pairing

There are no hard and fast rules in pairing food and wine. Nevertheless, it’s easy to get confused about how to create the perfect pairing of food elements with certain wine flavor notes. This easy guide to food and wine pairing will not only give you great wine like those you can purchase online from Sokolin.com, but we’ll give you a host of items that pair beautifully with it.

Cabernet Sauvignon

guide to food and wine pairing cabernet sauvignon

This wine is one of the most popular in the United States for its bold fruity and tannin flavors. It pairs well with very heavy and filling meals, but there is also a much lighter side that goes excellently with cheeses.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – tomato, black cherries, broccoli
  • Cheese and Nuts – walnuts, Gorgonzola, cheddar
  • Desserts – bittersweet chocolate
  • Herbs and Spices – juniper, rosemary, lavender
  • Meat and Poultry – beef stew, rib eye
  • Sauces – tomato, brown
  • Seafood – grilled ahi tuna

See Also: 8 Straight Benefits of Red Wine

Chardonnay

guide to food and wine pairing chardonnay

Chardonnay comes in several styles, and each style pairs differently with food. However, this wine features a sensual body and decadents that stands up to most flavor combinations and dishes where other wines may not. It has excellent acidity, and this helps cut through richer dishes.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Mango, squash, apple, potato
  • Cheese and Nuts – Unoaked Chardonnay goes best with semi-soft and mild cheeses, Oaky Chardonnay goes well with Havarti, Asiago, or Stilton. Both go well with almost all toasted nuts and almonds
  • Desserts – Vanilla pudding, banana bread
  • Herbs and Spices – sesame, tarragon, basil
  • Meat and Poultry – Chicken, veal, pork
  • Sauces – pesto, cream sauces
  • Seafood – crab, shrimp, lobster

Riesling

In the United States, Riesling is an extremely sweet wine, but European Riesling is minimally sweet. It has an excellent balance of sweetness and acidity that makes it great for food and wine pairings. It does wonderfully at balancing out spicy foods as well.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Chili peppers, apricots, pears
  • Cheese and Nuts – Gouda, Havarti, candied pecans or walnuts
  • Desserts – Caramel sauce, apple pie
  • Herbs and Spices – ginger, rosemary, Indian or Thai spices
  • Meat and Poultry – Duck, smoked sausage Foie Gras
  • Sauces – Chutney, BBQ, spicy
  • Seafood – Trout, sea bass

Pinot Noir

This odd wine can have some truly bizarre combinations that seem to work very well. You can find cherry listed alongside mushroom or “forest floor” flavors and get a wonderfully fragrant and tasty wine. It’s a lighter body wine that can withstand some meat dishes.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Figs, mushrooms, dried fruits, strawberries
  • Cheese and Nuts – Brie, goat cheese, walnuts
  • Desserts – white chocolate, creme brulee
  • Herbs and Spices – Nutmeg, cinnamon, truffle, clove
  • Meat and Poultry – Sausage, lamb, chicken, filet mignon
  • Sauces – light to medium red sauce, mushroom sauce
  • Seafood – Salmon, ahi tuna

Sauvignon Blanc

guide to food and wine pairing sauvignon blanc

This lighter, crisp white wine has a very high acidity level with a lot of citrus notes. It’s excellent for pairing with lighter but flavorful dishes. The wine’s herbaceous taste can enhance any herbs in the dish as well. This makes it a popular dinner wine.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Green apple, citrus, asparagus
  • Cheese and Nuts – Goat cheese, feta, pine nuts
  • Desserts – Key lime pie, sorbet, mango, meringue
  • Herbs and Spices – Tarragon, chives, cilantro
  • Meat and Poultry – Turkey, chicken, pork
  • Sauces – Light cream sauces, citrus sauces
  • Seafood – Oysters, shrimp, lobster, sushi, fatty white fish

Merlot

guide to food and wine pairing merlot

Although Merlot’s popularity has gone down in recent years, it’s a staple in the wine industry. You’ll get berry and grape flavoring with a beautiful eucalyptus note. You can use this note to play of elements of your dish.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Tomatoes, caramelized onions, plums
  • Cheese and Nuts – Pecorino-Romano, Parmesan, walnuts, chestnuts
  • Desserts – Berries, dark chocolate, fondue
  • Herbs and Spices – Juniper, rosemary, mint
  • Meat and Poultry – Steak, grilled meat
  • Sauces – Bearnaise, bolognese
  • Seafood – Ahi tuna, grilled meatier fish

Syrah

Syrah is very difficult to pin down, but it’s popular around the world. One of the biggest selling points is that it have a very smooth but peppery finish. There are usually enough fruit notes to balance the spice, and it goes great with a variety of herbs.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Stewed tomatoes, currants, beets
  • Cheese and Nuts – Roquefort, sharp cheddar, walnuts, hazelnuts
  • Desserts – Rhubarb pie, black forest cake, coffee-based desserts
  • Herbs and Spices – Sage, oregano
  • Meat and Poultry – Pepperoni, roasted meat, braised pork shoulder, spicy sausage
  • Sauces – Heavy red sauces, BBQ
  • Seafood Salmon, ahi tuna

See Also: 5 Best Wine Regions To Visit Before You Die

With this guide to food and wine pairing, you should now be confident enough to create some truly fantastic dishes. Experiment, mix and match, and find your new go-to food and wine pairing!

The post An Easy Guide to Food And Wine Pairing appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

3 Ways to Reduce Customer Acquisition Costs

Have you ever stopped to think how much it costs to get a person to buy one of your products?

Then you’re in the right place.

Customers come with a price tag called customer acquisition cost (CAC), and it’s one of the most important pieces of information for business owners who want to get more customers without breaking their marketing budget.

So, how do you get more customers without breaking the bank? We’ve broken things down into three categories:

  1. Streamline your customer’s shopping process
  2. Optimize your marketing tactics
  3. Embrace customer relationship management

Let’s dive right in!

What is customer acquisition cost?

Your customer acquisition cost is defined as how much it costs your business to attract a new customer.

How to calculate customer acquisition cost

reduce customer acquisition cost

CAC is calculated by adding up all your marketing and sales costs and dividing them by the number of new customers acquired for a certain period of time. Here’s the formula:

customer acquisiition cost

For example:

Let’s say you spent $5,000 on marketing and sales expenses this October. That same month, you got 1,000 new customers (meaning only customers that have never previously visited or made a transaction at your store).

Sum of all marketing and sales expenses = $5,000.00
Total newly acquired customers = 1,000
CAC = $5

In this example, it costs you $5 to acquire a new customer.

The next question you should ask is “what is my average transaction value?” If your point of sale system’s sales reports tell you that your average transaction value (ATV) for October is under $5, that means you’re effectively spending more than you’re making per sale. Not good. Your ATV should ideally be higher than your CAC.

How to reduce customer acquisition cost

Let’s say you fall into the above category: Your CAC is higher than your ATV. How do you lower your CAC?

Streamline your customer’s shopping experience

A great way to lower your acquisition cost? Remove as many barriers to purchase as possible.

Make it easy for customers to find and buy what they’re looking for either in your store or on your website. The easier it is for them to find and complete a purchase, the more transactions your store stands to make (that’s why online vendors are developing one-click to purchase technology).

The same can be said for brick-and-mortar transactions: Every retailer’s goal should be to remove as many friction points from their purchasing process as possible.

Imagine being a customer ready to buy something, only to find yourself in a lengthy lineup to pay. Most customers will abandon their purchase entirely if the wait time is too long. Research from Irisys found that Americans will leave a checkout line after waiting just six minutes.

The best way to stop losing sales from long checkout lineups? Eliminate them altogether.

Barbara Thau, a contributing writer for Forbes, suggests that brick-and-mortar retailers “banish the wait in line, once and for all” to avoid losing sales.

A cloud-based point of sale effectively removes the need for lineups and traditional cash registers. Sales associates can ring up sales from anywhere in the store and accept any type of payment. Only If the transaction is in cash do you need to move the transaction to your cash register, but consumers are using cash less and less these days.

If you want to increase your average transaction value, we suggest refreshing your store merchandising and point of purchase displays to cross-sell more items. For a deeper look into how you can increase in-store sales, check out a list that Lightspeed curated with other retail experts, How to Increase Retail Sales – 11 Tips.

Make your business easy to find online by local customers

reducing customer acquisition cost

The next step is to get more customers to find your store or website for free. To do this, we suggest doing the following:

  • Create a Google My Business (GMB) profile
  • Include your store’s contact information on its Facebook and Instagram Business Profile
  • Use the right keywords to describe your business on your Facebook and Instagram Business Profile

The concept here is simple: focus your marketing on people that live close to your business. If they can find you online, see your inventory and get directions fast, the likelihood of them paying you a visit increases substantially.

That’s why we created a step-by-step guide to creating a GMB profile and optimizing your business’s Facebook and Instagram profiles so that you get found online by more local customers entirely for free. With a little work, you can attract customers for $0.

Embrace customer relationship management

If you consistently have what customers are looking for in stock and your customer service is personalized, friendly and helpful, customers are likely to come back to your store again and again.

The more they come, the more they buy. Commonly known as customer lifetime value (CLV), the metric looks at the estimated revenue you make from a customer over the duration of their relationship with the company.

We mentioned ATV earlier, you can think of this as a micro view of your sales. CLV, on the other hand, is the macro view—the big picture.

In an ideal world, you want a 3:1 CLV to CAC ratio. In a nutshell, this means that you generate three times more revenue from a customer than what it cost you to acquire them.

But how do you achieve that ratio? In part, by leveraging loyalty programs, referral programs and customer retention.

Loyalty programs

A loyalty rewards program incentivizes members to make more purchases, eventually getting points they can exchange for exclusive rewards. In a nutshell, it motivates repeat visits and purchases. The more purchases they make, the more points they get to exchange for exclusive offers, promotions and gifts.

For the retailer, the loyalty program helps grow their CLV. It’s a win-win scenario.

See Also: Will Your Customers Buy From You Tomorrow?

Referral Programs

Your existing customers are your store’s biggest brand ambassadors. If they’re happy, they’re more likely to recommend your store to friends.

Believe it or not, brand ambassadors and referrals are one of the most effective ways to bring in new customers. 77% of customers are likely to buy from a business that they’re introduced to by friends.

Rather than sinking tons of cash into marketing to acquire customers, the most cost-effective (and financially sustainable) way to acquire new customers is for your happy customers to spread the word and recommend your business for you.

It’s an authentic trust signal that marketing alone simply can’t replicate.

Consider incentivizing your customers to refer your business to friends and family. For every customer they refer, they get more points they can use as part of your rewards program.

Customer retention

Did you know that it’s up to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one?

This means one thing: If you focus on keeping your existing customers happy (happy enough to recommend your store to friends), you can get them to find new customers for you. It’s cheaper and more effective.

Want to know what your business’s current customer retention rate is? Just use this formula:

customer retention rate

Retaining customers brings in a ton of ROI:

  • Affordable: It’s five to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. (HBR)
  • ROI: Just a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s revenue by 25-95%. (HBR)
  • Loyalty: Retained customers buy more often and spend more than newer customers (maybe in part to the loyalty and rewards programs they offer). (American Express)
  • Referrals: Satisfied, loyal customers are more likely to refer their friends and family—bringing in new customers, without having to spend anything on marketing. (American Express)

See Also: 12 Tips That Build Customer Loyalty And Boost Sales

Improve your customer acquisition cost

Improving your customer acquisition cost is a process that should start from the inside out.

Before you focus on finding new customers and launching fancy marketing campaigns, you need to make your existing customers happy. When your customers are happy, they’ll voluntarily recommend your business to friends and family. Your customers turn into brand evangelists; walking trust signals that find new customers for you, free of charge.

The next step is increasing your customer’s lifetime value. With Loyalty and referral programs, you can increase how much your customers spend in store and achieve that coveted 3:1 CLV to CAC ratio we mentioned earlier in the post.

But it all starts with customer happiness. When customers are happy, businesses don’t need to spend as much on marketing to convince people that their shop is worth going to and spending their hard earned money.

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How To Improve Your Academic Essay Writing Skills

For many students, the thought of writing essays brings along the unique challenge of making sure that it’s better than the last one (or at least just as good as that last A+ essay). But, writing essays regularly can cause you to fall into a rut and use the same formula over and over.

How do you improve your essay writing skills? You can work to hone your skills on your own, or you can use the services of an excellent essay writer to help. If you’re strapped for cash, honing your services can be a more cost-effective option, and we’ll outline steps you can take below.

Make an Outline

how to improve your academic essay writing skill

One of the best things you can do to improve your writing is create an outline. This is important because it helps you organize your thoughts on what you want to say in your essay. A basic outline will help you narrow down your paper’s thesis and create an argument with strong points. Your outline will include an introduction with the thesis, the body with separate paragraphs that support the thesis, and a conclusion that connects all of your points. Ideally, you want at least three solid points to support your thesis.

Use the Correct Vocabulary

How you use your language skills is very important, especially when you’re writing academic papers. The entire goal of an academic essay is to persuade people that you are an expert on your paper’s topic. If you use big words just to sound smart without understanding what the words mean, you can misuse them. Also, people know when you use big words to compensate for a weak argument. Lastly, using obscure wording can cloud the clarity level of your argument. Keep this in mind when you pull out your thesaurus to change a word into something more grand.

Get a Great Understanding of Punctuation, Grammar, and Style

Punctuation, grammar, and style are all very important components in your essay if you want your audience to understand your essay and take it seriously. You want to make sure you have a good understanding of pronoun usage, verb and subject agreement, and sentence structure. You also want a very good grasp on the common punctuation forms like commas and periods. Active voice is better than passive voice because it makes you essay stronger. Also, use concise language if it’s possible.

Understand Your Essay’s Argument

When you write your academic essay, make sure that you keep your main argument in mind at all times. It may tempt you to go off on an interesting tangent for your topic, and this can make your writing more convoluted. Before you put any evidence into your essay, ask if it supports your main thesis. If it doesn’t, you should consider excluding it from the essay. You want to source the strongest evidence possible to support your essay’s thesis.

Use the Elevator Pitch Writing Method

An elevator pitch is very popular with salespeople. You want to imagine yourself in an elevator. In the time it takes your elevator to reach your floor, you should have a compelling argument in place to entice a person to read your entire essay. You want to sell your essay’s idea to your reader in a concise summary that leaves them wanting more. It’s difficult because it forces you to be extremely concise in your writing and thinking to hook your audience.

Don’t Forget Your Conclusion

to improve your academic essay writing skills

Your essay should be strong from beginning to end, and a lot of people forget their conclusion. Your conclusion is extremely important because it’s where you tie all of your points together and prove your thesis to your audience. You don’t want to illustrate your introduction again, and you don’t want to copy and paste your thesis. Instead, your conclusion will quickly outline your points and show how they support your thesis. Don’t let your essay get derailed by a weak conclusion.

Vary Your Sentence Structure

You want to have a variety of sentence lengths in your paper to help it flow from one point to another. If you use a lot of short and choppy sentences, it can make your essay seem disjointed. Mix it up and use both short and long sentences throughout your entire essay. Also, keep an eye out for repetitive sentences. They can make it awkward to read your entire essay, as well.

Avoid Slang and Informal Expressions

Your essay should sound polished and academic. It can’t do this if you pack it with informal expressions and slang. This means avoiding everyday vocabulary like “pretty” or “cool.” You want to write in the third person throughout your paper as well. This can help your audience connect to your paper on a greater level, and they’re more likely to read it through from start to finish.

Research Your Subject

No matter if you choose your essay subject or your professor assigns it to you, research is key. Your research will be a foundation for the rest of your essay, and you should be able to find more than enough research to support your topic as a whole. When you lay out your points, make sure there’s research to support them too.

Writing an essay doesn’t have to be a huge issue, and we’ve given you several ways how to improve your essay writing skills. You can take them and incorporate them all into your papers, and this can help you get your points across and create concise, clear, and professional papers.

See Also: 12 Essay-Writing Hacks That Really Work

The post How To Improve Your Academic Essay Writing Skills appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Bitcoin Trading Platform: What Exactly to Look for

The cryptocurrency market has grown exponentially over the past five years, with many people interested in the emergence of a virtual currency which isn’t controlled by a central authority (government) & has the potential to gain massive value over a minimal amount of time. But, the bitcoin market is very volatile and it can be very tough to keep up with the trend – especially since this kind of market never sleeps.

To make it easier for traders, trading bots and platforms have been created. A trading platform or bot refers to a specific software program that has been especially designed to handle financial exchanges effectively & efficiently (much better than a human being) and allows any relevant information to be collected and interpreted automatically so that market orders can be easily bought and sold on behalf of the trader.

Essentially the bots make the final trading decision through intensive monitoring of market prices and using some preset rules, so that any losses can be prevented. The system will analyze the market for any changes in terms of volume, pricing and orders before it makes a decision, so if you are a bitcoin trader you may want to find the best trading platform to make the process easier for you.

Ultimately, the question now is how exactly do you know which one is the best?

The Operating System

bitcoin trading

Remember, not all platforms are made for all traders as their operating systems can vary. Because of this, you want to have a platform that will work on all kinds of operating systems such as Mac, Windows, or Linux. It should work on your device to fully take advantage of its usability and features. With all of your orders and configurations stored in a USB, all you need is to plug it in and play it on any computing device to trade – regardless of the operating system. A platform that requires installation only on a compatible system is inconvenient for any trader.

Easily customized and user-friendly

The overall interface of an excellent bitcoin trading platform must be very easily customized and user-friendly. Anyone should be able to use it without the very technical details or any programming knowledge. All necessary information must be easy to navigate and the gains shown very clearly along with the rest of the other trading information, as this will make it easier for any bitcoin trader to buy and sell orders. All you have to do is merely input your pairs as well as numbers, and voila! You can start trading with just a few clicks of a mouse.

Supports coins, pairs, and any other exchange

bitcoin trading currency

Aside from bitcoin, you must be able to trade in different pairs, currencies, and other various exchanges. It can be thus helpful to look for a trading platform that can accommodate various coins provided in major exchanges around the world. A full stacked cryptocurrency platform will work best for any spontaneous and eager trader.

Various other bitcoin trading platform features that can be useful and practical are reporting, notifications, historical data & real-time backtesting, just to name a few. Find out what a specific trading platform can do and choose the best one that suits your needs now.

