Traveling On A Budget: 4 Ways To Avoid Vacation Debt As A Millennial

The millennial generation can be a bit of a contradiction. Although 69% of millennials consider themselves to be adventurous, they are also quite cautious — especially when it comes to finances. Adventure comes in many forms, but the greatest adventure of all is travel; whether you’re planning to walk the Great Wall of China or experience the culture in Johannesburg, getting out of your day-to-day comfort zone and hopping on a plane (or a train, or a car) takes some bravery. Keeping a budget in check during such exciting times can be tricky, so let’s take a look at three ways you can stay in the green and avoid vacation debt during your next (adventurous) vacation.

Sunrise in Miami

Plan Ahead!

If you always want to have money available for a trip, you’re going to need to start a vacation fund. Though it may feel incredibly daunting to have to take away from your already tight budget, remember that every dollar you save now is a dollar you won’t have to scrounge for later. The act of saving itself is fairly simple: as soon as you are paid, immediately move a base amount into a separate account. Your brain will adjust to the loss as if it was never there to spend in the first place, and you’ll have money building up in no time.

It helps to have a trip in mind during this process so that you know how much to be moving in order to reach your savings goal in time. For example, a vacation to the Poconos Mountains with its 2,400 square miles of mountains, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and forests is most likely going to cost less than a trip to Paris. While you can weigh the costs of previous vacations to get a general idea, it’s always better to save more than you need; the more you put away now, the more stress-free your vacation will be.

Use Credit — Wisely.

Credit cards are like double-edged swords — they can help as much as hurt you, though most people are only familiar with the latter. If you’ve done well saving in the weeks and months leading up to your getaway, you shouldn’t actually need your credit card, but it is always wise to bring one in case of emergencies. Unforeseen costs can arise suddenly, and it’s smart to have a backup option.

At the same time, vacations provide an opportunity to build your credit. There are a number of factors that go into determining an individual’s credit score, and utilization is one of the major ones; maxed-out credit cards use 100% of this ratio, but FICO recommends that you should not spend more than 30% of your credit limit. As long as you’re able to consistently make payments, relying on your credit card here and there during vacation can actually improve your credit score in the long run.

The possibility of incurring debt while on vacation is a deterrent for many millennials. Although saving is hard and learning the ins and outs (and pros and cons) of credit can be quite the challenge, the payout — which usually comes in the form of exciting adventures, great food, and new experiences — is always worth the price. Start saving today and discover the world tomorrow!

Layaway.

Did you know you can pay for your trip in installments? Thanks to Airforable, the layaway options for travel. Not only can you pay for your dream vacation in monthly or biweekly payment installments, but you can also lock in your low airfare months in advance. Thanks to Airforable’s price protection, you can fully fund your trip without feeling the financial stress of a one-time payment. Airfordable works much like a department store layaway plan. Search for your flight and hotel dates on any air travel website. Snap and upload a screenshot of your proposed trip upload it to the Airfordable website, and they will show you payment plan options. Once you’ve selected your payment plan, you pay 30% of the cost of your travel as a deposit and pay the balance in the installment schedule you’ve chosen. It’s that easy.

Millennials Aren’t Killing the Real Estate Industry. They’re Investing Differently

Although millennials may get a bad rap for being lazy and are blamed for killing a plethora of industries, there’s a good reason to believe that those in the real estate industry would make a huge mistake in ignoring this generation. In fact, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies predicts that millennials will form 23 million new households over the next decade. That said, millennials may be looking for different things from their homes than previous generations wanted — so it’s essential that builders, agents, and other industry professionals pay attention and adjust accordingly.

Suburban houses in a quiet southwestern neighborhood

In a recent survey conducted of 1,000 Americans who said they wanted to purchase a home in the next year, 51% of those participants were found to be millennials. Eight in 10 millennial homebuyers would be purchasing a home for the first time. What’s more, 84% of millennials surveyed felt that homeownership was a core component of the American dream — and this milestone was one they prioritized over getting married or having children. In other words, contrary to what you might have been told, millennials are very interested in owning a home and actually feel that it’s a pivotal rite of passage.

Admittedly, many millennials are currently renting. But data indicates that this isn’t necessarily because these individuals aren’t open to the idea of buying a home; it’s likely because they can’t afford it.

