games http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3373/all en-US These Apps Turn Saving Money Into a Game — Are They Worth It? http://www.wisebread.com/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_surprised_phone_598171710.jpg" alt="Woman turning money saving into a game" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have two dollars in your hand, do you save it or buy a scratch-off lottery ticket? We all know that the sensible choice is to put that money right in the bank. But the reality is, at today's anemic interest rates, saving is boring. The chance of winning a prize is exciting.</p> <p>What if you could have both the long-term financial benefit of saving, and the momentary thrill of getting a chance to win a prize? Combining responsible behavior and fun is the idea behind a crop of products and services that gamify saving money.</p> <p>Let's look at the pros and cons of some of these prize-linked savings products, which allow users the chance to win money without risking any of their own.</p> <h2>1. Long Game</h2> <p>At first, <a href="https://www.longgame.co/" target="_blank">Long Game</a> sounds like the same humdrum routine. It offers a savings account that you link to your regular checking account; money you transfer to savings earns 0.1 percent interest. But here's where it gets good: Long Game rewards you for depositing money into savings with &quot;coins.&quot; You can use your coins to buy virtual lottery tickets, and the prizes are either real cash or more coins.</p> <p>One nice feature of Long Game is that it doesn't charge fees. Another aspect, which could be either a feature or a drawback, depending on your interests, is that you have to actually play games, like spinning a wheel, to win money. Personally, I don't have the time for such games and would rather get automatic entries, but for people like my grandmother who play fake online slots just for fun, this could be a plus.</p> <h2>2. Wal-Mart MoneyCard</h2> <p>Walmart's MoneyCard was already a popular way for low-income, unbanked workers to store their paycheck and pay bills. Now, it's also billing itself as a savings vehicle, with a feature called Vault that allows users to set aside money that can't be spent on purchases (unless you transfer that money back out of the Vault). Recently, Wal-Mart debuted the <a href="https://www.walmartmoneycard.com/account/prizesavings" target="_blank">Prize Savings program</a> for MoneyCard, which gives card users chances to win up to $1,000 each month. The more money you keep in the Vault, the more chances you get to win.</p> <p>This program differs from Long Game in several notable ways: One, you don't need a separate bank account to participate &mdash; MoneyCard functions as a bank account replacement. Two, money in the Vault does not earn interest. Three, MoneyCard charges several fees: a $5 monthly fee, $3&ndash;$4.95 to put money on the card, and a $2.50 fee to get cash at an ATM. Fourth, you don't have to enter the drawing &mdash; putting the money in your Vault enters you automatically.</p> <h2>3. SaveUp</h2> <p>Link your savings and debt-bearing accounts to <a href="https://www.saveup.com/" target="_blank">SaveUp</a>, and you'll be rewarded with credits not just for saving money, but also for paying down debt. The credits can be used to buy virtual lotto tickets for cash prizes, including $50 weekly drawings and a monthly chance at a $2 million &quot;super jackpot.&quot;</p> <p>SaveUp is free to join. As with Long Game, you have to actively play to win; entries are not automatic.</p> <h2>4. Save to Win</h2> <p>The only nonprofit on this list, <a href="http://www.savetowin.org/" target="_blank">Save to Win</a> rewards credit union members with weekly and monthly prize drawings; the more you deposit, the more entries you get. Prizes vary by state but generally start at $25 and can go into the thousands.</p> <p>Save to Win is currently available at select credit unions in 13 states. Once you're enrolled in Save to Win, entry is automatic, so you don't need to remember to play the game.</p> <h2>5. Tip Yourself</h2> <p>This one is not a prize-linked program, but another gamified approach to saving money. <a href="https://www.tipyourself.com/" target="_blank">Tip Yourself</a> encourages users to transfer money from their checking account into a virtual &quot;tip jar&quot; as a reward for performing a desirable activity. The &quot;tip jar&quot; is a non-interest-paying account.</p> <p>It's an interesting idea for combining savings and self-motivation. I can imagine using Tip Yourself to save for a trip or a small goal like a spa pedicure; every time you exercise, you could reward yourself by moving some money to the trip or spa fund. It doesn't cost money to make the transfer. However, since the tip jar doesn't pay interest, it seems like you would be better off setting up a money market account linked to your checking account for saving toward a goal; most banks offer that option.</p> <h2>The take-away</h2> <p>The majority of these apps share a common drawback: To use them, you have to share your bank account information, which could put your account at risk if the company gets hacked. It also calls your financial privacy into question; if you plan to use any of these, study the company's privacy policy before taking the plunge.</p> <p>Several of these apps encourage users to keep savings in accounts that don't pay interest. Even though current interest rates are low, that makes little sense to me.</p> <p>If you are a member of a credit union that offers it, using the nonprofit Save to Win is a no-brainer. It won't take you any extra time to play, and it doesn't appear that you'd sacrifice security or privacy to do so. For the rest of these apps, carefully weigh the value of your privacy, security, and any financial costs against the chance of winning before committing.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everyones-using-spare-change-apps-are-they-really-worth-it">Everyone&#039;s Using Spare Change Apps — Are They Really Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-millennial-money-habits-every-retiree-should-learn">6 Millennial Money Habits Every Retiree Should Learn</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology apps fees games prizes rewards saving money smartphones winning money Fri, 09 Jun 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1960490 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Best Sites to Help Your Kids Learn About Money http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_breakfast_64728213.jpg" alt="Finding best sites to help your kids learn about money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Teaching your children about money is an important, yet often overlooked area of education. Most kids will not want to sit through a lecture about credit card usage and budgeting practices, but they might be more willing to listen to interactive videos and games. These sites make learning about money and money management fun and enjoyable.</p> <h2>1. Biz Kids</h2> <p><a href="http://bizkids.com/">Biz Kids</a> offers short and interesting videos aimed toward middle schoolers. These videos cover a wide range of topics from young entrepreneurs to starting a business to different money personalities. For teachers and home-schoolers, there are coordinating lessons that go with the videos. The site also has three different games &mdash; Break the Bank, Bring Home the Bacon, and Dollar a Glass &mdash; which allow kids to try their hands at running a virtual lemonade stand.</p> <h2>2. Rich Kid, Smart Kid</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.richkidsmartkid.com/">Rich Kid, Smart Kid</a> site was created by The Rich Dad Company, the brand behind the popular book, <a href="http://amzn.to/2chdAMF">Rich Dad, Poor Dad</a>. The site comes with four interactive games: Jesse's Ice Cream Stand, Reno's Debt Dilemma, Ima's Pay Yourself 1st, and Jesse's Big Change. The site has fun graphics and is kid-friendly to use. For parents and teachers, there are teaching resources for every age level.</p> <h2>3. Lemonade Tycoon</h2> <p>While not technically a site, <a href="http://www.shockwave.com/gamelanding/lemonade.jsp">Lemonade Tycoon</a> is an addicting game that shows kids the way to build a business from the bare minimum to franchise status. This game can help show children that in order to grow a business, you need to strike a balance between profits and investments. Kids will also learn that there is a fine balance between product cost, product quality, and product success. For example, adding more water to the lemonade will bring down costs, but it can also drive away customers. On the other hand, using a lot of sugar in the lemonade will cost more and gain more sales, but the profit margin is smaller.</p> <h2>4. H.I.P. Pocket Change</h2> <p><a href="https://www.usmint.gov/kids/">H.I.P. Pocket Change</a> focuses less on money management and more on the history of coins worldwide. The site has several games and cartoons that teach how a coin is made and other important dates in coin history. There are also a lot of great resources for kids interested in coin collecting.</p> <h2>5. Sense &amp; Dollars</h2> <p>The <a href="http://senseanddollars.thinkport.org/">Sense &amp; Dollars</a> site has several interactive calculators. The site calls them games, but they are simply calculators that require little input. The Saving Money section of the site is most helpful, especially the Show Me the Money calculator, which shows how much an investment will grow in different saving accounts. The Charge game is also useful since it can show your child how much something costs when you charge it and then make minimum payments. On the other hand, The Makin' the Bacon calculator is extremely outdated and does not factor in taxes or SSI taken out of each paycheck.</p> <h2>6. It's My Life</h2> <p><a href="http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/money/">It's My Life</a> from PBS Kids offers advice, shows, and games for all areas of life. The money section is small, but there is a game called Mad Money. There is also a lot of helpful advice for older kids that want to get started in babysitting.</p> <h2>7. Credit Card Simulator Game</h2> <p>This <a href="https://www.channelone.com/feature/credit-card-simulator-game/">Credit Card Simulator</a> game from Channel One allows kids to get a virtual platform card and virtually shop in the game's mall. The game will then teach about the downside of interest and debt.</p> <h2>8. Three Jars</h2> <p><a href="http://www.threejars.com/">Three Jars</a> is a great site for kids and parents alike, since it can help streamline allowance time. With this site, kids keep track of how much money is owed to them through either chores, odd jobs, or both. The money then gets split into three jars entitled Spend, Save, and Share. The goal of the site is to make managing allowances easier, while minimizing nagging and entitlement in your home. For example, when a child asks for something at the store, you can buy it for them if the money is in their spend jar. If the item costs $20, and they only have $5 in their spend jar, then the responsibility is on them. They either need to do more chores or spend less money.</p> <p>While your kids might not want to trade in their video games for these interactive money games and websites, they are a great starting point to talk about money in your home.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-money-apps-for-kids">10 Fun Money Apps for Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed">4 Top Money Lessons to Learn From Ruth Soukup&#039;s &quot;Unstuffed&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it">These Apps Turn Saving Money Into a Game — Are They Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-the-kids-move-out">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as the Kids Move Out</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family Technology allowances games interactive kids learning tools money lessons teaching websites Mon, 19 Sep 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1794072 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_17015005_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="frugal families love board games" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My siblings and I spent our childhood playing popular, mainstream board games. <a href="http://amzn.to/29V2gS0">Monopoly</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/2auGmXZ">The Game of Life</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/2auI4bu">Clue</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/2auHwm6">Chinese Checkers</a>, and <a href="http://amzn.to/2auHrPy">Pictionary</a> granted us hours of family fun, interrupted occasionally by a temper tantrum. Monopoly, as many people know, can be dull and brutal.</p> <p>Playing board games died off in my high school years. Once I hit college, I was introduced to a wider variety of games &mdash; and the spark was rekindled. Instead of vegging in front of the TV or spending money to go see a movie, we began to sit down to play board games once again. Here are eight reasons why you should pick up boardgaming as a family activity, too.</p> <h2>1. So Many Game Options</h2> <p>Dozens of new games are introduced every year by major board game companies and individuals through Kickstarter campaigns. You don't need, nor should you, limit your family to the games you can find on Walmart's shelves.</p> <p>A local game store, or Amazon, will all have a broader collection of board games that range anywhere from $5-$100. This large collection of potential games will increase the chance of finding a game your family will love at the right price range.</p> <h2>2. Game Guidance From the Pros</h2> <p>Don't be intimidated by a new game. No one expects you to fork over the money for a game without a little guidance on how to play. There are a number of YouTube channels dedicated to reviewing and recommending games to help individuals find good games.</p> <p>Frugal families might want to check out any of these YouTube shows to watch reviews of games before purchasing the game:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9QtdiRJYro&amp;list=PL0Y9n5uBJuXxjSe6lJEHRZICCHym3e-aS">TableTop</a> with Wil Wheaton</li> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/WatchItPlayed">Watch It Played</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/thedicetower">The Dice Tower</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/MoonratMedia/videos">Board With Life</a></li> </ul> <h2>3. Access to Simple and Clear Game Rules</h2> <p>Board games can be complicated. I have a game that has around 30 pages of rules. Even as an experienced gamer, I find that a tad intimidating. There are a variety of different interactive and visual means to help families deal with learning these complicated rules for more enjoyable game play.</p> <ul> <li>Check out free board game rules introduction videos (as mentioned above) and game playthroughs on YouTube.</li> <li>Search the Android or iTunes app store for free or cheap digital versions of the game. Ascension and Coup are both complicated games that have free app versions that provide interactive walkthroughs.</li> <li>Look for free game aids that can help you understand the rules, set the game's difficulty level, and randomize board setup. Settlers of Catan, Legendary, and Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game all have free player aids.</li> </ul> <h2>4. You Can Shop Bigger, for Lower Prices</h2> <p>Support your local TableTop store when you can, but don't feel bad if you occasionally need to turn to bigger retailers like Toys 'R Us, Target, Amazon, or Walmart for lower prices. Even better, if you find a game at a store you can't in good conscious shop from, you can utilize price matching to get that lower price on either an in-store or online purchase.</p> <h2>5. Try Board Game Rental Services</h2> <p>An alternative option to creating your own version of popular games is to rent board games rather than buy them. This has the bonus of being fairly cheap, allows you to explore different types of games, and allows you to play games that might be out of your price range.</p> <p>You can either rent games by seeing if your local board game store has a rental service, or checking out an online board game rental store. In rare cases, you might even find that your local library has added board games to their rental collection.