While a lot of Americans may be in debt, that doesn’t stop them from spending money where they shouldn’t. And now a new report reveals just how much money folks are spending on such vices, and when you hear how much money you’re probably wasting, you may be embarrassed.
According to the Bankrate report, Americans spend, on average, $2,944 a year on financial vices, like eating out, coffee and more. Not surprising, the bulk of that money is usually spent on eating out, with the average American spending $2,443 a year on restaurant meals and takeout food, with 38% dining out at least three times a week. Other huge vices include prepared beverages, like coffee or smoothies, which 35% of Americans buy about three times a week, as well as lottery tickets, with the average American spending about $17 a week.
Interestingly, those with less money tend to spend more of their income on vices. In fact, those earning just $30,000 a year spend 13% on financial vices, and a lot of that goes towards lottery tickets. Among households with the lowest incomes, 28% play the lottery at least once a week, which amounts to about $412 a year. Meanwhile, those making $75,000 or more only spend about 2.6% of their income on vices, with only 19% spending their money on lottery tickets.
These days it certainly seems that a lot of people are unhappy and it turns out that overall unhappiness isn’t reserved only for Americans. Gallup’s “Negative Experience Index,” which polled 154,000 people in 145 countries, finds that most people in the world are currently miserable. In fact, the results show more "negative" feelings amongst people worldwide than at any point since the polling company started the study in 2005.
The poll finds that worldwide, 38% of people say they experienced worry in the past day, while 37% have experienced stress, 31% physical pain, 23% sadness and 20% anger. When you look at the U.S. alone, it seems we have more worry and stress, with 39% saying they’ve experienced worry, and 40% experiencing stress, although America isn’t nearly the worst when it comes to stress. That would be folks in Greece, with 66% saying they experienced stress in the past day.
Meanwhile, the study finds that the Central African Republic is actually the most negative country in the world, with Iraq, last year’s most negative country, in second, and South Sudan in third. On the flipside, Paraguay topped the Positive Experience Index, followed by Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Canada.
Happiness can come and go quickly, but very few people consider themselves to be truly happy people. According to a Harris Poll Survey of American Happiness from 2017, only 33% of Americans identify as “very happy.” But the good news is that we can do a lot to improve that. So if you’re not happy with your life, try these tips from life coach Dr. Jaime Kaluga and clinical psychologist Dr. Inna Khazan for boosting your mood.
- Get rid of toxic people in your life - It’s not easy to cut loose people you’ve been close to, but if they don’t share similar goals and values as you, don’t inspire or motivate you to be better, or don’t want the best for you, it may be time to say bye bye.
- Eat healthy - Feeling good starts from the inside out, so if you’re loading up on junk food, you’re affecting your potential happiness. “Your gut is the gateway to feeling good,” Dr. Kulaga explains. “When you eat processed foods and fast foods, serotonin struggles to get out of your gut and distribute through your body.” And that’s why our mood dips.
- Exercise - It makes you feel good, which boosts confidence, plus it gives you an endorphin rush, so working out can get you feeling happy in a hurry.
- Be grateful - Taking time to realize all the things you’re thankful for in your life can increase happiness because it helps you realize it’s not about wanting more, it’s being aware of what you already have.
- Unplug - A digital detox, even for just a few hours can help us be mindful and appreciate the good in front of us.
- Get in touch with nature - Research shows a connection between spending time outdoors in green areas and overall wellbeing.
- Stop comparing yourself to others - Social media makes it so easy to do, but those comparisons can shake our self-confidence and make us doubt ourselves, which actually decreases happiness.
- Get plenty of sleep - Make sure you’re getting enough rest because one of the first things sleep deprivation affects is our mood.
Source: Best Life
Whether you just started dating or you’ve been together for years, there are lots of surprising ways to feel closer as a couple. Some are positive, like traveling together, but some experiences you may think of as negative, like talking finances, can actually strengthen your relationship. Here are some experiences that can bring a couple together, according to relationship experts.
- Moving to a new city - Moving in together comes with a lot of relationship-building moments, but nothing bonds you like making a fresh start in a new city together. It’s very exciting, can be challenging, and leaning on each other makes it more intimate.
