Handling your finances is something I think isn’t taught enough, yet it’s the path to leading a comfortable life. Capitalism, as defined by ‘Investopedia’ - a financial education website - is the economic state whereby property and industries that have monetary value are controlled by private owners. This system can greatly disadvantage the working class, i.e. people like you and me - so I wanted to write about ways in which you make this capitalistic system work in your favour without compromising your values. I’ll start by writing about how to budget, and later delve into more complex financial topics like savings accounts and investing. I want to preface that I’m by no means an expert, this is just what I have researched, and would like to spread the knowledge - so please do your own research as well!
Budgeting is described by ‘Investopedia’ as a plan regarding the income and expenses for a particular time frame. This process, while tedious, will allow you to see patterns in your spending, and control it better in order to ensure that you are always on top of your finances.
Finances have been a thing that I have been taught to fear. I can’t actually say that I’ve ever been at a place where money has not been an issue, and so it’s developed lots of anxiety around spending, receiving monetary gifts or loans from others etc. There may be times I needed to pay someone back but couldn’t until later on. This created a mentality that working is the only way I can create a sufficient and comfortable lifestyle for myself. A mentality that I have to work to survive. But I’ve tried to challenge that by taking control of my finances, rather than enduring conditions I don’t like, in order to keep my head above water. One way I was able to do this was through budgeting; I recently received my first paycheck from my internship and was able to use a budgeting technique to split up my income between needs, wants, and unexpected situations. Here’s how I did it:
‘Money Under 30’, another financial education website, suggests a common budgeting technique to use is the 50/30/20 rule. In this, you save 50% of your income on essentials like groceries, rent etc., spend 30% of your income on what you want, and contribute the remaining 20% on your savings (including retirement) and investments.
So, hypothetically, if you brought in £1000 (with the consideration of tax):
Essentials - £500
Wants - £300
Savings - £200
Money Fit’s 50/30/20 online budget calculator can work this out quickly for you, however, there are many alternatives online also.
An important thing to note is that this is completely customisable to your situation, you can change how much you allocate to each section, so it requires a lot of self-discipline and awareness to understand how much you can distribute to each part. To practice self-discipline you have to be honest with yourself - I usually ask myself how beneficial a certain spend would be in the long run; could I possibly use that spend on something that provides me more gratification in the future? Here are some more ways to practice discipline:
One way to learn how to be more aware of your budget is to keep a basic excel sheet that breaks down your income and expenses. The Balance, financial education website, also has a simple template that you can copy and paste into a document and adapt to your circumstances. Alternatively, there are other free templates online that help keep an eye on your finances without the hassle of creating the template yourself (unless that’s your thing). I personally use ‘Aspire’, which tracks transactions as they are made - it’s a little technical but they have a Reddit account that you can ask questions on, and detailed instructions to get you set up.
Now you may be lost on what the “Savings” section of the budgeting technique might be made up of. Savings would constitute your emergency fund (saving if you unexpectedly lose your job, or something breaks etc.), investments, and retirement fund. Because of this, it might be easier to put your savings into a savings account.
So far this technique has taught me that finance is not something to fear - granted, I’m not going to say it's not stressful, but budgeting has given my finances a lot more structure. I understand there is more to learn, but it's not something that has to control you, more so, it's the other way around.
I think understanding finances is something quite empowering, especially when there has been constant worry about where your finances would go. However, it’s important to remember that your finances don’t have to define your life experience, especially because I found myself unable to do things I wanted due to financial constraints, like attending paid events, going on holiday, or simply eating out. When I had the time I looked for free activities I could do, and any financial support I could find online like grants or scholarships during university. I learned that with or without financial constraints, it’s still important to let yourself live, rather than just survive. I’m still learning how to do this, but it’s about ensuring that your finances don’t control you - both by learning about finance and by living in spite of it as much as you can.