That may be partially why some industry professionals are complaining that millennials don’t “want” the sprawling homes built by baby boomers. In 2016, the U.S. construction market was worth approximately $1,162 billion — but that doesn’t mean that younger generations are willing or able to spend a small fortune on building or buying a home. While there likely is a stylistic shift at play, the simple fact is that many of these homes are listed for prices that millennials can’t afford. Subsequently, reports show that homes built prior to 2012 are often selling at deep discounts (sometimes for less than the owners pay to build these homes) in order for older owners to downsize.

Although 56% of millennials and 46% of baby boomers prefer to live in walkable neighborhoods, they tend to look for different features — and different prices — in homes. Millennials would rather have modern design than a home that’s ornate and traditional. They do tend to like a minimalist approach and updated features, two things that aren’t often found in the homes baby boomers are attempting to sell. And, in fact, in 2014, millennial homeowners were just as likely to renovate their homes as other age groups, primarily driven by the desire to make a newly purchased home their own.

But ultimately, it may not be personal preferences that are keeping millennials from buying. According to the recent Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, millennials go on more house tours and attend more open houses than Gen X and baby boomer buyers, showing that they’re willing to put the work in and are generally more excited about being involved in the home buying process. And although millennials currently make up 36% of homebuyers, the largest share in the market according to the National Association of Realtors, they’re being forced to pay a whole lot more than homebuyers of the past. According to a report published by Business Insider, millennials buying their first home today are likely to pay 39% more than what baby boomers paid when they purchased their first homes during the 1980s. The cost of living and the cost of real estate has gone up, yet wages have not increased in kind. And now that millennials are facing more student loan debt than any other generation before them, it makes it challenging to take on a loan. Once millennials are able to afford a home, which often happens a bit later in life, it makes sense that they’d want to purchase real estate that aligns with their own personal tastes, rather than settling for outdated design.

In the end, the need for affordable housing and a shift towards more contemporary design elements may play a key role in convincing millennials to switch from renting to owning. But it might not be as hard as many industry experts think to entice this generation to buy; if existing data is any indication, many millennials are just as eager to own a home as those individuals belonging to prior generations were. Instead of vilifying this generation, it might be wise for builders, developers, and agents to find ways to appeal to millennials and make homeownership feasible.

Dressed for Success: 3 Tips for Choosing Outfits for Work Events

Dressed for Success: 3 Tips for Choosing Outfits for Work Events

When you get invited to a work event, it’s important you know how to dress appropriately. Whether it’s a holiday party, a networking event, or even a corporate event, which Damon Guidry, Global Event Strategist at Adobe, says “help engage employees… and make the places they work a more interesting place to be”, you should always dress to impress. So if you’re new to navigating the world of work events, here are a few simple tips that should help you choose the perfect outfit. Ready to be dressed for success? Try these tips.

Dressed for Success: 3 Tips for Choosing Outfits for Work Events

Know the Dress Code

If you are told the work event has a dress code, it’s essential you know what it means. For starters, a casual dress code means you can wear whatever you want, within reason. You still want to dress appropriately but you can let a bit of your own fashion sense show. If the dress code is business attire, you want to wear something that you could also wear to a meeting with a client; something that is work appropriate but can be dressed up too. For a cocktail dress code, wear something you think is too fancy to wear to work, like a short, black dress. And black tie dress code means you have to get dressed up. Wearing a nice dress and comfortable heels is a good formal option for work events. Knowing which dress code means what is key to dressing appropriately.

Be Comfortable

Most work events involve you standing or walking around to talk to different people. This is why it’s so important to make sure you dress comfortably. And if you fell victim to making one of the 16% of unplanned purchases encouraged by a display noticed while shopping, you probably have a few items in your wardrobe that aren’t comfortable or that don’t fit right — these are the items you do not want to wear to a work event. This is especially true if you’re working all day and then going to the event immediately afterward. So keeping comfort in mind, make sure you wear shoes that won’t be painful to walk in or give you blisters. Additionally, make sure you dress in layers so you can add or remove clothing if you get hot or cold. And make sure your clothes are comfortable to move in and aren’t restricting. This way, you can sit, stand, and walk at the event without any issues.

Think About Your Audience

One of the best ways to ensure you’ve dressed appropriately for a work event is to think about who your audience is. Are you going to a casual party with just your coworkers? Or will there be people from other businesses and potential clients there? Your outfit should reflect the vibe of your audience. Dressing more conservatively, fun, or fashion-forward may depend entirely on who else is going to be at the event. Thinking about who you’re going to interact with is going to guide you in choosing the right outfit.