</p> <h2>6. DIY Board Games</h2> <p>Not ready to spend $60 for a game? Here's a bit of good news: With a little creativity and work, you can easily create <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">DIY board games to save money</a>.</p> <p>Don't stop there though. There are a number of fun games you can easily DIY.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8-XTMbszPk">Telestrations</a> &mdash; A mix of telephone and Pictionary, requires you to cut out 30+ medium-sized pieces of paper and give everyone a pen.</li> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0hX47QFtGI">Superfight</a> &mdash; A game where you present a case over which person, object, or animal in a match-up would win. It only requires you to cut out card-sized pieces of paper. On 1/3 of the pieces of paper, you will write any sentient object, person, or creature. On the rest of the cards, in a different color pen or a different color paper, you'll write an object, personality trait, or physical trait.</li> </ul> <h2>7. Fan-Made DIY Board Games</h2> <p>There are tons of dedicated fans that have already done all the hard work of creating original fan games or expansions of already-made board games. All you need to do is download the PDF versions of their work and print it off at home.</p> <p>Here are a few free fan-made versions of board games:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1416104/printer-studio-ready-templates">Legendary: A Star Wars Deckbuilding Game</a></li> <li><a href="http://bangcardgame.blogspot.com/p/bang-custom-expansions.html">Bang!</a></li> <li><a href="http://enter-there.com/">Game of Thrones: The Board Game</a></li> </ul> <h2>8. Choose Games With High Replay Value</h2> <p>Board games can be expensive. Games tend to run anywhere from $10-$60. Yes, a $60 game might be expensive, but you can make that price worth it by carefully choosing games that grant high replay value. These are games that often come with extra boards, scenarios, or cards that offer a slightly fresh gaming experience each time you play. These are also games where it isn't easy for players to pinpoint a set strategy to win.</p> <p>Here are a few games with high replay value:</p> <ul> <li>Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game</li> <li>Betrayal at the House on the Hill</li> <li>Robo Rally</li> <li>Cosmic Encounter</li> </ul> <p>If you need a new pastime, board games can be a fun, cost-effective activity that offer hours of family fun. Between the vast number of games and the rapidly growing TableTop community &mdash; on and off-line &mdash; now is the time to adopt board gaming as a new family pastime.</p> <p><em>Do you have family game nights? Which board games do you play? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-frugal-winter-activities-to-keep-kids-busy-during-holiday-break">9 Frugal Winter Activities to Keep Kids Busy During Holiday Break</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-kids-activities">How to Save Money on Kids&#039; Activities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-this-summer">6 Cheap Ways to Entertain Your Kids This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money">8 Best Sites to Help Your Kids Learn About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Entertainment Family board game board games entertainment family time fun things to do game night games kids quality time things to do on the weekend Thu, 21 Jul 2016 09:30:27 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1756345 at http://www.wisebread.com Beat Stress With These 28 Inexpensive Pastimes http://www.wisebread.com/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/father_son_fishing_70352103.jpg" alt="Father and son beating stress with inexpensive pastimes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Expensive activities are stressful for me because paying for them weighs on my mind. I enjoy cheap or free pastimes, and even some pastimes that make money. Here are some inexpensive pastimes that you can enjoy to stay blissfully preoccupied without spending much money.</p> <h2>Exercise</h2> <p>The payoffs for regular exercise are immense, not least is the relaxation.</p> <h3>1. Bicycling</h3> <p>Bicycling can be a very inexpensive hobby. I picked up a cheap used bike for $28, rode it for five years, and then sold it for $35! In addition to a bike, there are a few other things you&rsquo;ll need to get started: a bike helmet and a bike lock to keep yourself and your bike safe. If you buy an older bike, you may need to change the tires and inner tubes, but you can do this yourself for only a few dollars. A cheap bike provides transportation, exercise, and entertainment.</p> <h3>2. Walking</h3> <p>Even if you don&rsquo;t have any money at all, you can still enjoy walking. Walking is a convenient way to spend time outside and enjoy the seasons with no special equipment or planning required. When the weather is bad, I enjoy walking indoors in shopping malls.</p> <h3>3. Hiking</h3> <p>Sometimes I like to go to go hiking in a park or trail away from roads and sidewalks. Hiking takes a bit more effort than simply going for a walk near your home or workplace, but provides more opportunities to get close to nature. Most hiking trips are free, but I recently paid $10 to go for a five-hour hike among the redwoods in Muir Woods National Monument while visiting San Francisco. This was the most entertainment I have ever gotten for $10!</p> <h2>Cerebral Activities</h2> <p>After you've worked your muscles, challenge your noodle.</p> <h3>4. Reading</h3> <p>Reading can be free if you get books at a public library or find free classics to read on your electronic devices via sites such as <a href="https://www.gutenberg.org/">Project Gutenberg</a>. It seems like there is a nearly endless supply of new books coming along, plus the old classics to catch up on.</p> <h3>5. Writing</h3> <p>Writing has been a great pastime for me. It is exciting to see my work published, and I have even been able to make some money along the way from writing books, articles, and through advertising on my blog. If you are not ready to publish your work for the world to see, writing a journal for yourself or stories to share with your friends and family is a great way to get started writing.</p> <h3>6. Crossword Puzzles</h3> <p>Crossword puzzles help keep your mind sharp and some people seem to really enjoy doing them. I have tried doing crossword puzzles a few times, but it is too much like doing a homework assignment for me to enjoy. Maybe I need to find some easier crossword puzzles to build up my skills.</p> <h3>7. Brain Games</h3> <p>I have tried brain games on my computer, such as the free trial version of <a href="http://www.lumosity.com/">Lumosity</a>, and I sometimes play Math Blaster on my Android device. There are all kinds of free brain games that exercise your skills and help you stay sharp as you try to beat your high score. Some games even allow you to compare your scores with others.</p> <h3>8. Educational Videos</h3> <p>You no longer need to wait until Sunday evening for NOVA to come on PBS. You can get a wide selection of educational programs any time on Netflix ($8 per month) or YouTube (free). I like to find TED Talks on YouTube to find interesting perspectives on everything from physics to social sciences.</p> <h3>9. Online Courses</h3> <p>There are all kinds of online courses you can take for free, including subjects such as computer programming, statistics, and science. Here are some places to check for online courses that interest you:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm">MIT OpenCourseWare</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.coursera.org/">Coursera</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses">Open Culture</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.khanacademy.org/">Khan Academy</a></li> </ul> <h3>10. Jigsaw Puzzles</h3> <p>Some people get excited about doing jigsaw puzzles and like to receive them as gifts. Jigsaw puzzles can provide many hours of entertainment for not much money, and you do get a sense of satisfaction &mdash; or relief &mdash; when the puzzle is complete. You can pick up used jigsaw puzzles at garage sales for a dollar or two that provide hours of entertainment, but you might find out that there are missing pieces.</p> <h3>11. Ancestry Research/Genealogy</h3> <p>You can make a serious hobby out of researching your ancestry. It is easier than ever to research family history and find links to your family&rsquo;s past. You can get a long way without spending much money and produce research on your family history that will be invaluable to future generations.</p> <h3>12. Learn a Foreign Language</h3> <p>When you learn a foreign language, you learn more than just a bunch of foreign words. You learn about another culture and open up opportunities to meet and learn about new people.</p> <h2>Nature/Outdoor Enjoyment</h2> <p>When you tire of puzzles and brain games, re-connect with nature.</p> <h3>13. Camping</h3> <p>Camping can be a great way to get away and see things from a fresh perspective. You can find places to camp for free, but even if you pay to stay in a campground, you can find places to pitch a tent for around $20 per night.</p> <h3>14. Fishing</h3> <p>Basic fishing equipment doesn&rsquo;t cost a lot of money. You can get an inexpensive rod and reel good enough to catch your dinner for around $25. I still have a lot of the same fishing tackle I used when I was growing up. The price of a seasonal fishing license varies by location. I paid about $20 and was able to go fishing whenever I wanted all summer.</p> <h3>15. Bird-watching</h3> <p>It is hard not to watch the birds at my house. I have seen orioles, blue jays, cardinals, robins, hummingbirds, geese, and even bald eagles. I put out bird feeders to attract birds near my house for easy observation. Even if you don&rsquo;t put out bird feeders, you can probably find interesting birds to watch and enjoy. Binoculars are useful to be able to observe birds high in trees or too far away to see easily.</p> <h2>Food-Related</h2> <p>While you don't want to use food as a coping tool, lots of the activities around food prep are satisfying and relaxing.</p> <h3>16. Gardening</h3> <p>You get to enjoy planning your garden, watching it grow, and then harvest lots of free vegetables. Gardening can be very inexpensive if you start your own seeds and make your own compost to use for fertilizer. Even if you don&rsquo;t have a yard, you can grow vegetables in pots on a patio or deck. If you don&rsquo;t want to rototill a traditional garden, you can grow vegetables in straw bales or build raised beds for easy access.</p> <h3>17. Cooking</h3> <p>Cooking is a great pastime since it reduces the probability that you will spend money on expensive restaurant food. Watch some cooking shows or videos to learn cooking techniques and get ideas for recipes you want to try out. You can get started cooking with only a few pans and utensils.</p> <h3>18. Canning Food</h3> <p>If you have a successful garden, you&rsquo;ll need to do something with all of those vegetables. The first thing I remember canning was salsa we made with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro we grew in the garden. It was messy and a lot of work, but it was fun to make those cans of salsa to save for winter and to give to friends. If you have a freezer, you can use an inexpensive <a href="http://amzn.to/1Y6gll8">vacuum sealer</a> to pull the air out of plastic bags and seal up your produce to freeze without getting freezer burned.</p> <h3>19. Grilling</h3> <p>You can start grilling with a $20 charcoal grill. If $20 is too much for you, you can even make a grill for free! My kids build a kebab pit for free using concrete blocks they found and it works great. I also have a gas grill which is more expensive, but very convenient. Grilling outside is one of my favorite activities, followed closely by eating the food that I grill.</p> <h2>Creative Activities</h2> <p>Nothing is as satisfying as zoning out while making something. The doing is its own reward &mdash; but you'll also be rewarded with some of your own handiwork.</p> <h3>20. Wood shop</h3> <p>One of my favorite pastimes is working in my wood shop. I like to repair things, build small projects, and just spend time in my shop organizing my tools and thinking. A wood shop does not need to be expensive. I built one of my workbenches from a kit and others using recycled kitchen cabinets and countertops. Many of my tools were used tools that people gave me.</p> <h3>21. Photography</h3> <p>You can take surprisingly good photos with a cellphone or cheap digital camera, especially in outdoor lighting. A quality digital SLR camera with a zoom lens runs around $300 and will allow you to take your photography to the next level, providing more control over the camera settings.</p> <h3>22. Musical Instruments</h3> <p>You can pick up cheap used musical instruments on Craigslist or at consignment or pawnshops. Of course, buying the instrument is the easy part &mdash; learning to play it well takes work and practice.</p> <h3>23. Sewing</h3> <p>With a sewing machine, fabric, and a pattern, you can make your own clothes. Collecting bargain fabrics is part of the fun of sewing.</p> <h2>Social Activities</h2> <p>It's a fact of life that other people can be the cause of so much stress. It's also a fact of life that other people are often the cure.</p> <h3>24. Volunteer Work</h3> <p>There are lots of opportunities available to volunteer some of your time working for a good cause. Volunteering can be a good way to do something you enjoy and meet other people with similar interests. Some ideas for volunteering: animal shelter, food pantry, political campaign, church organizations.</p> <h3>25. Visiting</h3> <p>If you get bored hanging around your own house, try going to someone else's house! Visiting friends or family is a cheap way to get out of the house and do something different for a change of pace. Having people come over to visit at your place can inspire you to get cleaning and projects done.</p> <h3>26. Playing Cards</h3> <p>Playing cards is a classic cheap pastime, as long as you aren&rsquo;t placing bets. Poker, bridge, and euchre are some popular card games that allow you to play competitively with others.</p> <h2>Cheap Entertainment</h2> <p>Finally, it's okay to be a couch potato from time to time.</p> <h3>27. Sports Fan</h3> <p>Some people spend a lot as sports fans, paying big money for tickets to games and buying team jerseys and other paraphernalia. But being a sports fan doesn&rsquo;t have to be expensive. I don&rsquo;t subscribe to any TV service, but I can find many of my Iowa Hawkeye football games for free, either on over-the-air TV or on radio broadcasts. Sometimes I can find a free video stream of the game on the Internet.</p> <h3>28. News Junkie</h3> <p>I listen to National Public Radio (NPR) for about an hour every day to keep up on news and world events. When I miss my chance to listen to the news for some reason, I feel out of touch and usually end up going on the Internet to check news stories I am following. Keeping up with the news is a cheap pastime and makes it easy to have an intelligent conversation with anyone you meet.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite cheap pastimes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10">25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally">The 35 Best Ways to Spend Your Free Time (Frugally)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-fun-frugal-things-to-do-tonight-besides-watch-tv">25 Fun, Frugal Things to Do Tonight Besides Watch TV</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies">10 Awesome Money-Making Hobbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Entertainment crafts exercise fun games hobbies learning leisure pastimes projects things to do Thu, 16 Jun 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1728607 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Fun Money Apps for Kids http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-money-apps-for-kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-fun-money-apps-for-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_tablet_000076004131.jpg" alt="Finding the best money apps for kids and families" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Think personal finance is an adults-only matter? Think again. You can start teaching your child smart money habits from a very young age. Whether you use points or dollars, the concepts will surely sink in if a little fun is involved. Here are 10 apps that will teach your kids about money &mdash; all while letting them play on their favorite devices.