Unfortunately, not everyone is equipped to find out more about this topic. Some may not know where to start with researching, or just don’t understand the admittedly complicated lingo in some of these sites. Weeks ago I didn’t know any of this information, so I don’t blame you for being unsure. Its absence in our education system means that we interpret finances as something that lacks priority, or at least, is too complicated for anyone to understand, let alone teach. I hope that this information gives you an idea about where to get started.
Here are some sites which can help you with this a little more
Stay Safe! - Rae
Focusing is my weakness. I’m barely able to maintain focus, especially when it comes to tasks I know will take more than half an hour. This is something I’ve struggled with all my life, and only recently have I found a way to work on it. Throughout school, I never really focused on my work. I got it done, but half the time I’d miss everything that was said. It was an issue in college, but I could still get work done in phases. Now that I’m in uni and drowning in work, I’ve realised that I need systems in place to help myself.
Something else that I have difficulties with is procrastination. Mixing that with a lack of focus and a bad memory, especially when teaching is all online? You could say it’s a recipe for disaster, but it’s been a time when I can experiment with different methods to help me focus and tackle my work as soon as I can.
When educational facilities are in person, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 students have issues with focus, leading to procrastination. 80 - 95% of students procrastinate, 75% consider themselves procrastinators and 50% procrastinate frequently and consider it a problem. Personally, I procrastinate to the point that it’s a problem. On the bright side, while trying to do my sound work, I do normally end up with a lovely clean kitchen by procrastinating. It’s safe to say that I’m quite the procrastinator, and it has started to affect my education.
Online, I’ve found that my focus is getting worse. While on Zoom, I’m often distracted by the road outside, social media, or even what type of coffee I want to pick up from the local shop. I miss so much from lessons, which is a massive issue when it comes to assessments. When it comes time to work, I end up mentally rearranging my room, or even making a ground plan to move furniture about on it. So what have I found that helps me focus?
If you’re having a lot of issues with focusing, it could be worth going to your GP / Doctors / anyone in your educational facility. It can be a sign of an underlying condition, so it’s best to be safe than sorry. Just remember that you’re not alone in this, and talking about it can help. It won’t be easy to overcome it, and what I’ve said might not help, but it’s all about finding things that work for you. It’s all about trial and error, but you’ll get there in the end.
You’ve got this!
What is Sociology?
Sociology is an exciting field of study that analyses human social relationships, politics, crime, religion, social class, and radical change. An endless study that examines all fragments of society, and how human actions shape these social structures. For instance, psychology examines the mind, the psychology of an individual, and Sociology examines the environment, in which humans live. In fact, you may have taken part in surveys conducted at school that may have been related to sociology, questions that ask your ethnicity, age, gender, and experience of schooling. Sociology emphasizes gathering evidence and conducting research, and the government has been able to use the data from these surveys or other forms of research to make policies and change.
Importance of Sociology in society
Sociology is an essential subject, a subject I hope will one day become a compulsory module in schools. It is a subject that would teach children about the society they live in, the challenges others face, and hopefully teach empathy and humanity.
Putting those hopes aside, those who are in school or have completed their education should consider diving into this subject. Sociology is more important now more than ever. Since this generation is aware of the cruelty and injustice that occurs around the world and the inequality and unfairness of the laws and systems in place. Sociology offers a factual and logical explanation, arguments that can shape our society and make it a better place to live.
Sociology shapes our politics, broadens our minds on the different economic systems that exist, challenges our comfort, our existence, and our purpose. You will find yourself exploring not just plain feminism but Marx feminism, intersectional feminism, communism, socialism, and critique of capitalism, helping you understand yourself better, not just society.
In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Me-Too movement, the revolutions, riots, the impact of the pandemic on marginalized communities, and police brutality, sociology is essential. Without an open mind and an understanding of history and society, we cannot progress very far; we cannot begin to understand why people are rioting or why marginalized groups are calling for change.
My experience with Sociology
When I studied this subject at A-level, it validated my experiences as a South-Asian woman. Growing up, I had theories of my own, which I later learned had entire studies on, my experiences dealing with racism, sexism now had a name, a study, analysis, and an explanation. My experiences were no longer just my experiences, they were universal. It was enlightening to study something so personal and insightful.