See Also: What The World’s Governments Think Of The Expansion Of Cryptocurrency

The post Bitcoin Trading Platform: What Exactly to Look for appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

13 Things You Can Do With Your Old Phone

Smartphones are a necessity nowadays but one big setback in using them is that we need to upgrade on a regular basis. The newest technology today can be obsolete in a short year or two. This leads most people to discard their phones, but it doesn’t have to be this way. There are still many surprising and creative things you can do with that old phone.

Backup eReaders

eReaders took the world by storm a few years ago, and they’re still immensely popular today. Nooks and Kindles were originally eReaders, and they gave people the ability to carry an entire library around in their bags. You can download an eReader app to your old cell phone. This way, you can travel light and use it as a handy backup.

Sell It

As long as your phone is in good condition and unlocked, you can sell your old phone and turn a profit. Some sites will even buy your old cell phone off you and cut out all of the headaches that come with trying to sell it to another person. They might even give you a shipping label to send it to them for free.

Alarm or Sleep Tracker

Even if you don’t pay for service for your old device anymore, you can still get plenty of use out of it. For starters, it works well as an additional alarm in the mornings. You can also download sleep tracker apps and let it run while you sleep. It’ll give you data when you wake up after it analyzes how you slept.

VR Headset

You’ve most likely watched commercials where people strap their iPhones to a VR headset and have fun playing games in virtual reality. You can turn your old phone into your very own VR headset!

If you don’t want to go all out and purchase an expensive setup, there are alternatives. You can download a series of apps to get started with your VR session.

Camera for Your Kids

Good smartphones typically have close to the same resolution as you get on most ordinary point and shoot cameras. You can also edit whatever photos you take and upload them to your computer. You can give this camera phone to your kids to hone their skills on and play with. It’s an excellent introductory tool to get your kids into photography and editing.

Home Security

It’s relatively easy to turn your own cellphone into a home security system. Start by downloading the Skype app on your old phone and setting it to accept video calls. Next, find an area in your home that has a good view of the entire room. Turn it on and leave it when you go. You can video call it while you’re out and check up on everything.

Donate It

There are several fantastic programs out there that accept used cellphones and tablets. You can donate it, and the company will send it to places like emergency shelters and deployed soldiers. They even help with emergency talk time each month so the recipients can get the most out of them.

Keep it for Emergencies

Even if you canceled your old plan but kept your phone, you can use it in emergencies. By law, every cellphone has to have the ability to call emergency services regardless of whether or not it is active or not. You can toss it in your car in case you have an accident, or put it in your purse. Just make sure that it’s always charged.

Entertainment

Even your older cellphones have a lot of storage space. You can easily turn this phone into a miniature entertainment center. Download eBooks, audiobooks, mp3s, relaxation apps, or anything else you can think of. Since it’s not technically on, it won’t compete with phone calls or texts for storage space or interruptions.

Baby Monitor

Baby monitors are expensive, and they can be complicated to set up. However, downloading a simple app can turn your old cellphone into a wireless baby monitor. When it connects to your Wi-Fi, it’ll send an alert to your current cellphone and alert you when your baby starts to wake up. The app will even let you talk through it and soothe your baby back to sleep.

DIY GoPro

These cameras retail for hundreds of dollars each, but you can make your own using your old cellphone. To start, it has to be able to record video. You also have to find something to strap it onto. But, there are a lot of phone mounting systems you can use. Simply mount it, switch it on, and you have a first-person point of view camera that’ll record whatever you want.

Create a Digital Photo Frame

Just because your phone isn’t working anymore doesn’t mean that it has to sit and collect dust. You can use apps to live stream your favorite selection of photos. Just prop your cellphone up somewhere where everyone can see it, start your photos, and enjoy the show.

Turn it Into an Apple TV Remote

If you have an iPhone and an Apple TV, you can turn your old iPhone into a remote for your Apple TV. All you have to do is pull up the Apple TV remote, download it, and connect it to your television over the internet. Just make sure you charge it because it will die after a few days.

The post 13 Things You Can Do With Your Old Phone appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Ask Questions Before Approving a Marketing Campaign Plan

Before you sign off on a marketing campaign plan, it’s crucial that you understand what the plan is about and if the budget is reasonable. You can’t let a plan go ahead without questioning the people who worked on those ideas to see if they are worth doing.

Why did you choose that platform?

The first question is about why the marketing team chose a specific platform.

Is it the best option considering the choices available? Isn’t it a rehash of previous campaigns used?

If the next campaign focuses on traditional ads like the use of pop up banner design and posters, you need to ask if they’re worth the money when compared with online campaigns. The goal is not to discourage the chosen platform, but to know the reason behind the proposed use.

How will it attract the target audience?

You need to ask this question to determine if the marketing team has studied the target audience. Perhaps, the members decided to come up with such a strategy without knowing if the ads will work with the people you want to buy your products. If you don’t think the ads make sense or there’s no guarantee they will appeal to your chosen audience, you need to encourage the use of a different campaign.

How much will the campaign cost?

You need to know how much you’re going to spend if you pursue the plan and if it will significantly affect the overall budget you allotted for marketing. If the amount is reasonable and the team can justify the decision, you can sign off on it; otherwise, you need to ask the team to resubmit the budget plan and defend it.

What’s Plan B?

It is crucial that you know what the marketing team intends to do if things don’t go as planned. In the world of marketing, any result is possible. You can’t always expect things to end the way you want. As such, you need to ask what the alternative plan is and how it will be implemented. You don’t want to work on the plan, but you need to know what it is in case things go south.

You’re not making it hard

You might think that you’re making it difficult for your employees because of your decision to ask several questions. The truth is that you’re only protecting your business because you don’t want to terrible results.

Besides, asking questions doesn’t mean you are power tripping. You’re trying to clarify things and ensure that everyone is on the same page. It also makes you feel confident seeing your marketing team know how to respond and even defend their responses. They will implement the plan, and if they seem to have no idea what’s going on, it could end in a huge mess.

Once you have finished asking questions, you can encourage everyone to work hard until you achieve the marketing goals.

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How To Change A Flat Tire And Other Important Car Tips

Driving and owning your own car means that there is one skill you totally should have up your sleeve, and that’s how to change a flat tire. Purchasing a quality tire brand like Cooper Tires helps to ensure better safety on the road for you and your loved ones, but knowing the steps in changing a flat tire will also equip you to handle emergencies and keep you out of potentially unsafe situations.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to help you through the process of changing a flat tire.

Step One: Find a Safe Location

If you’re driving and realize you have a flat, slowly reduce your speed and scan the area for a level and straight stretch of road. Never pull over on a narrow shoulder, and make sure to get a safe distance off the road.

Step Two: Turn on Your Hazards

Switch on your hazard lights as soon as you realize you have a flat. Turning on these lights will let drivers around you know that something is wrong. Pull over to your safe stretch of road and put on your parking brake. Turn your car off.

Step Three: Apply Wheel Wedges

Wheel wedges are bricks, pieces of wood, or stone that go behind your tires to ensure your vehicle doesn’t move. If it’s a flat front tire, put these wedges behind your rear tires. Place them behind your front tires if it’s a flat back tire.

Step Four: Remove the Wheel Cover or Hubcap

Most vehicles come with a wheel cover or hubcap covering the lug nuts. It’s easier to take it off before you jack up your car. If you don’t have any, you can skip to the next step. The flat edge of your lug wrench can usually slip between your tire and hubcap to pop it off.

Step Five: Loosen the Lug Nuts

Get your lug wrench and use it to turn your lug nuts counterclockwise. You may have to use force to break the resistance and get them turning. You may have to use all your body weight or your foot to get them to loosen. Next, turn each lug nut between a quarter and a half of a turn. Don’t remove them until you’re ready to remove the tire.

Step Six: Put the Jack Under Your Vehicle

Your jack should go under your vehicle’s frame next to the flat tire. A lot of vehicle frames have a cleared area of exposed metal and a molded plastic area specifically for the jack to help avoid damaging the car when you lift it up. Maneuver your jack until it’s under this area.

Step Seven: Raise Your Vehicle

Ideally, you should place a small two by six piece of wood beneath the jack before you raise your vehicle. This helps to prevent the vehicle from coming off the jack when the jack settles until the weight of the car. Slowly raise your car until the flat tire is around six inches above the ground.

Step Eight: Unscrew the Lug Nuts

You want to take time and remove all of the lug nuts. You should be able to unscrew them by hand and take them completely off. Don’t lose any!

Step Nine: Remove the Flat Tire

Get a good grip on your tire by holding on to the treads. Gently pull it toward you until you feel it come off of the hub. Set it on its side, so it doesn’t roll into traffic. If you have trouble, the below method can help you loosen it.

Step Ten: Mount the Spare Tire

Get your replacement tire and line it up with the lug bolts and the rim. Gently push it onto the rim until you can see the lug blots through the tire’s rim.

Step Eleven: Tighten the Lug Nuts with Your Hand

Put all of your lug nuts back onto the lug bolts before you tighten them as much as you can by hand. When you get them all on, double check and tighten them again if you find that they’re still loose.

Step Twelve: Lower the Car

Lower the vehicle all the way, and get your lug wrench and tighten all of the lug nuts by turning clockwise.

Step Thirteen: Replace the Hubcap and Pack Up

If your hubcap fits with your spare, put it back on. If it doesn’t, store it with your tire. Put everything in your car before you leave. , You should take your car to a technician to ensure the lug nuts are fully tightened and while there, have the flat tire inspected to see if it can be fixed.

Four Tips on How to Keep Tires in Safe and Good Condition

There are simple things you can do to keep your tires in tip top shape. Check out these 4 simple car care tips.

Tip One: Check Your Tire Pressure Each Month

Tires can lose about one pound of air per square inch each month. In colder weather, it’s even more. Make a point to know the optimal amount of air your tires should hold, and check them each month.

Tip Two: Rotate

You want to maintain your tread on your tires and get the maximum life out of them. To do this, have your tires rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

Tip Three: Replace Your Tires Regularly

Don’t wait until the steel radials are poking through your tires to replace them. Turn a penny upside down and stick it between your tire’s tread. If you can’t see the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head, you’re okay. If you can see it, it’s time to replace.

Tip Four: Don’t Buy Mismatched Tires

Mismatched tires can cause your vehicle to handle incorrectly. It can also cause odd wear on the other three tires, so they wear out faster. Instead, buy the same type of tires that match the tires you currently have.

If you have to replace a tire, experts say you should replace all 4 at once. However, if you can only purchase two new tires at a time, be sure to have the two new tires installed on the back—for both front and rear-wheel drive vehicles.

Cooper® provides tips and maintenance information on their website as well, along with information on the right tire for your car.

Original research for article conducted by author. Thanks to Cooper Tires for providing additional resources.

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5 Basics of Matching Your Luxury Watch To Your Outfit

Imagine a man wearing a tuxedo, polished shoes, carrying off his enviable personality, but wearing a rubber band watch!

Doesn’t it look bad? Well, it is awful!!

Wearing a sporty looking watch with a band made of rubber or plastic is an absolute No-No! To call yourself truly fashionable, you must pay equal attention to the watch you choose to pair with your dress.

Yes, a wristwatch is more than just a timepiece. It is an important fashion accessory today. A watch has got the ability to either to break or build an outfit. So it is imperative that we are extra careful about matching our watch to the attire.

So how do you develop your own lookbook, with your luxury grand Seiko? Let us take a look.

Complement the formality of your outfit with that of your watch

Should you wear a digital or analog watch with a casual or formal attire?

Now, that depends heavily on how you carry it off, because the design and look of both kinds of watches are entirely different.

The digital watches come with a giant LED display which shows the time in numeric form. Their design is more suitable for casual events and informal parties. On the other hand, analog watches bear the hour and minute hands along with numbers. Analog watches generally bear a more poised and formal look compared to digital watches which are characterized by their sporty look. So analog watches are considered best for formal events.

Leather complements leather

You might not know, but you can take ideas about your perfect wristband for an event by taking a look at your shoes.

Yes, you read that right. Just like, you match your belt and shoes, you can also take notes and choose a watch with a suitable wrist band accordingly. For instance, if you are wearing brown leathered shoes and belt, make sure you team it up with a watch having brown colored leather waistband. That will complete your accessorizing and make you look like the perfect gentleman.

A short tip: you can buy a Grand Seiko watch which can be paired with the various colored waistbands. This way you will save money but never miss out showing off your iconic style!

Metal matches metal

luxury watch matching

It seems that waistband is not the only thing to be paired with your outfit; the metal case of the watch should be kept in consideration as well.

Now, does it seem to grow more complicated? Well, not really for we shall guide you here.
First, look at your watch. The case shape can be any and this shape does not play a role in your outfits. But the finish of the watch case must be considered here. That is, you need to choose between matte, shiny, crystal studded finish. The metals which are used to make the case include, silver, gold, platinum and even titanium. So when you are pairing with your attire, you should wear the same colored belt as the color of the metal base of your watch.

Now metal casing in watches all blacked out is in vogue, and therefore if you get it, don’t forget to pair it with gold or silver accessories.

Heirloom watches can break all rules

An absolute timepiece which represents royalty, heirloom watches, owes absolute charm to its wearer. It is probably the reason, that heirloom watches are not subjected to the strict rules of matching outfit with watch. An heirloom watch does not shout out styles in trend, but family history and culture.

So you can confidently wear this watch with just any kind of outfit and look stylish nonetheless!

When in confusion match the color of your shoes with your watch

outfit matching

If you are in amidst confusion but want to stun everyone with your style, then take cues from your shoes. While silver watches complement shoes in silver, blue and gray shades, golden watches go with tans, beiges, and browns.

For a better look, pick a watch which looks proportionate to your body. While a chunky big watch might be a fashion rage at the moment, it might not be ideal for you. So choose wisely. And the next time you are buying a new watch, consider these tips!

See Also: 8 Genius Fashion Hacks for Men

The post 5 Basics of Matching Your Luxury Watch To Your Outfit appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Garden

Your garden is full of secrets. When you know those secrets, it will help you to grow a beautiful and healthy garden. Although gardening still requires dedication and skill, there are many fun facts about your garden that could make maintaining it a little easier.

Curious to learn more about gardening? We have five interesting gardening facts you likely didn’t know about your garden.

Plants Do Respond to Sound

Have you heard (or seen) people talking to their plants? Maybe you’ve heard the old tale that is talking to your plants will actually promote growth. It may sound silly, but plants actually do respond to sound.

The vibration from sound can affect their growth. Studies have shown that sounds like music and your voice can contribute to the growth and health of your garden.

There Are Good Pests

We always think that a pest in the garden is causing more harm than good. While for many bugs and insects that is true, there are pests out there that are actually beneficial for your garden. The hard part is determining which ones to keep and which ones to get rid of.

Many good pests (including ladybugs, aphid midges, spiders, and ground beetles) feed off of other bugs and pests that can cause damage to your garden. So, if you spot some of these bugs, don’t fret. They’re doing an important job that will make life easier for you to maintain your garden.

Butterflies May Like Weeds More

garden butterfly

Butterflies are beautiful insects that flap around a healthy garden, typically. We often think it is the color in the garden that attracts butterflies. Although that may be true, it comes down to the scent and nectar of a plant that attracts a butterfly.

Due to human’s breeding plants on their own to create brighter and bigger plants, they often lose their fragrance. However, it is the weeds that tend to maintain their scent, which will attract scent-driven bugs like butterflies.

Different Kind of Composting

We know that gardens love compost. That is because they get to absorb all of the leftover nutrients from compost. However, you don’t need to be a dedicated composter for your garden to have similar benefits.

Although having a compost bin will reduce the amount of garbage you have, you don’t need to do this for your garden necessarily. Instead, directly applying to the soil items like used coffee grounds, chopped-up banana peels, and other organic matter will give the plants the nutrients they look for as the items decompose.

Gardening Can Equal Happiness

gardening happiness

Many studies have found that gardening will help boost your mood. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of gardening, spending some time tending to your plants can help the brain produce serotonin, which is the happy chemical that can combat depression. Certain bacteria strains in garden soil will contribute to serotonin production.

If you’re looking for another reason to start a garden, the five listed above may help. These secrets will not only help boost the health of your garden, but they may also help contribute to your overall health and happiness too.

See Also: How to Create an Indoor Garden

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DumbLittleMan’s Ultimate Gift Guide for Mother’s Day 2019

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and finding the perfect gift for such a special occasion can be a really overwhelming task, particularly if you’re a last minute shopper.

That’s why, to help you out, we’re sharing with you the best Mother’s Day gift ideas you can give to every supermom on your list. Whether your mom is into baking, beauty, getting fit or indulging in a relaxing spa day at home, we’ve got you covered.

Baker’s Decorating Pipes: Kootek 42 Pieces Cake Decorating Supplies Kit

This cake decorating supplies kit is a treat for moms who love to bake. With 36 stainless steel icing tips and different decorating patterns, you will surely enjoy using it on your cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. The tips are easy to use and clean as well.

Anti-Aging Serum: ToLB Retinol Serum

Get smooth and refreshed skin with this serum. Perfect for all skin types, this retinol serum can help counter the effects of aging on your skin. It’s formulated to specifially target age spots, wrinkles, and fine lines.

Beer Chiller: Brew House Beer Chillers

Moms deserve a break and what better way to relax and unwind than to have a really cold bottle of beer after a stressful day. These beer chillers are designed with 4 flow holes so you can enjoy really cold beer.

Stationery: Q&A a Day for Moms

This is the perfect gift to encourage mindfulness in moms who are living a really busy and stressful live. Filled with really meaningful questions, it’s a good tool to unload your thoughts and feelings about motherhood and life in general.

Paleo Cookbook: Thug Kitchen Cookbooks

Encourage healthy eating with this cookbook. It features really great recipes that both beginning and expert cooks will be able to use. It includes a lot of instructions to help you make everything from sauce to really delicious meals.

Beauty Soap Bars: Bali Soap – Natural Soap Bar Gift Set

These soaps aren’t like your ordinary bath soaps. Containing an exotic blend of organic ingredients, they are a sure treat to your senses. They create a really nice and creamy lather to moisturize your skin. They also have invigorating scrubs to remove dead skin cells and reveal healthier skin.

Budget Planner: Boxclever Press Budget Planner

Make mom’s life easier with this budget planner. It offers an easy way to organize the family’s savings, budgets, debts, and allowances. It has trackers for monthly bills so it’s easier to see which ones are due soon. It even has a special section so you can easily track the family’s expenses on special occasions, like Christmas.

Salt Lamp: Himalayan Glow HS-1301B Tall Round Natural Salt Lamp

This salt lamp can warm mom’s heart on her special day. It’s designed to purify negative ions so your home can enjoy cleaner air. It can help get rid of dander, smoke, pollen, and other pollutants. The lamp is made from natural Himalayan salt crystals.