</p> <h2>1. Savings Spree</h2> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $5.99 on iTunes</p> <p><strong>Ages</strong>: 7 and up</p> <p><strong>Rating</strong>: 4+ stars</p> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/savings-spree/id430150476?mt=8">Savings Spree</a> doesn't just teach your kid how to count nickels and dimes. Instead, it focuses on how different lifestyle choices in the everyday can add up to either big savings or big expenses. Your child can earn, spend, donate, or invest &quot;money&quot; in a variety of scenarios, which are presented in a game show format for added interest. Along with teaching the basics, this app will even present your little one with the harsh reality of those unexpected expenses that necessitate an emergency fund. Important lesson, indeed!</p> <h2>2. P2K Money</h2> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free on iTunes</p> <p><strong>Rating</strong>: 4+ stars</p> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/p2k-money/id405631656?mt=8">P2K Money</a> is all about teaching your child the value and responsibility of money &mdash; plain and simple. You can engage in the learning process together using tools for budgeting, spending, and savings of your kid's earnings, like an allowance. They can even create wish lists to save for the items they want to buy. And what's especially cool is that the app will save those wish lists so your little guy or gal can evaluate if those items were actually worth the expense.</p> <h2>3. Bee Farming</h2> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $1.99 on iTunes</p> <p><strong>Rating</strong>: 4+ stars</p> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bee-farming/id358168136?mt=8">Bee Farming</a> gives your child the opportunity to start his or her own virtual business with a swarm of bees and just $100. Each week, the bees can go to work in the forest collecting honey that your child will &quot;sell&quot; in a market to earn more bees or other supplies. This is such a fun game, even adults play it and compete to earn a spot on the Top Farmers Board. What a great way to give your kid the basics on business, hard work, and managing expenses.</p> <h2>4. PiggyBot</h2> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free on iTunes</p> <p><strong>Ages</strong>: 6 to 8 years old</p> <p><strong>Rating</strong>: 4+ stars</p> <p>Even young kids with an allowance can jump in on&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/piggybot/id844151884?mt=8">PiggyBot</a> to collect a virtual allowance. This tool will help your child visualize his or her allowance and categorize it into what areas they'll spend, share, and save. This app also motivates kids to pick savings goals and gives them useful information for how much money they need to save and how long it will take them to save it.</p> <h2>5. The Game of Life</h2> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $0.99 on iTunes and Google Play</p> <p><strong>Rating</strong>: 4+ stars</p> <p>Want to really disguise the financial learning experience? Try&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/game-life-classic-edition/id326912270?mt=8">The Game of Life</a> app, which is an electronic version of the favorite board game. Throughout play, your child will be encountered with a number of decisions that have them choosing between wise or risky investments. Players even have the chance to earn Wealth Cards that can stack up to $1,000,000. Plus, you can play with up to six friends, which makes it a great activity for the whole family.</p> <h2>6. Flocabulary</h2> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $12/month or $96/year</p> <p><strong>Ages</strong>: 11 to 18</p> <p><a href="https://www.flocabulary.com/">Flocabulary</a> takes on yet a different approach for older kids, with catchy songs, rap battles, and videos about&nbsp;<a href="https://www.flocabulary.com/topics/financial-literacy/">financial literacy</a> (plus many more subjects and life skills). The topics range from paying for college to budgeting to credit cards to goal setting, and beyond. Since the cost for this service is somewhat steep compared to the other apps on this list, you may want to check with your local school district to see if it's available to your child through school. You can also get&nbsp;<a href="https://www.flocabulary.com/trial/individual/">free trial</a> to check it out for 14 days.</p> <h2>7. Save! The Game</h2> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free on iTunes</p> <p><strong>Rating</strong>: 4+ stars</p> <p>The object in&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/save%21-the-game/id360805496?mt=8">Save! The Game</a> is to collect as much virtual money as possible and put it in the bank. Along the way, your child will need to avoid &quot;iWannas&quot; &mdash; you know, impulse buys like soda, toys, candy, and more. One reviewer downloaded this game before a long car trip and said that after playing, his kids engaged in a great discussion about avoiding &quot;iWannas&quot; in life, not just on the screen.</p> <h2>8. Bankaroo</h2> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free on iTunes</p> <p><strong>Rating</strong>: 4+ stars</p> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bankaroo-virtual-bank-for/id504924470?mt=8">Bankaroo</a> is another great allowance-tracking app that is also unique because offers different currencies. In fact, you can track funds using U.S. Dollars, Euros, hearts, stars, points, and more. In other words: Even the youngest kids can start to learn money concepts. This app was created by an 11-year-old girl who was looking for a way to keep track of her own allowance and thought other kids might want to do the same. The graphics are cute, and you can keep track of multiple accounts if you have multiple children.</p> <h2>9. Coin Math</h2> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $1.99 on iTunes</p> <p><strong>Ages</strong>: 9 to 11*</p> <p><strong>Rating</strong>: 4+ stars</p> <p>What ever happened to old fashioned dollars and coins? They're definitely still around. With&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/coin-math/id296596459?mt=8">Coin Math</a>, your child can learn to identify and count coins, as well as how to pay and make change. Though this app is rated for slightly older kids, many reviewers share that their little ones as young as five years old enjoyed playing with the game.</p> <h2>10. FamZoo Family Finance</h2> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free on iTunes</p> <p><strong>Ages</strong>: 4 and up</p> <p><strong>Rating</strong>: 4+ stars</p> <p>Give your child a headstart to understanding money, budgeting, and saving with&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/famzoo-family-finance/id399321476?mt=8">FamZoo</a>. This app can be used by your entire family &mdash; even preschoolers &mdash; to manage allowances, track chores, handle reimbursements, and more. How does it work? Each member of your family is issued a card that is linked together in the app. In the &quot;Family Bank,&quot; the parents serve as the bankers while the kids are the customers. Then you get to tracking your everyday financial flow (even experiment with setting up automated tasks). You can also choose the IOU option if you'd rather track your money elsewhere. No matter how you do it, you'll be learning the rules of money together.</p> <p><em>Do you use these or other money apps for kids?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-money-apps-for-kids">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money">8 Best Sites to Help Your Kids Learn About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it">These Apps Turn Saving Money Into a Game — Are They Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Technology apps educational financial literacy games kids money teaching Fri, 04 Mar 2016 11:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1665772 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Fun, Cheap Party Games You Didn't Know About http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-cheap-party-games-you-didnt-know-about <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-fun-cheap-party-games-you-didnt-know-about" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-playing-party-games-Dollarphotoclub_70068664.jpg" alt="friends playing party games" title="friends playing party games" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every holiday or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-a-fabulous-and-frugal-dinner-party">dinner party</a> in need of a boost leans on the same party games: Pictionary, Charades, 20 questions, blah blah blah... In need of a new conceit to spur on some social interaction? Try one of these fun and affordable party games you didn't know about:</p> <h2>Mafia</h2> <p><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mafia_%28party_game%29">Mafia is a group game</a> designed in Russia during end of the Cold War, and it shows. I first heard of the game earlier this spring, when a friend hosted a party specifically to play Mafia. It's free to play, like Charades. We were confused at first but it quickly got weird and fun!</p> <p><strong>Players</strong>: At least 3</p> <h3>Basic Rules</h3> <p>There are two teams, the &quot;Mafia&quot; (who know each other in the group) and the &quot;Innocents&quot; (everyone else who have no idea who the &quot;Mafia&quot; are). One moderator leads the game.</p> <p>The game occurs in two phases: Night and Day. During the &quot;night&quot; phase, the mafia members elect someone to &quot;kill,&quot; while everyone's eyes are closed. During the &quot;Day&quot; phase, everyone opens their eyes, and the moderator declares who was &quot;killed.&quot; Everyone discusses, and someone must accuse a player of being in the &quot;Mafia&quot;. The most fun part is arguing over whether someone is in the &quot;Mafia&quot; and whether to kill them. The moderator will reveal whether or not the accused player was in fact a Mafioso. On it goes until everyone is figured out.</p> <h3>Why It's Fun</h3> <p>The game involves a lot of social strategy which is really funny in a group of close friends. Similar to other games like Werewolf, you get a lot of hilarious arguments about whether someone is guilty or innocent. The surprise of each player's role reveal is also really fun.</p> <h2>1,000 Blank White Cards</h2> <p>If you haven't played <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1000_Blank_White_Cards">1,000 Blank White Cards</a>, you're missing out on not only a great party game, but a really fun game for passing the time. I first learned about this game while in line for a panel at San Diego Comic-Con, known for crazy long waits.</p> <p><strong>Players</strong>: At least 2</p> <h3>Basic Rules</h3> <p>Gather as many blank cards as you can find. These can be index cards or chopped pieces of paper. The game is defined by the cards everyone creates. A card usually consists of a drawing and a short description of its meaning and the action required upon pulling the card. For example, you can have a card with a picture of a cactus that reads, &quot;You just got picked by a cactus! Lose 4,000 points,&quot; then if you pull it that's what happens! Destroying cards is discouraged; if a card is not good, you can nominate it to &quot;The Suck Box.&quot;</p> <h3>Why It's Fun</h3> <p>It's limited only by your imagination! Creating the deck is arguably one of the best parts of the game, trying to come up with the silliest rules funniest drawings you can imagine. The gameplay is one surprise after another.</p> <h2>Cards Against Humanity</h2> <p>A game that is rapidly becoming mainstream, <a href="http://cardsagainsthumanity.com/">Cards Against Humanity</a> first formed a rabid following online. It's free to print the cards at home, and costs around $20 for a deck. If you have not heard of it, chances are the next party you go to will break out in a game.</p> <p><strong>Players</strong>: At least 2</p> <h3>Basic Rules</h3> <p>It's similar to Apples to Apples (actually, it's exactly like Apples to Apples) with a crazy twist. Each player pulls 10 white &quot;answer&quot; cards with a hilarious nonsequitur on it. One player starts as the &quot;Card Czar,&quot; pulling a black &quot;question&quot; card. Each player takes a moment to best answer the &quot;Card Czar&quot; with one of their randomly drawn white cards. The &quot;Card Czar&quot; reads each white card in a funny manner, and chooses their favorite. The player who drew their favorite white card gets one &quot;Awesome Point&quot; and keeps the black card. Whoever has the most &quot;Awesome Points&quot; at the end of the game wins.</p> <h3>Why It's Fun</h3> <p>The cards are really funny, and many are surprising, controversial, or gross, so there is a ton of shock value. It's a really enjoyable game to play casually with friends.</p> <h2>TV Show Drinking Games</h2> <p>Did you know that nearly every single TV show or movie has its own drinking game? When having a night in with friends or roommates, a simple drinking game is a great way to get a party going. The only cost is the booze.</p> <p><strong>Players</strong>: 2 or more (drinking alone is sad)</p> <h3>Basic Rules</h3> <p>Go to <a href="http://drinkingcinema.com">drinkingcinema.com</a> or <a href="http://drunktvzone.com">drunktvzone.com</a> to find make your drinking game choice. I recommend 90s show like Family Matters or Ally McBeal or a schlocky horror movie like Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. Simply drink whenever a specific recurring action or visual element occurs as per each game's rules! For bonus points, everyone can dress up as a character from the show or movie of choice.</p> <h3>Why It's Fun</h3> <p>Drinking games are an easy way to get a party started and a fun way to appreciate a silly show or movie ironically, dress up, and drink with buddies.</p> <h2>ClueMates</h2> <p>Ok, full disclosure. While I did not create the game, ClueMates was created by a publishing company I own.</p> <p><a href="http://devastatorpress.com/toys/">ClueMates: The Passive Aggressive Roommate Detective Game</a> is a parody board game that comes inside of a book, based on the mystery engine of Clue. The game satirizes life with roommates and has a cult following among board game and humor nerds. The game and book cost only $10.</p> <p><strong>Players</strong>: 3-6</p> <h3>Basic Rules</h3> <p>The rules are just like Clue. Each person plays as a character who is a credible suspect. Only, instead of a murder mystery, it is much funnier &mdash; your least favorite roommate has locked himself in the bathroom.</p> <p>The Archetypes are different from classic Clue as well, with a couch-surfing stoner, a 4chan troll, a yoga instructor, a type-A bossypants, and one normal person, Rachel Feinstein. You must figure out which roommate ruined his day, what they did, and in which room of the terrible apartment you share, because everyone needs to use the bathroom! One new element to gameplay is that each character has one &quot;superpower&quot; causing others to lose a turn and making the game move faster.</p> <h3>Why It's Fun</h3> <p>For board game lovers, this is a fun, simplified party game full of adult jokes and it plays as a really funny, high-speed version of Clue for adults.</p> <p><em>What party games do you enjoy? Please share in comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-fun-cheap-party-games-you-didnt-know-about&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Fun%252C%2520Cheap%2520Party%2520Games%2520You%2520Didnt%2520Know%2520About.jpg&amp;description=5%20Fun%2C%20Cheap%20Party%20Games%20You%20Didnt%20Know%20About"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Fun%2C%20Cheap%20Party%20Games%20You%20Didnt%20Know%20About.jpg" alt="5 Fun, Cheap Party Games You Didn't Know About" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-cheap-party-games-you-didnt-know-about">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-family-friendly-games-for-your-holiday-party">5 Fun Family Friendly Games for Your Holiday Party</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-playing-credit-card-roulette">Tips for Playing Credit Card Roulette</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-fun-frugal-things-to-do-tonight-besides-watch-tv">25 Fun, Frugal Things to Do Tonight Besides Watch TV</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes">Beat Stress With These 28 Inexpensive Pastimes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-avoid-awkward-moments-at-white-elephant-parties">4 Ways to Avoid Awkward Moments at White Elephant Parties</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment cards against humanity games Mafia parties party games Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:00:07 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1267698 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Play Teaches You About Personal Finance http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-play-teaches-you-about-personal-finance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-play-teaches-you-about-personal-finance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-roleplaying-178431199-small.jpg" alt="family roleplaying" title="family roleplaying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't know anyone who can't wax poetic about playing as a child. Even my friends who had difficult childhoods remember playing, somewhere and with somebody, with fondness.