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50 Activities For When You’re Low On Budget

50 Activities For When You’re Low On Budget

When you are on a tight budget, it can be easy to dwell on the things you can’t afford to do. However, remember that happiness isn’t about how much money you have–it is about the time spent in love and with loved ones. These 50 activities won’t just save you money, they will also bring simplicity and happiness into your life.

1. Go to the public library

Take a vacation to a world away, all for free at your public library.

2. Wash your car at home

We love shiny toys. Have some fun washing yours at home for free.

3. Go for a walk

Enjoy nature and some quality time with yourself and loved ones.

4. Roman noodle cook-offs.

Compete against family and friends to see who can best reinvent this inexpensive staple.

5. Netflix marathon

Feel like a kid again having a movie marathon in your pajamas.

6. Clean out your closet

Have fun finding and rediscovering old and forgotten jewels.

7. Sleep in

Sometimes you can have the most fun doing absolutely nothing.

8. Play a board game

Whether it’s Monopoly or chess, board games bring the family together.

9. Get in the holiday spirit

There is always a new holiday around the corner. Find fun and inexpensive ways to celebrate them.

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10. Go to the park

Jump on the seesaw or go high on the swings. You will laugh and feel like a kid again.

11. Go to a flea market

You can find a lot of buried treasure at the flea market.

12. Find free tours

Find free tours at your local museum, winery or draft houses.

13. Indulge a little at happy hour

A weekend night out with friends can be expensive, so indulge a little with cheap happy hour drinks.

14. Go camping

You don’t need an expensive five star resort when you can pitch a tent under the real stars.

15. Go hunting or fishing

Save money on groceries and take advantage of what nature has to offer. You can start to eat healthy.

16. Have a garage sale.

Earn some cash for your clutter by having a garage sale. Finally start your rainy day fund.

17. Window shop at the mall

Try stuff on; enjoy the hustle and bustle of being around people. Woo and awe over all the latest gadgets without spending a dime.

18. Try new recipes

Just because you can’t afford to dine out, doesn’t mean you can dine in with style.

19. Catch some rays

Get your vitamin D fix with some early morning sun rays.

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20. Take turns reading a book out loud

Make reading a group activity by sharing it with your family.

21. Listen to music

Listen to your favorite tunes to sooth the soul.

22. Take a bubble bath

Enjoy some me time while soaking in some soapy bubbles.

23. Download free apps.

Technology offers new and exciting apps you can explore for free. Many of them can even help save you money.

24. Grocery shop on the weekends.

Often on the weekends large grocery chains will sample out some of your favorite products. Shop on the weekend to take advantage of some favorite treats.

25. Take turns swapping massages.

You may not be able to afford a spa day, but you can still enjoy the benefits of “if you scratch my back, I ll scratch yours.”

26. Catch a matinee

Watch the new releases at half price.

27. Have fun on the Wii

Compete with family on your Wii or Xbox. Loser does the dishes.

28. Play in the rain.

An epic mud battle can be better than the greatest water park. Loser walks home.

29. Karaoke and dance off.

Do you have what it takes to make it on American Idol?

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30. Do an art project

Who knows, you might be the next Picasso.

31. Start a blog

You can start free blogs at WordPress or TypePad. Tell the world about your daily life or your thoughts on events in the world.

32. Research your city

You may find cool places and spots you didn’t know about.

33. Play a sport.

All you need is a ball, an open space and some friends

34. Check out your local farmers market.

Explore the stalls of homemade crafts and sample fresh, organic fruits, veggies and cheeses.

35. Geocaching

All you need are GPS coordinates.

36. Try new workout activities.

Add some zest to your workout. Try new classes at your local gym.

37. Play with your pet.

They also need your attention.

38. Go on a bike ride

Enjoy the freedom of riding a bike on nature’s trails.

39. Make your own how-to YouTube videos

Get silly, have fun and explore a passion for the world to see.

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40. Call your loved ones

Everyone is just a phone call away.

41. Explore the thrift store

Update your wardrobe without spending a lot.

42. Go for a drive

Sometimes in life you just need to enjoy the ride.

43. Meet the neighbors

Your new best friend may be living right next to you.

44. Kiss your sweetheart

The best things in life are free–so is love.

45. Clean up your finances.

Build a budget and make plans for your future well-being.

46. Look at old pictures and photo albums

Take a trip down memory lane with some old photos with family and friends

47. Make a poor man’s mocha

Instead of spending loads of money on expensive coffee drinks, make your own. Try mixing a packet of instant cocoa with your morning coffee.

48. Enjoy the seasons

Go swimming in the summer, rake leaves in the fall, build a snowman in the winter and give flowers in the spring.

49. Volunteer

On a tight budget it may seem like you have very little. You can put things in perspective by helping others who are less fortunate.

50. Write a bucket list

You may not be able to afford all the grand ventures you want for your life, but that doesn’t mean you should stop dreaming.

Featured photo credit: Whitney Baugh via blog.pennlive.com

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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