Silk Sleep Mask: Asutra, Weighted Silk Eye Pillow

When you’re a mom running a very busy household, it can be challenging to get a good night sleep. So, with this Mother’s Day, give your mom this really comfortable silk eye pillow. It has organic lavender which is known to promote sleep.

Handbag Organizer: ZTUJO Purse Organizer Insert

This purse organizer can be a life changer for most moms. It features 13 total purse organizers, 3 exterior pockets, and 10 interior pockets. With so much storage, mom will be able to keep most of her items in a neat and organized way. No more losing keys, lipsticks or cards!

Makeup Organizer: Sanipoe 360 Rotating Makeup Organizer

This makeup organizer might look small but it actually has a large capacity. It can keep a minimum of 30 brushes and about 20 skincare products. It also has enough rooms for nail polishes, lipsticks, and other cosmetic products. Made of acrylic, it’s easy to clean and use.

Activity Tracker: Letsfit Fitness Tracker

For the active moms, this fitness tracker will make an excellent gift. It’s waterproof and compatible with smartphones with Android 4.4 and iOS 7.1 It tracks the heart rate and vibrates to alert you of a call or message.

Home Spa Gift Set: Lovery Mother’s Day Home Spa Gift Basket

Pamper your mom this Mother’s Day with this home spa gift set. It comes wih a shower gel, bubble bath, bath salt, body lotion, body scrub, and other spa essentials. With a fresh floral scent, this basket promotes deep relaxation. Don’t forget to add a personalized note!

Bathtub Caddy: Bambusi Bathtub Caddy Tray

Make bath time even more relaxing with this bathtub caddy. It holds tablet and smartphones pretty well, allowing you to watch your favorite series or just browse the internet. It can even hold books. It’s adjustable to any bathtub so you won’t have to worry about your things falling into your bath.

Facial Steamer: Zenpy Nano Ionic Facial Steamer

Dry and dehydrated skin can make you look older than you really are. Good thing there’s this nano facial steamer to quickly hydrate and moisturize your skin. Apart from promoting glowing skin, it can also help reduce stress, promote better sleep, and relieve fatigue. The steamer also comes with a blackhead remover kit and a really cute hair band.

Tracker: Tile Pro

Track your phone, keys, wallet, purse, and everything else you don’t want to lose with the Tile Pro. It can detect your items within 300 feet Bluetooth range. Just double press the Tile button and it’ll ring loudly. With its dedicated app, it’ll show you the last place and time you had your missing item.

TV Stick: Roku Streaming Stick+

For a stronger and smoother streaming, get your mom this Roku Streaming Stick. It gives 4x the range and a clear, immersive picture quality. You can search through more than a thousand channels to watch your favorite shows. It even has an app which you can download on your Android and iOS devices.

Hair Curler: CHI Air Spin N Curl Products

CHI Air Spin N Curl can help you create really flawless curls in just seconds. It features a customizable temperature so you can style your hair without having to worry about damaging it. Plus, it also helps reduce static and frizz. It’s a great hair styling tool for busy moms.

Foot Spa Massager: Ovitus Foot Spa Bath Massager with Heat

This Ovitus Foot Spa Bath Massager provides heat to soothe tired and achy feet. It features a fully automatic motorized roller that targets your feet’s acupuncture point. Combining heat therapy and acupressure, it promotes better blood circulation as well.

The post DumbLittleMan’s Ultimate Gift Guide for Mother’s Day 2019 appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Fund Your Holiday of A Lifetime

We all have a place in the world that we want to visit more than anywhere else. Usually, it’s a far-flung place, steeped in history and a culture that is the complete opposite to our own.

The one problem though is funding it. Holidays of a lifetime don’t come cheap and if you want to enjoy the most memorable of experiences, you’re not going to be able to scrimp.

There are many ways in which you can fund the ultimate getaway- from innovative ways to make money to playing the lottery and crossing your fingers.

Here’s our guide on how to save money for dream vacation.

Find The Best Value Credit Card

how to choose the best credit card

Credit cards are the most common way of funding a huge trip. Booking flights and accommodation by credit card is not only sensible in terms of finance but will also cover you more should anything happen to your booking.

Many of us just use the credit card we’ve got and don’t make the most of 0% interest offers or cards that offer travel rewards.

There are tons of great cards out there that’ll help to cut the cost of your travels. And paying on a 0% card makes good sense if you plan on paying the card off within the period the card is offering it.

You’ll find some great no interest credit cards on the market, perfect for high-value payments.

It’s well worth exploring if you’re planning on paying with a credit card. After all, nobody wants to be paying huge amounts of interest.

Secure a Loan

Another option is to secure a loan. If you can similarly get one with low-interest rates, it really can be a worthwhile move.

At various stages in our life, there are things we need to do. If it’s before you settle down with children, for example, a loan can give you that opportunity. It gives you the chance to pay your holiday back at a reasonable rate.

It’s an option many take but it can be difficult to acquire if you have bad credit. You also must be sure you can afford the monthly payments. Otherwise, you could end up in trouble.

Review Your Finances

start business budget

It’s likely we’re all paying more than we should be in one way or another, whether that be on our utility bills or the gym membership we haven’t used in over six months.

There are dozens of ways in which you can cut your daily running costs, and you really can save hundreds of dollars in the process.

One of the best ways to do this is by looking at utility bills and deciding whether you could save by switching provider. In some cases, you could cut costs by £300 which is a significant chunk in flight or accommodation costs.

Other methods include changing the way you travel to work, cutting branded products in your weekly shop, and selling anything you have wasted capital in.

Create a Plan

First and foremost, you should create a plan and map out your finances.

You’ll find this more helpful than anything else as it’ll allow you to break down your income and expenses and realistically budget and forecast how long it will take you to save.

This will then give you a clear idea of when you can take your holiday. It will give you clear dates of when you’re going and even the right time to book the trip.

It’ll help bring you a firmer purpose for saving and all in all, make it much more effective. Within the plan, if you can set up a direct debit plan for saving, this will also hold you in great stead and help avoid spending what you should be saving.

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Everything You Need to Know about INFJ Dating and Romance

Of all Myers-Briggs personality types, INFJ is considered to rank as the rarest. Only one or two percent of the population fall under the category – introversion, intuition, feeling and judgment. These people are a bit misunderstood because of this fact and because of their personality traits.

These are very imaginative and introspective individuals who, however, aren’t big communicators. This is why INFJ relationships can be difficult to establish. Once they find a partner, however, people who belong to the group form long-lasting bonds characterized by empathy and a deep level of commitment.

Are you wondering about INFJ romance? Whether you belong to the category or you’re dating someone characterized as INFJ, the following guide will shed some light on the biggest opportunities and some of the challenges you will have to overcome.

INFJ Personality Types: Strengths and Weaknesses

Because it happens to be relatively rare, the INFJ personality is somewhat misunderstood. Still, based on the Myers-Briggs characteristics, some valid conclusions can be drawn about the strengths and the weaknesses these people carry.

Let’s get started with the strengths first.

INFJ people are very insightful. They possess an analytical mind and they pay attention to details.

In addition, these people are very creative. INFJs are endowed with an incredibly vivid imagination and they often have creative professions. They are very keen on making the people closest to them happy, which means that they will come up with an intelligent solution for just about any problem that arises.

infj creative

INFJs are willing to sacrifice their own wellbeing for the people they love. An INFJ in relationships is giving, eager to please and selfless. As far as good characteristics go, it’s also important to point towards their conviction in life, reliability, decisiveness and conscientiousness.

Just like carriers of all other personalities, however, INFJs have their weaknesses.

A high level of sensitivity is good but it can also become a bad thing. This is why a good INFJ match is more balanced and capable of addressing such extreme sensitivities in a cool and collected manner.

These people tend to seek perfection in every aspect of life. They can burn out easily, especially if the cause they’re committing themselves to turns out to be something different from what was initially anticipated.

A final hindrance that could stay in the way of successful INFJ relationships is the fact these people can be extremely private. They’re introverts, which means that a lot will remain hidden instead of being discussed with a partner.

See Also: 8 Hustle Tips for Introverts and Creative Souls

INFJs as Lovers

infj romance

An INFJ person could find it difficult to attract romantic partners.

These individuals aren’t likely to approach strangers. Hence, INFJ dating could start in alternative ways to traditional flirts. DoULike and other dating sites have luckily provided opportunities that INFJs have been missing in the past.

Once they open themselves up to someone that’s romantically interested in them, INFJs will demonstrate their kind and loving nature. These people are very considered and gentle. They will work hard to make a lover happy. INFJ love is deep and emotionally-binding, even if it happens to be somewhat lacking in the passion department.

For INFJs, sexuality is not something casual or to be taken lightly. These people don’t find joy in casual encounters because intimacy is very spiritual and emotional for them. Hence, people who are just getting to meet an INFJ type for the first time may think this person is aloof. Under the right circumstances, however, INFJs could reveal their passion, care and desire to please a partner.

Communication with an INFJ Person

INFJ relationships could be difficult at first because of the specific manner in which these people communicate.

Remember that the I stands for introversion. These people are quiet and sensitive. Chances are that they will not speak out when something bothers them. While this characteristic is good in certain situations, it could be detrimental in terms of relationship problem solving and overcoming obstacles.

If you are the partner of an INFJ personality type, you should communicate in a calm and encouraging way. Work towards getting your partner to open up. Once they start trusting you, chances are that you will learn a whole lot about them that previously remained hidden.

It may also be a good idea to give them some time and space. While the relationship is probably going to progress slower than what you’re used to, the bond you will be establishing could potentially become unbreakable. Don’t push them because such a communication approach could get an INFJ to hide even deeper in their shell.

Which Other Personality Types Are Most Compatible with INFJs?

infj dating

INFJ compatibility is not an exact science. These people could get along with many other personality types, as long as these individuals don’t approach INFJ dating in an aggressive or flamboyant manner.

The INFJ best match balances their negative characteristics while gently challenging the private person to come out and to explore new aspects of life.

A few personality types are highly compatible with INFJs.

ENFPs (extrovert, intuitive, feeling and perceiving) is an excellent match. These people are free spirited and laidback. In addition, they possess a degree of creativity and will that will appeal to the INFJ. In addition, ENFPs are outgoing but sensitive towards the peculiarities of others. These two personality types will be willing to make necessary compromises in order to achieve relationship harmony.

ENFJs are known as givers and they could also match INFJs pretty well. The only difference between these two personality types is that one of them is introverted while the other one tends to be outgoing. These two personalities are concerned about similar issues, they possess a lot of creativity and empathy. The fact that the introversion and the extroversion balance each other out could result in a match made in heaven.

INFPs (introversion, intuition, feeling and perception) is another good choice for an INFJ partner. These people are idealists but they are much less punctual and willing to plan than INFJs. They bring a degree of spontaneity to the dating process that can be really refreshing. These people are also likely to remain optimistic about the future of the relationship even when things become challenging.

While INFJs are a rare personality type and they have various challenges to overcome, finding true love is possible. The kind nature and the willingness to understand/please their partners will work in their favor. INFJs will build very satisfying long-term relationships with the right people. While identifying the right match will often take a significant amount of time, such connections rank among the ones that are meant to last a lifetime.

The post Everything You Need to Know about INFJ Dating and Romance appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

11 Tips On How To Write A Good College Paper

An essay is an excellent way to showcase what standardized test scores and grades can’t, your personality. Along with giving your admissions counselors and professors a glimpse of who you are, they’re excellent chances to showcase your writing ability. We’re going to outline several great tips on how to write a college paper below.

Open Your Essay with an Anecdote or a Mini Story

Instead of focusing your attention with trying to come up with gimmicky lines to grab and hold your reader’s attention, start with a small anecdote or mini story. The story you choose should give your readers a small hint of your personality, and this is what will grab and engage them from the start. They’ll want to learn more, so they’ll keep reading.

Get Help From a Writing Service

The use of writing services is on the rise, and it’s not because of lazy students. You might be surprised to know that even students with good grades are hiring these services. Apparently, some students’ load are too much too handle that extra help is needed.

If you’re an extremely busy student who needs that helping hand, you can try reputable writing services like Papersowl. They guarantee papers that are 100-percent free of plagiarism. You can also choose your style and subject before the site matches you with a writer.

Just make sure to do the final touches on your paper so that it still has part of your effort in it.

See Also: How to Find The Best Essay Writing Service for Students

Organize Your Writing

essay outline

Many people skip the organization step and dive straight into their writing. While this may seem like a good idea, it’s a fast way to get off track and lost. Create a rough outline that includes as many even paragraphs as you need to complete the essay while staying within the word count. Put an idea per paragraph, and structure your writing around them.

Combine Like Ideas into Sophisticated Sentences

Short sentences are one way to avoid punctuation mistakes. However, they can also make your paper seem choppy and disjointed. You should take your like ideas and combine them into more complex sentences. You should save your simple sentences for when you want to create a lasting impact that goes directly to the point.

Use Essay Hell for Inspiration

Essay Hell is not a writing service. It’s a site that helps students who are struggling with their essay-writing skills. Founded by a journalist and high school English teacher, the site offers tools like brainstorming sessions, writing tips, topic ideas, sample essays, and much more. It’s a place to find inspiration and conquer your essay writing block or fears.

Know Your Formatting Requirements

Formatting is huge, no matter which level you’re writing your essay for. Find out which formatting requirements your essay requires, and do a quick once-over to re-familiarize yourself with the guidelines. MLA and AP styles are both extremely popular, but there are more available. Most professors or teachers pick one and stick to it throughout the year, but it may not be the same from class to class.

Write Boldly and Vividly

Almost all essays follow a five paragraph format with generalized wording and observations. Imagine trying to grade them all. You want your essay to stand out. One way to accomplish this is to write very vividly and make pinpoint observations with sharp wording. Avoid generalized statements, and pack your essay with details.

Get Feedback

No one likes to hear that their writing or essay needs work. However, it’s vital that you get good and bad feedback on every essay you write. Pull a friend, college, or family member and ask them to review your essay and give their honest opinion. Just make sure that you keep the tone of the essay in your voice from beginning to end.

Proofread and Proofread Again

When you finish writing your paper, don’t just hand it in with a quick glance through for spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Instead, put the essay away for a few hours and revisit it with a fresh set of eyes. You can also put it into a program that reads it back to you because it’s easier to catch auditory mistakes than it is to read them. You could also ask a friend to look it over.

See Also: How to Start a Proofreading Business At Home

Consider Keeping Your Essays Short

writing college paper

Unless you have a hard word count requirement, consider cutting your essay down. Shorter essays usually have less “fluff” or filler language because you have less space to fill in your ideas. Shorter essays are also usually more powerful. Cut out sentences that don’t add value to the point or points you’re trying to get across to your audience.

Cut Your Essay Into Three Parts

First starting out can be extremely intimidating when you think about an essay. But, you can cut it into more manageable parts to help create a clear outline. The three parts include:

  • Introduction – The first paragraph will introduce your essay idea to your audience. This is where you grab your audience’s attention and get them interested in your topic.
  • Body – Split the body of your essay into at least five paragraphs. Each paragraph should have one point or example you flesh out when you start to write that supports your introduction’s point.
  • Conclusion – The final paragraph will summarize your essay’s main point, examples, and the supporting points you highlighted in the body. Make sure that you tie up any open ends and reiterate your essay’s main point.

These 11 points on how to write a college paper can help you create a strong and compelling paper from start to finish. You’ll be able to use them to wow your professors or admissions clerks and make a memorable impression that carries through your college years.

The post 11 Tips On How To Write A Good College Paper appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Tips to Convince Your Overprotective Parents to Let You Travel Alone

A lot of parents aren’t comfortable with the idea of their children traveling abroad, particularly if they plan on going alone.

They think it is unsafe and simply a waste of time and money. It may potentially take away their focus on what’s really important in life, like education and career.

However, you and I know that traveling is actually one of the best ways to learn and grow.

By going on a solo travel, you encounter new and diverse experiences that are not always comfortable. It forces you to take responsibility for yourself and grow into your own being.

Even research has shown that students who have taken a year off to work, travel and explore other interests are now being recognized by universities like Harvard and employers as valuable in helping students be more successful in their lives, studies and careers.

So, what can you do to get your parents to allow for this to happen?

Do your homework and share your plan

You need to have a plan to prove that you have really thought this through. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is your goal or what do you want to experience and accomplish when you are abroad?
  • How will this contribute to your life and your career ambitions?
  • Why is this important to you?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • How long are you going to go for?
  • What are the safety measures you are going to take?
  • How much have you saved?
  • How much do you think it is going to cost?
  • What is your budget?
  • Where are you going to get the money to support you?

All these questions are important for you to answer as it’ll demonstrate you have done your research and know what you are doing. Try and tie it back to how it can help with your career goal and how it can give you a competitive edge in the future. Show them how you are going to be financially responsible and pay for the trip and support yourself.

Back up your research on the benefits of traveling and working abroad

Help them see how traveling will contribute to building your resume and your life skills. Use the information I provided to you in the introduction to share with them time has changed.

Nowadays, employers and schools value individuals who know how to work with diverse people. They favor those who can speak more than one language and are able to think outside the box. Find more examples on Google that further backs this up.

Share examples of other family friend’s children who have traveled on their own

Our parents often like to compare us with their family friend’s children and use them as examples, saying we should be more like them. You know how they always say, “Did you hear about so and so… Why not do the same? Did you hear so and so just got back from Europe and because of his/her experience got a job working for xyz or got into the xyz university?”

So, who do you know have been able to convince their parents to let them go travel on their own and came back more successful? Call them up and find out how they convinced their parents. Ask what have been the biggest reservations their parents had to let them go off on their own.

Even if you don’t know of anyone, ask around. Expand your network and find someone who have gone through the challenge you are facing and get some advice from them.

Reassure them you will stay in touch

One of the biggest things our parents worry about is our safety. They worry that they are not able to protect you and care for you when you are so far away.

The reality is bad things can happen just as easily if you were to stay at home. Also, they won’t be around forever to protect you. Nothing lasts forever in life and what happens around us is out of our control.

The only thing we have control over is how we choose to prepare and respond to what goes on in our lives. So, give them as much information as you can about where you will be staying or where you are going to be. Work with them to agree on how often will you check in and stay in touch with them by Skype, phone or email.

After all, the only way you can learn how to manage ‘life’ on your own and thrive is if they give you the opportunity to spread your wings and face new experiences in life by yourself.