</p> <p>There's something about remembering our childhood games, whether they were pickup games of baseball in the middle of the street or tag or imagining we were pirates deep in the woods, that makes us happy. Even as adults, with jobs and responsibilities and families and so much to do, we relish the hours that we can spend resting, relaxing, and enjoying our hobbies &mdash; also known as playing. That's because <a href="http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/11/15/the-importance-of-play-for-adults/">play is important</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too?ref=seealso">11 Fun Games That Make You smarter, Too</a>)</p> <p>Whether you are child or adult, play brings joy. It makes us excited and happy. And it all makes me wonder: What if we could bring even a little bit of that joy into tasks that can seem difficult or frustrating, like managing our personal finances? Could even these things become more like games?</p> <p>Try some of these ideas and let me know what you think!</p> <h2>1. Play Is Practice</h2> <p>More than anything else, <a href="http://www.journalofplay.org/sites/www.journalofplay.org/files/pdf-articles/5-3-interview-play-as-preparation.pdf">play seems to be practice for life</a>. The thing is, little kids don't like to practice. In fact, most of them don't have the focus to be able to practice in the same ways adults can. So they play. They play house, they play fireman, they play mommy and daddy and teacher. And in doing this, they learn about taking on different roles, conflict resolution, and so much more. Their practice prepares them for real life.</p> <p>As adults, we can remember that practice is at least as important as studying a topic. While there's nothing wrong with researching what investments to make next, we might find ourselves more engaged if we actually jump in and practice. <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/simulator/">Trade with fake money</a> or create sample budgets based on different salaries, to figure out how to make things work for you in real life.</p> <h2>2. Play Is Fun</h2> <p>As adults, we make personal finance into work. We get serious about the budget, or study hard to determine how to invest our money. We feel like we need to buckle down and get serious about our finances. Again, there's nothing wrong with this, but what if we could make the whole process less painful?</p> <p>Try <a href="http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304330904579137410675036086">setting aside some money for &quot;fun investing,&quot;</a> or make budgeting a game by coming up with creative ways to spend less in different categories.</p> <h2>3. Play Promotes Counterfactual Thinking</h2> <p>Counterfactual thinking means thinking outside the box of what is, or in many cases, what seems to be. People who are good at thinking counterfactually are the ones who, when solving a problem, ask us to reexamine our assumptions, rather than just suggesting new ways to work within them. This sort of thinking can offer huge benefits in so many areas, because we often make assumptions that aren't true, or that aren't necessary. And <a href="http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/let-the-children-play-its-good-for-them-130697324/?no-ist">pretend play seems to help children improve their counterfactual thinking</a>.</p> <p>Most adults would be embarrassed to be caught pretending. We can, though, pretend within a certain context. I have an example of this from my own recent history. For a long time, my husband and I assumed that we could not afford grass-fed beef, even though avoiding antibiotics and hormones is important to us. Recently, though, we researched different ways to purchase this meat, and found that, if we buy wholesale rather than from a store, it's much more affordable. We had assumed we'd be buying from Whole Foods or Costco, but now we're purchasing direct from a rancher.</p> <p>To learn to examine your assumptions, or &quot;pretend&quot; in the context of your own finances, start by writing down your assumptions. For instance, you might assume that you don't have enough money for something, or that you have to keep a certain percentage of your assets invested in stocks, or that there's not another method for buying something. Then ask around and do some research to see if your assumptions are, in fact, correct.</p> <h2>4. Play Is Social</h2> <p>When kids play, they are learning social skills. Even when they are not playing with other kids, play itself seems to help the brain socially, so that those who play function better socially than those who do not. And adults seem to play in order to enhance their social interactions, to build community and find friends who they can connect with on a deep level.</p> <p>We can reclaim our sense of play in personal finance by making aspects of our financial life social. If you live with roommates or a significant other, make sure you are both involved in budgeting. Even set aside some time to enjoy a meal together and go over finances in a less stressful environment. You could also <a href="http://www.fool.com/investmentclub/investmentclub05.htm">start an investment club</a> or, at least, talk through some of your financial questions with trusted friends or family members. All of this is likely to make finance more enjoyable, more like play and less like work.</p> <h2>5. Play Encourages Self-Regulation</h2> <p>The more kids play and the higher the maturity level of their pretend play, the more they learn to regulate themselves. Self-regulation touches on many aspects of life &mdash; we should be able to regulate ourselves emotionally, to keep desires (even strong desires) in check, and to make choices focused on long-term benefit rather than short-term pleasure.</p> <p>Self-regulation seems to tie naturally to personal finance. Most of us want to be able to resist spending money when we don't have money to spend or when we are saving our money for something else. We also want to be able to leave our investments alone if we believe the investment is a sound one, even when the market is fluctuating and we feel unsure.</p> <p>Again, it will help us to &quot;pretend&quot; in the context of our finances. If we are tempted to make a purchase that we really shouldn't make right now, we can envision how we will feel in two days (or even two hours!) if we make the purchase, and then again if we don't. If we are trying to leave an investment where it is, we can imagine ourselves using the money in 30 years, happy that we left it where it was.</p> <p><em>What do you do to make personal finance more like play? Does that help keep you on track financially?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-play-teaches-you-about-personal-finance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too">11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money">8 Best Sites to Help Your Kids Learn About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-important-financial-lessons-people-learn-in-their-20s-did-you">The 5 Most Important Financial Lessons People Learn in Their 20s (Did You?)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-financial-lessons-from-breaking-bad">7 Financial Lessons From Breaking Bad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-know-these-5-financial-lessons-most-people-learn-in-their-40s">Do You Know These 5 Financial Lessons Most People Learn in Their 40s?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Personal Development financial lessons games money lessons play Thu, 06 Nov 2014 14:00:06 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1251282 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Ways to Entertain Your Kids for Free http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-baking-cookies-516622037-small.jpg" alt="family baking" title="family baking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've ever been stuck wondering what to do with your kids on the weekend, this list is for you. You don't need to spend a dime to entertain your family and bond in the process. Sometimes the best things in life really are free! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend?ref=seealso">47 cheap, Fun Things to Do This Weekend</a>)</p> <h2>1. Visit Your Library</h2> <p>We frequent our local library at least every week for free storytimes. Plus, you can pick up books, DVDs, and other materials to entertain your child for free. Many libraries also arrange toys in their children's section, and it's a great place to meet other parents to set up play-dates.</p> <h2>2. Check the Community Calendar</h2> <p>While you're at the library, check your local paper (or click online) and any bulletin boards for any and all events going on in your area. Very often colleges, universities, and other community centers will host family events that are free and open to the public.</p> <h2>3. Crash Store Events</h2> <p>Sometimes book stores, grocery stores, craft stores, toy stores, and other merchants will host free activities. More often than not, these events are intended to get you to come into the store and buy things. So, consider leaving your cash and cards at home and sticking to the zero dollar budget.</p> <h2>4. Make Cookies</h2> <p>Spend a Saturday afternoon in and use your baking powers to mix up a big batch of sugar cookies. Take your time and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Then frost them. Get artistic. Encourage your child to take the lead. Small activities can turn into big learning experiences.</p> <h2>5. Play Games</h2> <p>Start a weekly tradition of playing board games with your kids. I've seen games that allow kids as young as three to participate. You can also try charades with older kids, and a deck of cards is useful in a pinch.</p> <h2>6. Camp at Home</h2> <p>Skip all the site fees and other camping costs and set up the family tent in your backyard. What I love about backyard camping is that you don't necessarily have to sleep outdoors to enjoy all the fun. And you can fire up the grill for a good old fashioned cookout! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-grill-pizza-at-home?ref=seealso">This Is How You Grill Pizza At Home</a>)</p> <h2>7. Create a Sensory Bin</h2> <p>The youngest children get a kick out of <a href="http://www.writingchapterthree.com/2012/08/rice-bins-and-gymnastics-mats.html">homemade sensory bins</a>. Fill a shallow plastic container (choose one with a top) with rice, corn kernels, uncooked noodles, and anything else that boasts some interesting texture. It's like a cleaner version of a sandbox that you can play with indoors.</p> <h2>8. Visit Museums on Free Days</h2> <p>Many museums are either free or donation-only. Those that do charge admission sometimes have admission-free days each month or season. Check the museum's website or call ahead for more information.</p> <h2>9. Reuse Cardboard Boxes</h2> <p>Take all the cardboard boxes you intend to recycle and turn them into something great. You can make race cars, boats, robots, and even entire houses! We often do our grocery shopping at Aldi and use the boxes they stock to transport our food home. Our daughter gets hours of enjoyment! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-from-aldi?ref=seealso">What You Should Never Buy From Aldi</a>)</p> <h2>10. Build a Library</h2> <p>Have you heard of <a href="http://littlefreelibrary.org/">Little Free Libraries</a>? They are tiny &quot;houses&quot; you place books into for your neighbors to borrow. (They can leave books for you to read, too!) If this concept sounds cool to you, take a weekend to build and decorate a structure. Then identify a few old books on your shelf that you'd be willing to share. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-books-little-libraries-that-build-community-and-save-you-money?ref=seealso">Free Books: Little Libraries That Build Community</a>)</p> <h2>11. Melt Crayons</h2> <p>Take all those odds and ends of your child's crayons and turn them into neat shapes with swirled colors. You just preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, place crayons in a silicone mold, and <a href="http://comfyinthekitchen.com/2014/03/how-to-melt-crayons-into-molds/">bake for 15 minutes</a>. Let cool completely before using.</p> <h2>12. Ride a Bike</h2> <p>Head to a local park or hit the sidewalks for a family bike ride. You can have a destination in mind, like a playground, or just wander the streets. Sometimes you'll discover more free things to do &mdash; street performers, festivals, neighborhood gatherings &mdash; on the go.</p> <h2>13. Rake Leaves</h2> <p>It may seem like a chore at first, but getting the whole family involved with raking leaves will get the job done faster. Or maybe not. Half the fun of completing this chore with your kids is jumping in them. Make sure you drink a warm mug of cider when you're done.</p> <h2>14. Use Perks</h2> <p>If you have store or restaurant loyalty cards, take a weekend and use as many free meals, ice creams, pizzas, doughnuts, and whatever else you've earned. I like to store my coupons and cards in a plastic zip pocket inside a three-ring binder. That way, I don't lose anything and can quickly check there before heading out the door.</p> <h2>15. Go Geocaching</h2> <p>Take your family on a <a href="http://www.geocaching.com/guide/">real life treasure hunt</a> using your GPS device. You'll navigate to specific coordinates and look for clues to get you to your next destination. Little explorers are sure to love this activity.</p> <h2>16. Create a Home Theater</h2> <p>Save yourself the high ticket and concessions costs and watch a movie at home. Make it legit! Have the whole family wear their pajamas, pop some popcorn in your microwave, and turn out all the lights. You can even make it a double feature for the same $0.00 price tag.</p> <h2>17. Walk in Nature</h2> <p>Grab a bag or container and head into your backyard or local hiking trail. Have your child collect small plants, leaves, nuts, flowers, and any other natural treasures. Then bring them home <a href="http://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection.php?Page=plantkey.php">and identify them</a>. Your little scientist might also like to make his or her <a href="http://www.mrspotter.com/terrariums-for-kids/">own terrarium</a> and add to the collections as weeks go on.</p> <h2>18. Party at the Beach</h2> <p>Well, now that the weather is getting colder, you won't go to the actual beach. Instead, have an <a href="http://www.howdoesshe.com/beat-the-winter-blues-throw-an-indoor-beach-party/">indoor beach party</a>. Turn the thermostat up a degree, fill up the tub with water and some floatation devices, and have you kid put on his or her swimsuit. You can lay out on the living room floor, pack and indoor picnic, and slip into your sandals.</p> <h2>19. Craft</h2> <p>You don't need an expensive subscription service to do crafts with your kids. Gather up all your crayons, markers, glues, glitters, stickers, pipe cleaners, and other supplies and create <a href="http://www.writingchapterthree.com/2014/09/diy-craft-kits-on-cheap.html">DIY Craft Kits</a>. Whatever you group together doesn't have to make anything specific. The magic is in the creativity.</p> <h2>20. Host a Sleepover</h2> <p>Invite a couple of your child's friends over for a sleepover using some of the activities above. You can make <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-make-restaurant-quality-pizza-at-home">homemade pizza</a> versus getting takeout. Play hide-and-seek with flashlights. Build forts. Play board games. If you kid is a little too young for a whole night, make it an afternoon!