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Uploaded:2020-04-28
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It's easy to harp on how the internet has made our lives worse — but the opposite is equally true. In this episode, Chelsea walks us through 7 different ways the internet can actually improve your life, from saving money to connecting with others when life gets tough.

Don't overpay! Get Wikibuy: https://wikibuy.j4snje.net/zMnae

Steps and health: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/05/10000-steps-rule/590785/

Holly's habit tracker app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.isoron.uhabits&hl=en_US

Scott Galloway's podcast interview: https://podcastnotes.org/james-altucher-show/scott-galloway-coronavirus/

Online learning study: https://www.educationdive.com/news/study-online-learning-improves-retention-graduation-rates/521271/

Online learning for disabilities: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-learning-lessons/articles/2018-05-18/pros-cons-of-online-education-for-students-with-disabilities

How to search in photos:
https://support.apple.com/guide/iphone/search-in-photos-iph392d77d5f/ios

Shopping local study: https://indiebizadvocates.org/2017/11/21/shop-local-ripple-effect/

Social tech benefits: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5312603/

Nielsen study: http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2012/consumer-trust-in-online-social-and-mobile-advertising-grows.html

Watch more of The Financial Diet hosted by Chelsea Fagan here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD30V46E07RR99cC0gCjKUbt-BKoDUcnc

The Financial Diet site: http://www.thefinancialdiet.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefinancialdiet
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TFDiet
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thefinancialdiet/?hl=en
Hey, guys. It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet. And this week's episode is sponsored by wikibuy.

We all know how easy it is to focus on how the internet is making our lives worse, from the presence of trolls in every comment section-- [FAKE COUGHING] like the one below. To mass spreading of misinformation, to all of that toxic screen time that is probably ruining both our eyes and our upper backs. But for a lot of us, myself included, the internet has been one of the most important tools to ever exist.

Quite frankly, TFD would never have been a thing without the internet. And many of the most important connections I've ever made in my life, both professionally and personally, have come uniquely through the internet. But beyond just enabling you to connect with a ton of like minded people and not necessarily limit yourself to whoever happens to be around you, the internet has many lesser known ways of making your life markedly better, provided you can use it in the best way.

So without further ado, here are seven ways the internet can secretly make your life even better. Number one-- track your daily activity level on your phone without any extra effort. If you have a smartphone, you probably already have access to a pre-installed app on your phone that allows you to track things like your steps, stairs climbed, or basic levels of activity.

Things like Apple Health, Google Fit, et cetera. But you can also upgrade to many different specific apps to help you work on the various fitness goals you might be working toward. You can start to set your own goals instead of necessarily being hamstrung by the arbitrary ones we all care so much about, a.k.a.

Those famous 10,000 steps. And even just being aware of your fitness level and knowing that it's passively being tracked as you go about your day will make you more conscious of wanting to make that progress. Because increasing your activity level even a small amount can have huge benefits on your health.

In one study conducted at the Harvard University T. H. Chan School of Public Health, ultimately increasing daily physical activity by as little as 2,000 steps-- less than a mile of walking-- was associated with positive health outcomes for elderly women.

Even if you're not an elderly woman, however, one of the biggest problems we all often face is making that huge dichotomy between being an Instagram fitness thot and being totally sedentary. And even beyond just basic physical activity, there are tons of incredible habit tracker apps out there that will help make sure that you're staying accountable to the goals that you're setting for yourself. It's time we all started looking at things like our smartphones in terms of how they can help us when we are not using them, because we want to find ways for them to be additive to our life that don't necessarily increase our screen time.

Things that are working passively in the background to help keep track of things, or that you only need to update once a day, means that you're able to reap the benefits without being glued to your phone. Our head of content, Holly, uses something called the Loop Habits Tracker, which prompts her every day at 8 PM to record whether or not she exercised that day. All she has to do is check off a simple yes or no, and it automatically keeps track of how much she is able to stay true to that goal.

And she can look back and see the patterns over long periods of time. Number two-- save money on daily purchases you would already be making with wikibuy. Now, if you're spending most of your time at home, you're likely making even more purchases than usual when you shop online.

To help save money on the online purchases you'd be making anyway, you should check out wikibuy. Wikibuy is a free extension available for a variety of browsers. It instantly drops crowdsourced promo codes into your shopping cart across thousands of retail sites.