- Talking about finances - Money problems can create tension in a relationship, but talking about it gives couples a chance to get on the same page and work together on a common future goal. So it can strengthen their bond if they’re in it for the long haul.
- Traveling abroad together - The new experiences, dealing with the stress of travel, trying to communicate in a foreign language, and getting away from your usual routine can all bring couples closer together.
- Releasing some adrenaline - Even if you’re not a thrill-seeker, trying something adventurous like hiking, skydiving, or parasailing as a couple can create a shared rush and helping each other build up courage to get through it can create a stronger bond.
- Cooking a meal together - You don’t have to jump out of a plane together to feel closer as a couple. Something as simple as cooking with your sweetie can strengthen a relationship.
- Have a tech-free day - It’s easy to start texting or scrolling through social media on your phone and not pay attention to your partner, so try turning your phones off and just enjoying the time together. Being fully present in the moment can make your bond stronger.
Now that kids are back in school, you may have noticed your little one’s backpack looking like it’s weighing them down and that’s no good. While students need something to carry all their gear and supplies in for the day at school, packs that are too heavy, don’t fit well, or are unevenly distributed can cause pain or bad posture, so here’s how to avoid that.
- Check out hiking and camping stores - Chiropractor Daniel Pozarnsky advises going to these stores for an in-person try-on session. They have pros who know how to fit your child with the right backpack and give recommendations based on your kid’s body frame.
- When choosing a backpack, look for:
- Two wide, padded, adjustable shoulder straps - skinny straps can dig in and cross-body bags don’t distribute weight evenly.
- Lots of compartments - So you have more places to move stuff around and make it more comfy.
- Lightweight materials - Leather looks nice but weighs more than canvas or nylon.
- A waist belt and sternum strap - To help distribute weight evenly.
- A proper fit - Look for one that sits just below the child’s shoulder blades, isn’t wider than their back and doesn’t hang lower than the waist.
- Lighten the load - The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids not carry more than 10% to 20% of their body weight in their backpack. So kindergarteners should only be lugging four pounds or so. Weigh it if you’re not sure if it’s too heavy.
- Look out for signs the backpack is too heavy - If your kid grunts when they pick it up, leans forward when standing, or complains of numb arms and hands, that bag is too heavy.
- Avoid attaching a lunch box to the backpack - It’s convenient, but heavy lunch bags make it weigh more, so it’s probably easier for your kid to carry it separately.
- Do weekly checks - Kids accumulate PTA flyers, art projects, supplies, water bottles, socks, old snacks, and other junk in their bags, so clean it out frequently to lighten their load.
Now that summer is almost officially over, it’s time to focus on fall and all the tasty fruits and vegetables to fill up on this season. Here are some produce picks for autumn that are packed with good-for-you nutrients and will look festive on your Instagram stories, too.
- Apples - Nothing says fall like apples and all the treats and activities that go with them, and this fruit is also full of antioxidants, especially vitamin C, which boosts the immune system.
- Pumpkin - This autumn staple isn’t just good for Halloween decorations, it’s a great source of vitamin A and beta-carotene.
- Brussels sprouts - You might not have loved them as a kid, but they deserve another chance because they’re high in iron and vitamin K and tastier than you remember.
- Figs - They’re full of fiber as well as potassium, which helps control blood pressure.
- Cauliflower - This trendy veggie is low-carb, but it’s also a super source of vitamins C and K, as well as folate.
- Beets - Try this root vegetable roasted for a tasty dish that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and they’re high in folate, potassium, and manganese, too.
- Pears - Another fall fruit that’s a good source of fiber, pears also contain vitamin C, along with copper, which may help prevent certain cancers, and boron, a nutrient that helps the body hold on to calcium.
- Butternut squash - This winter veggie is rich in fiber, beta carotene, and vitamin C.
- Sweet potato - Eat them because they’re delicious, but all the fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C makes them really good for us, too.
- Grapes - They contain vitamin K, which helps build stronger bones, and polyphenols, so they should earn a spot on your fall grocery shopping list.
Source: Women's Health