Be patient and don’t give up on your dreams

Know that there is always a way. Be patient, gentle, and persistent. Be willing to compromise if you must.

So, maybe instead of traveling on your own, you agree to join a group or a youth exchange program organized by the government. Check out Go Overseas to find reliable information about various programs abroad.

Ultimately the decision lies within you. It is your life. Don’t waste it on living out someone else’s.

See Also: 6 Ways Traveling Alone Makes You Stronger

The post 5 Tips to Convince Your Overprotective Parents to Let You Travel Alone appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

What to Give On Valentine’s Day: A DumbLittleMan Gift Guide

Finding the perfect Valentine’s Day gift is not that easy. No matter who you are giving a gift to or what stage of romantic relationship you’re in, you’re bound to spend a lot of time thinking about your present. That means hours or even days of asking around and browsing the internet for gift ideas.

Now, if you’re still undecided about what gifts to give your special someone this Valentine’s Day, don’t worry. Below, we’re sharing with you some really awesome Valentine’s day gift ideas. We’ve categorized the gifts for your convenience, too.

For Her

Spa Kit: Body & Earth Spa Gifts for Her

Does your special someone rarely have time to relax and unwind? If your answer is yes, then this makes the perfect gift this Valentine’s day.

This spa set comes with a body mist, body scrub, body lotion, bubble bath, shower gel, massage soap, and bath salts which are all formulated with nourishing ingredients. Additionally, the items are also formulated with floral lily essential oils. The scent helps in calming the mind and promoting overall well-being.

Eternity Flowers: Ling’s Moment Artificial Flowers 50pcs Real Looking Dusty Rose

Fresh flowers are great for Valentine’s Day but they don’t last that long. So instead of giving away fresh flowers on such a special event, consider eternity flowers. They don’t wither and they won’t cause allergies, too!

This particular product is made of soft but high quality latex foam which makes the flowers look like fresh ones. They are handmade and the resulting variations in color and sizes make them appear like real flowers.

Jewelry: MyNameNecklace Custom Made Pendant Jewelry

This name pendant has a romantic feel to it and anyone who receives it for Valentine’s Day will surely feel special. Even with a cursive font, the letters aren’t that hard to read. The edges are also perfectly rounded so you won’t have to worry about irritating your skin.

Scented Candles: Yankee Candle Large Jar Candle, Balsam & Cedar

No Valentine’s Day gift list will be complete without scented candles, particularly if you’re thinking of a gift for a woman. This Yankee Candle is a treat to the senses with its aromatic cedar wood and juniper berry blend. It’s a festive fragrance that can make anyone’s day feel so much better.

Bath Bombs: LifeAround2Angels Bath Bombs Gift Set

Oh, bath bombs! These ones are unlike your usual bath bombs. For one, they don’t stain the tub. That means you won’t have to spend a lot of time cleaning your tub after your bath. They are also therapeutic and moisturizing, particularly if you have normal to dry skin.

Luxury Robes: Richie House Women’s Plush Soft Warm Fleece Bathrobe

There’s probably nothing cozier than slipping into a really comfortable bath robe at the end of the day. If you know someone who feels that way, get her this soft warm fleece robe.

Made with 100% polyester fleece fabric, it’s comfortable, durable, and easy to take care of. It even has two oversized front pockets for keeping your mobile phone or even the TV remote!

Makeup Kit: Docolor Makeup Brushes

These brushes don’t just look nice but they are also feel luxurious against the skin. There’s no shedding so you can expect them to last long. Plus, they don’t fade or get scratched easily.

And the best part? They are actually vegan brushes.

Lingerie: Avidlove Women Lingerie Lace Babydoll V Neck Sleepwear Strap Chemise

This gift idea isn’t for everyone but if you know someone who loves to feel extra gorgeous, then this makes an ideal gift. This lingerie is very flattering that it’ll look good on just about anyone. It has adjustable spaghetti straps to allow one to get that perfect fit.

Shawl Wrap: GERINLY Lightweight Scarf

This scarf isn’t just a scarf. It can actually be worn in multiple ways. You can use it as a summer shawl, a bandana, a wrap skirt or a head scarf. With that, it’s the perfect accessory to wear all year round.

The design is simply feminine. It can add a modern touch to just about any type of outfit.

Hair Tools: Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer

With unique airflow vents and multiple heat settings, this particular hair styling tool from Revlon can give your hair the shine and volume it needs in just one step. It’s the perfect gift for anyone who likes styling her hair without spending a lot of time. Plus, with its Ionic Technology, it can actually minimize heat damage.

For Him

Cuff Links: UHIBROS Mens Cuff Links

These cuff links are made of solid brass which guarantees strength. They are quite long lasting, too. With a rhodium-plated design, they won’t fade or get dents easily. You can expect them to stay looking like new even with continual use.

Neck Tie: Set of 3 Elegant Neck Ties By Mens Collections

To complete just about any business attire, get this set of neck ties. They are quite versatile as they have designs for the classy, bold, and casual. With two striped and one paisley, they are great for pairing with solid color shirts and hard-to-match shirts.

Hip Flask: BarMe Stainless Steel 8 oz Hip Flask

For a hip flask that makes drinking on the go really easy, get this one. With a stainless steel flask funnel, it’ll make sure that no drop gets wasted. Designed with stainless steel, you won’t have to worry about it getting rusty over time.

Shaving Kit: Schick Hydro Sense Razors for Men

For men who like to keep themselves looking neat all the time, this Shick shaving kit makes a practical gift. It comes with two types of razors, refills, and a shaving cream. What’s really nice about this one is that it’s able to adjust to provide a really close shave with less irritation.

Wallet: HIMI Wallet for Men

Thinking of getting your man a wallet? Choose this!

HIMI Wallet for Men is made of genuine leather. It feels soft and comfortable to touch. Plus, it has an RFID blocking security feature to keep critical information safe from unauthorized scanners. It has 2 ID windows and a total of 10 card slots.

Bartender Kit: Expert Cocktail Shaker Home Bar Set

This bartender kit has almost everything you need to create a basic at-home bar. It has all the staple bar supplies, such as shaker tins, cocktail strainer, cocktail jigger, and shot glasses.

The items don’t retain odor or stain as they are made with durable stainless steel. They have this chilling effect that greatly amplifies flavors.

Bluetooth Speaker: Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker

For the music enthusiast, you can never go wrong with a Bluetooth speaker such as this product. It has a 24-hour battery life and a 66-feet Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. You can use it to play music at home, at the park or anywhere you want.

Compact Multi-Tool: LEATHERMAN – Squirt PS4 Multitool, Black

This compact tool comes with almost every tool you need when you’re on the go. It’s a perfect choice for men who like being outdoors. Equipped with 9 tools, you can cut a fishing line or open boxes and bottles with it.

Bag: NEWHEY Mens Messenger Bag

This bag has a lot of room for storage. With a total of 9 pockets, you can use it to keep your umbrella, wallet, cards, laptop, and even your water bottle. It has this adjustable strap and padded handle to reduce your fatigue when carrying it.

For Him or Her

Romance Journal: Our Q&A a Day: 3-Year Journal for 2 People

This journal is a fun little exercise for couples. From really silly questions to topics that’ll urge you to reflect on your self, its content can easily make you look forward to opening it each morning.

Himalayan Salt Lamp: Himalayan Glow 1301B Tall Round Natural Salt Lamp

This salt lamp doesn’t just make a great accent home decor but it also brings warmth to any home or room. It features an adjustable brightness to allow you to create the ambiance you need to relax.

Card Games: Our Moments Couples: 100 Thought Provoking Conversation Starters for Great Relationships

Card games aren’t going away anytime soon and this particular product is one good reason why. It’ll encourage you to interact with your partner and be closer than ever. It’s also a fun way to relieve stress and look back at what you went through as a couple.

Reed Diffuser: Chesapeake Bay Candle Mind & Body Reed Diffuser

This reed diffuser has a clean, minimalistic feel. Whether you are giving it to a female or male friend, you won’t regret it. The diffuser can last for 3 months and it comes with a small bottle of fragrance oil you can use.

Pedometer: Realalt 3DTriSport Walking 3D Pedometer

Since it’s important to keep an active lifestyle all year round, why not get your friend a pedometer? This particular product is easy to set up and use even for those who have never used one before. With 3D Tri-Axis Sensor Technology, it’s one of the most reliable pedometers around.

Sleeping Bag: Abco Tech Sleeping Bag

For people who like traveling, camping or hiking, this is an excellent gift to choose. It’s lightweight, comfortable, and extremely portable. With a waterproof and weather-resistant design, it can keep you warm even when you are exposed in extreme weathers.

Wine Set: Vremi VRM020018N Wine Accessory Set

This 9-piece wine accessory kit includes an electric cork remover, foil cutter, vacuum pump, aerator pourer, and airtight stoppers to keep your bottle of wine in mint condition. With its black and silver design, it can easily match any kitchen decor.

Massager: Naipo Massage Pillow Neck Back Massager

With massage nodes that mimic the motions or a real therapist’s hand, this massager can help you de-stress and relax right at the comfort of your home or even your office. It allows you to massage specific body parts whenever and wherever you like.

Weighted Blanket: YnM Weighted Blanket

Made with 100% premium cotton, this weighted blanket provides just the right temperature control for your body. It’s really useful for when you are feeling anxious or you just can’t sleep well. With a 7-layer system, it’s designed to surround and form according to your shape.

The post What to Give On Valentine’s Day: A DumbLittleMan Gift Guide appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Meal Prep

While many people can access helpful information on choosing a healthy diet, just a few implement the tips. You should realize that acquiring healthy eating tips is futile if your execution is wanting.

We are not here to accuse you; in fact, we understand the difficulties that you undergo to choose a healthy diet for your family amid your busy schedules. For this reason, this article will give excellent meal prepping tips.

Meal Prepping: What Is It?

Meal prepping is the act of preparing all your meals in advance. You’ll have the opportunity to prepare the meals during your free time. Most importantly, you will have all the time to shop for healthy and unprocessed ingredients.

This exercise will save your time. It’ll also ensure that your family feeds on healthy meals, as opposed to the processed and prepackaged foods which could have undesired health effects.

How Do I Start?

While you may be enthusiastic about this exercise, you should be careful not to be overwhelmed. You shouldn’t start by trying all the new healthy recipes you’ve read about recently. Instead, use the recipes that you’re conversant with and you’ll progressively move to the newer and more complicated ones.

Follow the tips below for successful meal prepping:

Pick your Day

You need to determine the specific day that you’ll prepare your meals. We recommend that you pick a day when you don’t have work!

Most people prefer Sunday and Wednesday to prepare healthy meals for the entire week. You should take charge and independently choose a day that you’re comfortable with.

We recommend that you begin by preparing meals for a few days before you can expand the meal prepping to an entire week.

Pick the Meals

You need to select the meal that you’ll prepare first depending on your needs. A person with a family would give preference to dinner, while a single person may choose breakfast. When choosing, you need to ensure that you prepare meals that are easy to prepare in bulk but slow to prepare a day at a time.

After picking the meals, you need to choose the recipe. While you can cook using a similar recipe, we recommend that you use different recipes for each day.

You should never forget to consider the nutrients composition of each recipe. You’re obliged to ensure that your family gets a balanced diet.

Use Good Containers

This is the foundation of a successful meal prepping plan. Ensure you have separate containers for each type of meal to avoid a mixture that may scare your children.

What is a good container?

Make sure that the container is segmented to allow you to place different meals in different sections. This can help prevent cross-contamination. You can save by buying these in bulk around November, when they often go on sale for Thanksgiving.

Below is a checklist for a food container you should have:

  • Divided and air-tight sections.
  • BPA-free. Never compromise on this requirement! Check the bottom of each container. If it has a triangle with number 7 written in it, then you should avoid it. When it’s BPA-free, you can safely microwave your food.
  • Clear containers. This will enable you to identify the contents easily.
  • Reliable and safe. Your container must be stackable, microwavable, freezer safe, and reusable.

In the Kitchen

Before you become an expert in meal prepping, you should start with a few meals. These tips are helpful in achieving success quickly:

Begin with simple meals. Use meals that are easy to prepare, easy to store, and are freezable. Many starters prefer chicken!

Be ready to multitask. Remember that you’re cooking meals for several days. You will have to launch your multitasking skills to achieve this in a single day. You can use multiple ovens. If you do not have enough utensils and ovens to accommodate multitasking, you may need to shop for the items.

Fruits. Including fruits in your recipe is an excellent way of achieving a balanced diet. You will need to wash different types of fruits, cut them up, and store them just like any other meal.

While this is a great idea, you need to research the effect of certain activities on the fruits’ nutritional value. Cutting some fruits can deplete some nutritional components. Some will be oxidized which will cause undesirable color on the fruit’s surface! As such, you should only implement the ideas that will not affect the nutritional value of the fruit.

The Crockpot. While this may appear obvious, many people ignore it. You can use the appliance to prepare some meals for storage. You can use it for cooking as well as for storing the food.

Bottom Line

This guide offers excellent tips on how to start meal prepping. It’s your duty to research the best recipes to try out in your kitchen. However, you should always ensure that what you feed on is nutritionally balanced and healthy.

The post How to Meal Prep appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How Do I Stop My Belt From Squeaking When I Start My Car?

The sound of a squeaking belt in a car’s engine can be caused by weather conditions, leaking fluids, maintenance issues or wear and tear. The magnitude of sound can range from a soft squeak to a loud and noisy squeal and it may occur while starting a cold engine or during normal vehicle operation. This is an issue that requires attention but does not pose danger or immediate risk of major damage.

Locating the Source of the Noise

The number of belts in an engine will vary according to the make and model. To determine which belt is making the noise, the best practice is to ask an assistant to start the engine while taking a look under the hood.

Modern vehicles typically have one or two belts:

  • A single serpentine belt that drives several components or a separate one for the alternator. Older vehicles may have a series of belts.
  • A main drive belt and separate ones for the alternator, fan, water pump, hydraulic steering, etc.

It is generally easier to determine when alternators are the cause of the squeak since they tend to be closer to the top and front end of the engine. After turning off the engine, the belt can be visually inspected for wear and tear. It can also be checked for tension by pushing down on it.

Loose belts are more likely to squeal in warm weather. However, if the belt appears to be tight and in good shape, then the issue may be the internal bearings of the pulley.

The same visual and tension check can be performed on the serpentine belt.

There should be enough tension to allow the belt to be pushed down about three quarters of an inch. Some hands-on car owners might be able to replace the alternator belt, but the serpentine belt may require a trip to the auto shop. Some engines feature an idle pulley that also serves as a tension adjustment device that can be dialed with a wrench.

Lubricating the Belt

If the belt is not loose and there are no signs of wear and tear, closer attention should be paid to any noise coming directly from the pulleys. This will require an inspection from a mechanic.

Otherwise, the squeaky belt can be lubricated for the purpose of silencing the noise. Only two lubricants should be used on belts: bar soap or belt dressing.

The latter can be purchased at an auto parts store and the former should only rubbed to the interior of the belt in dry conditions.

The post How Do I Stop My Belt From Squeaking When I Start My Car? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Choose the Best TENS Unit for Home Use

TENS machines come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and features. As a first time buyer, the long list of choices can frustrate, overwhelm and confuse you all at the same time.

Since TENS units for home use promise pain relief without the nasty side effects you can get from pain medications, you’d want to make sure you get one that’s effective and convenient to use.

In choosing the best TENS unit for home use, here are the 5 most important factors you need to consider.

Modes

Different types of pain respond to different electronic pulses or modes. With that, you need to make sure that your unit can be set in various modes. With most high-quality TENS unit, that won’t be a problem. However, in some low-end models, your options may be limited as they generally work with one or two models.

Choosing a TENS unit with multiple options can make the experience more enjoyable. It’s what will make the unit more effective in providing pain relief.

Battery Life

choosing best tens unit
Via thewirecutter.com

There are units that can work well on a 9-volt battery or 3 AAA batteries. While they look like a convenient and practical choice, they can increase the annual cost of using a TENS unit on a daily basis.

A high-quality device that works on a lithium battery is actually a better choice. It can take you weeks or even a full month of using the unit before you need to recharge it.

Additionally, a TENS unit working on a lithium battery can save you from the hassle and stress of constantly changing dead batteries.

Power Level

You need one that feels intense but won’t hurt. Now, this is tricky since people don’t have the same pain tolerance.

With most low priced TENS machines, their highest level may still not be enough to provide their promised benefits. So, what customers eventually do is upgrade their units to something better. This is simply a waste of money.

To avoid that mistake, get a TENS unit with a wide range of power. That way, you’ll be able to set your unit to your preferred intensity.

Number of Electronic Pads

The more electronic pads you have, the wider area of your body you’ll be able to cover. If you have multiple areas of pain or you’re suffering from multiple injuries, try to get a unit with multi-channel outputs.

Budget

You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot on a TENS unit for home use. However, you need to understand that a unit’s price will affect the features you’ll get. As mentioned, low-priced models may fall short when it comes to modes, battery life and even power level.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enjoy a TENS machine at home just because you are on a tight budget. The trick here is to know exactly what you need. Don’t spend a lot of money on a unit with features you don’t really want or need.

Ease of Use

For someone who’s new to using a TENS machine at home, the idea of operating it on your own can be nerve-wracking. With that, find a unit that’s easy to use. You should also consider getting a unit with a user-friendly interface and buttons with clear and easy-to-read labels.

There are machines that are compatible with smartphones. Some of them even come with their own dedicated apps and downloading them on your phone can make it possible for you to control your session with just your handset.

There are units that allow users to pre-set programs, making them easy to use. Others feature options to customize intensity and frequency to give you maximum control.

Life of the TENS pads

Quality electrode pads should last for months even with daily use. Low priced replacements pads, on the other hand, wear out easily and quickly which means that you will have to purchase new ones more frequently. This can skyrocket the cost of using a TENS unit over time.

In addition to inquiring about the life of the TENS pads, you should also ask about their price. Those pads, in general, don’t come cheap but they don’t have to burn holes in your wallet. Choosing an expensive set of TENS pads that will last long is better than buying low priced TENS pads that wear out in just a few weeks.

Customer Service

great customer service

Believe it or not, this is one of the most important factors you need to consider when buying a TENS unit. Should something go wrong with your machine, there should be someone to assist you and answer your questions concerning the unit. A reputable company can easily address that.

Apart from the quality of customer service a brand has, you should also ask about its return policy. If you notice that your unit isn’t working as it should or you’re just generally unhappy with it, you should be able to return the machine without encountering a lot of issues.

