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10 Ways to Have Fun at Home

April 2, 2020

We’re all spending a lot of time at home lately. After staying in for some time, it’s expected that things can get a bit boring. Whether you’re staying home from school, working from home, or spending time taking care of your children, here are ten easy ways to have fun at home.


By Caroline Farhat


1. Dive into a new book

Want to know more about finances? Or maybe feel like you’re traveling by reading about faraway lands? Reading a great book can not only help you learn something new, but it can also reduce stress by 68%, according to a study by the University of Sussex. If the idea of cabin fever is stressing you out, getting lost in a book can be a great distraction. To save money, check out a book from your local library. Many libraries now have digital versions of books if you can’t go to a physical location. 


2. Try out a new hobby or learn a new skill

Have you always wanted to learn an instrument, focus on your painting or knitting, or learn a new language? Extra downtime at home is a great time to focus on projects that get pushed to the side when your life gets busy. Starting a hobby or learning a new skill doesn’t have to be expensive either. There are plenty of free apps or videos online to learn instruments, languages, and more. Having a hobby is not only good for your health; it’s also good for your career. Studies have shown having a hobby can help you be more creative at work and avoid burnout. 


3. Create a goal plan or vision board

When’s the last time you thought of what you really want out of life? For many Americans, we’re so busy living life that we don’t have much time to stop and think about our future goals. Having some downtime at home is a great time to review where you are in life and what you’d like to work on in the near future. Take some time to review your goals related to finances, career, personal relationships, and your hobbies. Once you have concrete goals, develop an action plan (and vision board, if that’s your thing!).


4. Workout

With extra time at home, you can focus on starting a workout routine or maintaining one. Get out in the fresh air for a run or turn on a workout video. Exercise is not only good for your body, but it’s also great for your mental health. Tip: Looking for an inexpensive way to workout? The popular Peloton app is currently running a free 90-day trial and has numerous bodyweight-only workout videos. If that’s not your thing, YouTube has tons of free workout videos that you can do with zero equipment.


5. Plan your next adventure

You know the happiness you get from anticipating an upcoming event or trip? You’re not alone! A Dutch study found that planning a trip can make you happier than actually taking one. Planning a trip is a great activity to do if you’re currently homebound. Plus, it’ll give you time to save some money for your trip! Research a destination, accommodations, and activities you will do there. If you are feeling really creative, create a board to hang up with pictures of the location to remind yourself of the fun times ahead. Even if it is a bucket trip that won’t happen for a while, the planning process can be a fun thing to experience now!


6. Organize & spring clean

You may not think of organizing and cleaning as fun activities, but if you put on some music (or a great podcast you found!), you may find that cleaning can actually be pretty therapeutic! Plus, a clean and clutter-free space can help you feel more relaxed in your home. Need some inspiration? Check out Marie Kondo’s spring cleaning tips. Tip: Set a timer for thirty minutes and see how much you can get done. You may end up wanting to continue once the time is up!


7. TV/Movie marathon

Have you missed out on the latest movie or want to see why everyone is talking about a certain series? Binge-watching a series or movies can be a great way to relax during your downtime. Whether you currently have streaming services or you just rent a movie from your library, you are sure to find something fun to watch with all the options. Tip: If you want to try out a streaming service, check for any free trials they may offer! It’s a great way to start your binge-watching and be sure that you aren’t wasting your money on a service you won’t like.


8. Game night

Gather some board games, a deck of cards for poker, or play charades. Playing games can be a fun activity to get the whole family involved or just a competitive game against your partner. Don’t have any game supplies around or not a fan of board games? Play “Would You Rather”, where you give two scenarios to see which scenario people would rather choose. Whatever you decide to play you are sure to create some fun memories.  


9. Try a new recipe

Love to cook and think you’d be the next champion on a cooking show or dread it and consider it a chore? Trying a new recipe might just be different enough to be fun! Maybe you are craving a family recipe you never made or wish you had a meal from your favorite restaurant. Call up a family member for the recipe or search for a restaurant copycat recipe and try it! Cooking at home can not only save you calories and money, but it also can have numerous .


