Although money may not always be in abundance for activities for the entire family, this doesn’t mean your family needs to miss out on some well-needed time together. Enjoying each other’s company is an important aspect of everyone’s life. There are many different educational, economical and fun ways your family can have fun together.

We’ve come up with some ideas as to how you can still engage in some family-oriented activities for fun family activities, making memories together during these times where money isn’t always readily available for spending.

1. Rent a movie. Instead of taking the whole family to the movie theatre, rent a movie instead. You will not only save money on admission tickets to the movie, but you are free to choose different, healthier snacks to make as a family instead of buying concession stand junk food to munch on during the movie.

2. Make pizza. Instead of ordering in pizza for your family, make an afternoon of teaching your children how to make their own. Not only are you able to choose healthier products such as whole wheat flour for your crust, your children can have some fun experimenting with different toppings on their own personal sized pizzas. Keep in mind that you can make dessert pizzas as well. Instead of regular toppings, cover the dough with apple rings and cinnamon sugar made with low-calorie sweetener. Once it’s cooked, simply drizzle a bit of your favorite icing for a yummy homemade treat.

3. Donate unnecessary items. Generosity is a virtue you may want to instill in your children at a young age. Plan a weekend to have everyone in the family go through their toys, books and clothing to see if there may be some items which can be donated to a community outreach program. Different charities are always looking for new or gently used items. This project will not only help get your house organized, but will be a fantastic lesson in giving for your children.

4. Learn a handicraft together. One particular idea that comes to mind is knitting. Hospitals and seniors residences are always in search of knitted or crocheted blankets or hats for newborn babies. Once you learn how to make these items, make a permanent date on your calendar to drop off a new batch of these high-demand articles on a regular basis.

5. Check your community calendar. Many cities and towns publish a seasonal calendar with different upcoming events or activities. Browse through what is being offered, and choose one or two (or more) which your family would enjoy participating in. Many of these events will turn into holiday rituals or seasonal traditions your children will grow up looking forward too.

6. If you are looking for an activity for the winter months, why not spend the day on a good old-fashioned toboggan hill? While you can still purchase toboggans made of wood in the style of yesteryear, there are many less expensive options. You can get each member of your family a “magic carpet” which is a simple piece of thicker plastic with holes to hold on to. Find a local hill and enjoy the outdoors. Following this activity with a nice cup of hot chocolate is sure to be a great day.

7. Skating. There are many local skating arenas or outdoor areas you can enjoy as a family. Grab those dusty skates from the attic, and go to sporting goods swap stores for skates for your children. These can normally be purchased used for around $5 a pair. Get them sharpened, strap them on and learn to skate again as you teach your children the basics of…falling with grace perhaps?

Spending quality time with your family certainly doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. With these few hints added to a list of your own, you are sure to find enough activities to keep everyone happy during those family moments where some of the best memories are made.

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Having your possessions stolen is a harrowing experience. Theft obviously deprives you of property, but perhaps even worse, it shakes your confidence in your fellow human being. You may experience such emotions as fear, anger and anxiety.

When someone steals a material possession, at least we usually know fairly quickly that it’s gone. But when someone steals one’s identity, it may go undetected for weeks, months or even years. By the time you realize what has happened, your life may be turned upside down. Picking up the pieces is a long and frustrating process, and it’s possible that you may never undo everything that the identity thief has done.

Identity theft can have numerous effects on its victims. Some of these include:

* The thief could steal money from your bank account or run up the balance on your credit card. With a checkbook, credit card or debit card, an identity thief can easily access your funds or an existing credit line. There are liability limits when a credit card is used fraudulently, but no such limits apply to checking or savings accounts.

* The identity thief could open new accounts in your name. With the right information, anyone can apply for a loan or credit card using your identity. If approved, that person can then use the credit card or loan proceeds as he pleases and not bother making payments. The bills will be in your name, and if you do not pay them, it will be your credit rating that suffers.

* The damage to your credit report from identity theft can make it difficult or impossible to obtain new credit. Any credit you do receive will carry a higher interest rate than you would normally be entitled to.

* The negative entries on your credit report can make it much harder to get a job or rent a place to live. Employers and landlords often check applicants’ credit reports, and when they see delinquent accounts, they will usually move on to the next applicant.

* Having your identity stolen could land you in jail. Some identity thieves do what they do to avoid jail time or keep their criminal records clean. They may commit fraud using a stolen identity, or they might give authorities someone else’s name when they’re taken in for a crime. If someone uses your identity for such a purpose, the police could come after you.

