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 Category:  Computers

Getting the Most out of your Computer

Computers , Economy and Frugality

When I first wrote this article, the first thing I said was that computers were "money suckers". That was several years ago. Thankfully, the cost of computers has come down- a lot! Now when you buy them, they come loaded with software. Upgrades are not so frequent, nor is the need to continually buy new software.

Still, we want to use our computer as much as possible to get our money out of it. Here are some of the things I use my computer for.

Home and Office

Finances - I'd be lost with out my Quicken. With me, 2+2 doesn't always seem to make 4! Quicken catches all my mistakes, keeps my checkbook accurate, and allows me to balance my statements in just a few minutes.

Online Banking - I use to dread paying bills. Now, with billpay, it is an easy task.

Investing and Money - My husband and I are able to manage his company investments online. It is very easy to invest online with a discount brokerage. If you want to invest in the market, all the information you need is on the Internet. If you do your research, you can safely do your own investing. I also sell on ebay. I am able to transfer funds from Paypal to my Online Bank.

Spreadsheets- I use Lotus for my family budget. I have a program that I got for the cost of shipping and handling. I am able to print out my budget every month, and keep careful track of my expenses.

Organization - I'd be lost without my Lotus Notebook. I keep all my addresses, bank numbers, passwords, etc. here. Then when I do things like calling my bank, I have all the necessary info right in front of me. (Be sure it is password protected)

Word Processing- If nothing else, I guess everyone uses their computer for this. I use it for my correspondence, keeping my journal, newsletters, research notes for my money saving ideas, etc.

E-mail - This is how I keep in touch with my family and friends. It is so much easier than writing letter, which have such a long lag time. It has reunited my spread out family.

Hobbies and Crafts

Greeting Cards- I make all my own greeting cards. This saves a ton of money!

Hobby Information - Whatever your hobby, you can find everything from basic instructions to free patterns.

Calendars - I make my own calendars. I have several things I need to keep track of, from household items to business dates, and I can personalize each calendar to suit my needs.

Gifts - I often make gifts with my computer. You can make birthday charts (which tell what happened and more on the day someone was born), personalized mailing labels, greeting cards for people to send out with their names on the front, stationary, coloring books, calendars, etc. What makes them special is customizing them for the person to whom you are giving them.

Mailing Labels- I keep my lists organized (like Christmas Lists) and am able to print out mailing labels quickly. It is a big time saver. I also enjoy the creativity of putting graphics on my labels.

Pictures - I bought a scanner, and scanned every picture that we had and put it on disk. Then I put them all on CD's and gave copies to my children. They are saved for many generations.

Entertainment and Education

Education - Whether it's playing my favorite Trivia game, learning to speak French, my husband's typing course, Barron's Book notes, or for younger kids, the many fun and tutorial programs- learning is great on a computer.

Genealogy - You can do lots of research with your computer. One of the biggest resources in the LDS Family History site at: There are also many research sites, such as We have found family through this research, and have shared correspondence as well as family pictures.

Games - Play some games for relaxation. My favorites- Backgammon, Tetris, Solitaire, Scrabble and Golf. I also did enjoy The 7th Guest (although I didn't care much for the dungeon).

Recipes - Ever bring a casserole to an event, and have 10 people want the recipe? I keep all my special recipes in a software program. Then I can easily print out copies.

The Internet- There is so much to learn and to do on the internet. Read your paper in the morning. Read your horoscope and the weather. Invest in the stock market. Download software programs and clipart. Research your favorite subject. Join a newsgroup. Shop at stores and auctions. Pick up a recipe or craft project. The Internet has something for everyone, and can keep you occupied for hours.

Graphics - Collect graphics and use them in letters, mailing labels, greeting cards, newsletters, etc.

Home Business

Crafting - If you have a favorite craft, you can take pictures, either with a scanner or digital camera, and put your items up on the Internet to sell. There are dozens of other ways to make money on the Internet.

My Ezines-  Last, but not least, I maintain the website "All Things Frugal" and publish the The Pennypincher and Tightwad Tidbits Daily. This started as a hobby, then turned into a mission, and now is the source of a little extra money for the family budget.


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