Helping You Define Your Lifestyle

Effective Ways To Save For Your IRA

Retirement is a very important goal to save for. You need to make a call as to how to save your funds for retirement, whether it be in dedicated account like an IRA or in a 401K through your job or some combination. The potential for growth in compound interest is great, so that means that you need to be able to put as much money into them as possible.

Which is why you need a monthly budget and you need to stick to it. Budgets are great tools for keeping track of your monthly cash flow, income and investments. And once you get past the psychology of not being able to think about money, it can really help your spending habits. Because it provides a chance to prioritize what you value and what you need to spend money on.

First of all, pay yourself first. You need to have money in savings in order to invest in an IRA or some other account. So you need to be disciplined about saving money for yourself and your family. Bills, food, cars and entertainment all have their place, but paying yourself first needs to come first. And it is great to be able to automate it. When you create a regular transaction from your regular account to a savings account, that means it happens without thinking about it. You can also automate savings straight to your IRA.

Use multiple savings accounts. You need to have places to put money for emergencies, major purchases and regular expenditures. That way you always have a place to save your money.

How do you get that extra money? Look for a raise at work. You need to be able to talk to your boss about getting more money when you think you deserve it. It can be a hard conversation at first, but you can really increase your income the more you do it and the better you get at asking for raises. Keep an eye out for bonuses as well. If you budget correctly, found money like that can go straight into your IRA.

Then you need to look at your expenses. Do you need both a cleaning service and a landscaping service? Figure out which one you can live without and cut that one. How much do you spend on groceries each month? Where are ways you can cut that down? You can cut coupons out of the newspaper and figure out more economical ways of getting proper nutrition. Cheap protein, like eggs and beans are always a good solution.

Look at your local library. There are always great books there, but you can also find movies, TV shows and documentaries that you can borrow for free. That might provide a chance to break down your cable bill and allow you to cut the cord.

The ability to save for your IRA can be learned. You don’t have to be a natural saver. You can change your habits if you put the effort in. Learn how to cook more and learn where you can invest wisely to replace your job income with passive income. That will allow you to make more money, have more time and save for your IRA.

How to Use Poker as a Mindfulness Practice

Most common mindfulness practices are fundamentally simple. Things like deep breathing, counted breaths, and short breaks and walks can help to calm us, clear our minds, and generate simultaneous states of relaxation and awareness. As much purpose as these small, simple practices have though, there are also some more involved activities that can assist with the development of greater mindfulness. And it may surprise some to learn that the game of poker is among them.

Gaming and Meditation

It is first important to understand that a link has been established between gaming and meditation in general. For a long time there were a lot of misconceptions about gaming as an active, almost violent practice meant solely for young people. But perceptions have changed over time. We now understand that people in all age groups play games of all kinds, and we further accept that a lot of these games have meditative qualities. Gamer testaments and a few scientific studies alike have indicated that the right game can have a soothing effect on one’s mental state.

This is the case with poker as well. A passion for many around the world, it’s a unique game that doesn’t necessarily fall under the umbrella of traditional “gaming” as we tend to think of the term. It is nonetheless similar with regard to mindfulness, however. Approached with intention, it can be a calming, almost meditative hobby for players.

Mental and Emotional Calm

When considering the game of poker specifically, one tends to think first of strategy, luck, and mathematics. In some sense, these are the building blocks of any given game of poker, and it will of course be important for any aspiring player to learn how they all factor in. However, what really helps successful players to win at poker is a sound mindset. The manifestation of a sound overall poker game requires that players learn to accept defeat and to avoid getting too high from a win. It demands reasonable approaches to betting and competition, clear-eyed social interaction, and the ability to operate without ego.

Add those factors up, and what success in poker really demands is mental and emotional calm. Players need skill and strategy to be sure, but above all else they need to be able to clear their minds of various pressures and shut out hasty impulses. This in and of itself is nearly a form of meditation, and certainly serves as a sort of training for mindfulness practice.

Focused Meditation

Beyond helping players to establish a general sense of mental and emotional calm, poker also leads to an ability to focus that, in its own way, is meditative. Generally, a focused meditation is described as the practice of focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and slowing down inner dialogue. It more or less means zeroing in on one subject to the exclusion of all else for the purpose of clearing one’s head — which is pretty much exactly what one has to do in poker! Even the slightest distraction can be a problem, and while the game demands a lot of attention it still makes for such narrow focus that one can clear one’s mind in a useful and soothing way.

Even given all of these benefits, poker does not comprise an entire mindfulness or meditation routine. For those interested in working on these aspects of personal wellness though, it’s always good to have one more option! Some will find this simple, popular card game to be legitimately beneficial.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our piece on how to boost your energy, especially useful as we enter a new year and search for fresh motivations!

Earfree Nitebuds: For Better Sleep

Earfree Nitebuds, the two-in-one speaker and pillow that plays calming music, improving the quality of your sleep, is launching on Indiegogo.

The idea for the Nitebuds sleep pillow came from people who used to sleep with earphones in. Many of us who have trouble sleeping at night use earphones to listen to calming sleep music, but sleeping with earphones in is just too uncomfortable. Using earphones while you sleep can cause pain and inflammation in the ear; plus, earphones tend to fall out in the middle of the night. But the adverse effects of earphones on ear health is undoubtedly the most critical of these issues.

Nitebuds puts music IN the pillow to solve the problems caused by conventional earbuds. All you have to do is lay your head down on the pillow to be serenated with lovely music. There’s no earbuds involved – so you can roll around in bed all you like without having to worry about damage to your ears or earbuds falling out.

Nitebuds are simple to use. Just place the speakers in the special sleep-aid pillow, then use Bluetooth to pair your smartphone and begin your music therapy. Once your music is playing, Nitebuds’ crater-shaped design enhances the acoustics, making you feel like you’re listening in on a concert hall performance. This design also prevents the sound from leaking out, giving you the same quality of sound at a 30% lower volume, so as not to bother whoever’s sleeping next to you.

The Nitebuds app also provides free ASMR music and ambience, soothing the brain and easing any anxiety. This white noise works has great benefits on mental health and attentiveness, making the sleep music from the Nitebuds app particularly effective at inducing a natural sleep.

Nitebuds uses 3D mesh material for full, fluffy comfort. The mesh also helps the music play through the pillow without getting muffled, plus high-quality microfiber cotton is also used to give the perfect amount of depth and coziness. The microfiber cotton is also a renewable, biodegradable material, which means Nitebuds is eco-friendly, too.

Even though Nitebuds is electronic, the speaker and pillow are fully separable, meaning the pillow can be washed without issue. If you want, you can even use the pillow by itself without the speakers, or even place other items inside the pillow to help you sleep.

For instance, if you find yourself sweating a lot in those hot summer nights, you can place ice-packs in the pillow to help cool off. Or, when you’re stressed out and in the mood for aromatherapy, the CYPRESS insert can be used for some phytoncide healing.

Also, if you have a preference for a specific pillow height, just use the COTTON insert to adjust the pillow’s height to your preference.

You can back Earfree Nitebuds – the high-tech pillow that serenades you to sleep – by finding their campaign on Indiegogo.