Wikibuy offers loyalty credits at Amazon, Walmart.com, and thousands of other retailers, which can be redeemed for gift cards. And while you're browsing across Amazon, Target, Home Depot or others, the browser button will notify you with a friendly little pop up if an item is available cheaper elsewhere before you check out. No need to waste your time scoping out coupon codes or comparing prices on different retail sites, because wikibuy will do that for you.

Check out wikibuy at the link in our description. Number three is find more accessible education paths than the traditional college/grad school. For those of you who may suddenly be faced with the prospect of unexpectedly online classes, take solace in the fact that studies have shown that these classes can actually be very beneficial in helping keep students on track.

According to one study from Arizona State University, online classes may actually help increase the chances of these students' graduation. The study found that three out of four institutions that offered in-person and online courses had higher retention and graduation rates for students who at least enrolled in some digital learning classes. At Houston Community College, for example, first time freshman retention rates were at least nine points higher among students in exclusively online or blended courses.

At the University of Central Florida, students who took between 40% and 60% of their courses online finished their degrees earlier than students who took no online classes. They completed their degrees in 3.9 years compared with 4.3 years for learners who took only in-person courses. And this makes total sense when you consider just how much life can get in the way of a perfect audience card when it comes to in-person classes.

For many of us, the cost of higher education means having to work at least part time while studying, and the inconvenience posed by having to exclusively take all of your classes in person and having no flexibility there means that you may end up having to cut the class altogether rather than being able to adapt it to fit your needs. I was recently listening to a podcast with NYU professor Scott Galloway-- I'll link you guys to that in the description-- where he talked about how this coronavirus situation might shape the future of education. He predicted that many colleges would eventually go out of business as a result of no longer being able to inflate their prices with the promise of in-person college experiences.

And that people would find that more adapted virtual/online driven education was actually more beneficial for them even without a stay at home mandate. And it's also important to note that online learning really extends accessibility for students who may have various disabilities. Whether they be emotional, mental, or physical, these disabilities often say nothing about a student's capacity to learn or excel in a subject matter, but may say a lot about their inability to meet the needs of a regular in-person class.

Even someone who is physically more than capable of getting to a classroom might have a very difficult time with that particular structure if they suffer from something like severe anxiety or ADHD. They may find that being in person can make something as universal as test taking feel nearly impossible. By broadening the range of avenues that we have toward getting an education, we are inherently opening up the experience to a much more diverse group of people.

Number four-- simplify how you store and sought photos. There's sort of a paradox with the smartphone and photography. It is more accessible than ever to simply take photos of things every day on a whim, but that also makes us much less likely to appreciate these photos, to really remember what's important, or to keep them somehow organized to a degree that we can go back and flip through them the way we want to.

I think we've all had that acute embarrassment of scrolling back through our photo gallery and having to scroll past a really cringe worthy selfie graveyard before we can get to the photos of our friend's wedding that we want to look at. But many people don't even realize that most smartphones come with built in ways to categorize, navigate, and sort our photos. For example, you can use the search function of Apple or Android phones to find things like beach or cat, which the phones themselves can actually recognize.

You can also tag people in your photo albums, and your phone will take the liberty of tagging them in other photos in which they appear. You can use a map feature to sort your photos by location, and quickly get to something like that trip you took to Majorca last year. And between the cloud service, things like Amazon Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and other free or cheap online storage facilities, there are pretty much endless ways to move your photos off your phone and into nice neat categorized albums so that you can make sure you're not cluttering up your phone with so many photos that you end up accidentally deleting the ones that you actually want to keep.

Number five-- more easily support your local community. At the time of recording this, we are still in the middle of a social distancing mandate here in New York City to help combat the coronavirus, which means that we are more distanced than ever from the people and businesses and organizations that exist around us. And all of us at TFD, and I imagine a lot of you, are really worried about how we can support those organizations, people, and businesses around us without necessarily breaking some of these very important rules.

And we're right to feel that way, as spending money locally is demonstrated to have a ton of benefits. One study found that independent retailers create on average twice as many jobs as the same amount of money spent with Amazon. A lot of us might have already been following some of our favorite shops and restaurants on places like Instagram.