</p> <p><em>Any fun, free ways to keep the kids entertained that we forgot? Let us know below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-relaxing-ways-to-enjoy-your-kids-first-day-at-school">23 Relaxing Ways to Enjoy Your Kid&#039;s First Day at School</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-a-fabulous-and-frugal-dinner-party">How to Throw a Fabulous (and Frugal!) Dinner Party</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-good-hosts-never-do">14 Things Good Hosts Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-playing-credit-card-roulette">Tips for Playing Credit Card Roulette</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Lifestyle bored entertaining games kids Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1235098 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-playing-chess-78375720-small.jpg" alt="couple playing chess" title="couple playing chess" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Life is more fun if you play games,&quot; said Roald Dahl. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-five-economy-based-board-games-that-make-you-think?ref=seealso">5 Economy Based Games That Make You Think</a>)</p> <p>And there's even better news: Those same games can also make you smarter. Here are 11 games that exercise different mental skills.</p> <h2>1. Super Mario Brothers</h2> <p>Good news fans of the lovable Italian plumber! A neurological research study has found that playing Super Mario Brothers for at least 30 minutes a day for two months <a href="http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/v19/n2/full/mp2013120a.html">improves neural plasticity</a> &mdash; the ability of the brain to change and grow.</p> <p>Guiding Mario and Luigi through the different levels augments the gray matter in your brain that is essential for &quot;spatial navigation, strategic planning, working memory and motor performance.&quot; The researchers concluded that the right dose of Super Mario Brothers adventures can help those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and neurodegenerative disease.</p> <h2>2. Scrabble</h2> <p>If you are competitive at playing Scrabble, you can brag to your friends that you have some mad language skills!</p> <p>A study comparing <a href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/s13421-011-0137-5/fulltext.html">competitive Scrabble players against a test group of novice players</a> found that Scrabble experts are more adept at vertical fluency and semantic deemphasis. The first skill allows you to handle words presented in a vertical fashion, and the second one improves your ability to handle word responses. These two skills combined lead to better word recognition in adults. Unfortunately, the researchers <a href="http://bodyodd.nbcnews.com/_news/2011/08/18/7408409-confirmed-scrabble-players-are-smarter-than-everyone-else">don't believe that these same skills can be obtained</a> through Scrabble's digital counterpart, Words With Friends. So drop the smartphone and pick up the board game.</p> <h2>3. FitBrains</h2> <p>If the world-famous <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3023881/fast-feed/rosetta-stone-buys-brain-training-app-seeks-to-expand-beyond-language-learning">Rosetta Stone invests $12 million in a suite of brain training apps</a>, you ought to give these apps a try. And boy, does the brain training app developer, FitBrains, have a pitch. They claim that by using its apps for <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3027104/tech-forecast/do-brainpower-apps-really-make-you-smarter">15 minutes a day, five days a week</a>, you can improve your memory and concentration, and ward off mental diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. FitBrains includes memory, visual, focus, speed, logic, and language games, all accessible through its <a href="http://www.fitbrains.com">site</a> or its smartphone apps.</p> <h2>4. Chess</h2> <p>There is strong evidence of the mental benefits of playing chess on a regular basis across all age groups.</p> <ul> <li>Chess players in elementary schools make <a href="http://files.givewell.org/files/Analysis/margulies.pdf">significant gains in reading scores</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Elementary students who play chess show improvements <a href="http://chess.jliptrap.us/taas4.pdf">in mathematical skills</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Becoming proficient in chess at any age level is linked to <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21038986">better object and pattern recognition</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>There are several anecdotal accounts of <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/06/speed-chess-changed-my-brain/277151/">adults playing speed chess gaining benefits in other activities</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Testing the thesis that the <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/blogs/nurture-shock/2009/12/11/is-the-brain-like-a-muscle-really.html">brain works like a muscle</a>, the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that adults over 75 that engage in activities in &quot;brain stretching&quot; activities, such as chess, are less likely to develop dementia.</li> </ul> <p>This is why chess is part of school curricula in close to 30 countries, including Russia, Iceland, and Venezuela.</p> <h2>5. Mahjong</h2> <p>While chess is considered one of the ultimate tests of intelligence in the Western world, Mahjong is its counterpart in the Eastern world. With high popularity in Eastern and South Eastern Asia, mahjong is played with a set of 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols. Adults with mild-to-moderate symptoms of dementia may <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16779765">improve their cognitive functions</a> by playing the game.</p> <p>However, various studies point out that the <a href="http://repository.ied.edu.hk/dspace/handle/2260.2/13144">health benefits of mahjong extend beyond seniors with dementia</a>. Mahjong improves social skills, memory, and even math skills.</p> <h2>6. Tetris</h2> <p>If you are still suspicious that playing video games can make you smarter, then here is one game that will cast away your doubts. Through the use of brain-activity tracking technologies, researchers found that <a href="http://www.biomedcentral.com/1756-0500/2/174">adolescent girls showed improved brain activity</a> after three months of Tetris practice. The girls age 12 to 15 practiced Tetris 1.5 hours per week during the three-month period. During and after a Tetris session, your brain experiences significant activity that leads to greater brain efficiency. On top of improving your noggin, playing <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666314000828">Tetris may help you fight off cravings</a> and become part of your weight management or habit reduction plan.</p> <h2>7. Monopoly</h2> <p>This is my favorite board game, so I was thrilled to read comments about the game from renowned board game designer Philip Orbanes. He is a global authority on Monopoly and has judged U.S. and World Monopoly Championships for over 30 years. (Watch him judge the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZwmPBP2JHI">final game of the 2009 Monopoly Championship</a>, which gathered national champions from Russia, Norway, New Zealand, and the U.S.) He strongly believes that <a href="http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324590904578288400723946868">Monopoly provides real life financial lessons</a>.</p> <p>Orbanes points out that <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/03/20/what-monopoly-can-teach-you-about-smart-investing">Monopoly can</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Provide kids their first important lessons in the art of negotiations in a safe environment;</li> <li>Teach players of any age an understanding of the concept of diversification;</li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Monopoly-Money-You-Game-2019s-Secrets/dp/0071808434">Offer practical training in managing money</a>;</li> <li>Help to exercise arithmetic and statistical skills without feeling like homework.</li> </ul> <p>Turns out that Monopoly is serious business!</p> <h2>8. Lumosity</h2> <p>This is an alternative to FitBrains. If you have seen one of Lumosity's ads on TV and decided to visit its site to check out <a href="http://blog.lumosity.com/the-science-behind-lumosity-3/">what neuroplasticity is all about</a>, you're not alone. The site has <a href="http://blog.lumosity.com/50millioninfographic/">over 60 million subscribers</a>, spending a bit over <a href="http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/lumosity.com">11 minutes on the site per session</a>.</p> <p>Lumosity provides 40 games that are designed to increase memory, attention, processing speed, mental flexibility, and problem solving skills. For example, the <a href="http://games.lumosity.com/waiter.html">Waiter Game</a> jogs your ability to remember names and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9d8cxl05k4k">RainDrops</a> works your problem solving. Could you search free alternatives to all 40 games on your own? Sure, but Lumosity already did the work for you and can provide you personalized reports and suggestions on what to work next.</p> <h2>9. LittleBigPlanet</h2> <p>If Lumosity sounds too grown-up for the taste of your inner child, then give <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001IVXI7C/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001IVXI7C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=E6Q6WL5Z3C22XZ3E">LittleBigPlanet</a> a try. This game requires such high levels of critical thinking and creativity that a <a href="http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-09/first-public-school-based-games-set-nyc-debut">New York public school added LittleBigPlanet to its curricula</a>.</p> <p>There are many versions of LittleBigPlanet but the one that has been lauded the most for its skills development benefits is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002I0K780/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002I0K780&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=O4CTH55QJA5BAWKT">LittleBigPlanet 2</a>. Given the availability of an in-game level editor to make custom levels, many have noted how it provides players a basic introduction into computing or game design. This opportunity to <a href="http://www.gamesradar.com/14-golden-rules-for-making-littlebigplanet-levels/">design and test your own game</a> levels could be a great investment. After all, the video game design industry offers <a href="http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/video-game-designer3.htm">annual salaries ranging between $37,000 and $200,000</a>.</p> <h2>10. Charades</h2> <p>The classic family living room game is a great way to give your brain a workout. Trying to decode and to communicate only through gestures recruits a series of areas of the brain that are <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0006801">necessary for simulation and mentalization</a>. While the benefits of charades are best enjoyed when actively trying to guess the charades, there are also marginal benefits when merely observing. Having to role play and present information without talking trains charade players to make sense out of new information more efficiently. Also, performing role plays facilitates your <a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2206080">ability to put yourself in somebody else's shoes</a>.</p> <h2>11. The Professor Layton Series</h2> <p>Last but not least is the <a href="http://professorlayton.nintendo.com">popular saga for the Nintendo DS game platform</a>. While the game is known for its beautiful animation sequences, it is downright addictive due to its smartly designed brain busters. Up to 75% of players of indicate that the <a href="http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/brand-map-51-of-professor-layton-players-are-female/096842">mental challenge is their most preferred aspect</a> of the game. This motivator is more than double than any other included in the survey. The variety of logic challenges keeps you engaged and, if you find them too easy, you can increase the difficulty level. Before settling on a specific game to buy, you can test drive a few of the puzzles, such as the ones from the <a href="http://professorlayton.nintendo.com/azran-legacy/#/demos">Arzan Legacy series</a>.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite game that helps you become smarter? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-play-teaches-you-about-personal-finance">5 Things Play Teaches You About Personal Finance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-make-yourself-smarter-today">25 Ways to Make Yourself Smarter — Today!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-spending-3-on-you-will-advance-your-career">Here&#039;s How Spending 3% On You Will Advance Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter">How to Improve Your Memory (and Even Get a Little Smarter)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-benefits-of-volunteering">9 Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development education games intelligence play Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1213032 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Fun, Frugal Things to Do Tonight Besides Watch TV http://www.wisebread.com/25-fun-frugal-things-to-do-tonight-besides-watch-tv <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-fun-frugal-things-to-do-tonight-besides-watch-tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/watching-tv-78432183-small.jpg" alt="watching tv" title="watching tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Unless you're watching the home shopping network with a rapid eye for deals, spending night after night in front of the TV ain't saving you any money in a proactive way. So maybe it's time for a little idea inspiration.</p> <p>Here are 25 frugal things you can do instead of watching TV tonight.</p> <h2>1. Go Thrift Shopping</h2> <p>Who needs more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-reasons-why-im-in-love-with-thrift-shopping-and-you-should-be-too">reasons to love thrift shopping</a>? Thrifting can be a real money saver and wildly entertaining. Some shops stay open till 9:00 p.m., so make thrifting part of your prime time lineup.</p> <h2>2. Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile</h2> <p>Even if you're secure in your job, be prepared for opportunities that come your way by having an updated resume at-the-ready. LinkedIn is how you present your professional image publically, so take a few minutes to make sure it's top-notch.</p> <h2>3. Set Some Savings Goals</h2> <p>Solo or with your significant other, sit down and decide exactly what you're saving for. What specific financial goals would you like to achieve in the next year? In the next five? By <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/saving-money-is-easy-if-you-set-the-right-goals">setting the right goals</a>, saving isn't just easier &mdash; it's a lot more fun.</p> <h2>4. Mend Some Clothing</h2> <p>Channel your inner Olivia Walton and tighten up loose shirt buttons, repair split seams, or darn a pair of socks. It takes only moments and saves buying new.</p> <h2>5. Review Your 401(k) or IRA Fund Performances</h2> <p>Take some time to review those prospectuses and quarterly statements from your 401(k) or IRA fund administrator. Are you satisfied with the results, or is it time to see if you can achieve better results? If you're nearing retirement, is the moment right to shift to more conservative funds?</p> <h2>6. Plan Your Holiday Shopping List</h2> <p>Avoid maddening crowds and purchase-panic by getting a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/early-holiday-shopping-why-i-finish-by-thanksgiving">head start on holiday shopping</a>. Determine what you'll need and leisurely start looking for deals on gifts, supplies, and essentials now.</p> <h2>7. Make Tomorrow's Lunch</h2> <p>Save money, eat healthier, and keep your mornings sane by pre-making tomorrow's lunches for work and school.</p> <h2>8. Clean Your Coffeemaker</h2> <p>I treat my automatic coffeemaker with the respect it deserves, because if it goes on the fritz, I go on the fritz. Extend the life of your true blue brewer by <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/269335/kitchen-tip-cleaning-a-coffeemaker">cleaning it regularly</a> with distilled white vinegar and water.