With the number of fashion consumers being predicted to increase to more than 1.2 billion before 2020, there are a lot of professionals of varying titles always on the lookout for the perfect work event attire. So for your next work event, keep these tips in mind to ensure you’re dressed for success.

No More Colds, Better In Bed, Yogi Says His Secret Is Snorting His Own Urine

The wellness industry is an odd one. The people in the wellness industry have been swearing on the miraculous effects of whatever they’re peddling at the moment, be it snake oil or otherwise. There’s a reason the global wellness industry is worth $3.7 trillion.

In the course of hearing the proselytizing that wellness gurus, Instagram models, and your cooky Aunt might try to sell you, usually even the strangest fads have us doing little more than shaking our heads. This one from a Yogi got our attention.

Some people like to stay healthy by easy things like drinking green tea. Packed with antioxidants, green tea is great for you and contains a smaller portion of caffeine than coffee at 20 to 45 milligrams per eight-ounce cup. What about 49-year-old yoga instructor Sam Cohen? He’s been drinking through his nostrils for nearly the last 20 years. Not just his tea, but several of his beverages. The most jarring of all is that he’s been drinking his own urine through his nostrils for that amount of time, too.

This Yogi carries his own nostril guzzling pee glass with him, just in case he has to urinate whilst in public. He’s claimed using the stemmed glass to nose down gulps of his own urine in public restrooms, fancy hotels, and airplanes. One in ten people admit regularly forgetting to brush their teeth, most keep it to themselves, along with a myriad of other health and hygiene taboos, but Cohen is a missionary of this lifestyle. He and three others started drinking their own urine through their noses back in the year 2000 when their own yoga instructor learned about it.

They do it with all sorts of beverages, too, but it’s the urine that this Yogi insists makes him impervious to illness and better in bed.

“Before I was often drained and drowsy. I was 22 and once I started to drink urine I started to get younger again. The urine is just like an overall boost. It is not possible to get a cold when you constantly drink through the nose. It immediately calms and relaxes you. It facilitates digestion and improves appetite. It helps you breathe through the nose better. It removes tiredness and lethargy. It enhances the libido,” Cohen claims.

He reports being single.

If you’re questioning the science behind this, so are we. Even he admits it feels overwhelming at first because drinking something through your nose makes it feel like you’re drowning (which, essentially, you are). He says you eventually get used to it and it feels refreshing.

He and his friends have dubbed themselves The Merkaba, vehicle of light in Taoist practice. And they drink through their noses between 10 and 20 times per day. Which times are pee and which times are pinot noir isn’t clear.

Who’s ready to hop on board? Nose goes.

Designing a 'Zen' Space: Important Tips to Know

Designing a ‘Zen’ Space: Important Tips to Know

In today’s society where everyone constantly seems to be in motion, it’s nice to have a relaxing, calm environment to come home to. This is why more and more homeowners are choosing to design their house more zen-like. Having a place where you can relax both your body and mind is important. So if you’re looking to create a calming ‘zen’ space in your home, keep reading for some great tips.

Designing a 'Zen' Space: Important Tips to Know

Utilize Natural Lighting

One of the first things you should focus on when creating a relaxing environment is the lighting. You shouldn’t have harsh fluorescent lighting in your zen space — this lighting can keep you feeling restless and even give you a headache. Instead, opt for natural and soft lighting. If you’re focusing on one room, choose a room that has windows that can let natural lighting in. For other sources of soft light, mix a variety of floor lamps and wall-mounted light fixtures to give yourself the ability to control the lighting in the room. With soft, natural light, you’ll be able to relax easily. Furthermore, you should consider moving any electronics, including your phone, out of your new space. Blue light emitted by electronics can not only be harmful to your eyes, but it can cause difficulty focusing and sleeping as well.

Get Rid of Clutter

With the average U.S. home having 300,000 things in it, you probably have a good amount of belongings in your house. And while it’s certainly fine to have some items in your home, you don’t want to try relaxing in an area that is cluttered. This is because extra objects in the room will cause distractions and could even prevent you from forming a relaxing space in the first place. So when you’re designing your zen area, make sure you get rid of unnecessary clutter to allow yourself to clear your mind. You should stick with some comfy furniture and maybe a few decor elements to make the space truly your own, but otherwise, unnecessary items should be moved out of the room.

