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4 Ways to Make Every Penny Stretch in 2017

4 Ways to Make Every Penny Stretch in 2017

Budgeting is something that most people hate to think about. Strangely enough, when they actually start to get into budgeting they find that they actually enjoy it. Not only does it give them more control over their life, but it relieves the stress that comes from not quite knowing how much money you have and if you are going to make it until next month. If being less stressed and having more control is something that is appealing, then keep reading. Here are 5 simple ways to help accomplish your budget this year.

1. Eat out less

Many people do not realize just how much they spend eating out each month. If you eat out for lunch every single day, you are probably spending upwards of $150 to $200 on lunch. That is the price of a decent car payment! If you choose instead to bring a lunch from home and save that money, the options are endless. You could get an upgrade on a car, create an emergency fund, save for retirement, or save up for a big summer vacation.

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2. Food savers

Food savers are one of the fastest growing trends in the last few years. The idea is that if you can make many meals at once, and then freeze them, you can save money and time, while still enjoying delicious meals. Many people will make up to 30 days worth of meals, put them in the freezer, and then spend an entire month without cooking.

Most of the meals can be warmed up in a crockpot, essentially requiring 5 minutes of time to have a healthy, delicious dinner. This will only save you money if you don’t overspend on a food saver. Try to get one that will last, but not cost more than it is worth. You can find some good medium-range food savers and reviews here.

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3. Carpool

If you have not budgeted then you likely do not even realize how much money you are spending on gas each month. The truth is, the average person spends almost $250 on gas every month. A majority of that is likely driving to work. Doing something as simple as finding a friend or co-worker that goes in the same direction can save another $100 a month.

Carpooling is also great for the environment and a great way to meet new people. With all of the benefits, why not give it a shot? If it doesn’t work then it is easy to go back to driving yourself.

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4. Pay of debt

The average American has a significant amount of debt on their credit cards. This may not seem like a big deal, but most credit cards have extremely high interest rates. This means that the average American also spends upwards of $100 a month just paying off interest. This is not paying off actual debt, this is just paying off interest. This is essentially money that is just getting thrown away. Pay off your debt and then focus on not getting back into debt and a significant amount of money can be saved each month.

5. Check insurance

Many people have had the same insurance company for years. A lot of things change in years and while that company may have been the best deal a few years ago, you could be drastically overpaying now. If you have the time, try shopping around with a few different insurance companies to see if rates have changed. You may be surprised.

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All of these have the potential to save hundreds of dollars a month. That money can be used for dozens of better things if it is saved and utilized. All of that on top of the increased satisfaction that budgeting brings makes it a no brainer!

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Spencer Mecham

Personal Finance Coach, Digital Marketer

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

Video Summary

1. Visit a strawberry festival

Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

2. Have a picnic

Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

3. Camp in your back yard

    The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

    4. Take long walks

    Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

    5. Break a world record

    Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

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    6. Go on a bike ride

    The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

    7. Join a gym class

      The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

      8. Find a new hobby

      The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

      9. Join a sports team

      Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

      10. Make a slip ‘n slide

        Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

        11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

        Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

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        12. Visit a free festival

        Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

        13. Visit the zoo

          Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

          14. Take a road trip

          Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

          15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

            Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

            16. Make your own ice cream

            Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

            17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

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              When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

              18. Get a summer job

              For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

              19. Attend a charity event

              Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

              20. Visit a national park

              National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

              21. Visit your local comedy club

                Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                22. Make your own hammock

                  Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

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                  23. Read in your new hammock

                  Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                  24. Watch a movie outside

                  Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                  25. Take a hike

                    Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                    26. Learn how to fly a kite

                    As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                    27. Work out at the park

                    American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                    28. Take your dog to the beach

                      One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                      29. Make a summer smoothie

                      Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                      30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                      No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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