</p> <h2>9. Organize Your Finances</h2> <p>Drowning in a sea of receipts, bank statements, and miscellaneous documents? Resolve to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organizing-your-financial-paperwork">organize your financial paperwork</a> by creating a simple system that you can easily follow.</p> <h2>10. Flip Your Mattress</h2> <p>Save money on a new mattress by extending the life of the one you have. Rotate and then flip your mattress every three or four months; rotate the box spring or foundation every six.</p> <h2>11. Perform Quick and Easy Auto Maintenance</h2> <p>Checking tire pressure and fluid levels regularly is a relatively painless way to keep your car running smooth. To keep it gleaming, skip the TV and give your ride a quick wash and wax.</p> <h2>12. Do a Digital Deep Clean</h2> <p>Defragment Windows, update your computer's anti-virus software, and delete old files that take up large amounts of space. While you're at it, clean the keyboard, screen, and exterior with the appropriate products to keep things working well and looking good.</p> <h2>13. Play a Board Game</h2> <p>Go retro by grabbing a game that doesn't have an LCD display. Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, and Cranium all have their own lessons to teach and are refreshingly low tech. Or, skip buying a game by playing charades.</p> <h2>14. Make a DIY Scarf Organizer</h2> <p>Ladies, does your scarf collection look like a psychedelic nest of confusion? Take some time one night this week and make a <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/39476934205340847/">DIY scarf organizer</a> using a plastic clothes hanger, plastic shower curtain rings, and decorative ribbon. It's simple and it works!</p> <h2>15. Send a Handwritten Note</h2> <p>Resurrect the art of the hand-written note and make someone's day. Nothing says &quot;I'm thinking of you&quot; like putting pen to paper &quot;just because.&quot;</p> <h2>16. Plant a Window Sill Herb Garden</h2> <p>If you don't have the yard space for a full-fledged vegetable garden, plant a mini herb garden on your window sill. Fresh and free herbs taste better.</p> <h2>17. Replace the AC Filter</h2> <p><a href="http://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/maintaining-your-air-conditioner">Air conditioner maintenance</a> helps your central air system or window unit work better and use less energy. Clean or replace filters periodically and keep condenser coils dust-free.</p> <h2>18. Clean One Drawer or Closet</h2> <p>Cutting clutter is a marathon, not a sprint. Start slowly and accomplish one modest goal per evening or per week. Clean a drawer, closet, tote, or kitchen cabinet.</p> <h2>19. Take a Nap</h2> <p>That's right, get some shut-eye. There are few less expensive and more restorative things you can do to take care of yourself.</p> <h2>20. Go for a Walk</h2> <p>Walking outside is relaxing, social, healthy&hellip; and exactly what your loyal dog is waiting for. Flip off the TV, grab the whole family, and hit the bricks.</p> <h2>21. Pre-Cut Some Veggies</h2> <p>Convenience wins. Encourage wild and unregulated veggie consumption by pre-cutting them and storing in air-tight containers. Chop lettuce for salads, slice cucumbers, and peel carrots to promote free-range grazing in your household.</p> <h2>22. Clean and Organize Your Wallet or Purse</h2> <p>Does your purse feel like a lead weight? Is your wallet more of an in-pocket filing cabinet? Clean both and save money by actually <em>finding</em> some among the chaos.</p> <h2>23. Prepare a Back-to-School List</h2> <p>Keep your ear to the ground. The collective groan of millions of kids will be echoing across the land in just a few shorts weeks. Set down with your little learners, figure out what they'll need, and scout for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-back-to-school-items-you-should-always-shop-for-at-the-thrift-store">back-to-school bargains</a> now.</p> <h2>24. Recondition your Shoes</h2> <p>A little mink oil, polish, and buffing goes a long way in extending the life your favorite kicks. It just takes a few minutes per pair and you'll feel much more dapper.</p> <h2>25. Clutter-Bust with the Kids</h2> <p>Get the kids involved in de-cluttering. Have them choose a certain number of toys or clothes they no longer use or want. Teach them the lesson of giving to the less fortunate and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-controlling-toy-clutter">control toy clutter</a> at the same time!</p> <p>There are countless others things to do instead of staring at the TV (&hellip;assuming you haven't eroded your ability to count by too many hours spent staring at the TV!). Brainstorm your own list tonight by imagining the frugal and productive fun you could have if your TV suddenly bit the dust. Then, hit it with a hammer (just kidding) and start doing!</p> <p><em>What do you like to do instead of watching TV? Share your ideas with our readers in comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F25-fun-frugal-things-to-do-tonight-besides-watch-tv&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F25%20Fun%2C%20Frugal%20Things%20to%20Do%20Tonight%20Besides%20Watch%20TV.jpg&amp;description=25%20Fun%2C%20Frugal%20Things%20to%20Do%20Tonight%20Besides%20Watch%20TV" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <div align="center">&nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/25%20Fun%2C%20Frugal%20Things%20to%20Do%20Tonight%20Besides%20Watch%20TV.jpg" alt="25 Fun, Frugal Things to Do Tonight Besides Watch TV" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-fun-frugal-things-to-do-tonight-besides-watch-tv">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes">Beat Stress With These 28 Inexpensive Pastimes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10">25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies">10 Awesome Money-Making Hobbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-netflix-and-hulu-to-play-on-your-tv">How to Get Netflix and Hulu to Play on Your TV</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment fun games pastimes tv Wed, 13 Aug 2014 15:00:20 +0000 Kentin Waits 1183441 at http://www.wisebread.com 50 Fun, Free Ways to Have a Great Time With Friends http://www.wisebread.com/50-fun-free-ways-to-have-a-great-time-with-friends <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/50-fun-free-ways-to-have-a-great-time-with-friends" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-dv442025.jpg" alt="friends" title="friends" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="181" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Meeting friends for dinner and a movie is one way to spend a weekend night. But sometimes, you may not have the budget or the desire to hit the town. Fortunately, you don't have to venture out to have a good time. Whether you're getting together with three or ten of your closest friends, here are 50 fun, free things you can do when you invite friends over. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-have-a-cheaper-evening-hanging-out-with-friends?ref=seealso">10 Frugal Ways to Hang Out With Friends</a>)</p> <h2>1. Post Videos to YouTube</h2> <p>Get creative and come up with a comedy skit, a short movie, or commentary on an important or trending event. Upload your video and share it with your friends on social media; and you might become the next viral hit.</p> <h2>2. Host a Spa Day at Home</h2> <p>You don't have to spend hundreds to enjoy a spa day. Invite a few of your closest friends to the house and give each other makeovers. Check out online tutorials and experiment with hairstyle and makeup tricks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-spa-treatments-you-can-do-at-home?ref=seealso">DIY Spa Treatments</a>)</p> <h2>3. Watch Reruns of Old Shows</h2> <p>Pick a classic show, such as &quot;Star Trek: The Next Generation,&quot; &quot;Saved by the Bell&quot;, or &quot;Good Times,&quot; or whatever your favorite is. See if these episodes are available on <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-11443443">Netflix</a> or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DBYBNEE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DBYBNEE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon Prime</a>, and binge.</p> <h2>4. Make a Bucket List</h2> <p>Ask each person to write a list of 10 to 20 things they want to do before they die. Compare lists to see if you have anything in common with your friends. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-s-on-your-travel-bucketlist?ref=seealso">What's on Your Travel Bucket List?</a>)</p> <h2>5. Play &quot;Michael Jackson: The Experience&quot;</h2> <p>Get moving and enjoy a few laughs at the same time. Turn on your Wii, pop in the disc, and spend the next couple of hours reliving the '80s and '90s. Or play another fun, movement-based video game.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/50friends-sb10061547bt-001-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>6. Musical Chairs</h2> <p>Childhood fun doesn't have to end just because you're a little older. With only three or four people &mdash; and one less chair &mdash; it'll be a night that you'll never forget.</p> <h2>7. Write a Parody of a Song</h2> <p>Take a popular song and alter the lyrics to poke fun or ridicule the original work.</p> <h2>8. Bake Cookies</h2> <p>Satisfy your sweet tooth using ingredients already in your pantry, such as flour, eggs, milk, and sugar. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-easy-and-scrumptious-microwaveable-desserts?ref=seealso">Microwaveable Desserts</a>)</p> <h2>9. Explore YouTube</h2> <p>Search YouTube and find the next undiscovered viral video. Make sure you share this video across your various social media networks.</p> <h2>10. Sing Together</h2> <p>Pull out the karaoke machine or connect your iPod to speakers and sing along to some of your favorite tunes.</p> <h2>11. Host a Slumber Party</h2> <p>Ask everyone to bring their favorite game, drink, and junk food. Your friends can hang out all night and drive home in the morning.</p> <h2>12. Host a Cinema Trilogy Marathon</h2> <p>Have a marathon where the group watches some of the best trilogies in one night, such as &quot;Back to the Future&quot; or &quot;Star Wars.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-an-awesome-frugal-movie-night?ref=seealso">How to Host a Movie Night</a>)</p> <h2>13. Play Monopoly (or Any Other Board Game)</h2> <p>Break out the Monopoly board and you're guaranteed three to four hours of fun.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/50friends-156725311-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>14. Make Your Own Ice Cream Creation</h2> <p>Start with plain vanilla or chocolate ice cream, and then add toppings according to what's available in your kitchen. Maybe a crushed candy bar, peanuts, cookies, and any other sweet treat hiding in your cabinet.</p> <h2>15. Water Balloon Fight</h2> <p>Maybe the beach or pool is too far away. Fill a bunch of balloons with water, and enjoy classic summer fun with your friends.</p> <h2>16. Roast Marshmallows</h2> <p>All you need are graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate &mdash; and of course, a fireplace or outdoor fire pit.</p> <h2>17. Design T-Shirts</h2> <p>If you have tie-dye dye, tell your friends to bring over an old white T-shirt, tank top, or scarf. It's a fun way to get in touch with your creative and hippie side.</p> <h2>18. Play Poker</h2> <p>This isn't the smartest choice if you're broke or trying to save money. But if you play with candy, chips, and cookies instead of cash, you can have an enjoyable time without going broke.</p> <h2>19. Play Spades</h2> <p>Here's another fun card game that doesn't involve spending your hard-earned cash. If you're bored with spades, head online and check out instructions for <a href="http://www.pagat.com/">new card games</a>.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/50friends-162242215-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>20. Pillow Fight</h2> <p>Grab a few throw pillows from the couch or pillows from the bedroom and have a playful smack down.</p> <h2>21. Soul Train Line</h2> <p>Put on some disco or R&amp;B tunes from the 70s or 80s and show off your classic dance moves.</p> <h2>22. Play Twister</h2> <p>Relive your childhood with a game that's certain to end with laughs and new memories.</p> <h2>23. Reminisce</h2> <p>Think back to when you first met each other. Was it a funny or unique circumstance? Share this memory with the group.</p> <h2>24. Play Tug-of-War</h2> <p>All you need is a jump rope and two or three people on each side. The losing team has to buy drinks the next time you go out.</p> <h2>25. Play Bartender</h2> <p>Using only what's available in your cabinet and refrigerator, come up with new drink concoctions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails?ref=seealso"><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#1155cc;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:underline;vertical-align:baseline;">20 Two-Ingredient Cocktails</span></a>)</p> <h2>26. Tell Scary Stories</h2> <p>Turn off the lights and tell scary stories &mdash; either true or fictional.</p> <h2>27. Play Truth or Dare</h2> <p>This is the perfect opportunity to get answers to your most burning questions. And if your friend chooses dare, make it a good one.</p> <h2>28. Blind Taste Test</h2> <p>Blindfold a friend. Give this person food or a drink to taste, and have him guess what it is.</p> <h2>29. Build a Snowman</h2> <p>Enjoy a snow day and build a snowman. If there's enough snow on the ground, build a snow mountain and slide down.</p> <h2>30. Make Up a Funny Story</h2> <p>Start a story and have each person in the room add a funny line. Turn on your recorder if you want to be able to laugh about it later.</p> <h2>31. Wii Tennis Tournament</h2> <p>If it's too cold to hit the actual pavement, invite a few friends over for an indoor tennis tournament. Each person will play the winner from the previous game until there's one man standing.</p> <h2>32. Make Paper Airplanes</h2> <p>Construct paper airplanes and have a contest to see whose design flies the farthest.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/woman-5029902-small-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <h2>33. Play in the Rain</h2> <p>As long as it isn't thundering, flashing lightning, or too cold, enjoy a game of frisbee or kickball in the rain.</p> <h2>34. Play Hide and Seek</h2> <p>With no room off-limit, you can have a fun game of hide and seek throughout your entire house.</p> <h2>35. Play Marco Polo With a Water Hose</h2> <p>You don't need a pool to enjoy this kind of fun. Have the &quot;it&quot; person hold a water hose and spray in the direction of voices.</p> <h2>36. Look Through Your Old Yearbooks</h2> <p>Look at old photographs and poke fun at your unique and outdated styles.</p> <h2>37. Play the Telephone Game</h2> <p>The more people you have playing, the better. Whisper a long sentence into the first person's ear, and this person will whisper the same message to the next person, and so forth. Have the last person say the message out loud, and see what you get.</p> <h2>38. Play Pictionary</h2> <p>You don't have to be the best artist to enjoy this game. As a matter of fact, the inability to draw is part of the fun. And you don't even need the official board &mdash; <a href="http://www.thegamegal.com/2010/11/06/pictionary/">all you need is a word list</a> and a few rules.</p> <h2>39. Play Indoor Foot Volleyball</h2> <p>Grab a soft, plastic ball, and using only your feet, try to keep the ball in the air.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/50friends-450744153-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <h2>40. Play Digital Hot Potato</h2> <p>You'll need a camera with a timer to enjoy this game. Set the timer, and then pass the camera around the room. Each person should hold the camera for two seconds before passing it to the next person. You're eliminated from the game if the camera snaps while in your hands. Keep going until there's one person left in the game.&nbsp;</p> <h2>41. Host a Poetry Night</h2> <p>Get in touch with your cultural side and invite over a few poetry lovers. Each can share his or her personal poetry or recite a favorite poem written by another person.