But if you haven't, go follow them now, because I guarantee that most of them are providing you with really easy clear ways in which you can best support them during this time. Even just growing their social media presence is a huge help to them. And when it comes to things like local organizations, many of them are more active now than they've ever been, just digitally.

The local community coalition that I am part of has actually ramped up its meetings to two times a month rather than one, because it's much easier for most members to fit it into their schedules now that they're primarily held by Zoom. There are also tons of local Facebook groups popping up all over the place right now to help neighbors come together and find ways in which to help one another. Whether right now you could offer time, money, a helping hand for someone who maybe can't do something like grocery shop for themselves, or just a phone call to help someone feel less isolated, turning to virtual resources in order to make sure that we're staying connected and part of our local economies might actually end up making us feel more connected than we ever were before, because we're taking the time to figure out what's going on rather than just walking by it every day.

And speaking of which, number six is feel more connected and less lonely. So it's difficult to talk about this particular point without mentioning, again, the current situation as it's occurring while I'm filming this, which is the social distancing/pause pause mandate here in New York, which most of us around the world are experiencing in some form. Things like video conferences and social media have become some of our only ways to keep in touch with people that just a couple of weeks ago we could walk down the street and hang out with.

But just because it may be new for you or me does not mean that having to rely on digital resources to help us stay connected is something that's new for everybody. According to a 2016 study conducted by the University of Michigan, using technology has many benefits for older adults. The study found that greater technology use was associated with better self rated health, fewer chronic conditions, higher subjective well-being, and lower depression.

And online communities are crucial for many groups, including those who may suffer with chronic illnesses that prevent them from being together. Here at TFD, one of our employees, our social media manager Rachel, actually lives with cystic fibrosis, which is a condition that prevents her from being in close proximity with other people who share it. As Rachel put it, social media often gets a bad rap for being superficial, but it's actually brought a lot of substance and connection to my life.

Living with cystic fibrosis, a respiratory illness that makes it dangerous to be around others who have it because of fear of infection, much like COVID-19, has made building a digital community so beneficial for my life. This includes private Facebook groups and CF forums where we do everything from share tips for managing our symptoms, to host virtual panels with scientists and doctors who work in our field. Because of the dangers we face by physically meeting in real life, the online community has become so robust and friendships are made.

I can't express how much so many of these people, all of whom I've never met, have improved my life. Because they have the unique experience of knowing what I'm going through, whereas even my closest friends and loved ones unfortunately can not. And as a little bit of a self plug, we at TFD created a private Facebook group called Talk About Money, where tons of women, and some guys, come together to talk about all of the various ways in which they're struggling with money, succeeding with money, curious about money, or just want to rant about money in a way they often can't with the people in their day to day lives.

It's easy to focus on what's negative about things like social media, but I think now more than ever we're all learning that if we choose to use these digital tools in a constructive way, they can be as good or as bad as we make them. Number seven-- use your map apps to track where you've been and where you want to go. Especially when you're traveling, it can be very difficult to find unique and interesting places worth visiting without always defaulting to the same things recommended by places like Yelp or TripAdvisor.

And yet according to a Nielsen study, 92% of us trust a friend or family's recommendation more than we do an advertisement. And this is obviously a good thing-- the people who know us can make personalized recommendations based on what we like. But the problem comes with keeping track of those recommendations, even in our own cities.

So here's a suggestion on how to do things differently. Anytime someone makes a recommendation from you, whether it's in your own city or a city you might be going to someday, take just a second to mark it in your maps app. Depending on the phone you have, you can use tools like Favorite or Star to do this.

That way, whenever you're traveling to a new place or having a bored weekend looking for something fun to do in your own city, you have a list of custom made recommendations ready for you to check out in your own maps app. It's of course much more personal than relying on stranger's suggestions on the internet, and it provides a really nice way to bond with someone when you get to tell them that, hey, I went and did that thing you recommended to me last year. And they're like, you were listening to me?

And you remembered something I said a year ago? You're such a good friend. The secret is between us-- wink.

I can't wink. And do not forget if you are doing any online shopping in the near future to check out wikibuy with the link in our description. As always, guys, thank you for watching and don't forget to hit the Subscribe button.

And to come back every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for new and awesome videos. Buy-bye!