August 2019 Newsletter
When it comes to everyday life, most of us go on without realizing how much we are affecting our world on a bigger scale, when combined with other smaller influences (i.e. all of us as consumers). When the topic of being more eco-friendly pops up, some of us instantly think something of a bigger scale, but it doesn’t have to start big! There are a lot of smaller things you can do that are both beneficial for the world and for your wallet!
Unplug Your Devices
You might be surprised to learn that all electronics suck energy when they’re plugged in, EVEN IF they’re powered down. In the U.S. alone, “vampire power” is responsible for draining up to $19 billion in energy every year. Anytime a cord is plugged into a socket, it’s drawing energy – so although your device isn’t charging, you’re still contributing to your carbon footprint. Simple solution? Leave your electronics unplugged at all times, unless you’re actually using them.
Choose to walk, bike, or take the bus – leave the car at home, and you’ll be making an easy decision with immediate results. Many people are opting to bike to work, especially with bike lanes becoming more prevalent. Cities are finally investing in the necessary infrastructure to make it easier not to own a car. Increasing populations have made effective public transportation more necessary than ever; and options like subways, trains, buses, and rapid transit continue to grow. Many new bus routes are even turning to hybrids, solar power, and other eco-friendly alternatives. Cities are also increasing walkability, with architects incorporating more outdoor and green spaces, and new buildings focused on green infrastructure and community engagement.
Plant a Garden
Whether you live in a house or an apartment, planting some greens is a quick and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. We all know plants absorb carbon dioxide – a beneficial relationship for humans, that we should all be seeking to nurture. Plant some bee-friendly flowers, a few trees, or a vegetable garden. Balcony gardens are great for urban dwellings. Cities often need to reduce the “urban heat island” effect – basically, cities tend to be hotter than rural areas because of vast pavement areas, concrete buildings, and increased human activity. Creating more spaces for plants, grasses, and trees can mitigate this effect and lead to better cooling, which will be a necessity with worsening climate change. Help avoid the “heat island” effect by planting trees for shade, or maybe try a green roof or community garden.
Eat Local (and Organic)
Whenever possible, try to eat local, in-season produce. Sticking to foods that are grown locally, in your own city or the surrounding area, helps to reduce the carbon footprint created by shipping foods from elsewhere.
Back to Saving on Energy Costs: In Your Home
– Do an energy audit of your home. This will show how you use or waste energy and help identify ways to be more energy-efficient.
– Change incandescent light bulbs (which waste 90 percent of their energy as heat) to light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Though LEDs cost more, they use a quarter of the energy and last up to 25 times longer. They are also preferable to compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs, which emit 80 percent of their energy as heat and contain mercury.
– Turn your water heater down to 120 МЉF. This can save about 550 pounds of CO2 a year.
– Installing a low-flow showerhead to reduce hot water use can save 350 pounds of CO2. Taking shorter showers helps, too.
– Lower your thermostat in winter and raise it in summer. Use less air conditioning in the summer; instead opt for fans, which require less electricity. And check out these other ways to beat the heat without air conditioning.
Finances – Improving Credit
Sometimes you may go about your time looking at things to get, for example, a new vehicle, house, boat, etc. But you find yourself with a lower credit rate than you would hope for. Fear not! There are ways that can help you improve your credit, and guess what, we’ve gathered it below! Feel free to take any of these options into consideration, as they all will prove useful!
Watch those credit card balances
One major factor in your credit score is how much revolving credit you have versus how much you’re actually using. The smaller that percentage is, the better it is for your credit rating.
Eliminate credit card balances
A good way to improve your credit score is to eliminate nuisance balances. Those are the small balances you have on a number of credit cards.
Use your calendar
If you’re shopping for a home, car or student loan, it pays to do your rate shopping within a short time period. Every time you apply for credit, it can cause a small dip in your credit score that lasts a year. That’s because if someone is making multiple applications for credit, it usually means he or she wants to use more credit. However, with three kinds of loans – mortgage, auto and more recently, student loans – scoring formulas allow for the fact that you’ll make multiple applications but take out only one loan.
Pay bills on time
If you’re planning a major purchase (like a home or a car), you might be scrambling to assemble one big chunk of cash. While you’re juggling bills, you don’t want to start paying bills late. Even if you’re sitting on a pile of savings, a drop in your score could scuttle that dream deal. One of the biggest ingredients in a good credit score is simply month after month of plain-vanilla, on-time payments. Saving money for a major purchase is smart. Just don’t slight the regular bills to do it.
You should be laser-focused on your credit score when you know you’ll soon need credit. In the interim, pay your bills and use credit responsibly. Your score will reflect these smart spending behaviors. If you are denied credit (or don’t qualify for the lender’s best rate), the lender has to show you the credit score it used, thanks to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
This article is for information, illustrative and entertainment purposes only and does not purport to show actual results. It is not, and should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular investment action.
Personal Interest – Improving Your Concentration/Focus
Whatever work you do, whether it be personal or work-related, the ability to focus on the subject at hand may be easier for some and harder for others. We have gathered four easy ways to improve your concentration to help push your workloads out!
Take notes while you work.
One of the most effective ways you can actively concentrate on what you’re doing is to write things down by hand. As opposed to typing, writing by hand forces you to actually engage with what you’re learning in a more physical way, sticking in your mind more clearly and engaging with it in a more visceral way. If you struggle to pay attention during meetings or during class, take notes more actively. Keep your pencil moving. Even if it’s not something that will be super-helpful later, you’ll keep yourself from wandering into other thoughts if you take notes.
Long-thought a sign that people weren’t paying attention, it turns out that some of the most active thinkers are also active doodlers. If you draw, even just squiggly lines and nonsense while you’re trying to pay attention, some studies show that it can help you engage your mind and stay focused, keeping boredom at bay and keeping your mind active and learning.
Speak out loud as you work.
Similar to doodling and note-taking, speaking out loud while you work or study might have your roommates thinking you’ve got a few screws loose, but it’s also proven to actively help you to internalize what you read and the ideas that you’re engaging with. Like writing, verbalizing forces you to give words to knowledge, creating a two-step process in learning that makes it easier to recall and makes you more engaged. If you’re embarrassed, try finding an isolated super-quiet place to study, or wait until your roommates are gone to get some alone time to try it out. Or just don’t worry about what they think. Talk to yourself! We all do it.
See the right answer and only the right answer.
To escape a skid, professional drivers are trained to look not at the oncoming tree they’d like to avoid, but the space to which they want to go. Successful soccer players move to open spaces, successful guitar players find an empty space to play a perfect note, and successful learners fixate on the right course of action and the right way of doing. It might sound so obvious that it’s silly, but if you’re reading a text and find your mind wandering into other thoughts, picture yourself doing it correctly. Tell yourself to actively read and pay attention. Change your mind and look toward the space where you’re doing the right thing. Then do it.
Thank you and have a great month!