Advertising
Advertising

25 Home Hacks to Make 2016 Easier, Less Cluttered, and More Productive

25 Home Hacks to Make 2016 Easier, Less Cluttered, and More Productive

Let 2016 be the year you finally become a DIY guru. There are so many easy home hacks you can use to make your life more productive, organized and efficient — and most of them require knowledge and supplies you already have. Here are 25 DIY hacks to solve everything from tangled cords to slow Wi-Fi.

1. Banish Clutter

Keep odds and ends organized in a muffin tin slid into a desk drawer.

2. Color-Code Keys

Nail polish is a cheap and colorful way to make your keys easy to identify.

3. Corral Chargers

Attach a binder clip to the edge of your nightstand, string your phone or tablet charger through the metal loops, and you’ll never fumble to find a charger again.

4. Add Ambiance

Whether you rent or own, it’s easy to set the right mood in any room by installing a dimmer switch.

5. Make It Rain

Swap out your boring shower head for an upgraded one that can give you an in-shower massage or wake you up with a gentle rainfall.

Advertising

6. Makeover a Room

A fresh coat of paint or a creative washi tape design can breathe new life into your digs for a minimal investment and just a little bit of elbow grease.

7. Expand Your Space 

Hang mirrors to make a small room seem bigger. Make the illusion even better by strategically placing mirrors to reflect the view from a window.

8. Download an App

You can find an app to streamline nearly every aspect of your life. Whether you want help with home repair, productivity, organization, or how to get out a stain, there’s an app for that.

9. Protect Your Tablet

Transform an old planner or comp book into a clever, stylish case for your Kindle, Nook, or iPad.

10. Hide Cords 

Tuck away unsightly cords by hiding your power strip in a bedside table drawer.

11. Keep Keyboards Clean

Before tossing a post-it note in the trash, run the sticky edge along your keyboard to clean up errant dust and other detritus.

Advertising

12. Bedazzle Chargers

Never fight over which charger belongs to whom again. Use nail polish or stickers to personalize your family’s chargers.

13. Turn It Up 

Transform your phone into a party speaker by placing it in a cup. Glass, plastic, and paper all do the trick.

14. Super-Charge It

If your phone or tablet is at critically low power, put it on airplane mode before charging. By turning off the things that suck the most energy, your device will charge faster.

15. Wrangle Ear Buds 

Wrap those unruly cords around an empty spool and get to enjoying your tunes or podcast faster.

16. Fix Your Wi-Fi

Before calling an expensive IT guru, try to solve your slow Wi-Fi issues on your own. Test your speed, switch channels, and make sure no walls or solid objects are obstructing the router.

17. Upgrade Your Cookbook 

Mount your tablet onto a kitchen cabinet or wall for easy access (and no worry about spills) while whipping up a delicious feast.

Advertising

18. Try Smart Meal Planning 

Use an app like Yummly to find recipes, plan meals, and automatically create a shopping list that includes everything you need.

19. Upcycle Old Corks

Create a stylish bulletin board by gluing corks to an old window frame.

20. Organize Unmentionables 

Add old shoe boxes as dividers for your lingerie drawer to keep everything untangled and easy to find.

21. Get the Message

Use a picture frame instead of a boring whiteboard for family messages and keeping lists.

22. Unclog a Drain

Plop. Plop. Fizz. Fizz. Use Alka Seltzer and vinegar to dissolve grease and hair and get a clog moving.

23. Make Scuffs Disappear

Use an old sneaker or tennis ball affixed to a broom handle to remove unsightly scuff marks from floors.

Advertising

24. Repair a Window

Clear nail polish is a quick fix for small cracks in glass and screens.

25. Bookmark It

Find a few DIY websites that you can go to for instant help when you need it, and bookmark them. It will save time and sanity the next time you need a quick solution to an urgent problem.

Go ahead, put on your DIY hat and get started!

Featured photo credit: nemke via istockphoto.com

More by this author

11 Car Care Tips to Keep You Safe on the Road 10 Best Streaming Services on the Market Right Now 11 DIY Ways to Solve Common Wi-Fi Problems 10 Ways to Secure Your Data When Working Remotely 7 Simple Ways To Ramp Up Productivity In Your Home Office

Trending in Budget Activity

1 6 Easy Ways to Treat Yourself 2 7 Websites to Sell Used Stuff Profitably 3 Seven Tips to Save Money While Renovating Your Home 4 4 Ways to Make Every Penny Stretch in 2017 5 Getting Out of Debt in 4 Simple Steps

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

Advertising

How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

Advertising

Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

Advertising

There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

Advertising

How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Read Next