Homeownership Guidance, Advice and Blogs

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

The importance of play

Success comes with hard work, but even the most successful say that non-work activities are essential to their productivity.

Play takes us back to childhood and the freedom we experienced that’s often lost as adults. Although an out of town vacation can be optimum, too often that comes when there’s not enough money, time, or both. The following are a few ways you can escape for as little as a few minutes:

1. Staycations. For the entire week of my birthday I don’t check work emails and they can’t call me; I sleep late, catch up with friends, and do things I rarely can otherwise. Detaching myself from work for a few days (especially when there are no kids around!) is worth it.

2. Free activities. Quiet as it’s kept, there are tons of free activities nearby, including neighborhood festivals, concerts, outdoor movies, apple picking and checking out the Fall Foliage (I was surprised how much fun that was!)

3. Dancing. Many are embarrassed to dance in public, but in the privacy of your home it can be liberating! Whether you do it with your clothes on or off (can be even more freeing) let it all go and sing as loud and long as you want.

4. Going out to a low-key environment. A few months ago I was in genuine play mode at a local band’s concert. This was a (albeit cute) jeans and sneakers night, with no VIP section or long lines. I didn’t even have any alcohol! It was completely about the music and having fun. Fantastic!

5. Laughing. Finding a hilarious movie, or even calling a funny friend, is all I need to change the scope of my day. Laughter is one of the greatest and easiest forms of play there is.

Things to immediately take off your Play list:

  • Reading a nonfiction book. It causes you to think
  • Many will say watching television but I think that comes with a caveat. If you’re the type that never gets to do so, and it would be a thrill for you to watch one entire show, that can be your Play. I can’t consider it my Play because, even though I only watch it when I’m cooking or folding clothes, I can get through a whole show should I choose to.

Think about what Play is for you, and commit to doing it soon and regularly. I guarantee it will help you, your family and your finances.

And so it is.