Financial Independence and 9 Ways Families Can Save Time and Money Now

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Capital One 360.

When you grow up and become an adult, you free yourself from depending on others. Oh, independence. It's such a fulfilling and satisfying feeling knowing that the efforts you put forth on your own sets that path for you. When it comes to raising a family, the actions you take and the choices you make can shape the future of not just yourself but everyone around you. Priorities like saving time, saving money, and providing your spouse and children a quality of life to your standards can be cumbersome. With proper planning, organization, and clear communication you can still live life to the fullest. Money, finance, budgeting — those all come with raising a family. And to be financially independent can really set you and your family's future on the right path.

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Financial independence to me means not having to worry about money to be able and live a good quality of life. Although my standards are different from others, knowing that I am able to fruitfully live up to those standards gives me joy. Financial independence is my peace of mind knowing that I have organized my life in a way that has saved our family time and money. What does financial independence mean to you? Financial independence means something different to everyone and Capital One 360 wants to know what you’re doing to get there. From packing a lunch or riding your bike to work, Capital One 360 wants to salute the everyday ways you save. Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know what financial independence means to you!

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SWEEPSTAKES! Yes, there's a sweepstakes you can enter!!! Before we dig deeper with time and money saving tips and as we celebrate the independence of our country, Capital One 360 is inviting Americans to declare a different kind of independence: your financial independence. By entering the #my360independence sweepstakes and sharing the ways you are charting a path toward financial freedom, you’ll be entered to win one of sixty-one $1,776 prizes.

Visit http://bank360.com/my360 to participate by submitting a photo or post that showcases what you’re doing, or will do, to be more financially independent. By submitting, you’ll be entered to win a daily cash prize of $1,776. From now until July 14, Capital One 360 will give away one cash prize daily – except for June 30 – July 3, when ten lucky people will win $1,776 per day.

Examples of potential submissions include bringing lunch to work instead of eating take out, riding a bike instead of driving, and growing a vegetable garden. (Submissions can be text or photo submission via website.).

Raising a family doesn't always have to be hard work – you can play hard too. I hear many families tell me they can't afford to take their children out to extravagant theme parks or amusement parks, but honestly, you don't need to spend a ton of money to make memorable family fun experiences with kids. And trust me, I know, because I have four children of my own ranging in age from 5 to 15 (yes, I have every phase of childhood in my home) that I tend to and provide for. Keeping them on their toes with fun adventures can be challenging, especially when the frugal side comes out of us and we don't want to spend too much. During the weekends, my husband and I had to find ways to save but still cherish each moment. We got creative and made a way even when there seemed to be no way! And you can easily copy our creative family fun ideas on a budget too! We've put together 9 ways families can save time and money now! And these ideas hit every favorite activity for families – from DIY crafts to exploring out in your city, there are lots of things to see and do.

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1. DIY Crafts: Want to bring out the crafty side of your child's creativity but don't know where to go to find ideas? PINTEREST is your best friend when it comes to easy, kid-friendly DIY crafts. And with just the cost of a few dollars at Michael's or Hobby Lobby, you'll be well on your way! Be sure to take a photo of your child and their finished craft to add on the memories.

Here are some fun DIY Crafts and Activities that you can get started with NOW:
DIY Family Wall Banner
Create DIY Pom Pom Flowers

2. Family lunch or dinner with coupons: This is great for those of you foodie families that want to take your family out for a nice sit down lunch or dinner. Target kid-friendly restaurants that offer specials or coupons for families with children. Restaurants like Chili's often email subscribers “Kids Eat Free” coupons so be sure to subscribe to your favorite places for coupons and deals. Also, restaurants like Jason's Deli offer Kid's Eat Free promotions during certain days of the week. Be sure to check around your local area for those specials and see significant savings to your bill.

3. You scream, ice cream!: Places like Yogurtland charge by the weight and can make for some affordable ice cream or yogurt fun. Just fill the cup with your choice of ice cream flavor and toppings, and voila! Want to stay in? Buy a gallon of ice cream, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, bananas, and strawberries and put together a fun “Ice Cream Shoppe” in your kitchen so the family can make banana split sundaes together!

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4. Family Game Night: Parents and kids of all ages can have a lot of fun putting together a family game night. Pick out 3-5 game activities to play that evening (make sure to mix it up with electronic games and board games). Games like Chess, Monopoly, Heads Up! (game app by Ellen DeGeneres), a couple of games on the Playstation 3 or Wii U, and Tic Tac Toe can make for HOURS of family fun! And with such a variety, you'll never get bored!

5. Museum Day: Take your children to your city's museum (or children's museum if you have them in your area). They can learn a lot mentally and visually and the admission can be affordable. The Discovery Children's Museum here in Las Vegas is just $12 each person from ages 1 – 99!

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6. National Parks: You can't go wrong with hiking, biking, camping, going to the beach at the lake and exploring nature in your nearby national park. Our favorite is Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas where it's just $7 per vehicle and miles of exploration. And when we want to be surrounded by water or have a fun beach close to home, we hit up Lake Mead! At just $10 per vehicle, we can make it go a long way by having a picnic on the lake's beach, floating around the pier with our floaties, and feeding the ducks! Want breathtaking views? Both national parks after 6pm in the Spring and Summer are where you can catch the amazing sunsets!

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7. Outdoor shopping: If you live in an area where there are outdoor shopping centers, take your family window shopping. There are also some shopping centers that have rides like a carousel and events like outdoor movie nights that you can take advantage of! Las Vegas' Town Square offers fun activities for the whole family and they are often involved with charities too! They also have playgrounds with a splash park that kids can play in for FREE!

8. Bowling: Fun and inexpensive! You can't go wrong with bowling! And in the Summer time, kids can bowl free at participating bowling alleys! HOORAY FOR FREE!

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9. Free events and workshops at your local stores and library: Stores like Apple and Whole Foods Market often offer classes or workshops for kids and families. In the Summer, Apple offers Apple Camp, where kids ages 8-12 learn how to shoot their own footage, create an original song in GarageBand on an iPad, and put it all together in iMovie on a Mac. This free workshop, held at the Apple Store, spans three days and ends with campers debuting their masterpieces at the Apple Camp Film Festival. And don't forget about your local library! They always have some kind of event or story time for children and families.

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Don't forget that saving money in other places like your personal expenses can also keep your budget down! Assess your monthly budget and finances and figure out ways to save. I took a long look at my recent budget, and found a variety of ways to save on things like cable, internet, and mobile phone service by simply contacting my providers and negotiating or discussing ways to keep costs down.

And doing things like keeping more money in your pocket is also a way to drive financial independence, and having options available to give you that freedom to choose is important. Don't know where to start? Capital One 360 is a great place to go for a broad array of financial products and services. They work with consumers, small businesses and commercial clients and I'm confident they have something for you too!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Capital One 360.

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