Lifestyle

5 dumb things we're all guilty of doing

And need to stop immediately.

money health sex mistakes

Staying up and aimlessly scrolling through Instagram/watching Netflix
There's nothing worse than having a night in, but then staying up until 1am for absolutely no reason at all (and thinking you'd have been better going out). Not getting enough Zs isn't only super neg for your mood, concentration and productivity, a recent study out of Sweden found that a lack of sleep can even slow down your metabolism, leading to weight gain. If you have troubles switching off, get on board with your phone's night mode—it will turn the regular blue-ish light to red-toned, which is less stimulating for your eyes and brain. Set it up to turn on a couple of hours before you usually go to bed, and then try to switch off your TV and phone complete at least an hour before, to avoid scrolling through the 'gram or your Netflix saved list. If your brain's still going ham, read a book by dim light, like a lamp—slightly straining your eyes will naturally tire you.

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Not practising safe sex
If you're still having sex without condoms then you need to stop that, like, yesterday. And while they're no one's idea of a good time, regular check ups are also v important. Not only can they affect you and your partner/s, if left untreated, some STIs can lead to infertility and even cancer, or be passed on to future children. Depending on how ~active~ your sex life is, you should get tested at least two to four times a year (sign up for text reminders here). On top of that, you should get tested each and any time you have sex without a condom, have symptoms such as discharge/pain/irritation, have been told by a partner that they/you could be positive, or have a new sexual partner. If a test comes back positive, your doctor can guide you through treatment options so that it's as least scary as poss. There are even services which will inform your previous partners anonymously, so that you don't have to have any awks conversations.

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Being all "YOLO" about money
Accruing interest on a credit card, having superannuation accounts all over the place, and/or not having a sound financial plan when you're in between jobs/freelancing are just some of the ways you're screwing yourself over both now and in the long run. Got a credit card? $100 in interest per month is $1200 a year of wasted money that could have gone to a holiday, house deposit, or basically anything else.
As for super? Our current life expectancy means you can reasonably expect to hit 85, so if you like the sound of retiring before 60, then you need to make your super stretch over 25 years (i.e. your life over again). To beef it up, first look into consolidating super from all those rando jobs you had as teenager (REST Industry Super estimates there’s over $11.7 billion in lost and unclaimed super accounts in Aus), and then think about contributing above and beyond what your employer automatically contributes for you. If you've recently had a pay rise or are expecting one (#slay), consider putting half of the increase into a long-term savings account, and sacrificing the other half as an additional super contribution before you even notice the difference. Future you will thank you.

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Making unnecessary purchases
It's not just big-ticket things that can have your money flying away like an IRL money-bag-with-wings emoji. Think... $2.50 ATM fees, Ubers within walking distance, Deliveroo-ing food from down the road, buying bottled water, getting barista-made coffee instead of using the perfectly good office coffee machine, not returning online shopping purchases, and even paying entry to clubs because you CBF fronting up before 10pm. Want to take check of your spending? On the day before pay day (bc everyone knows that's when you're at your skint-est/most despo), print out a copy of your latest bank statement, then highlight every purchase you would still make on that day with the little money you have. Keep a note in your phone of those little dumb purchases as a sort of "do not buy" list.

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Setting unrealistic goals
It's high time you stopped saying "I'm not going to eat any sugar this week!!!" on Sunday night, when you well know you're going to be two cans of (non-Diet) Coke deep by Monday lunchtime, and considering a third trip to the vending machine for snacks. Flip the script and instead of promising you'll cut out a huge list of things, simply tell yourself you'll do something positive, like upping your intake of water or fruit instead. You'll feel fuller and that Mars Bar won't be as appealing when you think of all the good you're doing—and the 43 trips to the bathroom you're making every hour. Similarly, if your goal is a self-improvement one—say, working on your relationships—skip out on the negative talk and open-ended statements ("stop being such a shit friend!") and instead make a specific promise, like spending 30 minutes on the phone each day, then see where it takes you. Ain't nobody got time for self-guilt or loathing.

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