Choose Warm, Earthy Tones

There are a lot of different ways to design rooms. While a recent survey found that 60% of respondents agreed they would have a sofa be the center of focus in their living room, it’s important to create a space you feel comfortable in. An easy way to do this is to use neutral and earthy tones throughout your space. Whether it’s the color of the walls, furniture, or accent elements, being in a space that offers warm and neutral tones — these colors will promote relaxation and allow you to not be distracted by bright colors around you.

While it’s true that a bathroom remodel can offer a return on investment of 70%, you should focus on making your home a space that allows you to de-stress and feel at peace. So keep these tips in mind when designing your ‘zen’ space for a result that truly allows you to feel your best.

‘Check, Please!’ Restaurants Including Fee In Bills To Cover Employee Healthcare

Healthcare has been a part of the national conversation in the United States for some time. Different solutions have been a part of trying to figure things out, but one thing remains certain: not everyone has access to the healthcare they need.

It’s common for people to think of their own healthcare without much considering what others are going through. Many Americans receive health insurance through their employers, but this isn’t the case for all American workers. This is especially true of the service industry. Your servers, bussers, bartenders, barbacks, cooks, etc. don’t often receive healthcare benefits through their jobs. Obviously, this doesn’t make them need it any less, yet they remain in a difficult situation when it comes to accessing affordable healthcare. This can be particularly taxing when workers in these industries work peculiar hours or multiple different service jobs.

Group of Happy friends having breakfast in the restaurant

A little perspective: people can bill a 45 to 60 minute acupuncture session to their insurance company in the name of wellness, but large groups of service industry workers lack any insurance to cover even the cost of an annual checkup. Some restaurants are attempting to rectify this issue by passing a percentage of the cost onto the customers. As you can imagine, restaurants that have decided to do this receive all manner of mixed feelings, opinions, and comments. Let’s explore.

To explain how it works in the most basic sense, let’s say you’re out to eat with friends. The four of you have dinner, a couple of bottles of wine, and dessert. When it comes time to pay the bill and leave, your receipt breaks down the cost and you’ll see the typical things, but among them is one you haven’t seen before: healthcare tax, for instance. It’s not much, maybe even a few dollars compared to the rest of your bill. This extra tax is being added to your bill to help the restaurant pay for health insurance for their service staff. Some like the idea, others don’t.

With the average age of retirement at age 63, health insurance becomes an increasingly important consideration for everyone. By 2030, more than 20% of the population will be above age 65, and as age and time increase, so does the need for proper and affordable healthcare options. As such, closer attention is being paid to the healthcare access of the historically underserved restaurant industry. We mentioned the people who were adverse toward spending an extra percentage on an added health insurance tax at a restaurant, but there are many who support and champion the idea.

This isn’t a new thing, with restaurants across the country adding these provisions to their guest checks. Some help cover health insurance costs, others supply service industry workers with higher wages, paid time off, and the like. While some restaurants make this fee optional and give guests the freedom to remove such fees from their bill, others announce them as non-optional. A simple, small cost for the service provided and an investment into the community that serves. The move has been largely accepted by diners who, for the most part, aren’t going to cease frequenting a favorite restaurant for reason of paying a small percentage toward the waitstaff. Still, others aren’t so keen, saying that such fees rob guests while negatively impacting the tips that make a bulk of service worker wages.

Millions of Americans donate to charities every year, which are contributions that receive tax kickbacks. Nobody bats an eye at such things, but the same isn’t true for adding a small percentage to a restaurant guest check to help pay for an establishment’s waitstaff health insurance. There seems to be a disconnect there, thus the issue remains split. One thing, however, remains the same: people aren’t going to stop going out to eat and the service industry isn’t going anywhere. Where this brings us down the road remains to be seen.

As always, tip your servers and bartenders.

Farm To Fashion Week: Manure And Nettles Used To Make Eco-Friendly Clothing

Would you wear clothing made from nettles? What about a hat derived from cow manure?

These are questions you never thought you’d ask yourself, but companies and researchers are working hard to provide innovative, sustainable, and eco-friendly clothing alternatives across the globe.

One of the most recent victories was achieved by Dutch artist Jalila Essaïdi who was able to make clothing from the manure of farm animals. Yes, I know how it sounds.