To learn sociology is to understand our values, where we stand in society, and how we can challenge the systems in place. To understand sociology is to want better for ourselves and others, to gain compassion, to gain another soul.
Books and sources that may interest the reader:
-Feminist Studies - A Guide to Intersectional Theory, Methodology and Writing By Nina Lykke
-Essentials of Sociology by James M. Henslin
-A Down-to-Earth Approach By James M. Henslin
A website that shows you a list of great books to choose from to begin learning: https://bookauthority.org/books/beginner-sociology-books
“In case of a cabin pressure emergency, put on your own mask first before assisting others.” We always hear this sentence every time we take a flight. It is a good concept to apply to our lives. We need to remember the importance of helping ourselves first before helping others. Putting yourself doesn’t mean you’re choosing either your or another's life. It means putting yourself makes you function better and strengthens you to support your loved ones better. Even a therapist can ask guidance from other therapists. It doesn’t mean they’re not credible. It helps them prepare and recharge so that they can help clients as well.
One way of self-help is self-love. Loving yourself is different from being a narcissist. A Narcissist needs professional guidance because Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance. They lack empathy and therefore rarely make friends with others. Different from being narcissistic, self love is an act to appreciate and care about oneself.
Self-love is a journey and everyone should have a trial and error method to find the best way to love themselves. In order to help our self, here some ideas that I’ve tried and you can apply them too:
No screen day
Due to online situations, life is attached to the screen. Sometimes, I’ve gotten very anxious about things on social media. I couldn’t bear to look at notifications on my social media. So, reconnecting with nature instead of the screen, would be very relaxing.
Hugging someone with no context
This gives me another level of satisfaction. When hugging someone, I feel calm and relax. Also, my negative emotions go away. It may be because the stress hormone is released.
I’m not sure with the actual method, but it is kind of staying still and being aware of nature’s sounds. Nature’s sounds help release my anxiety and stress.
Those tips may work for some people but not others. Hopefully, they can help some of you guys. Enjoy your journey to a fulfilling life!
Do you have problems with studying or just need some advice in regards to studying? Well here I am to propose some options to change your study habits for the better. Study tips that I point out may not work for you or everyone else; you just need one study tip to work to increase your productivity.
These tips build on note taking, time management and decreasing procrastination. Here are the benefits at a more detailed perspective.
Managing your time and trying to avoid procrastination is hard. Procrastination is the level that all students go to, some stay at that level for a while and others leave quickly. I advise you to learn that level as fast as you can. Procrastination increases mistakes, stress, mental illnesses, and more. It does not help to leave work for later when you just do not want to do it. You can start to reward yourself when doing work before the date because in psychology it is proven that positive reinforcement promotes the likelihood of that behavior of doing work earlier knowing there is a reward to stay with you. Managing your time is basically planning ahead, sometimes the plan will change, but it is just the thought of you planning what homework you will finish, when you will go to the gym, and more. Creating good habits is the most important thing.
I struggled with studying growing up and I learned the hard way of the importance of efficiently studying. Only in high school did I start to take my own advice on my studying but every now and then I do procrastinate and life just becomes 100% stressful. Stress then takes over and ruins me emotionally and physically. Do not allow that to happen to you. Take the extra mile if you have to. The hardest path usually is the best outcome. Your studying habits is only something you can do and it will be hard to maintain it. But you can do it, just believe in your own judgement.
Watching others studying on YouTube makes me personally feel the need to study. Sleeping well and working out makes me feel ready to take on the world. I prescribe you that, taking better care of yourself physically and mentally.
Having and creating better studying habits will take time so be patient. Nobody in the world is perfect, we all struggle with things. Use your faults to bring you up and not down. Do you have a set of personalized study habits and do they work? Do you last and honestly are they worth it? That is up to you to answer since out of all the people in the world, you know yourself the best. So sit down and talk to yourself, which is not a bad thing to do from time to time.