Portability

Since you are looking for a unit you can use at home, it’s a good idea to consider its size. A small and compact TENS unit will make it easy for you to use the machine anywhere in the house. A small size also means better portability. You’ll be able to take it with you when you travel or work.

Treatment Timer

Most TENS machines have treatment timers as an added feature. A timer allows you to set your desired time for the treatment and automatically shuts off the unit when that time runs out. While it’s not that necessary, a timer makes your TENS unit more convenient.

Conclusion

Choosing the best TENS unit for home use isn’t easy. You have to be thoroughly informed if you want to find a unit that will fit your needs. With this list, you should be able to have a clearer idea about what you want and don’t want in a quality TENS machine.

The post How To Choose the Best TENS Unit for Home Use appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

10 Easy Money Hacks to Improve Your Finances

Personal finance doesn’t have to complicated. With the right mindset and commitment towards a better financial life, you can make big improvements effortlessly and quickly.

The following are 10 easy money hacks that can take your personal finance management to the next level:

Online Shopping

online shopping

One of the best ways to save money is to shop online as frequently as possible. This is because there is a slew of reliable and useful online portals including Amazon, Walmart, etc. where you can enjoy attractive discounts and cashback offers.

By making purchases at the right time and from the right website, you can easily save up to 30% or more than you would otherwise spend at your local store where you have limited options and limited time for research.

Refinancing

Is your mortgage or car loan giving a hard time? If your answer is “yes”, then refinancing can be a good solution to look into.

In refinancing, you essentially take a new loan to repay the current one. The advantage of this is that you can get a lower interest rate and a more flexible repayment structure with the new loan.

Increasing Credit Score

Your credit score will play a huge role in your life as far as the finances are concerned. So, if you have a high score, then not only you can get a personal loan, home loan, etc. rather easily, you can also negotiate and get a lower interest rate than the standard. This way, you can save a lot of money on the interest.

There are many easy and simple ways to improve your credit score. You don’t even need the help of a professional to succeed in this endeavor. You can just refer to authority websites and blogs such as the Dough Roller Blog for tips and advice. By taking the recommended credit-building measures, you can make decent improvements in a short period and enjoy more financial freedom!

Avoiding Minimum Payments

minimum payments

Credit card issuers often market their products with the “minimum payment” feature. As you can imagine, it’s an option for a credit card user in which they can choose to pay only a small portion of their credit card bill i.e. the minimum payment to avoid penalties. However, it’s something you should stay away from as much as possible.

When you make a minimum payment, your account is saved from fines and penalties. However, the remaining amount i.e. what’s left on your bill after you have made the minimum payment is carried over to the next month and added to the next bill. In addition to that, this balance continues to attract interest. Thus, always pay your bills in full to avoid paying interest and to protect your credit score.

Buying Used Items

There is nothing wrong with buying used products, especially when they cost a lot when bought new. However, the key is selective purchase.

For instance, items like furniture, expensive college books, hardware tools, musical instruments, etc. can be easily bought online with websites like eBay, craigslist, wallapop, and letgo etc. This is because these items age well and their quality does’t degrade too much over time if they are well taken care of.

Buying used items can help you save as much as half of the original price. However, always be sure to inspect the products before you hand over the money.

Availing Tax Benefits

Do you pay the exact amount of income tax that’s applicable to your profile? There are ways to lower your taxable income which means you can save money that you would otherwise pay in taxes.

For instance, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) allow you to put money into an account tax-free and withdraw it tax-free when used to cover medical costs. Similarly, you can deduct interest from your student loan payments on your tax return.

Taking up Freelancing

There are many easy ways to make money online. For instance, if you are good at writing, photography, video editing, etc. then you can take up related gigs online from SMEs and individuals looking for help.

There are a number of reliable and high-paying freelancer websites like Upwork and Freelancer where you can create an account to bag gigs and earn some decent money on the side. This will also allow you to use your free time during weekends or holidays for something productive and financially beneficial.

See Also: 5 Freelancing Tips That Will Make you Successful

Setting up an Emergency Fund

emergency fund

Life is uncertain, and if you lose your job one day or aren’t able to work for some other reason, then your savings can deplete quickly, thus leaving you vulnerable. You may end up taking a personal loan at a high interest rate being short of options. However, you can prevent this kind of situation by setting an emergency fund for the rainy days.

Ideally, an emergency fund should be enough to cover your expenses for at least 3-6 months.

Using a Mobile App for Tracking Expenses

We have all heard that creating a monthly budget, monitoring the expenses, etc. is important. However, who has the time to note down all the expenses and do the math? Fortunately, there are a number of free apps that can help you track your spending.

The best personal finance apps in the market are capable of reading your emails and SMS for automated tracking, creating detailed reports, suggesting payment methods and credit cards that offer discounts, etc. Thus, these can help you save money in a variety of ways.

Reconsider Recurring Expenses

A lot of times, one-time expenses such as car repair, dental treatment, etc. can’t be avoided. However, the recurring expenses which are also the biggest burden on your finances can be looked into and altered for saving money.

If you find that there are more affordable alternatives to your current recurring expenses such as insurance premium, Internet connection charges, cable bills, etc. then you can make a switch. Maybe you can find a cheaper Internet plan, or replace your home’s light fixtures with their energy-efficient versions at to lower your utility bills, etc.

So, these were some of the best ways to improve your financial health. Do try them out and see how you get the benefits in just a short period! Good luck!

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Why You Should Buy a Soundbar for your 4K TV

As televisions evolve, so do all of the equipment that go with it. You bought a 4K television because you wanted a crystal clear picture with bright and bold colors. It follows that your sound quality should also be top-grade. This is why many people have started to buy soundbars for their home entertainment system.

What is a Soundbar?

A soundbar is a one or two-piece system that functions as speakers for your 4K television. They’re specifically designed for people who are not able to install freestanding speakers for their television. Additionally, the sound output quality of just about any soundbar is infinitely better than you’d get with your traditional television speaker system.

These devices are designed to fit seamlessly into a very compact and slender space. Soundbars generally only use two cords when you hook them up to your television. This eliminates the problem of clumsy cords hanging out the back and around your entertainment system.

Most soundbars also play the sound back to you in surround sound. This allows you to immerse yourself in your show without taking up the usual space that a traditional surround sound system would. There are several speakers built along the entire length of the soundbar. You can set them and choose which output you want to use.

Deciding Between a Soundbar and a Sound Base

When you start searching for a soundbar, you’ll notice very quickly that there is a subcategory called a sound base. Both of these devices perform the same action. They give you crystal clear and uninterrupted sound quality. However, a sound base is designed to sit on a shelf or TV stand. They’re durable enough to support your television’s weight. Additionally, a sound base can’t be mounted on a wall as a soundbar can.

Why Get a Soundbar?

If you’re thinking about buying a soundbar, you obviously want better sound quality than your typical television speaker will give you. You’ll get greater clarity, a richer sound, and an overall better experience when you use a soundbar. Additionally, soundbars also support:

Dolby Atmos

dolby studios dolby atmos
Via dolby

Dolby Studios released Dolby Atmos to take their viewers listening experience up to the next level. They added layers and layers of sound to a traditional listening experience. This layering was made possible because the rich sound comes from above the listener. Any sound you hear can travel in a variety of directions. In turn, you get a surround sound experience that’s better than ever before.

DTS:X Sound

To get the most out of your 4K television, you want to be able to experience the sound that comes with your UHD-Blu-rays. This is known as DTS:X sound. A soundbar can take this clear audio and magnify it, so you get full room-filling sound. Additionally, it can help to project it around the room. It turn, you’ll get a viewing experience that matches your 4K television.

Types of Soundbars

There are generally two different types of soundbars available. They both perform the same task of enriching your audio experience. The mounting system is what makes them different.

Traditional Soundbar

A traditional soundbar is designed to sit right in front of your television. Some companies are designing them to blend right in with your television to increase the overall aesthetic appeal. They’re very slender in build. This makes them easy to set on a smaller television stand without a problem.

Wall-Mounted Soundbar

wall mounted soundbar type
Via expertreviews.co.uk

The second type of soundbar available is the wall-mounted soundbar. This is a great alternative for people who want to hang their 4K television up on the wall. Mounting your soundbar on the wall creates a clean and sleek look. You get mounting hardware included when you buy your soundbar. This allows you to install it yourself quickly and easily.

Reasons to Invest in a Soundbar

There are several reasons why people choose to purchase soundbars for their home entertainment systems. They include:

  • Aesthetics: A soundbar can add a clean and modern look to your entertainment system. They’re designed to be sleek, space-saving, and they appeal to people who like the more modern design.
  • Audio Projection: As we mentioned above, soundbars can project the audio up toward the ceiling of your room. This will cause the audio to come from all angles when you use the soundbar. You’ll be able to immerse yourself with clear, room-filling sound.
  • Sound Quality: People want their sound quality to match their new 4K television quality. A soundbar gives a sound quality that is unmatched by traditional television speakers. This includes the speakers on your new 4K television.
  • Subwoofer: If you’re after that deep bass sound, you can purchase a subwoofer to add on to your soundbar. You can also find a soundbar that comes with an additional subwoofer included. This will let you experience the entire range of sounds each time you use it.

When it comes to buy soundbar, there are several important benefits that come with this purchase. It’s important that you shop around and compare various options, so you’re sure that you find the correct soundbar to suit your needs. If you do this, you’ll get a sleek addition to your home entertainment system that gives you sharp, clear, and rich room-filling sound quality.

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6 Real Ways To Help An Addicted Love One

If one of your loved ones has a drug addiction, you know that the road to recovery is typically a very long, challenging, and heartbreaking journey that the entire family will go on. You may get so overwhelmed that you decide to ignore the issue and sweep it under the rug.

However, this can cause more damage to you, your loved one, and your entire family. If you’re not sure what to say to a family member in this situation, we’ll give you several useful tips so you can help your loved one start and stay on the journey to recovery.

Understanding Drug Addiction

Before you can help your addicted loved one, you have to understand the addiction itself. Perhaps they started their drug addiction because all of their friends were experimenting, they were curious, or they wanted to numb themselves to emotional pain.

Although drug use doesn’t automatically mean that your loved one is going to abuse drugs, the line between recreational user and drug addict is often blurry, and it’s difficult to pinpoint a single point where it goes from recreational use to addicted.

help addicts

However, if drug use is starting to cause issues with relationships or in a work environment, your loved one could be slipping toward addiction. Common risk factors for drug abuse include:

  • A family history of addiction
  • Traumatic experiences like abuse or neglect
  • Mental health disorders
  • Early exposure and use of drugs

Symptoms of Drug Abuse

There are several physical and behavioral symptoms that come with drug addiction. While each drug comes with separate manifestations, and symptoms vary depending on the drug, a few common symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • Sudden behavioral changes
  • Glassy or red eyes
  • Withdrawing from family
  • Runny nose
  • Lack of energy
  • Changes in the sleeping patterns
  • Sudden changes in how much money they’re spending

Six Ways to Help a Loved One With a Drug Addiction

There are several things that you can do to help support your loved one as they fight their drug addiction.

1. Educate Yourself About Drug Addiction

The first thing you want to do is to educate yourself about drug addiction, the signs, symptoms, and the addiction process. Drug addiction is extraordinarily complex, but educating yourself will give you the tools you need to recognize the signs of addiction and how it affects your loved one. You’ll learn how to recognize that your loved one is struggling and needs help.

2. Offer Your Support

A lot of the time, someone who has a drug addiction doesn’t understand how much they mean to their families and how much their families love them. Talk to your loved one as soon as you notice a problem. Don’t watch and wait for them to hit their rock bottom. Let them know that you know there is a problem and that you’re going to be there to support them.

3. Open the Lines of Communication

Family members and friends worry that opening up the lines of communication can lead the loved one with the addiction to take drastic steps. While this may be true in some cases, it can also go very well. When you start the discussion, keep these points in mind:

  • Wait until the person seems sober. They’re less likely to lash out, and the can understand logical thinking more clearly. They’re also more likely to be honest with you and have a conversation.
  • Set up a time to talk when you have more than five minutes alone together. You want to have a two-way conversation where you can discuss your concerns and understand what your loved one is thinking and feeling.
  • Emphasize to your loved one that you care for them and that worry about their well being is what is motivating you to talk to them.
  • If they deny that there is a problem, table the discussion for a future date. You’re not trying to convince the person that they have a problem. You’re trying to let them know that you believe there is a problem and that you care.
  • Most importantly, know that there is no quick fix for addiction. The recovery journey is going to be a long and involved process.

4. Get Everyone United

It won’t be beneficial for anyone involved if people are not on the same page. Addiction can make people manipulative, and everyone has to present a united front. You’re all there to help your loved one. The easiest way to do this is to have all of their friends and family current and willing to offer support.

5. Ask Your Loved One to Seek Treatment

rehab center

It’s almost impossible for someone with an addiction to stop on their own. The best drug rehab treatment centers can be wonderful places for an addict to start the healing process. Treatment centers are not one size fits all, so it’s important that you find and choose the best rated rehabs for addiction treatment. They’ll be able to get counseling to help them deal with the cause of their addiction as well as learn life skills to help them cope without drugs.

6. Stand By Your Loved One as an Ongoing Recovery Process

Rehab isn’t an instant fix. There simply isn’t an instant fix for drug addiction. It’s critical that your loved one feels like they have your full support throughout the recovery process. Encourage them to seek ongoing care, attend meetings, and join a recovery support group. Your family can attend a support group for families of addicts and go through a recovery process.

Drug addiction can be a devastating and scary time for both the family and the person with the addiction. However, recovery is possible with the best drug rehab treatment centers. Additionally, these six steps can help you understand what your loved one is going through and how to help them on their recovery journey.

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How to Stop Being Lazy And Work Out

Are you too lazy to get your butt to the gym?

No matter how much time you have at hand and how much you intend to workout, you are simply unable to do it. Either it’s too hot outside, you have too much work, you can’t afford a gym membership or you have to meet someone – the list of excuses goes on.

But if you are worried about your current physique and want to get fit, being lazy isn’t going to help you.

When you feel lazy, you will always find an excuse not to exercise. However, the truth is that it’s not as straining as you imagine it to be. Manage your time well and you can get a load of benefits with the least effort.

All you need to do is devote at least 20 to 30 minutes a day, three times a week, for working out.

Here is a list of bare minimum workout guidelines and tips on how to stop being lazy and workout

Avoid The Elevator And Take The Stairs

Elevators have made all of us lazy. Do you remember the last time you took the stairs?

If strong, muscular legs are what you want, use the stairs. A simple staircase workout is an effective way to improve your fitness and overall health. It engages the muscles in your legs and with every step you take, your fitness levels are boosted.

It engages your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, depending on the pacing. From lunging through every step or taking skater steps, you can do a wide range of exercises with a staircase.

Walk At Least Once A Day for 15 to 20 Minutes

Whether it is to your friend’s place or to buy groceries, take a walk. You don’t always need a mode of transportation everywhere you go. Just use your legs. This will not only help you cut down on fuel or transport charges but also improve your health.

You can start by using every excuse to walk, like parking your vehicle far and walking the way back, taking your pet for a walk or walking around in a garden. If gasping for breath after a tiring gym session is not your cup of tea, a refreshing walk is what you need.

Become More Active In Sports

If you are someone who is lazy, you will always look for ways to avoid working out. But when it comes to sports, you tend to be enthusiastic, no matter how much physically exhausted you might be.

Enroll in a sports club or a local team of your favorite sport. It works better than spending hours at the gym. From getting your heart racing to boosting your stamina and making you fit, a good sport does it all.

If it is something you enjoy, you won’t even feel the strain while you are burning calories by the minute.

Don’t Sit At Your Desk All Day

Do you have a desk job? Then remember to stand up at least once every hour to walk around, get a snack, or say hello to a colleague.

Sitting all day while hunched over a keyboard is not good for your posture or health. Make a conscious effort to stand up every once in a while. You can use your breaks to get some basic workout done. For example, you can go up and down the stairs, go out for a walk or do some squats or lunges in the restroom.

Workout At Home – In Bed!

That’s right. Working out is not restricted to just going to the gym.

You can stay at home and still get some exercise done. All you need to know are a few basic exercises that you can do even if you are still in bed. You can try hip raises, push-ups, crunches, and pelvic twists.

Those few minutes of exercise will not only make you feel fresh but also boost and energize you for the rest of the day. And you will start seeing results within a few days, too.

These are a few alternatives if you are too lazy to hit the gym. Exercise is something you can do anywhere and everywhere. All you need to do is get your butt moving. So, start today and you will no longer repeat the excuse of being too lazy to be fit.

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Eight Best Ways to Get Rid of Fleas On Dogs

When it comes to fleas, prevention is much easier than trying to get rid of an infestation once they take hold. Fleas can spread rapidly from your dog to the surrounding environment and this makes it that much harder to get rid of them.

A single flea can lay up to 40 eggs per day and the majority of the flea population thrives in grass and carpet. Only around five percent of the fleas present get on your pets.

There are several preventative measures you can take to ensure that your home, pets, family, and yard stay free of fleas.  But, what is the best way to get rid of fleas on dogs?

Do Regular Checks

regular checkup

You want to routinely check your pet for fleas at least once a week. Check under your pet’s legs, in and around his ears, and close to his skin. If you see small black moving dots, it’s a good indication that your pet might have fleas.

Groom Your Pet Routinely

Whether your dog has a long or short coat, you’ll want to set up a grooming routine. You can do it for 10 to 15 minutes once or twice a week. This should be enough time for you to check your pet’s coat for fleas that may be hiding under its coat.

This routine grooming can give you time to bond with your dog, too.

Clean up Your Yard

Your yard or garden may be the root source of your flea infestation problem. Take steps to get rid of fleas in your yard and ensure that it’s a clean and safe place for your pets.

Fleas like moist and warm shaded areas with a lot of organic matter, like dead leaves or compost. Mowing your lawn and picking up debris will give fleas fewer places to live.

Get Regular Veterinarian Checkups

Not only are regular checkups good for your dog’s health, but they can also help to catch any flea problems early on. The earlier fleas are detected, the earlier treatment can get started.

Don’t Use Old Flea Preventative Products

Certain preventative products can be expensive. This extra cost is why people like to hang on to them past their expiration date. However, once a product expires, it can lose its effectiveness.

Treat Fleas All Throughout The Year

Although fleas like warm and moist environments, they can survive all throughout the year. A good preventative measure is to give your dog an oral flea medication like Comfortis for dogs. A lot of these products last one month, and they come in a soft chew so your dog won’t have a problem digesting them. They help to prevent fleas and they also kill any current infestations.