</p> <h2>42. Name That Tune</h2> <p>Grab your iPod and play a snippet of a few songs. The first person to identify the song should blurt out the answer.</p> <h2>43. Learn Something New</h2> <p>Have a friend who knows how to play guitar? Have her teach everyone&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash; and when someone else is playing, everyone can sing along!</span></p> <h2>44. Gargle Songs</h2> <p>Take a sip of water and then gargle your favorite song as your friends guess the tune.</p> <h2>45. Play Limbo</h2> <p>Grab a broomstick and your most upbeat playlist, and see how low you can go.</p> <h2>46. Play Six Degrees of Separation</h2> <p>This is by far one of my favorites. Pick two celebrities at random and have each person in the room write down how they're connected either through their movies or romantic past. The friend with the shortest link wins.</p> <h2>47. &quot;Would You Rather&quot;</h2> <p>Another fun game. Give a friend two choices and ask which one he would rather do. The more bizarre the choices, the more fun you'll have.</p> <h2>48. Watch Cult Classics</h2> <p>&quot;Sixteen Candles,&quot; &quot;The Breakfast Club,&quot; or &quot;The Lost Boys&quot; &mdash; if anyone in your group hasn't seen any of these flicks or other cult classics, spend a night playing catch-up.</p> <h2>49. Have a Craft Night</h2> <p>Using items you and your friends have around, have a craft night! You can make cards, knit, or do whatever else you feel like.</p> <h2>50. Wooden Spoons</h2> <p>Blindfold the &quot;it&quot; person and give this person a pair of wooden spoons. The object is to touch and identify another person using only the spoons.</p> <p><em>Do you have other fun, free activities that you and your friends can do when they come over? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-fun-free-ways-to-have-a-great-time-with-friends">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes">Beat Stress With These 28 Inexpensive Pastimes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-more-hobbies-you-can-start-for-free">10 More Hobbies You Can Start for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free">20 Ways to Entertain Your Kids for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living entertaining free fun games Mon, 17 Mar 2014 10:36:43 +0000 Mikey Rox 1130643 at http://www.wisebread.com Money Mistakes Two Popular Board Games Teach Kids http://www.wisebread.com/money-mistakes-two-popular-board-games-teach-kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/money-mistakes-two-popular-board-games-teach-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3236314938_e805725013_z.jpg" alt="Monopoly" title="Monopoly" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a father who writes about personal finance for a living, I do everything I can to teach my daughter about money. She has an allowance, a college fund, and a savings account, all of which we discuss the ins and outs of. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-teachable-money-moments-to-share-with-your-kids">Teachable Money Lessons to Share With Your Kids</a>)</p> <p>To make her financial education more fun, we play board games such as <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000IWD7/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00000IWD7&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">Monopoly</a> and the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000IWD7/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00000IWD7&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">Game of Life</a> at home. She&rsquo;s 9 years old &mdash; an age that seems to be more interested than any other in board games. That&rsquo;s great, but the games aren&rsquo;t turning out to be as full of financial literacy as I had hoped.</p> <p>In fact, they have enough real-life errors in them that I&rsquo;m amazed anyone says that board games are a good way to teach children about money. The games may help children learn to count money, but otherwise they&rsquo;re not doing a great job of teaching money skills. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/play-on-5-great-card-and-board-games">5 Great Card and Board Games</a>)</p> <p>I talked to a few game experts and board game designers, who admitted that there really aren&rsquo;t any top-notch board games to teach kids about money. They help children look into the real world of their parents &mdash; paying bills and going to work, for example &mdash; but they&rsquo;re meant to be fun first and educational second.</p> <p>&quot;Honestly, there&rsquo;s nothing out there that&rsquo;s really great,&quot; says Eric Tyson, author of &quot;Personal Finance for Dummies&quot; and other &quot;Dummies&quot; books.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a breakdown of two of the most popular board games that conventional wisdom says should be teaching kids about money, and some money mistakes they make.</p> <h2>Monopoly</h2> <p>Just as an allowance can mimic many money matters that adults face every day, the game of Monopoly and others can get kids to think about the best way to manage their money and plan whether they should spend or save, Tyson says.</p> <p>Monopoly is good at teaching how to save money and invest in properties, he says, but gives a cynical view of the economy &mdash; vanquish your competitor. Who hasn&rsquo;t spent entire days playing this game, only to be exhausted from the constant deal-making?</p> <p>&quot;There&rsquo;s some potential value,&quot; Tyson says. &quot;Although it&rsquo;s simplified in such a way that it really doesn&rsquo;t represent the real world.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Luck, Not Skills, Gets You Where You&rsquo;re Going</strong></p> <p>Using dice to advance is common in board games, but kids should understand that the luck of the roll is meant for gambling, not real-life decisions. In most board games, where you land is based on luck, not your skill at choosing where you want to go.</p> <p>Monopoly, however, uses luck better than other games, giving players the chance to buy property on most turns, says Phil Orbanes, founder of Winning Moves Games, a game maker in Boston.</p> <p>&quot;When you make a choice in real life, it pretty much determines what your next choice is going to be,&quot; says Orbanes, who was in charge of research and development at Parker Brothers for 12 years.</p> <p>A better way to move on a board game would be to <em>pay </em>to determine how far you move forward, he says. That would be better than the luck of rolling the dice, and players would have to pay to get better options. Unfortunately, in Monopoly, you don&rsquo;t have much of a choice when you land on a space &mdash; it&rsquo;s usually a decision whether to buy or not.</p> <p><strong>Quantity Is Better Than Quality</strong></p> <p>Winning Monopoly players often are better off owning many properties, no matter how low-rent they are, than owning a few high-priced properties such as Boardwalk and Park Place, Orbanes says. Owning more properties prevents other players from owning an entire color and building on it, and gives the player more negotiating power &mdash; which can be good skills to have in real life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-negotiate-with-confidence-and-strike-the-best-deal">How to Negotiate With Confidence</a>)</p> <p>Boardwalk and Park Place aren&rsquo;t worth buying in the game because the two spots have low odds of someone landing there. Those two high-priced properties are also after the &quot;Go to Jail&quot; spot, meaning players will go back to jail more often than they&rsquo;ll pass those two spots.</p> <p>In real life, if you owned such high quality properties, you&rsquo;d likely have a better neighborhood that would be more valuable overall and would provide a better return on investment.</p> <p><strong>Bid Like Every Property Is in Foreclosure</strong></p> <p>Monopoly also has a little-known rule that not many people follow: the ability to bid on a property at any starting price if a player lands on it and chooses not to buy it.</p> <p>Such bidding might happen in real life if every unsold property was in foreclosure, but that&rsquo;s not how real life works. If that happened in real life, everyone would want to be a real estate investor.</p> <h2>The Game of Life</h2> <p>This is new favorite at my house. From what I&rsquo;ve learned from Amazon <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000IWD7/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00000IWD7&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">reviews</a>, however, the new version that we have is inferior to the older edition. There are complaints about how the new version isn&rsquo;t as sturdy as the old one, but as someone who didn&rsquo;t play this as a kid but is now learning about it, I have other complaints.</p> <p><strong>There&#39;s No Middle Class</strong></p> <p>Salaries range from $20,000 for a salesperson on the &quot;Career&quot; path to $100,000 for a doctor in the &quot;College Career&quot; path. There&rsquo;s not much of a middle class in the Game of Life.</p> <p>The original Game of Life had a middle class that could be achieved in many different ways that mirrored the 1960s when the game first came out, Orbanes says. But today&rsquo;s version is realistic in that it&rsquo;s more difficult to enter the middle class with assembly line jobs vanishing, he says.</p> <p><strong>Having Kids Makes You Rich</strong></p> <p>If you choose the &quot;Family Path&quot; and increase your chances of having children, you&rsquo;ll get some cash for having children that may not amount to much in terms of the value of a dollar in the game, but in real life it would make it profitable to have children.</p> <p>For example, having a child in the game requires each player to give you $5,000. However, having twins doesn&rsquo;t double the gift amount &mdash; you get the same $5,000 from each player. That&rsquo;s a good amount of money in real life, and it gets better in the game.</p> <p>When you retire, you collect a $10,000 retirement from each of your children by collecting the money from the bank.</p> <p>There are costs in the Game of Life to having children &mdash; such as $5,000 per child to take them on vacation to a theme park &mdash; but the costs are few and not nearly as much as the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-it-costs-to-raise-a-child">$295,560</a> it takes the average middle-class family to raise a child through age 17 in the real world. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-it-costs-to-raise-a-child">How Much Does It Cost to Raise a Child?</a>)</p> <p><strong>College Skills Negated With Job Loss</strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s also interesting that when you lose a job that required going to college, you must choose a lesser paying job from the &quot;Career&quot; deck. The college degree you paid for earlier is no longer valid, essentially meaning that the skills you learned will no longer help you land another job requiring a college career.</p> <p>In an economy where workers must learn new job skills after being laid off if they want to find new jobs, this lesson from the game is partly true. But I also think it&rsquo;s true that many skills can be transferred to other jobs, and that a college degree is valuable to employers &mdash; even if it&rsquo;s outside of your chosen field.</p> <p>In the Game of Life, after losing a job that required a college degree, your base salary is now likely going to be closer to $30,000 (mechanic, hair dresser) than the $50,000 a computer designer or $90,000 a lawyer earns in the game.</p> <p><strong>High Interest Loans</strong></p> <p>The game&rsquo;s interest rate on a bank loan is 25%, whether it&rsquo;s for college or a home. That level of math can be too complex for an adult to figure out, so I can see why 25% makes sense.</p> <p>But with real-world loan rates at historic lows, this is a lesson that isn&rsquo;t close to reality. Sometimes borrowing really is a good idea.</p> <h2>Realistic vs Fun</h2> <p>The problem with making board games too realistic is that they&rsquo;ll be too complicated for children to play, and both children and adults won&rsquo;t have fun playing them.</p> <p>&quot;All commercial games on the market are not realistic,&quot; Orbanes says. And who would want it that way? Who wants to play a game testing your money skills that bores you with the reality of paying bills and going to work?</p> <p>While they&rsquo;re meant to be an escape from reality, there&rsquo;s the opportunity to at least teach children some financial skills that they can learn throughout their lives. As Orbanes puts it, they can offer a &quot;simplistic distillation of the basics of what finance is.&quot;</p> <p>That&rsquo;s a good goal. But it&rsquo;s hard to learn it when you&rsquo;re hoping for a good roll of the dice.</p> <p><em>What money mistakes have you discovered in your favorite board games? Have you found a game that does a good job teaching personal finance skills?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-mistakes-two-popular-board-games-teach-kids">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-play-teaches-you-about-personal-finance">5 Things Play Teaches You About Personal Finance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stupid-things-my-parents-taught-me-about-money">5 Stupid Things My Parents Taught Me About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money">8 Best Sites to Help Your Kids Learn About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-lessons-women-learn-in-their-20s">8 Personal Finance Lessons Women Learn in Their 20s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-kids-can-teach-us-about-money">12 Ways Kids Can Teach Us About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance financial education games money lessons Thu, 07 Nov 2013 09:48:04 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1067941 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Budget Design Ideas for a Kids' Playroom http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-design-ideas-for-a-kids-playroom <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-budget-design-ideas-for-a-kids-playroom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-3131202-small.jpg" alt="family" title="family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want to make a cool place for your kids to play, but don't want to spend a fortune? Whether you have an entire room or just a dedicated corner, there are a number of ways to make an affordable play space using some creativity, smart shopping, and items you already have around the house. (See also: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-money-tools-and-toys-for-every-age-group">The Best Money Tools and Toys for Every Age Group</a>)</p> <h2>1. Turn a Wall Into a Chalkboard</h2> <p>A nice touch in any child's play area is a chalkboard. Save the money on fancy easel displays or a full-blown hanging board and just paint a wall area with chalkboard paint. This type of paint is now available in any color and transforms your wall into an actual, erasable chalkboard for a fraction of the cost. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/for-your-home/cool-things-to-do-with-chalkboard-paint">Benjamin Moore</a> has a great guide to chalkboard paints, as well as some excellent ideas on how to use these paints beyond the walls.</p> <h2>2. Make Your Own Storage</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/organize-a-room-for-10-with-no-extra-effort">Storage containers are a necessity</a> to corral the sea of toys most kids seem to have. A great and attractive way to do this on the cheap is to decorate large, sturdy shipping boxes or extra-large diaper boxes. You can try ideas like covering the boxes in brown packaging paper and letting the kids paint or scribble on them. Or, if you are going for a more sophisticated look in a common area, find fabric you love and cover the boxes using glue. I took a hodgepodge of fabric pieces I had lying around and glued them to a giant shipping box to use in our playroom. It makes a great stuffed animal holder.</p> <h2>3. Find Cheap Seating</h2> <p>If you are handy sewing, then by all means making a square floor cushion for the kids to lounge on is easy and economical. However, if you are less than jazzed to fire up a sewing machine, there are still some cheap options. Check out affordable floor pillows and poofs from crafters at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.etsy.com/">Etsy</a>, where there are always some very economical, hand-made styles. Don't forget to check sale areas and clearance racks at superstores and discount stores, where there are usually some decent choices, too.