Advertising
Advertising

The Giving Calendar

The Giving Calendar

Looking for a unique and personalized gift every Mother on the planet would appreciate? Give her the gift of time. Sound cheesy? Well, with this personalized approach it is easy for you to get it just right for the special Mom’s in your life. Whether your Mom is sappy & sentimental, humorous & witty, or all of that plus everything in between, The Giving Calendar will definitely be her favorite gift of all time. And the best part, it fits into every budget!

Warning, this may become so popular that people request traditions or ask you to teach them more often!  In my family we call it THE calendar and it started one year when I was finishing my Masters Degree and had an extremely tight budget.  I knew in about 6 months that should change, as I’d already landed a better paying job and would be able to dedicate the hours I put into school back in to work.  Being from a family full of crafty women, I am all for homemade gifts.  However, my time was tight and I have a whole folder of Pinterest fails so I didn’t want to end up rushing out for a last minute gift, on top of the cost of the glue and glitter used to create homemade.  So, THE calendar was born.

It is simply a promise, written on paper, for spending time together.  It takes the guess work out of what to do and creates excitement to last all year!

So, go buy, or make, a calendar and keep reading to spark ideas about what unique twist your schedule will take!

Advertising

Spa Day

If your budget is larger, go ahead and schedule a day.  Most spas have group packages.  From scalp massage and facials to manicures and pedicures, everyone loves to be pampered.  For a smaller budget, if you don’t have product around  your home to use, there are a multitude or do-it-yourself sugar scrubs, coconut oils skin masks, avacoda hair treatments and you name it available with a quick google search.  Many fruits, veggies and oils are multi-purpose and can be transformed into spa worthy potions.  You can ask people to bring their own favorite supplies or provide a special pair of slippers for each guest.  Diffuse some soothing oils, provide mimosas or fruit infused water, some healthy snacks and you have yourself a spa.

IMG_5998

    TV Series Night

    Plan to rent or DVR a favorite series and watch it as a group.  Sometimes gift giving can feel high pressure, but instead of the theme being stress let it be something simple that everyone wants to do anyway, then plan to do it together!

    Advertising

    2676921258_11c45d124c_b

      Baking Event

      Many culinary classes are offered at colleges, wineries or local restaurants.  Check out living social or group on for deals near you or if baking is something you like, share your talent and recipes with others.  If you have a larger group you could set up a bake-off.  Kids love the chance to judge the adults in their life, so if you have kids, get them involved by letting them judge the dishes on taste and presentation.  Make score cards and tally the results to award the best baker (or team).  This could be the theme of the whole calendar, giving people a fun motivation, as they research new ideas prior to the scheduled rematch!  Award a ‘golden’ spatula to the winning team, to be passed around as the winner changes hands.  If this is a popular pick for your family, you could mix it up by letting opposing teams pick the ingredients the other teams have to work with.  Every dish may not come out perfect, but the time spent together will be priceless

      Stokpic
        Stokpic Ed Gregory

        Pallet Project

        Pallets are free, or close to, from many businesses.  There are thousands of ideas out there on-line about how to re-purpose your pallets into everything from wall art to bed frames to outdoor pathways.  There are chic to rustic ways to express your personality with pallets!  Grab the person with the most power tools and reuse old paint laying around, or buy sample can for $2.50 from Home Depot, and you are set to have a creative day together

        IMG_9910

          Local Event

          You can find tons of local events your friends/family may not have heard or thought of.  Sometimes it seems as if everyone knows what’s going on, or that you have no new and unique ideas, but remember we all can’t be everywhere.  And having the idea is way different than actually taking the time to plan it out.  Whatever comes up in your day-to-day travels that draws your eye and provokes your interest is a good bet for sharing with those close to you.  Local home and garden tours, plant exchanges, open mic nights at local coffee houses, apple picking, community concerts, local author book readings, are typically low and no costs options offered by many communities.  If you have a friend or family who would want to participate, sign up your group and try a new way to put yourself out there!

          Advertising

          IMG_1356

            Not So Local Event

            Painting parties, glass blowing classes, wine tastings and mystery dinners are just a few of the events that are typically offered near you and you can locate by checking out sites such as group on or living social.  You can also do knock-offs of such things at home with smaller investments.  If you have any talent you have spent your time developing, those close to you will be interested to have you share it.

            IMG_2019

              Gardening Day

              Schedule to have your group learn about your interest as an amateur farmer.  You could purchase or use recycled glass bottles to force tulip bulbs but adding bulbs (rocks if desired) and water.  Or if it is the right time of year to start some container gardens, how fun would that be to do with friends.  Use recycled items, such as popsicle sticks for marking seeds, old plastic jugs or egg cartons to start seedling and create a greenhouse effect.

              Advertising

              IMG_2022

                Book Club

                You could give a book with your calendar, and plot a day when it will be completed and discussed.  Your group can come in costume of their favorite character or just come in something comfortable.  Themes always help your event feel special and unique and give guests something to plan for and show their personalities off.

                kaboompics.com_Grey Felt Journal TO DO LIST on a white desk-2

                  Whatever you choose to include in your calendar, or however many times a year you plan to meet, getting it on paper and giving the gift of time will be remembered long after the perfect gift is forgotten.  There is an event for everything and everyone, and with a little thought you will find great ways to spend time with those close to you!

                  More by this author

                  10 Books to Read If You Are Looking For Your Purpose The Giving Calendar

                  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