Use Citrus to Repel Fleas

If you don’t like the idea of using a medicated product to help protect your dog from fleas, try the natural route. Did you know that citrus is a natural flea repellent?

You can take a freshly squeezed orange or lemon and rub the juice into your dog’s coat. This will be safe for them to lick off and it’s effective in repelling fleas. Simply reapply it as needed.

Use Essential Oils

You can make a flea deterrent spray to put on your dog and to spray around your house using essential oils. All you have to do is mix one cup of apple cider vinegar with one quart of fresh water and four or five drops of essential oils.

Flea repellent essential oils include lemongrass, cedarwood, lavender, thyme, and citronella. Spray this around your home and on your dog to repel fleas and freshen the air.

Three Ways to Get Rid of Fleas

If you find fleas on your dog or in your home, there are several easy things you can do to get rid of them.

1. Do a Deep Clean

You can deep clean your home to help control any fleas. Make sure you pay special attention to carpets, furniture, and areas where your pet likes to play or sleep. Using a citrus-based cleaner is a good idea.

2. Bathe Your Dog

flea prevention

Fleas don’t like water as it makes it difficult for them to hold on to your dog’s coat. Bathing your dog at least once a week can help you control the flea infestation. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to their shampoo or buy medicated shampoos.

3. Spray Your Yard

When you’re taking care of the fleas inside of your home, you also want to make sure you treat your yard. You can buy specialized sprays and apply them to your yard and around the outside of your house to kill any fleas. This can help prevent your dog from bringing them back inside and undoing all of your hard work.

Fleas can be a big problem that you need to prevent in any way you can. Our eight flea prevention tips can help ensure that you don’t have to go through all the hard work of stopping an infestation. This also ensures that you enjoy a happy home and a healthy dog.

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How to Finance A Startup Business

After telling your boss to go to – well, you know where – and coming home to explain to your wife what you had just done, you sat in your man cave and processed both reactions: your boss was shocked and your wife was seriously mad.

You’ve got this, so you assured her. But, is that really the case?

Yes, you have a wonderful business idea that will surely take off, but she brought up a very important point:

How are you going to finance it?

Don’t fret as we share with you the best tips on financing your business.

Business Investors

business inventors People invest in businesses every day when they purchase stocks, but you aren’t ready for your initial public offering just yet. You need somebody who is willing to put his or her money into your idea, which is an entirely different beast.

Your first step is to write a business plan that details your idea. You will be asking people to give up their cash, so you must keep this in mind when you write your plan. Think back to your business courses in college.

You likely learned that there are many sections of a business plan and all are important. You must include an executive summary first that briefly encapsulates all aspects of your vision. Next is your company description which should include your corporate set up and business goals.

After that, describe in detail your product and/or services and how they will make money. The fourth section is your marketing analysis. Section five should explain your business startup and growth strategy and how you plan to implement it. Sections six and seven, meanwhile, are your management and financial structures, respectively.

Investor options include angel investors, crowd funders, and – believe it or not – your competition.

Angel investors are wealthy people willing to put their own money into business ventures. Some will put a ton of cash into a new venture while others will invest just a tiny sum. You can have one or many angel investors banding together and forming a group.

Angel investors do more than just give you moolah; they can also take a stake in your company which means they will expect investment returns. Many will take a management role, too. They can give you crucial advice while you’re still starting out.

Crowd Funders

For the independent entrepreneur who doesn’t want anyone else involved in managing his startup, crowd funders are another option. It leaves you 100% in charge.

Just like GoFundMe, there are a lot of available online crowdfunding websites for businesses. You will need to find a website the best one that can help you raise money. Remember to be realistic about this financing option.

While there are success stories about people reaching their funding goals, they don’t mean you’ll surely experience the same thing. For you to be successful, your plan must be full proof and others must become impassioned by your idea.

The benefit is this money is yours to keep with no strings attached. This is another reason why so many business startups try crowdfunding.

It doesn’t hurt to try. Even if you don’t reach your goal, you may still receive donations which you can use for your startup and for networking with others in your niche. This can bring you to investment by your competitors.

That isn’t as far-fetched as it might sound. Many people in your industry might be interested in giving you a helping hand. Competition is healthy and when you’re on your feet, you can divest out and be on your own. Don’t forget about microloans and grants, either.

Growing Your Entity

Once you are up, running, and turning a profit, think about venture capital to grow your business to greater heights. Venture capitalists are people who invest in existing entities to give them the boost they need to reach their next plateau and then go beyond it.

Many people think that venture capitalists only invest in technology companies, but this isn’t the case.

Many businesses receive funding from VCs, as they’re called, including biotechnology and other science companies, food service, retail, and beyond. Companies such as Amazon, Starbucks, and Uber have taken advantage of VC financing in the past, too. amazonChris Sacca is one venture capitalist who helped put Instagram and Twitter (among others) on the map. Born in Lockport, New York, Sacca founded Lowercase Capital which has had its hand in financing and managing numerous businesses.

Experts in business growth, Sacca and his team helped owners design and implement growth plans. And when you look at Sacca’s record, you’ll realize VC is a wonderful tool once you’re established. It’s full of visions which are usually successful.

Your wife will calm down eventually and you don’t ever need to worry about your boss again. In the meantime, write a comprehensive business plan and seek out the money you need to get your venture off the ground. There are plenty of financing options available whether you are just starting out or planning your growth. So, keep your mind open and good luck to you!

See Also: Tips for New Entrepreneurs: What You Need to Know Before Starting A Business

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8 Genius Fashion Hacks for Men

Dressing sharp and looking smart doesn’t always mean having to burn a hole in your pocket with brand names. It’s actually useless without the proper know-how on how to style and carry yourself. Check out these very simple and doable fashion hacks for men that will have you looking extra dapper in and out of the workplace.

Love the Blazer

Although a suit is always a good choice, a blazer is an essential piece to any wardrobe because it’s so versatile. A well-fitting blazer is a fast way take a plain outfit to business casual, and the dark blue, smokey charcoal, or gray blazers are perfect for sitting and doing desk work. You do want to make sure you have a good fit and that your blazer’s shoulders align with yours.

Pro Tip: Make a fist and put it between your buttoned blazer and your stomach. If it fits properly, you shouldn’t have any problems. If it’s too large, you’ll have a lot of extra space, and if it’s too small, you’ll have trouble making a fist.

Shoes Make the Man

The wrong pair of shoes can derail a well-put together outfit very quickly. The trick is to strike a balance between good-looking and comfortable. After all, you’ll wear them for hours at a time. Depending on the environment, a boot can be your go-to if you’re not wearing your dress shoes. A good boot can handle different weather conditions, and it pairs very well with most business attire.

Pro Tip: Make sure that your boots don’t have scuff marks in them. Contrary to popular belief, people do look at your shoes. Take a few minutes and condition your boots with shoe conditioner or leather conditioner if they’re made of leather. It’ll remove the scuff marks and make them look new.

Use Moisturizer Instead of Hair Gel

Gel works wonders for helping your style your perfect hairstyle, but it comes with two pitfalls. It’s very easy to use too much and get hair that feels crunchy and looks unnatural. Gel can also strip your hair of natural oils leaving you with a dry, damaged mess. Swap it out for hand or face moisturizer. It’ll still give you styling help and holding power while protecting your hair’s natural oils.

Pro Tip: You may be tempted to use a handful of the moisturizer to get it to hold, but less really is more. You need a pea-sized amount or a dime sized amount at most, and you want to rub it between your palms and then apply it to your hair for a frizz-free, natural look.

Don’t Underestimate a Good-Fitting Pair of Pants

good fitting pair of pants

You may be tempted to live in jeans, but most business professionals have to have several different pants styles at this disposal. Whether it’s a pair of dress slacks, green chinos, or a wool slack, a good fit is essential. Your pants should fit snugly around your thighs and hips and end short enough so you can show off most of your shoe. They should also fit snug to your groin area without constricting you.

Pro Tip: When you’re shopping for pants and you’re not sure if they’ll fit well or not, measure with your elbow. If you can fit from your fist to your elbow inside the waistband of the jeans without them being too large or small, they’ll most likely be a good fit.

Use a T-Shirt

Did you know that a t-shirt with a blazer tossed over the top is considered casual business wear and it’s suitable for a lot of offices and professional settings? Make sure your t-shirt’s bottom falls between the middle of your belt and the middle of your zipper and that the shoulder seam lines up with your shoulder.

Pro Tip: If your t-shirt shrinks, you can restore it to it’s original fit quickly and easily. Take the shrunken t-shirt and place it in a bowl or bucket of warm water and a few teaspoons of hair conditioner. Wait five minutes, take it out and stretch it back to the original size.

Have a Power Tie

men fashion hack tie

We recommend having several different ties on hand, but if you only want one or two, go for darker colors with subtle patterns or a solid color. It’ll work well with anything you match it with, and this includes busier or brighter patterns. It lets you dress it down by adding a leather jacket over your dress shirt, so it’s versatile as well.

Pro Tip: Your tie should reach your belt buckle and go no lower when you tie it. Also, be aware of your tie’s width. If you want to be safe, go with the modern 2.5-inch width. However, it has to be proportionate to your lapels, so if they’re wider, your tie can be as well.

Match Your Socks

Yes, your socks are mostly hidden for view. Yes, it’s rare that anyone will see more than a flash of them as you go about your day, but that small flash can undo all of your fashion-conscious efforts. Pick out socks that complement what you normally wear, whether it’s in everyday life or at the office.

Pro Tip: When you’re trying to decide what color socks to wear, consider your pants and what color they are. Generally, you want to match your pants or go a shade darker or a shade lighter. If you’re good, a contrasting color that compliments your shoes and pants is a safe bet.

Stay On Top Of New Styles

new styles

Sign up for a men’s clothing subscription. Box subscriptions have been flourishing awhile now ranging from beauty products to sweet treats to meal deliveries. In similar manner, you get a box of clothing goodies especially curated for you. You’ll get clothing items ranging from shirts, jackets, pants, and accessories. On one hand, you’ll get clothes that fit your style, and on the other hand, probability is high that you’ll stumble on a new style you’ll like. It’s win-win.

You can also discover new styles that fit your taste and lifestyle by keeping an eye on social media like Pinterest and Instagram. These two platforms are an excellent source of styling inspiration.

Pro Tip: Use hashtags to come across new ideas. Want to try out a navy blazer? Try searching with the #navyblazer hashtag.

These eight fashion hacks for men are easy and quick ways to keep you looking sharp and well-dressed. They can help you make a good first impression and give your confidence a boost all in one go.

The post 8 Genius Fashion Hacks for Men appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

8 Easy Steps To Your Browser Security And Privacy

Bad news.

There’s really no such thing as the most secure browser.

Want proof?

In a poll in 2013, Firefox was voted as the most secure web browser. However, in a hacking contest in March of 2014, Firefox was deemed as the least secure after it went down to four zero-day exploits.

Because you can’t really rely on one browser to protect you and your data, it’s critical that you know how to make your favorite browser the most secure browser for you.

Here are some steps you can follow:

Check your browser’s default setting

The most convenient way to start using any device, including browsers, is by its default setting. It is, however, not the most secure way.

In fact, it can expose you to a lot of potential threats.

With your browser’s default configuration, hackers can easily access your program and even make internal changes without you knowing.

Creepy, right?

The best solution to that is to configure all your browsers as well as your operating system before use. Doing that can greatly increase your security.

Use only one browser when dealing with sensitive activities

use only one browser

Your computer probably has multiple browsers installed and that’s actually a good thing. It means you’ll be able to dedicate one browser for one activity only, limiting the risk of compromising your sensitive data.

Think of it this way:

You can use one browser to pay your bills or purchase something online. You can use a separate browser for researching and random browsing.

This way, if someone hacked the one you are using for general web browsing, the other browser won’t be compromised.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that using separate browsers will automatically protect your data. You also have to play your part to make your browser the most secure browser.

It can also help if you can make a complete browser comparison first before deciding which ones to use.

Update your browser

Security holes will keep on popping up as more and more security threats emerge. One of the few ways you can protect yourself is by updating your browser.

Make sure to follow your vendor’s instructions when updating your browser. If your operating system no longer supports newer browsers, it’s time to get that updated as well.

Browsers like Chrome and Firefox have an auto-update feature by default. If yours isn’t enabled, check if your computer’s firewall is preventing the auto-update or someone else has configured it the way it is.

Get an antivirus installed

A good anti-virus remains one of the best ways to stay protected on the internet. Just make sure that the one you are using is real as a fake antivirus software is already a security threat on its own.

And if you already have one, keep it up-to-date. Using an expired antivirus is more likely to put your security at risk.

Now, listen closely.

While you might think that the antivirus that came with your computer is enough to protect you, it actually isn’t. You see, free antivirus programs aren’t that comprehensive.

It can only provide limited protection and it can only detect certain threats. It has lower and slower scanning performance, too.

The bottom line?

Don’t skimp on your antivirus program and be sure to keep it updated.

Be careful in installing plugins and extensions

Extensions and plugins might look harmless but they can be extremely dangerous. They have access to your every move online. And because they know everything, you can just imagine the damage they can create.

They know what you’ve been searching and they can capture your passwords. These extensions can even insert advertisements in the pages you visit.

One problem with extensions is that they frequently require access to everything. For example, an extension that’s meant to make changes in Google.com will require access to everything related to Google.

Most of the time, that includes your email and Google account.

To stay safe, use fewer extensions and plugins as possible. If you aren’t using the ones already installed on your computer, uninstall them and stick with the ones you use frequently.

If you are planning on adding more, make sure to read the permissions they require.

Use pop-up blockers

turn off pop up blockers
Via hotComm

Ads and pages that pop out of nowhere aren’t just annoying; they can also be dangerous.

By using a pop-up blocker, you’ll be able to prevent those ads from installing harmful malware on your computer. They can also prevent your screen from cluttering.

Now, if the website you are trying to access needs you to temporarily disable the blocker, remember to reactivate it once you are done.

Turn on fraud protection

There are tons of untrustworthy websites on the internet. If you aren’t careful, you can inadvertently visit one of those phishing sites and expose your sensitive information.

Phishing sites are sites that are made to look legit and trustworthy so that they can get your personal details. This includes your credit card number and password in your cached data.

To stop that from happening, always turn on fraud protection. It can blacklist known phishing sites so you won’t be able to access them.

See Also: 7 Top Tips to Avoid Being Caught in a Phishing Net

Be careful with auto-complete features

Being able to log into your email or any of your accounts without typing your login details sound convenient. However, in terms of safety and security, it’s a totally different story.

Just think about what can happen when your laptop or device gets stolen or lost. It’s like giving away your personal login information to everyone.

For protection, always turn that feature off. You can do that by accessing your browser’s setting.

If you are using Chrome, for example, you can open its Setting window, select Advanced, and make the necessary changes in the Manage Password section.

In case you are using Firefox, access the Options window, select Privacy, and look for History. Once you are there, select Firefox will: Use custom settings for history and disable the Remember search and form history option.

These changes don’t take a lot of time. In fact, you can complete them in less than a minute.

See Also: How To Maintain Your Privacy Online

 

The post 8 Easy Steps To Your Browser Security And Privacy appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

12 Christmas Quotes about Love and Family that will Lift Your Spirits

Do you need inspiring Christmas quotes and cards to send out to your loved ones this holiday season?

Friends, throughout the year, our minds are filled with thoughts of improving our businesses,  boosting our productivity and focus, and ultimately creating success. It does get wearying and holidays are the perfect time to pause awhile, take stock, and turn our attention outward to all our blessings and all the people surrounding us.

Send out these inspiring Christmas messages to the loved ones in your life. It’s not about expensive gifts, rather, it’s the simple thought of being remembered that often counts.

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas!

quotes christmas

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. – Roy L. Smith

christmas quotation

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

christmas blessing quotes

Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts. – Janice Maeditere

christmas-quotes

The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things. – Thomas S. Monson

christmas greetings quotes

Christmas is the season of joy, of holiday greetings exchanged, of gift-giving, and of families united. – Norman Vincent Peale

christmas-quotes-for-family

Christmas is a tonic for our souls. It moves us to think of others rather than of ourselves. It directs our thoughts to giving. – B. C. Forbes

family christmas quotes

The only blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart. – Helen Keller

famous-christmas-quotes

Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling. – Edna Ferber

quotes for christmas cards

Like what you see? See more Merry Christmas Images.

The BEST of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a HAPPY FAMILY all wrapped up in each other. 

xmas quotes

God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving. If he gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it. – Pope Francis

merry christmas wishes quotes

Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas. – Dale Evans

christmas quotes

Please visit SayingImages.com for more Christmas Quotes, Messages and Greetings.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

 

The post 12 Christmas Quotes about Love and Family that will Lift Your Spirits appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider AI Automation for Small Business

If you are aware of the developments in technology, then you have probably heard about Artificial Intelligence (AI). For a lot of people, it’s too complex or high-tech so they don’t really pay a lot of attention to it.

In fact, even small businesses don’t think much of AI. They believe that only big tech companies like Apple and Google can utilize it. However, that’s not true.

AI has numerous benefits for small businesses. It’s something you cannot ignore if you want to stay ahead of your competition.

Today, open-minded businesses have started using AI to create a business logo, respond to emails, comb the Internet for leads identification, help customers with chatbots and a lot more.

If you have not seriously considered AI automation for your business yet, then the following 5 reasons can surely convince you.

Enhanced Bookkeeping

There are plenty of AI tools designed specifically for bookkeeping that you can use. While many offer help with the basic data entry tasks, some are more advanced and can easily perform many roles. You can use it in reading and preparing invoices, set invoice reminders, release payments on schedule and more.

So, instead of expanding your accounting department, you can invest in an AI bookkeeping program which is more affordable and highly useful.

Lead Nurturing

No matter how skilled your sales reps are, they will always have limitations.

For starters, one can handle only a certain number of leads at a time. Secondly, they need a certain amount of time with every lead to learn about their personality, pain points, opportunities for connection building and many other aspects that are required for their nurturing.

However, with AI automation you can take the entire process to the next level and benefit from increased productivity.

An AI program designed for lead nurturing can read and respond to the emails of your prospects using a list of set messages and the Natural Language Processing technology. It can also go through the past conversations you have had with your leads to pinpoint important bits of information. Most importantly, it can work 24/7 since it can function without human intervention.