</p> <h2>4. Decorate the Walls</h2> <p>Even if your kids are not budding artists, there has to be something they have made in school or at home that can easily get framed and hung on the wall. Some of my three-year-old's abstracts are perfect for this cause. Find a discount frame, and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-display-your-art">you have instant wall decor</a>. Personalizing the space with such creations can add flair to a designated kid's corner or playroom and also make the artist proud.</p> <h2>5. Install Sensible Shelving</h2> <p>If you are looking to add some shelves or small bookcases, many inexpensive options are available to accomplish the task. Some options, such as storage cubes and crates, only cost a few dollars. Single wall shelves that you can install yourself, like those from <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/living_room/10398/">Ikea</a>, are also great options often found for under $20. Or, make a corner useful and look for some budget-friendly, free-standing or wall-installed corner shelves sold at many big box stores. For the more adventurous DIY types, consider other affordable solutions, like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cost-effective-ways-to-make-your-own-bookshelves">making your own bookshelves</a>. The possibilities are endless.</p> <h2>6. Look Beyond Kid's Furniture</h2> <p>Often, children's furniture has a huge markup compared to non-kid items. With a little creativity, however, you don't need to buy super expensive kid's furniture to make your playroom complete. Look for cheap coffee tables, other low-height tables, stools, or ottomans that can do double duty as children's tables or seating. I randomly searched online to find a padded, faux leather, living room ottoman for our young daughters to use. There are no sharp corners and it's the perfect height, and it cost all of $40. Or search online to track down kid's tables and chairs on sale, and avoid paying the hefty mark up that many name brand furniture retailers charge for full price items.</p> <h2>7. Organize an Art Area</h2> <p>For kids that like to draw or make crafts, consider designating one of your table finds as an art center. You can easily use your table to keep art supplies lined up in containers and within easy reach. Clean and reuse small jars, such as old jam or salsa jars, to hold pencils, markers, and paintbrushes. You can also paint or wrap ribbon around these holders for a decorative touch. Shoeboxes, which can also be embellished to your liking, are great to store crayons and paper scraps, while small jewelry boxes and old spice jars can hold anything small from beads to glitter.</p> <h2>8. Install Replaceable Flooring</h2> <p>Kids like to play on the floor. This means that any flooring can get worn or messy. Find a cheap carpet that works in your play space to not only create a comfy place to sit, but also limit the damage to your area rug or hardwood. Carpet tiles are a cheap way to accomplish the task and can be re-arranged and cleaned easily as compared to a rug. There are also foam kid's floor tiles and mats, which often cost a bit more than carpet tiles, but are still pretty affordable, not to mention extra cushiony for smaller kids.</p> <h2>9. Monogram on a Dime</h2> <p>Kids love stuff with their names on it. Using monograms on the wall or as labels in a play space is a nice way to decorate and stay organized. You can do cheap stencils on the wall for a just a few dollars by investing in some paint and a craft shop stencil. Or you can find affordable papier mache or large cardboard alphabet letters at craft stores, which can be painted and mounted on the wall or just placed on a shelf. You can also make attractive name labels on your own computer using free templates online, such as the ones found at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bhg.com/decorating/storage/organization-basics/free-printable-storage-labels/">Better Homes and Gardens</a>, which are great for labeling toy boxes and containers.</p> <h2>10. Source Affordable Dry Erase and Bulletin Boards</h2> <p>You can easily add a bulletin board or dry erase board to the wall of any play area for well under $10. Dollar stores sell small dry erase boards that you can line up in a row for kids to scribble on or play games. Craft stores and discount home stores also have bulletin board options for older kids looking to hang pictures or artwork. Little touches like these can help make the play area personalized and more inviting.</p> <p><em>What are your best kids' playroom design ideas? Please share in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-medeiros">Kelly Medeiros</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-design-ideas-for-a-kids-playroom">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-ways-to-keep-your-family-organized">8 Easy Ways to Keep Your Family Organized</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-label-makers">The 5 Best Label Makers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-decide-what-to-keep-when-downsizing">How to Decide What to Keep When Downsizing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Home Organization budget decorating children's activities games kids' room Thu, 11 Jul 2013 10:24:30 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 980436 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Fun Toys and Games You Can Make at Home http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-toys-and-games-you-can-make-at-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-fun-toys-and-games-you-can-make-at-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7996309055_3cf3b8ecb6_z.jpg" alt="kids and pinwheel" title="kids and pinwheel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Now that I am the mother of a three-year-old boy, I have found that he always wants to be entertained, and constantly buying new toys is not an option. When I was a kid, I didn't have nearly as many toys as my son, but I remember that my parents and I played with a lot of homemade toys and games. Here are 10 do-it-yourself toys and games that will entertain your family for hours without denting the wallet. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-financial-gifts-for-children">Great Financial Gifts for Children</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cat's Cradle</h2> <p>This is probably the simplest &quot;toy&quot; you can make. Basically all you need is a few feet of yarn or string. Tie the ends to make a loop, and then you can start to make all kinds of patterns with your hands. The game is usually played with two people, and it is quite interesting to see all the variations. Check out some quick <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Play-The-Cat%27s-Cradle-Game">cat's cradle instructions</a>.</p> <h2>2. Mancala</h2> <p>This is an ancient board game that can be made with an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-reuse-common-household-items">empty egg carton</a> and some small counters like beads, beans, or even coins. The point of the game is to &quot;capture&quot; all the counters after putting them into the spaces in succession. You can see the <a href="http://boardgames.about.com/cs/mancala/ht/play_mancala.htm">basic rules of Mancala here</a>.</p> <h2>3. Pinwheel</h2> <p>When I was young, my mom made pinwheels for me out of paper and little bits of wire. You can use any colored paper or even foil to make the actual pinwheel. You can find <a href="http://www.leslietryon.com/3dcolorcutout/makepinw/makepinwheel.html">pinwheel instructions here</a>. These toys are great for entertaining little ones.</p> <h2>4. Rattles and Shakers</h2> <p>These are also great <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">baby toys</a> that you can make on your own. You can use any kind of small container and just put in a few small beans, and it would be a cheap rattle. If you want to be fancier, you can paint and decorate the containers.</p> <h2>5. Play-Doh&nbsp;</h2> <p>My son is absolutely in love with Play-Doh, but he always ends up mixing all the colors into one big brown pile and then asks for more. Apparently it is much cheaper to make your own dough at home. There are many recipes online, and most of them consist of flour, water, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring. My favorite homemade Play-Doh recipe is <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo_uO5tFILY">dough colored by Kool-Aid.</a></p> <h2>6. Kites</h2> <p>A simple kite is actually very easy to make. All you need is some fabric or paper, a couple dowels, and a lot of string. I still remember that my dad made me a traditional Chinese kite out of very thin paper and bamboo strips and painted a tiger's face on it. There are many patterns for kites, but the most basic one is the classic diamond shape. PBS has a great <a href="http://www.pbs.org/benfranklin/exp_kite.html">set of instructions for making such a kite</a>. You can get very creative with your kites and have the kids decorate them as they wish.</p> <h2>7. Jump Rope</h2> <p>It's very easy to make your own jump rope. All you need is some braided polyester rope and a way to make a pair of handles. Here is a <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Durable-Jump-Rope/">good set of instructions for a simple jump rope</a>. Jump ropes are fairly cheap to buy, but if you make it on your own, you can make it any length you want.</p> <h2>8. Jianzi</h2> <p><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jianzi">Jianzi</a> is a toy that is very popular in China. When I was young we made these out of several washers attached to some chicken feathers. The game is basically like hacky sack, and kids kick them around without letting the jianzi fall to the ground.</p> <h2>9. Tangram</h2> <p>This is an ancient puzzle game made out of a square cut into seven pieces.You can <a href="http://math.about.com/od/geometr1/ss/tangram.htm">print out a pattern</a>, and then cut the shapes out of hard cardstock, plastic, or thin wood. There are an endless number of shapes you can make out of these pieces. There are many tangram puzzles online where a finished tangram is presented, and it's up to the player to figure out how to make that shape.</p> <h2>10. Masks</h2> <p>Kids love to pretend to be superheroes, and one of the art projects I remember the most from childhood is making paper mache masks. A <a href="http://diyfashion.about.com/od/maskandmasquerade/ss/how-to_mask.htm">great set of mask instructions is available here</a>. After the mask is made, the kids can paint them however they want.</p> <p>These are just some of the toys and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/play-on-5-great-card-and-board-games">games</a> you can make at home with very cheap and readily available materials. The great thing about making these toys yourself is that the process of making them can be fun projects as well.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-toys-and-games-you-can-make-at-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-easy-holiday-crafts-for-kids">30 Easy Holiday Crafts for Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Family cheap things to do with kids crafts games toys Wed, 03 Oct 2012 10:24:43 +0000 Xin Lu 954797 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Angry Birds Has Taught Me About Life http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-angry-birds-has-taught-me-about-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-angry-birds-has-taught-me-about-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/angry_birds.jpg" alt="Woman with Angry Birds on a phone" title="Woman with Angry Birds on a phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="159" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I play Angry Birds. I don&rsquo;t know too many people with a smart phone who don't. Good or bad, the game is highly addictive, and sometimes I feel guilty about the time spent playing. Other times, however, I realize that it&rsquo;s time I would have spent zoning out on bad TV or sleeping on a plane. Here are some of the lessons I&rsquo;ve taken away from playing the nation&rsquo;s most popular gaming app &mdash; and they&rsquo;re pretty good, if you ask me. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-personal-finance-lessons-from-harry-potter">21 Personal Finance Lessons From&nbsp;Harry Potter</a>)</p> <h3>1. If you don&rsquo;t succeed, try again. And again. And maybe one more time.</h3> <p>Because the game is like crack-cocaine in how it compels you to keep doing it, I&rsquo;ll admit to trying a level 100+ times in a row. I can&rsquo;t think of too many other things that I&rsquo;ve shown the same commitment to, but for those things that I have kept at until the end, I&rsquo;ve seen wonderful rewards. If only we could approach our businesses, families, and desires to change the world with the same stubbornness. (I bet things would get better very soon.)</p> <h3>2. It may simply be your approach.</h3> <p>Not sure what you&rsquo;re doing wrong with an unbeatable level in Angry Birds? It may be that you&rsquo;re attacking it from (literally) the wrong angle. With life, as well, it may work to try something completely off the wall for your next approach or give it a &ldquo;throw it and see if it sticks&rdquo; effort. Even if it&rsquo;s not the winning play, you may gain some insight into just how you should go about it next time. (&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s not try THAT again&rdquo; is also a useful &mdash; even if painful &mdash; revelation.)</p> <h3>3. Move on to new things, but revisit ways to sharpen your existing skills.</h3> <p>I love trying new experiences, but I haven&rsquo;t abandoned those pursuits that I&rsquo;ve kept with me since childhood. Just like in the game, you are allowed to move to new levels once you&rsquo;ve passed the previous; it&rsquo;s very rewarding, however, to go back and master older levels to attain those coveted three gold stars. Whether it&rsquo;s piano playing or snowboarding, I highly recommend taking a trip back to old talents to see how you can polish them up.</p> <h3>4. You don&rsquo;t have to do it alone.</h3> <p>It&rsquo;s amazing how all it usually takes for me to pass a difficult level is to leave my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/double-duty-protection-multipurpose-ipad-2-cases">iPad 2</a> on the living room couch for my husband or 8-year-old to find. I can come back a day later guaranteed that the code will be cracked. It&rsquo;s not that they are smarter (they also leave levels for me to assist with); more likely they have that unique perspective and fresh approach that I was lacking on that particular day. Handing life&rsquo;s troubles off for a time to someone less frazzled works; don&rsquo;t be afraid to call in reinforcements.</p> <h3>5. Someone will always be better than you.</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve learned not to obsess about getting a high score in my house or the online Angry Birds community. Life works in the same way for me; there will always be a better blogger, piano player, drummer, and marketer. But I can take peace in focusing on my score in the game <em>and</em> the real world by tuning out what others are doing. (You really can&rsquo;t be happy measuring yourself against others all the time.)</p> <p>Angry Birds is just a game, but it is crazy good fun. It also resembles so many things that I deal with on a daily basis as a mom of five and a <a href="http://www.1099mom.com/">small business owner</a></p> <p><em>What games do you enjoy that have taught you real-world lessons? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-angry-birds-has-taught-me-about-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it">These Apps Turn Saving Money Into a Game — Are They Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-a-personal-website-can-improve-your-life">8 Surprising Ways a Personal Website Can Improve Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organize-8-key-areas-of-your-life-with-these-17-smart-apps">Organize 8 Key Areas of Your Life With These 17 Smart Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too">11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Technology games life lessons smartphone apps Thu, 29 Dec 2011 11:24:28 +0000 Linsey Knerl 845093 at http://www.wisebread.com