Herd of cows grazing on a farmland in Devon, England

When she hoped to use the proteins in goat’s milk for an art project, she was introduced to the hazards posed by excessive amounts of animal manure. Though the Netherlands is able to use some of this manure as fertilizer, there’s simply too much dung to handle. As such, this waste invades local waterways and poses a sanitary threat to local ecosystems.

This issue is also prevalent in the United States. It’s estimated that 80% of hazardous waste sites, including those from local farms, have negatively impacted groundwater quality.

Luckily, Essaïdi was able to find a unique characteristic in cow manure: cellulose.

Researchers found that cow manure is made of 33% cellulose due to the vegetarian diet the animals keep. Cellulose is a common component in plant materials that textile manufacturers utilize to make a variety of clothing products.

Even though it seems odd, Essaïdi was able to use these regenerated cellulose fibers to create clothing. This product, fabricated through the use of biotechnologies, has been dubbed Mestic.

Viscose made from mestic®

Not only has Essaïdi provided a new sustainable product in fashion, but she has also developed a product designed to significantly cut down on the animal waste present in the Netherlands.

Biotechnology has been around since 1919, but it was only 50 years later that researchers were able to perform a successful recombinant DNA experiment. It’s through that same biotechnology that researchers hope to craft more sustainable methods of living in the future.

One Kenyan company has also created an eco-friendly clothing line using nettles. Green Nettle Textile won the year’s most prestigious award recognizing sustainable fashion, the Global Challenge Award. This annual challenge is hosted by the H&M Foundation to inspire innovative, sustainable designs in clothing and textiles around the world.

By developing a clothing line from nettles which grow veritably anywhere, Green Nettle Textile was able to produce a form of sustainable fashion while also supporting local farmers. The group was awarded $170,000, beating out more than 6,600 entries in the competition.

These innovations are another way that the market is changing to favor eco-friendly initiatives. Even celebrities like Kate Hudson have begun to enter the sustainable fashion world.

It’s not surprising that Hudson has entered this emerging market. The co-founder of Fabletics has already shaken the fashion industry with her size-inclusive athletic wear. But her new eco-friendly clothing line Happy x Nature, which is made from recycled plastic bottles, has been released just in time for festival season.

Her collection will be available online with clothing priced between $45 and $150, making it accessible for many.

Your Guide to the Best Digital Marketing Trends

The landscape of digital marketing continues to evolve along with the changes happening in the search engines. Old techniques are getting outdated and leaders in the field are constantly suggesting new techniques. The important thing is that marketers need to keep up with these changes if they want to continue to maintain a top position in the search result.

Video Marketing
Video has become the main means for people to get the message across to people on the internet. Many purchase decisions happen over the video so you shouldn’t miss out video marketing in your campaign. YouTube is the leading video marketing platform so it should be the first place where you go to set up your channel. There are also other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram that allow users to use video in their posts. To optimize for SEO, you should add text overlay and captions that include keywords on your video. Get more details at www.movavi.com/videoconverter.

Live Streaming
Live streaming is frequently implemented with influencer marketing. People like to watch live streaming because it looks as if they are really seeing the presenter talking on the stage in real time. It gives a more genuine experience which turn into higher trust for your products. Hiring an influencer with a spontaneous personality to promote your product through live streaming is sure to generate a large stream of audience.

Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing refers to using influencers in the field to spread the word of your product. When your company is new, it is hard to get sales because people not yet know about your product. Instead, just take a shortcut and pay an influencer in the field to review and recommend your product. The influencer marketer can be a top YouTube vlogger, popular blogger, or famous journalist.

Content Marketing
Content marketing remains one of the most important part of digital marketing. People surf online to search for valuable information so you need to make your content useful if you want to get conversions. If you run a blog, make sure you regularly update it with new content. Businesses that have social media accounts should regularly make quality posts that give what the customer is looking for. No matter what content you post, it is important that it is relevant to the audience age and industry.

Voice Search
Many people now like to perform voice search with applications like Siri and Google Assistance. The voice search application will read the featured snippets on the search engine result, which makes all the more important for webmasters to optimize for featured snippets. Marketers need to consider that voice search is conversational request and optimize it accordingly.

Chatbots and WhatsApp
The use of chat bot is on the rise in e-commerce site. When a visitor lands on a website, a chat bot will automatically ask the user if it needs assistance. If the visitor choose yes, it will automatically be connected to a representative. Many businesses also like to use WhatsApp Business Messaging to communicate with the customers. In fact, many businesses like to use WhatsApp for their daily chores.