Online Customer Support

A number of studies have found that customers find it more comfortable to inquire about the services or products of a company through messaging, especially via online chat as opposed to voice calls. However, hiring a full-time customer executive can be expensive for a small business. Again, this is where AI automation can be a great option.

chatbots

Not only AI-powered chatbots are highly popular today, you can also find some highly affordable options easily. You can install one of these on your website so that when your customers need some information, it will be readily available. In addition to that, having AI-powered chatbots can also make your website more attractive.

See Also: How To Boost Your Business with Influence Marketing Chatbots

Cheap but Quality Branding

Usually, it’s hard to find quality and affordability at the same place. However, AI automation seems to have changed that.

This is because it can help you with your company branding in many ways and at modest pricing. There are companies like Tailor Brands that offer an entire suite of branding tools- from logo creation to social media banner creation at a fraction of the price that you would pay to a graphics designer.

Intelligent Personal Assistants

You are probably already familiar with virtual personal assistants, such as Apple’s Siri or Microsoft Corona. Today, a new range of similar assistants is emerging and they are even more intelligent and more suitable for businesses. For instance, there is Amy from x.ai that can arrange meetings for you or Pana that can arrange your travel.

amy intelligent personal assistant
Via slideshare.net

AI has matured enough today that it can be utilized in different ways in every industry. It’s now easily available at affordable costs, too. If you haven’t considered using one for your business, it’s probably the right time to reconsider your strategy.

 

The post 5 Reasons Why You Should Consider AI Automation for Small Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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10 Brilliant Camping Tips To Make Camping Easier

What are the campgrounds near me? What should I bring to a camping trip? Are there camping hacks I don’t know about?

If you’re asking yourself or the all-knowing Google these questions, then you’re most likely new to camping. Camping is fun but it can take a lot of planning, patience, and work, particularly if your family is big. Without the right strategy, it can easily turn out as one of your worst outdoor experience. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to make camping more fun and less stressful.

Below, we’re sharing with you 10 of the most useful camping tips you can use to make your life in the campsite a little easier.

Use sage to keep bugs away

sage camping

Admit it.

Although camping is a great way to explore nature, it’s not always the best idea, particularly when bugs start bugging your campsite.

So, to keep those annoying insects from ruining a good campout, you can toss a bundle of sage into your campfire every now and then.

Now, you’re probably wondering: What if I’m not allowed to create a fire in your campsite?

There are other fragrant plants you can use to keep bugs away. Basil, lemon balm, and citronella can repel mosquitoes once crushed and rubbed onto the skin.

Make a Swedish torch

swedish torch camping
Via pinterest

Now, if you don’t want to create a huge campfire, you can just create your own Swedish torch. It makes an excellent and efficient campfire for cooking.

You just need a log and make three crisscrossing cuts that are almost to its core. Pack some fire-starters inside it and once it’s lit, you can practically forget about it. The cut you created through the log will allow air to naturally ventilate your fire, allowing the log to burn from the inside out.

And you know what else?

A Swedish torch can also double as a cooking surface. You can use it to hold cast iron pans.

swedish torch
Via thehomestead.guru

Do a makeshift lantern

makeshift camping lantern
Via adventuretogether

Camping lanterns are great in keeping your camping area well lit. But, once you place them inside your tent, it’s a whole different story. Most of them are way too bright, which can be blinding to look at.

To diffuse the light and make it softer, you simply strap the light to a gallon of water. Make sure to point the light towards the water to make this hack work.

Make DIY fire-starters

When you’re camping, it only makes sense to bring at least two types of fire starters to the trip. You wouldn’t want to spend the night at the campsite without a fire to keep you warm or cook your food, right?

One of the easiest DIY firestarters you can make involves just a few pieces of cotton pads. Dip them in wax and allow them to dry on a piece of wax paper. You can tear or cut them before lighting.

diy fire starters camping tips
Via preparednessmama

Another great way to create your own firestarter is to gather a few pieces of old cardboard. Cut them into 3×3 pieces, dip them in wax and then let them dry. They are easy to stack, so you won’t have any issues packing them inside your bag.

Pack your own emergency kit

mini camping emergency kit
Via pinterest

Accidents can happen anytime, so make sure you are prepared. Instead of packing a big kit, prepare a smaller one which you can take with you anywhere you go. Make sure it can fit a small compass, pain reliever, whistle, adhesive bandages and flint and steel.

You should also pack a few antibiotic ointments in your kit. You can cut up a straw and fill its pieces with the ointments. Seal their ends with a heat sealer or use a lighter to melt and close the ends.

mini first aid kit ideas for camping
Via pinterest

Put your eggs in a mason jar

eggs in a mason jar camping tips
Via khnutrition

The idea might sound bizarre but it’s actually one of the most brilliant camping tips, particularly if scrambled eggs are your favorite breakfast.

Before leaving for the trip, crack your eggs into a mason jar and keep it in your cooler until it’s time to cook the eggs. Just remember to shake the jar vigorously before you pour its content into your pan. Enjoy a no-fuss scrambled eggs in the morning with less work and less mess.

See Also: Five Clever Tips for Stress-Free Family Camping

Store your spices in Tic-Tac boxes

tic tac boxes spices
Via Good Housekeeping

Now, if you worry about your scrambled eggs tasting a bit off, you can keep a few spices in tic-tac containers. These boxes are just the right size to hold enough spices to make your food taste like it just came out of your own kitchen. Plus, they also have snap-tight lids which keep the spices from getting all over your camping tools.

Protect your toilet paper with an old coffee can

camping hacks toilet paper inside coffee can
Via pinterest

If your toilet paper gets soggy, it’ll be practically useless and having a roll of toilet paper you can’t use is a lot worse than not having one at all.

Agree?

So, instead of relying on a paper bag to keep your toilet paper fresh and dry, take an old coffee can and use it to hold your toilet paper. It’s the perfect size and it comes with a lid for extra protection.

Hang up pots and pans using a belt

camping tips pots and pans
Via experienceonstar

Since there’s not much space on your table or in your tent to keep all of your camping tools, you have to be a bit more innovative. Get a belt and wrap it snugly around a tree. Attach a couple of S hooks and use them to store some of your essential kitchen tools.

Make individual coffee bags

Listen:

If you are one of those people who can’t function well without a cup of coffee, this is one of the most helpful camping tips you can’t really miss.

With just a coffee filter, dental floss, and ground coffee, you’ll be able to get your daily fix of caffeine even if you’re in the middle of camping.

individual coffee bags camping tips
Via inspiredbarn

How?

First, you need to get a coffee filter and fill it with about 2 ounces of ground coffee. Hold the bottom of the coffee filter (where the coffee is) and twist its top part to create a pouch.

Secure it with a few inches of dental floss.

Each time you need to drink coffee, you simply need to place your coffee bag in a mug and add in water. It’s actually similar to how you prepare your tea.

See Also: Camping Outdoors: A Perfect Health Booster

We hope the above camping hacks will prove useful to you on your next trip. To find out the best place for your next adventure, check out an online campground finder like this one.

 

The post 10 Brilliant Camping Tips To Make Camping Easier appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Simple Yet Effective Tips To Win Online Slot Games

Who doesn’t like to win in an online casino game with a huge winning potential?

Everyone wants to do good with online slot games and earn the maximum while dreaming about what to spend their winnings on. Online slots are full of fun and excitement, even for those who are not interested in winning them. They’re one of the best pastimes and once you get on a winning streak, there’s no way you won’t develop a liking for them.

Let’s look at some of the simplest yet effective tips that can help you win big at top online casinos like EuroGrand Casino.

Understand the odds

It’s important to understand slots odds before strategizing to win. For instance, a 20-symbol 5-reel slot game has 1/3.2 million winning chance whereas a 20-symbol 3-reel slot game has 1/8,000 winning possibilities.

This is because a 5-reel slot game has comparatively more winning combinations than the 3-reel version. Hence, there’s a considerable difference in terms of odds in these types of online slot games.

Play only at reliable casinos

reliable online slot game casino

Though you may find various online casinos to play at, it’s important to sign up with a licensed one only. Look out for a casino that offers high-quality games. Make sure that you like its atmosphere and enjoy playing on its platform.

A good online casino should offer a wide range of slot games, should be fully licensed and should process withdrawals quickly. Furthermore, it should also offer other prominent online casino games, like poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, bingo and so on.

Money Management

It is very important to manage your money well while playing these online games. At times, people get so confident that they bet everything on a single spin; there’s no bigger folly than this. Please note that there is no guaranteed outcome in online slots or any other online casino games.

The game’s outcome can change anytime and cause you losses. That’s why you should always be prepared for the unexpected. Be cautious while placing your bets. Winning from a spin is just a possibility and there’s no certainty in it. There are various ways you can place your bets and use your money to play these games.

Before making any deposits, it’s important to know which would be the best currency to play online games.

See Also: Top 5 Strategies To Maximize Your Online Casino Profits

Have Fun

online slot games fun

 

You should play online slot games not just to win but to have some fun! Hence, it’s important to never take any losses to heart and stay relaxed while playing casino games. Although it’s important to pay extra attention while playing jackpots or tournaments where you’re expected to play quickly, you should never let it get to you.

Furthermore, never take your wins too seriously. These games are for your entertainment and enjoyment alone. The moment you start playing them for a livelihood, they lose their charm and lead to an unhealthy gambling behavior.

Conclusion

A lot of people play online slot games regularly. If you are one of these people, knowing and implementing the above-detailed tips can be immensely helpful in gaining an upper hand over the casinos.

The post Simple Yet Effective Tips To Win Online Slot Games appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Bad Online Habits That Are Killing Your Work Productivity

Productivity is an interesting thing.

Some people keep themselves busy all day and consider themselves productive. In reality, however, they focus on so many different things that the end result isn’t satisfying.

Others prefer to analyze their behavior closely so that they can see what they’re doing wrong and what can be optimized. That’s the right approach if you want to ditch some bad practices and succeed with your ventures in all aspects.

Our online habits make a great example.

What you do while working on your laptop or when you’re just using the Internet can kill your focus. To change that, you first need to define those time-wasting activities that affect your work productivity and start doing something about them.

Browsing without a purpose

online habits

It’s a common scenario to have many tabs open in your browser while working. Every now and then, you’d open a new one, read something and then distract yourself. After some time, you’ll find it hard to get back to what you were doing. That leads to hours of wasted time when you review what you did each week.

How to fix that?

If you really want a quick solution, then install and activate a software that blocks access to certain platforms. You can also do that to your browsers if you want to do some work that doesn’t require research.

There are plenty of tools out there that can do this for you and even notify you when you’re using certain websites too much. Some tools will even let you set limits as to how long you want them to block things so that you can focus on more important tasks.

Not being selective enough

If you don’t know what you need to do and why you’re doing it, you’ll end up indulging in many unproductive activities. Watching random YouTube videos, clicking spammy links, reading newsletters, and checking unimportant notifications in your social media can eat away your focus, energy, and time.

It’s time to get rid of the unnecessary things so that you can concentrate on the essentials. This will help you double your results when working. Apart from that, taking the steps below will also help you have more peace of mind.

Here’s what you should say ‘no’ to when online:

  • Unsubscribe from any site or service sending you their newsletters or offers. From now on, if you need anything, simply type the web address yourself and see what’s new.
  • Block ads from appearing on websites. You can do that by installing an ad blocker as an add-on. These differ depending on your browser, but each is effective enough.
  • Turn off notifications on Facebook and other social media networks you’re using daily. Go to the Settings tab and see what you can block, disable or remove. This way, there’ll be no more pointless news in your feed and you won’t hear alerts from your phone all day.

See Also: 7 Mentally Damaging Habits You Need To Let Go

Letting email become a distraction

Email is a powerful communication tool. But, if you don’t manage your inbox well, it might cost you time and compromise your focus on a daily basis.

To change that, set some limits. You can choose not to open your email first thing in the morning and do it twice a day instead. Open it right after you’re done with your most important tasks for the day and check it again in the late afternoon when your mind is clear.

Not knowing when to unplug

bad work habits

You can’t be productive online when you’re connected 24/7. Your mind needs a break from technology and the best time to do that seems to be around two hours before bedtime. That means not just ditching all devices from your evening ritual, but also not thinking about them. This will take some discipline and time.

In the beginning, you might crave checking Facebook when in bed or using your laptop right before that. Remember that devices can keep your brain activated long after you’ve put them away, making it harder for you to fall asleep.

To change that, unplug every evening after you’ve done all that you had to. In addition, don’t grab your phone or start checking sites first thing in the morning. Be distraction-free in the morning, so you’ll experience the solitude of the early hours. You should get online only when it’s time for work.

These practices will help you change not just your online habits, but your whole daily schedule. You’ll have more time for yourself as a focused mind gets things done in a shorter time.

See Also: 6 Simple Habits For More Productivity, Happiness And Fulfillment

The post 4 Bad Online Habits That Are Killing Your Work Productivity appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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15 Tips On How To Live A Fulfilling Life

You despise yourself because of your imperfections. You loathed your skin color, your monolid eyes, your body shape—almost everything about you. That’s why you try really hard to get rid of them.

However, although a lot of people are already appreciating you, you still can’t be happy.

Why?

It’s because you don’t know your real flaws, the flaws that you have within you. They are those things that make you feel like you don’t belong in your own body.

Now, to address those issues, here are 15 tips on how to live a fulfilling life.

Be good to yourself

love yourself

If you will not be kind to yourself, who else will?

You need to take good care of your body because that is your temple. You need to protect it against your detractors and the only way to save yourself from them is to love yourself. Always remember that you should be the first person who should accept you for what you are.

See Also: 5 Steps to Loving Yourself and Living Happily Ever After

Create a support system

No matter how hard you try to be good to yourself, if the people around you like to disparage you, it’s still of no use. If you have a set of friends who always keep pointing out your flaws, distance yourself from them.

It may be hurtful to leave them, but it will be more painful if you will stay. You don’t need people who keep on giving up on you. You need people who will stay despite your shortcomings.

Dissolve feelings of shamefulness

You are ashamed of yourself because you think that you are not worthy to be loved and appreciated. You think that people will always point out your defect that’s why you just chose to hide it.

But, remember this:

Your skin color is beautiful and your scars are part of your journey. It’s society’s standard of beauty that must be forgotten.

Embrace your differences

You are born like that because you are special. If you will try to acquaint yourself with how society accepts every human being, you’ll end up being lost in the ocean of masked individuals.

Your differences make you unique, so you should own your individuality. If you are going to get rid of it, how would people distinguish you?

Focus on the positive side

Don’t think that your imperfections are the reasons why you failed. Everything happens for a reason and the reason is that you deserve much better.

If you will just look closely, you will realize that there’s a bright side in every situation. Don’t focus on the bad things that you forget how great life is. After all, it’s just a bad day, not a bad life.

Stop rating yourself

When you rate yourself, you’re creating a standard that needs to be met. If you will set criteria every day and you’re not able to achieve them, you’ll end up dissatisfied for no reasons.

Rating yourself isn’t healthy. It will stop you from accepting your strengths and weaknesses as a person. It can even make you feel insecure about yourself.

See Also: Are You Your Own Best Friend Or Your Own Worst Enemy?

Appreciate the little things

Self-fulfillment isn’t always about getting a huge recognition; it’s also about being able to appreciate the small triumphs that you have. As what Frank Clark said, “Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.”.

If you will change your focus, you will discover that small things could actually make you smile.

Don’t give up on yourself

The reason why people couldn’t reach for their dreams is simply because they’ve given up on them. You are what you are dreaming of. So, if you choose to give up on your dreams, you are also giving up on yourself.

If you’re tired, take time to rest. Consider the rejections you encounter as lessons and not as failures. It’s not yet the end, so just turn the page to the next chapter of your life. Learn to trust yourself and you will surely make it.

Ditch the standard of perfection

Nobody’s perfect. You can’t fix yourself no matter how hard you try to make it better. Break the standards of society by accepting the fact that you shouldn’t live to the expectations of others. You are beautiful in your own way. The people who told you that you are not might also be like you.

Don’t let other people define you by your imperfections. Be a good person and let your personality and attitude speak up for yourself.

Turn your weakness into strength

Forget the notion that your weakness is the reason why you fail. In fact, you can make it as one of your strengths.

With the right mindset, you will learn to turn the things that you’re not good at into something that will make you productive. Give yourself the chance to be able to let the things that you’re scared of encourage you to focus on your main goals, and not to mind the situations that will stop you from achieving them.

Always be thankful

be thankful

You’re alive and you exist. Isn’t that something to be thankful for?

There are things that you forgot to be thankful for because you’re more focused on something that is big. You have so many blessings in your life but you fail to notice them.

Like what Oprah Winfrey stated, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”.

Choose a realistic mantra

There are mantras that aren’t even achievable. If you can’t choose a mantra, you can actually make one. The mantras that you will create should make it easier for you to tap into your true spirit and self.

For example:

“I am in control of my actions and emotions.”.

This is great for people who find it hard to control their reactions to unexpected situations.

Face your life’s drama

Problems are necessary to help you grow as an individual. Whether you like it or not, you need to face the dilemmas that life is giving you. How you direct your life has an important role on how your life would end up.

The challenges you encounter allow you to discover the real you. How you deal with each problem says a lot about you as a person. You’ll also know your limits once you have an idea of who you truly are.

Don’t compare yourself with others

Comparing yourself to others is like comparing an apple to an orange. They might be fruits but they’re not the same type. Even an apple is different from another apple.

If you will compare yourself with others, you will end up feeling disappointed with yourself. So, don’t hate or love your imperfections. Instead, accept them with all your heart.

Accept constructive criticism

Criticism should help you develop and improve yourself without changing who you really are. Take note that not everyone who gives comments on you wants to make you feel bad about yourself.

Sometimes, the negative statements people say to you don’t really mean that they hate you. It may seem like it, but they’re concerned about you. If ever you encounter this type of critics, smile and be thankful.

Just like the lyrics of Jessie J’s song, “Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars”, you shouldn’t let your true self get lost just to feel that you belong. If you think that you don’t fit in, learn how to stand out. You are uniquely beautiful in your own way.

You don’t need the validation of someone to have a more fulfilled life. It doesn’t matter if they’ll love or hate you. What matters the most is that you’re embracing the real you and that’s the most beautiful gift you could give to yourself.

 

The post 15 Tips On How To Live A Fulfilling Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Types Of Stress At Work And How To Deal With Them

“More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Work is meaningful and essential. Work is a part of life. It’s utilizing our talents in order to get something in return. It is a give-and-take process that benefits both parties for the betterment of society.

