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By Michelle Sharrow, MBA – Family Budget and Finance

Sometimes it’s so hard to stay the course to reach long term savings goals. For those who need a little encouragement, in time for spring, I decided to go a little light hearted this month and focus on free and exciting things that you can do while you save.

Pin Away

If you haven’t discovered Pinterest and you are into gardening, cooking, decorating or DIY projects, you are truly missing out.  Pinterest is an online bulletin board that allows you to pin images from websites across the internet or upload your own pictures for sharing with other Pinterest users.  The site is a great means for discovering new uses for common household objects, spicing up your breakfast or dinner menus, or learning a new craft.  The site is free, links in with other social networking sites, and can be addictive.

Reuse the Old

Spring is for cleaning outdoors.  Daylight savings time affords outdoor enthusiasts with a few more daylight hours to tackle outdoor projects like increasing your home’s curb appeal.  If you find yourself spending lots of money each year purchasing flowers for your flower beds, before you do so this year, take a long hard look at the plants that you already have and consider dividing them.  Not only will this tidy up your flowerbeds, but it will also allow you to spread your favorite plants around your landscape for maximum impact and no cost.  Before you get started, to ensure success, spend some time familiarizing yourself with the plants that you have in your garden and the ideal timeframes for dividing and transplanting them.  

Along that same vein, if you are into container gardening, as you are cleaning your garages and closets, take a look at old objects such as vases, tires, and pails with new eyes.  Imagine repurposing them into planters for your front porch, deck or patio.  If you have old cans of paints, you can paint a few of the containers so they blend in with your interior or exterior décor.

After you’ve pinned, cleaned, repurposed, and transplanted, you may be dying to get away from home.  Eliminate costs by planning ahead. Visit websites like Recreation.gov or the site of your local newspaper to find free national parks to visit and other free events to attend.  If you don’t want to venture far away from home, small parks and walking trails near your neighborhood are also good places to visit to take in nature, have a casual walk, or give your children some much needed exercise. Don’t forget to revisit places that you’ve been before; you never know what new attractions, sculptures, or exhibits you’ll stumble upon.

Saving and budgeting shouldn’t make you miserable and you don’t have to spend money to have a good time.  One of the keys to staying the course and meeting your financial goals, is to stay open minded about the activities that you engage in during your idle time.  There are new and old websites and parks and historic attractions to spark your imagination and foster learning and information sharing. 

Michelle Sharrow

Michelle Sharrow

Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA is a seasoned freelance writer specializing in personal finance. Based in Waldorf, Maryland, she holds a Masters Degree with a concentration in Finance. Michelle provides a monthly column on ways to help families maintain their finances and stick to a budget titled, Budgeting and Savings for Families.

More Family Finance:

http://extension.usu.edu/utah/htm/family-finance

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/healthy-families/family-finances

http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Money/Personal-Finance.shtml
Michelle Sharrow

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