If you want to protect your identity, one of the most important things you can do is keep an eye on your credit report. No matter how well you protect your information and important documents, an identity thief could target your employer or a company with which you do business and get everything he needs. Checking your credit report periodically will alert you to any strange activity so that you can take steps to avoid further damage.

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The current economic climate has resulted in many people trying to find ways to save money or increase their income. One way of doing this which many people don’t seem to have thought of yet is the possibility of renting out a spare room in their home. Making ends meet isn’t the only advantage to this either. Opting for a roommate could potentially help you to pay off your mortgage sooner.

If you have someone equally sharing expenses with you, your savings increase significantly on a monthly basis. You may not feel comfortable with the possibility of sharing your home with a stranger, but by talking to family members or friends you may find someone who is also considering how to save money on their housing costs. Sharing of other expenses as well, such as utilities, food and even driving back and forth to errands can help you save even more, enabling you to possibly make larger payments on your mortgage.

Although having a roommate may not be what you had in mind when you started out, it’s really not all that bad. It can actually be advantageous both financially and socially. Of course there’s the privacy issue, but with some ground rules set from the beginning everyone should adjust easily without too much trouble. The key is to make a list of what you will and won’t accept in a roommate before you start looking. Because you are getting a roommate for a bit of financial ease, you want to be sure you really are getting what you bargain for.

The person you choose must of course be able to live up to their financial responsibilities. It is your absolute right to ask for references, as well as to perform credit verifications if you are willing to spend the money for that extra peace of mind. Only after you are sure this potential roommate is a financial fit should you concern yourself with the social aspect of having someone sharing your space.

What this all breaks down to in the end, is money. Let’s work with some actual figures to give you an example of what having a roommate can help you achieve financially.

Your mortgage payment is $1000 per month. Add to that your utilities (telephone, cable, heating and lighting) at $350 per month and homeowner’s insurance at $200 per month. That gives you a total of $1550 out of pocket each and every month. And that is before you have eaten or started you car – let alone bought any new clothes, seen a movie or gone on a date.

In comes your new roommate. Yes, you have finally found the perfect roommate after searching and being very picky about the entire process. After all, this is your house to begin with. You and your new roommate have agreed they will pay you $700 per month to rent your spare room and share all common living spaces. Not only is that half of your mortgage payment, but it completely covers your homeowner’s insurance as well.

This doesn’t have to be a “forever” solution. Eventually you and your roommate will part ways as life moves on, and the economy changes. But it’s a fantastic temporary solution which can not only have you paying down your mortgage sooner, but you may just make a friend out of it at the same time.

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Creative Ways To Stick To A Family Budget

January 24, 2013

Having a family budget is important if you want to get the most out of your money. And during tough economic times, it becomes even more important. But budgeting is not a favorite activity of most families, because it often seems synonymous with giving up things we enjoy. It’s true that a good budget doesn’t [...]

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Some Reasons Why Debt Consolidation is Not A Good Idea

January 16, 2013

Now more than ever, in these tough economic times people are looking at their finances carefully to try and save money.  Making our dollars stretch as far as possible is a big help for some and an absolute necessity for others.  But sometimes things seem out of control and we look to options that may [...]

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Steps To Take When Fixing Your Credit Score

January 8, 2013

There is no question that the need for a high credit score has become more important in the last couple of years as the economy has shifted dramatically. Not only that but the housing market and mortgage industry has changed right along with it. This means that keeping your credit score high is a vitally [...]

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4 Ways To Reign in Your Spending For the New Year

January 1, 2013

Whether you are saving for a particular goal or you just want to put more money in your rainy day fund, reigning in your spending can be much leasier than trying to make more money. Here are some simple and painless ways that you can reduce your spending. Consolidate Your Debt If you have major [...]

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How to Make Money Off Unwanted Christmas Gifts

November 26, 2012

You know that old saying that’s on everyone’s lips at Christmastime: “It’s better to give than to receive.” Still, most of us rather enjoy getting gifts. But sometimes we get gifts that we won’t use, or can’t wear, or just aren’t particularly fond of. Our first thought is usually to return the unwanted gift to [...]

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Freshman Fund and Saving For College

October 20, 2012

Coming up with the money to pay for college is no easy task. Saving up over the years starting when your child is young makes things easier. But when you have retirement savings and everyday expenses to think about, it may be difficult to find room in the budget to save as much as you’d [...]

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How To Save Money At The Office Potluck

October 13, 2012

The office potluck doesn’t have to strain your food budget. There are many inexpensive options that your co-workers are sure to love so you can have fun while you save money. As an added bonus, many of these choices wind up being healthier than more expensive fare. Inexpensive Office Birthday Parties: 1. Control the portion [...]

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