10. Take control of your finances

While budgeting can sometimes be a headache, making improvements to your financial situation can be a major relief and allow you to have more fun! Using your free time to research ways to better your financial situation can really pay off. If you have student debt, you may take this time to refinance your student loans* – by refinancing, you may be able to lower your interest rate, save on your monthly payment, or pay off your loans faster. You might also consider switching to a high-yield checking account that allows you to make more of your money. SouthEast Bank’s Bonus Rate Checking allows you to earn over 30x the national average on your checking with a yield of 2.01% APY. Or, you could simply make tweaks to your monthly budget.


Being at home, whether by choice or circumstances, can still allow you to have fun times – so take this list and see if any of these help! Who knows, you may end up discovering a new hobby or talent!



*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.


1APY=Annual Percentage Yield. Rates subject to change. APYs are accurate as of 03/23/2020. Fees may reduce earnings. Some Fees and restrictions apply. 30x the national average for interest checking based on non-jumbo deposits and the weekly rate cap information for the week of March 16, 2020: https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/resources/rates/. To earn the bonus rate, each month the account must be enrolled in eStatements, post and clear at least 15 debit card transactions, and receive at least one direct deposit or ACH debit. If all qualifications are met during the statement cycle, a bonus rate of 2.01% APY on balances of up to$20,000 and .20% APY on balances over $20,000 will be credited. If bonus qualifications are not met during the statement cycle, a rate of .05% APY of the balance will be credited. Interest earnings are based on daily collected balances and are credited monthly to the account. Qualifying transactions include point of sale or online purchases using the SouthEast Bank debit card. ATM and cash-only transactions do not qualify towards minimum debit card transaction amount. Limit one Bonus Rate Checking account per primary owner tax ID.


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The Best Personal Finance Blogs of 2020

If you’re looking to build strong money management habits, you should consider subscribing to a personal finance blog. All over the internet, personal finance professionals share their wisdom on how to build wealth, pay down debt and establish budgets. You have a world of financial knowledge at your fingertips, so it's time to get started!   With a range of topics and blog focuses, it can be hard to decide where to begin. If you’re all about smart saving, spending wisely and torching your student debt, then here are ELFI’s top picks for 2020 personal finance blogs:

Making Sense of Cents

Making Sense of Cents has a little bit of everything when it comes to building money management habits. Whether you have questions about student debt, insurance or budgeting, this is the blog for you. It’s also been named one of the top personal finance blogs by FinCon, Zillow and the Plutus Awards.   This blog maintains a light, fun tone so it’s easy to read, and it handles a lot of top-level questions about personal finance. Author Michelle also shares about her experiences living in an RV and on a sailboat touring the world. If you’ve caught the travel bug, then you may find some exciting content here.  

Millennial Money Man

Bobby Hoyt, the founder of Millennial Money Man, teaches millennials to pay off debt and live their best, self-employed lives. His blogs focus primarily on trending finance apps and ways to monetize your hobbies. He also shares useful budgeting and spending tips to help set you up for financial success.   If you have a passion for entrepreneurship, Bobby is your man. Enjoy insider tips on growing your business and expanding your income streams, from someone who's done it himself.  

The Budgetnista

Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche is passionate about teaching personal finance. She's also one of Amazon’s #1 bestselling authors for her books on personal finance. Her background as a preschool teacher makes her incredible at explaining high-level financial topics in an engaging, easy-to-understand way. Although she’s developed near-celebrity status as a blogger and speaker, Tiffany's down-to-earth style makes for a relatable, fun read.   From banishing debt to building a strong business, her blog covers best practices for achieving financial success. She debunks money myths with topics like “Debt Freedom Doesn’t Equal Wealth,” to help her readers build money management habits. If you have an entrepreneurial personality and are ready to take the next financial step in your personal life or your business, The Budgetnista blog is for you.  

Afford Anything

If you’re a travel fanatic, you’ll love “Afford Anything." Author Paula Pant has traveled to more than 40 countries. She speaks to financial independence and real estate investing, her two primary categories of expertise. She’s built self-sustaining wealth by investing in real estate and uses her free time to teach others how to do the same.   Her blog is all about cutting back expenses in unnecessary areas while spending on the things you love. She writes for readers who want an actionable strategy for spending and saving wisely. If you’re interested in building wealth or in real estate investing, this is one blog you won’t want to miss.  