Through work, you get to feed yourself and your family, pay the bills and get to buy your wants and needs. It is a comfort to the people who have it because it is the answer to their needs.

Unfortunately, not all jobs fit everyone. Some are unfortunate to land a job they dislike while others simply fall out of love from their jobs. This makes it harder for them to work efficiently.

The Common Factor That Makes People Hate Their Jobs

There are a lot of factors that make people hate their jobs.

For some people, it’s the imbalance in their work and personal life. For others, it’s the overwhelming workload and the toxic people they need to work with. The list can get long but one thing is present in all these factors- stress.

Stress is the body’s natural response to pressure or danger around you. It produces hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, that activates the ‘flight-or-fight’ response of your body. Every day, we encounter stress. However, too much stress can have negative effects on your health.

Here are the common types of stress at work and how to manage them.

Time Stress

time stress

This is the most common type of stress at work. You usually experience this when you think there’s not enough time for you to finish a task. Panic sets in and you struggle to finish as many things as you can. You rush until you get burned out, do all of them half-way or, worse, not get any work done at all.

How To Manage Time Stress

When facing time stress, it is important to manage your time and get your priorities straight. Filter your tasks so you can easily see which ones you need to do first. You can use the Eisenhower matrix for this.

Here’s how:

Do First. Tasks in this category should be your first priority. Anything that is placed here should be done as soon as you’re able and not later than the day after tomorrow.

Schedule. This could be important tasks but are not so urgent. These kinds of tasks are either important scheduled meetings or an article with a set deadline.

Delegate. Tasks in this section are not important but still urgent. It could be a follow-up call to a client or a request for your presence for a presentation. These can be transferable to people you can trust, though.

Don’t do. Tasks in this category are neither important nor urgent. You can either do it when you have nothing else to do or not do it at all.

You can use this method if you like prioritizing things the traditional way. However, with today’s technology, you can use apps like Evernote and Toggl to boost your productivity and manage your ideas and time easily.

Anticipatory Stress

anticipatory stress

This stress is associated with the feeling of anticipating the future a little too much. You anticipate so much that uncertainties of what could happen in the future overwhelm you.

Here’s How To Deal With Anticipatory Stress

Be Positive. The best way to deal with anticipatory stress is to not let fear get the best of you. Positive visualization of outcomes helps by cutting off the negative stream of thinking. Meditation and calming yourself down can also help you from stressing yourself out.

Be Prepared. Face the unknown and tackle it head on by visualizing both the best and worst case scenario. If you think that something is going to go bad in the near future, be prepared and formulate back-up plans that you can use.

Be Brave. Anticipatory stress is mostly caused by the thought of failure. In order to combat failure, prepare yourself by visualizing possible obstacles in your path. Take those obstacles as challenges and see failure as a chance to learn and grow.

Situational Stress

situational stress

Situational stress happens when everything starts to go out of your control. It appears suddenly and you will have no clue on what to do. It is the time when you think that everything is going smoothly but suddenly, in a blink of an eye, everything goes downhill.

It could be a time when conflict suddenly erupted near you and you are caught in the middle of it. Or it could be the time where your boss suddenly mocked you in front of many co-workers.

Getting Over Situational Stress

Everyone reacts to situational stress differently. You can act out based on your behavior or on how your automatic response work in specific situations. In a sudden eruption of conflict, you either join the conflict or back away.

Be Self-Aware. The most important point is to be self-aware in whatever you will be doing. Being aware of yourself, your actions and with everything around you, will help you think of a solution despite the stress you are under.

Be Calm. Keep hold of your cool and use your head instead of your temper or emotions. Keeping calm lets you assess the situation before doing something that can negatively affect you, your reputation or your job.

Be Patient. Be patient by hearing each side of the conflict before deciding how to solve it. Meet them halfway in order to come up with a peaceful end to it. If you are dealing with situational stress with your boss, hear him out before reacting.

Encounter Stress

encounter stress

This stress involves the feeling of being overwhelmed by meeting new or too many people. All of us can be overwhelmed by a lot of people, whether we are introverts or extroverts.

It might be because you don’t like them or they don’t like you, but you have to interact with them. It might also mean that it’s the first time you’ll meet them and you worry about how they will react or how they will perceive you.

Handling Your Encounter Stress

Practice People Skills. In order to be able to manage a lot of people well, practice or even perfect your people skills. Be confident with interacting with them, so that you can take control of the situation. You’ll be calmer knowing that you can handle any problem that can arise.

Be Emphatic. Empathy is understanding another person from their point of view. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes will make you understand them deeper and feel what they are feeling without judging them. It’ll avoid possible conflict and strengthen relationship bonds at the same time.

Breathe. Whenever stressed, it is important to breathe. Deep breathing has the ability to reduce stress in the body. This signals the brain to calm down and the brain sends the message all over the body.

Other Stress Management Techniques

Write. Studies show that writing about your feelings or anything that makes you happy reduces stress. Take time, relax and write anything you can think of.

See Also: Writing Therapy: How It Can Make Your Life Easier

It is very important for you to be able to take care of your well-being in order to continue doing what you love and sharing what you can do to everyone. Equipping yourself with a healthy body, engaging mind and a positive attitude will make you go a long, long way.

See Also: 4 Ways To Reduce Stress Inside and Outside of Work

 

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Top 10 Cheap European Car Hire Destinations

If you’re planning a European getaway sometime soon, you need to start considering arranging a cheap car hire for your trip. It will give you the freedom to explore, save you time on your trip and you won’t have to worry about your own car being stolen or damaged.

But, as you’ve no doubt discovered, car hires can sometimes prove to be a confusing process. Some cities are more suited to be explored in a car than others and that will depend on what time of the year you are traveling. There are, however, some staple cities across Europe that always offer an enjoyable holiday and hidden gems to discover by car on a budget.

Here are the top ten wallet-friendly European car hire destinations – plus some top tips on saving money while you’re there.

ROME

the colosseum rome

Total Cost: £178.09 | Car Hire Cost: £10.21

Three places to go: You must visit the historical masterpieces while you are here. Great choices include the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Vatican.

Money-saving tip: Entry to lots of Rome’s museums is free on the first Sunday of each month.

BARCELONA

Total Cost: £176.26 | Car Hire Cost: £10.86

Three places to go: The architectural delights of Antoni Gaudí (you’ll see his work all over the city), unparalleled views from Montjuïc mountain and Raval, Barcelona’s literary quarter, are some of the places you shouldn’t miss here.

Money-saving tip: Avoid the overly-touristy areas and explore a side street. You’ll find quality food at good prices.

PISA

tower of pisa italy

Total Cost: £165.18 | Car Hire Cost: £10.32

Three places to go: Head to the world’s most famous architectural mistake, the Leaning Tower, the beautiful Duomo (cathedral) and enjoy some quality natural gelato at Gelateria De’ Coltelli.

Money-saving tip: Book your trip to the tower online. You’ll be able to skip the lengthy queues.

MADRID

gran vía madrid

Total Cost: £157.16 | Car Hire Cost: £9.14

Three places to go: Enjoy cheap tapas from street vendors, visit the expansive 19th-century park Buen Retiro and take a stroll along the Gran Vía, Madrid’s main thoroughfare.

Money-saving tip: Save money on food, gifts and lots more by taking a trip to one of Madrid’s flea markets. El Rastro and Rave are two of the most popular.

LISBON

Torre de Belém

Total Cost: £150.58 | Car Hire Cost: £15.28

Three places to go: Don’t forget to visit Torre de Belém (Lisbon’s Gothic tower and a UNESCO world heritage site), Ler Devagar (the city’s cultural centre) and São Jorge Castle (11th-century castle with an archaeological museum).

Money-saving tip: The Lisboa Card gives you free entry to 28 museums, monuments and places of interest. It will also get you discounts on local services and shops.

MANCHESTER

manchester united stadium

Total Cost: £148.12 | Car Hire Cost: £7.87

Three places to go: Be sure to visit one or both of those world famous football stadiums, Manchester Art Gallery and John Rylands Library, a late-Victorian architectural wonder.

Money-saving tip: Free walking tours taking in the best of Manchester run every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Be sure not to miss them.

MALAGA

gibralfaro castle
Via travelguidemalaga

Total Cost: £131.96 | Car Hire Cost: £5.02

Three places to go: The Picasso Museum, Gibralfaro Castle and Tivoli World, a family-friendly theme park, should never be out of your list while you’re in Malaga.

Money-saving tip: Avoid the Costa del Sol’s toll roads by downloading a sat nav app that helps you steer clear of the hassles.

BIRMINGHAM

birmingham oratory
Via birminghamheritage

Total Cost: £130.39 | Car Hire Cost: £9.01

Three places to go: Visit the Bullring for shopping and Birmingham Oratory and St Paul’s Church for a taste of the city’s architectural past.

Money-saving tip: Download the Bullring’s PLUS app to get free parking at the retail center.

TENERIFE

la laguna tenerife
Via holaislascanarias

Total Cost: £129.29 | Car Hire Cost: £13.10

Three places to go: Take a cable car to the summit of Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain, visit La Laguna, the former capital of Tenerife and enjoy a couple of hours in Malpaís de Güímar, a natural park.

Money-saving tip: Many of Tenerife’s best museums are free to enter all day on Fridays and Saturday afternoons.

ALICANTE

santa barbara castle alicante
Via Expedia

Total Cost: £110.93 | Car Hire Cost: £7.83

Three places to go: Climb up to Santa Barbara Castle, browse the Alicante Museum of Contemporary Art and do some snorkeling on Tabarca Island, just off the coast of Alicante.

Money-saving tip: Mercado Central is Alicante’s most popular food market, offering cheap meat, vegetables, bread, dairy and sweets.

Now that you know where to go, how can you ensure you get a cheap car hire deal no matter where you go?

Here are some tips you can use:

  • Book early

As with most things, booking ahead can save you some serious cash. If next year’s holiday is booked and your dates are locked down in your diary, why wait to sort the car hire? Do it now while you’re thinking about it and save some money in the process.

  • Do you really need a luxury vehicle?

When booking a car hire, it can be tempting to take out a high-end vehicle and imagine yourself zooming around picturesque mountain roads in the latest high-performance car. Unfortunately, such vehicles are often more expensive than their rather more run-of-the-mill brothers and sisters.

Ask yourself if you really need something swish. When you’re on a holiday, what probably matters most is space. There should be enough for your stuff and for the people coming with you. Opting for a standard vehicle that suits your needs could be a much more affordable and practical option.

  • Understand the extras

Some car hire deals look cheap but once you look under the bonnet, they are actually a little more expensive. To avoid getting tricked, make sure you know exactly what your deal will cover before you book.

  • Get your arrival time right

Give your car rental provider an accurate idea of when you’ll be picking up the car. If your flight is delayed, your reservation could be cancellled, especially if it’s at a busy time. This is annoying but it could also incur additional costs. If you can get in touch with the car hire check-in desk to let them know you’re running late, do so.

  • Make sure any pre-existing damaged is logged

When you hire a car, you’ll usually get an inspection form before you drive away with it. This form will detail any damage that’s already on the car. If you spot some damage but it’s not on the form, make sure it gets logged immediately. Otherwise, you could end up paying for damage you didn’t cause. And, of course, make sure you take care of the car when you’re exploring the city.

Hiring a car can transform a holiday. Giving you the freedom of the open road, it allows you to get out and explore. Next time you choose a car hire, do your research, follow some top tips and you’ll be well on your way to bagging a great deal that won’t break the bank.

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How Not To Give Up When Your Head Tells You to Quit

Most people have to work hard in order to live their dreams. However, all we see and celebrate is their success because the hard work is usually not done in public. So, when you are struggling in the shadows, wondering why success is not coming fast enough, it’s easy to want to quit.

Don’t.

The successful people you admire are there because they resisted the temptation to quit.

Before looking at the tips below on how not to give up, let’s get one thing out of the way:

No one is suggesting that you stay in a dead-end career which takes you nowhere. If you’re quitting because there is a better opportunity, then, by all means, go ahead. The quitting that does not help is the one where you leave just because you’re not getting results instantly.

Every time you want to quit and take the easy way out, just tell yourself that success doesn’t come overnight.

Things Don’t Get Easy Just Because You Switch Places

There is a misconception that if you don’t like something, then you can switch places and things will get easier. This is a fantasy. If you quit without introspecting and looking deep inside yourself, you may actually be moving with the problem.

In the beginning, you will enjoy the instant gratification which comes with moving. However, as time goes on, you will realize that you’ve solved nothing. The same problems you thought you ran away from in the last situation will suddenly appear.

If you quit just because of the instant gratification you feel when you move into something new, you’re sacrificing your long-term goals. The reality of life is that wherever you go, you’ll always be faced with challenges. It’s better to work on the challenges of something you have already started, rather than quitting and starting on a new set of trials in a new goal.

See Also: 5 Barriers That You Need To Cross To Achieve Success This Year

See the Bigger Picture

not giving up

Every time you want to quit, tell yourself that if success were easy, everybody would be successful. Most people quit because they forget to draw the bigger picture when they start on a goal. Some have drawn the bigger picture, but forget it in the face of challenges.

Always remember that journeys leading to success are often long and grueling. Take the disappointments you meet along the way and if you fall, stand up, dust yourself off, and get moving.

One thing you will have to accept is that success comes at different times for different people. Admit that you’ll see people you know reaching their goals before you do.

While this can be difficult sometimes, you should always try to celebrate with them. Instead of seeing their success as highlighting your failures, take it as proof that achieving your goals is possible.

See Success as a Journey, Not a Destination

Success happens in incremental steps. It is a result of everyday small, smart choices. If you do this consistently and never quit when the going gets tough, you’ll start to see the results of your perseverance.

Making smart, small choices every day starts by taking big tasks and breaking them into smaller units. Working on smaller tasks will help you to see your progress. Take reading a large book, for example. Breaking it into chapters seems more doable than finishing the whole book right away.

You’ll also see incremental results if you are consistent. A good example here is your daily exercise routine. Consistently working on your fitness for twenty minutes every day is better than trying to do a two-hour workout once a week.

Successful people are patient. They understand that progress takes time. For example, if you decided to write a book, writing just two pages a day results in 60 pages a month. That makes over 300 pages in half a year. That’s a very long book by any standards.

successful people

No one has ever said that success is easy. If it were, everyone would be successful.

See Also: Stumble, Success, Stumble, Success – 11 Simple Steps to Improve Your Life

The post How Not To Give Up When Your Head Tells You to Quit appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Working From Home: Is it Worth it?

We’ve all fantasized about trading in our demanding office hours, gossiping coworkers, and overbearing bosses for a work from home gig. But, how do we get past the anxieties that come with the transition?

Nip those fears in the bud and get ready to pursue the career of your dreams with some of the information below.

Why is Working from Home So Great?

work at home

Working from home has several benefits besides the ability to make a living in your pajamas. You’ll find that trading in your traditional work can yield great benefits such as:

  • You’ll save money from commuting to work. You can reinvest the $50 you throw in your tank each week into something that you love. You can even use it to buy an equipment for your new home office.
  • Working from home can cut out your lunch expenses as well as a few inches off of your waistline. You’re more likely to prepare and eat healthy lunches if you aren’t heading to the food trucks parked across the street from your office.
  • You can say goodbye to the guilt that comes with having to reschedule outings with friends or missing your kid’s recital because you set your own hours. You’re able to start work whenever you like and put it away just in time to catch a yoga class and a chance to focus on you.

Sounds Perfect, Right?

Not so fast.

There are a lot of great things about working from home, but if you’re seriously considering making the switch, then you need to prepare for its drawbacks.

Check them out:

Discipline

Were you the first to quit a new instrument, dance class or sport after just a couple of days? Do you still allow your gym to take $20 out of your bank account each month despite the fact that you haven’t stepped inside of a gym since the last year?

Discipline is a key factor to successfully working from home.

Work/Life Balance

While working from home can definitely benefit those that seek control over how much work dominates their life, managing a solid work/life balance can be tough for true workaholics.

If you don’t have a dedicated and closed off workspace, you’ll be constantly reminded of how there’s always work to be done. This could easily lead to burnout if you fail to set boundaries between work and your personal life.

See Also: Keep Calm and Don’t Stress: Recognizing and Preventing Job Burnout

Financial Instability

Unless you’re working for a larger company, most self-employed individuals or freelancers that work from home have to acknowledge that their funds will fluctuate. There could be times when you go an entire month without receiving a check and you’ll have to find a way to keep yourself afloat financially in the meantime.

What’s Right For Me?

work from home

It’ll take a lot of self-reflection to figure out if working from home might be ideal for you. Check to see if any of the situations below affect you.

You might flourish with working from home if:

  • You’re self-motivated and you don’t need a boss to stand over your shoulder to ensure that work is done.
  • You have six months’ worth of living expenses in your bank account, just in case you come upon hard times.
  • You don’t mind doing self-employment taxes or advertising.
  • You’re not dependent on a healthcare plan provided by your traditional employer.

You might fail at working from home if:

  • You’re not self-motivated. If you need a kick in the rear to help you get started on a project, you might be better off with a more traditional setup.
  • It would put you or your family in financial trouble.
  • You’re not very good at managing stress. It would only make you more stressed to have the extra responsibility on your plate.
  • You prefer structure set by an outside source.
  • You enjoy being able to wheel your chair over to the next cubicle to chat with your coworkers.

Tips for Making the Change

If you’re determined to work from home, you’re going to need help to manage the transition. Here are a few tips to keep you from giving up on your dream to work from home:

  • Make an effort to get out of the house and see your friends or loved ones 2-3 times a week. When you first start working from home, it can be tempting to just throw yourself into your work 24/7, so that you can make your dream come true. Unfortunately, working all the time can and will lead to burnout.
  • Stick to a morning schedule. You’ll be far more successful if you can create your own structure that you can amend at any time.
  • Take inventory of your pantry and fill it up with non-perishable goods in case you run into some financial trouble. Having five or six boxes of stovetop macaroni and cheese can be a lifesaver if you’re running low on cash.
  • Most importantly, perform extensive research on what you’d like to do! If you want to be a freelance writer, you’ll need to read up on all of the different niches and decide what best fits your skill level and financial needs. There’s also plenty of successful individuals that do freelance graphic design, data entry work, virtual assisting or call center work for a company that doesn’t mind if you work from home.

See Also: How to increase productivity while doing ‘Work from Home’?

Get Started!

If you think that you’re cut out for the challenges that come with working from home, start thinking of when and how you’ll begin your transition. If you plan well, you’ll be able to enjoy the rewards of working from home in no time!

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