Broke Millennial Blog

Broke Millennial Blog author and speaker Erin Lowry wants to teach you how to get your financial life together with a 5-step plan designed to help you take charge of your finances. Her blog focuses on popular millennial topics, like budgeting strategies for different personality types and awkward money situations. If you feel like you could use a little financial direction, this blog is probably a great fit for you.   If you love the Broke Millennial Blog and want to take the next step in your financial journey, Erin makes it easy! You can subscribe to the blog’s email list for access to a free money management worksheet designed just for readers.  

Stefanie O’Connell

Stefanie O’Connell wants to help you travel the world, create a living space you love and have healthy financial conversations with your significant other. Her blog addresses financial conundrums you may have wondered about but have been afraid to ask, like “Why I’m Not Having Bridesmaids at My Wedding” and “4 Ways to Buy a Home When You don’t Have Enough of a Down Payment.”   Stefanie’s upbeat, relatable blog gives readers a sense of familiarity. She doesn’t cut corners and gets straight to the heart of financial questions. Her blog offers direction if you’re interested in investing, budgeting or establishing healthy financial boundaries in your relationship.   Every reader interested in learning more about financial topics should check out ELFI’s recommended blogs. If you’re loving the ELFI blog, don’t forget to check out the rest of our topics for even more great information about managing your student loan debt.  
  Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no­­­ control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.
3 Financial Goals to Achieve Before Marriage – And Some That Can Wait

Marriage is both a personal and financial turning point that opens up a new world of financial opportunities and struggles. However, with proper planning, you can minimize the challenges and make the most of financial opportunities. Check out these financial goals to achieve before marriage, as well as a couple of others that you’ve still got time to work toward:  

Financial Goals to Achieve Before Marriage

The Emergency Fund

For many couples, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the importance of emergency funds exceptionally clear. Especially as you enter into your first few years of marriage, it’s important to build a strong financial foundation so you’re prepared for unexpected expenses, from home repairs to medical bills.
Financial hardship is a leading cause of divorce, and in these uncertain times, an emergency fund can help to weather the storm.   In addition, an emergency fund provides a way to ease financial anxiety and distress even when times aren’t tough. When you know you’re prepared with emergency savings, there’s no need to panic if the unexpected happens.  

Setting a Monthly Budget

Even if you aren’t getting married, creating a budget is a great financial step, and is something you should do right away. Work with your partner to outline your regular expenses, as well as any expenses that may arise in your first year of marriage. Make sure you provide yourself with some flexibility in your savings and begin building an emergency fund if you haven’t already.   There are several useful tools that can help you keep track of your budget, including apps like Mint. You can also employ a budgeting strategy to keep your saving and spending on track. Several popular budgeting methods include the 50/20/30 rule, the Zero based budget and the cash envelope system. Not only will a budget be good for your finances, but it will be good for your marriage, as well.  

Setting Goals for the Future

Yes, setting goals is a goal. You and your future spouse should lay out financial goals before getting married. It’s important to be on the same page when it comes to debt repayment, housing plans, savings goals and other major financial milestones. Plus, it’s good to know what your spouse is looking for, and a good plan helps to avoid financial stress that can really harm a marriage.  

More Flexible Financial Goals

Making a Down Payment

While it’s great to start saving for a down payment before marriage, it’s not necessary to be entirely ready to buy a home before tying the knot. Especially if you’ve already established good money management habits, you can always continue working toward this financial goal as a married couple.   Even if you don’t have the money for a down payment right away, you can easily establish a strategy to save toward a down payment. Experts recommend planning on putting a minimum of 10% down for your down payment and the more you can save, the better. Stay focused and keep saving. You’ll have that down payment in no time.  

Becoming Debt-Free

Some couples choose to pay their student debt off before getting married, however, student debt is another financial goal you can afford to wait on, especially if you consider refinancing. After your wedding, you may choose to prioritize other expenses that come with building a life together, like a new car or home, before tackling the remainder of your student debt.   That said, you certainly don’t want to forget about your student loans. By refinancing your student loans, you could earn greater financial flexibility by lowering your interest rate or changing your student loan repayment term. Refinancing can provide you with the options you need to achieve financial goals with your new spouse.  

Tips for Tackling Student Debt

As a general rule, it’s best to first tackle whichever debt is incurring the most interest. Debts with high interest rates can easily spiral out of control, and while it may not be essential to totally eliminate your student debt before your marriage, it is advisable to develop a plan to do so.   The good news is, you can employ several strategies to make paying off debt a less intimidating ordeal. Two of the most popular repayment strategies are the debt snowball and the debt avalanche. These two plans take opposite approaches. While the debt avalanche calls for dealing with the highest interest debt first, the debt snowball calls for dealing with the lowest amount of debt first and using the momentum to pay off debts one by one. The right method for you depends on your situation, but both can be incredibly effective if used correctly. Again, it’s worth noting that it isn’t necessary to have your debt entirely paid off before getting married, but you should develop a plan for paying it off before you say “I do.”   A marriage is a big change, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. By taking the time to have fun and create a few financial goals, you’ll set yourself up for success even before tying the knot.  If you’re getting married soon, you also might be interested in budgeting for your wedding. Check out our guide here.  
  Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.
Couple focused on buying insurance
The Millennial’s Guide to Buying Insurance

On average, United States citizens report a 51% discrepancy between the life insurance coverage they have and the amount their families would need in the event of a tragedy. For millennials, this number is even greater, with only 10% reporting an adequate amount of life insurance. As millennials continue to grow up and start families, it’s important to understand both how to buy insurance and why insurance is necessary to protect loved ones.  

What is Insurance?

Insurance helps alleviate the risk of serious financial hardship in case of accidents or other unexpected events. If you own a high-dollar item like a home, car, boat or piece of jewelry, your insurance policy is in place to protect your monetary investment in case it is damaged, lost or destroyed.   Some types of insurance protect people rather than possessions. Medical insurance, for example, assists with the costs of illness prevention and treatment.   While ideally, you won’t experience a major loss that would require insurance, it’s impossible to predict when accidents may happen. With that in mind, insurance helps to protect your loved ones and valuables in case something unexpected occurs. Here are a few things to consider when buying insurance.  

3 Tips for Buying Insurance

1. Know what you need.

While it’s great to buy insurance at a competitive price, it’s more important to make sure your needs are met. For example, if you own a car, you’re required by law to purchase liability insurance coverage, which assists with the cost of damaging someone else’s property. If you have an accident, insurance saves you from footing the bill entirely out-of-pocket as long as the damages are covered under your policy.   You can also choose to buy additional insurance coverage. For example, collision coverage helps pay for damages to your own vehicle after an accident. This type of coverage is sometimes optional, but when buying insurance, consider whether paying the monthly premium might be less expensive than covering your vehicle damages out-of-pocket after an accident.  

2. Compare pricing from different carriers.

After you’ve determined the types and amounts of insurance you need to buy, take the time to compare plans from multiple carriers. You can do this through independent research, but it’s often easier to work with a third-party organization like SouthEast Insurance.   SouthEast Insurance works with more than 40 insurance carriers to find the best rates on coverage. They scout the best deals on more than 20 different types of insurance, from necessities like auto and home coverage to miscellaneous policies including pet and umbrella coverage.   The company aims to find you the best coverage at the best price, whether that means bundling products together or choosing individual carriers. Because they work directly with each carrier, their quotes are real, not estimates, and are personalized to your situation. After submitting a request, it normally takes about 10 to 15 minutes to receive a quote.   If you aren’t sure how to begin researching insurance policies, working with a company like this is a great way to narrow down your options without spending hours of unnecessary time and energy. The best part is, it doesn't cost anything to receive a quote from SouthEast Insurance, and there’s no pressure to buy!  

3. Cover all your bases when buying insurance.

At the very least, it’s important to invest in the necessities: home insurance, auto insurance, life insurance and health insurance. These help to cover your most valuable assets, as well as to ensure you and your family can receive medical attention when you need it.   Beyond the basics, however, you may want to consider a variety of insurance types. If you own a vehicle other than a car, like a boat or a motorcycle, you can have it covered. If you lease a space, renters insurance protects lost or damaged items in case of an event like fire or burglary. From earthquake insurance to wedding insurance, you can protect many of your major investments with various types of coverage.   Don’t just stop at the minimum when it comes to buying insurance coverage. Make sure to research what your policy does and doesn’t cover, and invest in additional protection if your current policy doesn’t include everything you’d like to insure.   Ultimately, buying insurance is about protecting the people you care about, as well as yourself. While we can’t predict accidents, we can be prepared for them. Once you’re covered, you can rest easy knowing your and your loved ones will be shielded from many types of financial stress, and that your most important belongings are safeguarded.  


  Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no­­­ control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.