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Eleven Genius, Creative Ways to Save Without Leaving Home

Eleven Genius, Creative Ways to Save Without Leaving Home

Let’s face it. You’re probably spending more money than you want to each and every month. With car payments, rent, mortgages, student loans, food costs, and dozens of other expenditures constantly draining your bank account, it’s a smart idea to save as much money as you can on the little things.

Plus, did you know that saving money can lower your stress level? It also opens the door for you to never have to say “no” to making a purchase that you really want or need.

Saving money is difficult, right? Surely only those who have mastered the art of self-control can possibly manage to create an aggressive budget that makes room for savings. You could make a budget and save some money but then you’d have to deprive yourself of all the things you like.

Actually, there are plenty of easy ways to save money right at home! That’s right! By making a few small changes to your habits you could start saving money right now. Check out these eleven great tips for saving money at home and add yours in the comments!

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1. Buy Gift Cards on eBay.

Love going out to eat? Do most of your shopping at a particular store? Do you know that you can shop eBay and find loads of people selling their old gift cards for a discount? In most cases you can save 10-20% off of the value of the gift card! In fact, I’ve got my eye on a few cards right now.

2. Use Coupon Websites.

If you’ve ever seen an episode of the TV show “Extreme Couponing,” you know just how incredible the savings can be when you shop with coupons. Tough work, you say? Coupon sites like Money Saving Mom can make saving with coupons a snap. There are also cash back sites like TopCashback, eBates, or Giving Assistant that can get you anywhere from 1% to 10% cash back on ordinary purchases that you make online. Not as hard as you thought, right?

3. Change Your Drinking Habits.

If your beverage of choice at home is a soda, you’re throwing money out the window every single time you open a can or bottle. Even more expensive than bottled soda is bottled water, which routinely costs 30% more than soda and about 20x as much as tap water. Do yourself a favor and stick with tap water. If you don’t trust your local drinking supply, a filter for your tap– or a filtered water pitcher– can still save you hundreds every year.

4. Use This Water-Saving Shower Trick.

We’ve all stood under the shower for what seems like an eternity, letting the warm water relax and soothe us. You just want to stay in the shower for hours. A money-saving technique I learned from One Good Thing by Jillee could cut your wasted water in half. Instead of standing under a running shower while you lather your hair and skin, simply use the water to wet and rinse yourself. By turning off the faucet while soaping up you can save gallons of water each time you shower.

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5. Set up Automatic Deposits into a Savings Account.

If you’ve looked at your bank account at the end of the month, you’ve probably asked yourself, “Where did all of my money go?” It’s easy to spend at the moment and leave nothing for later. If that’s true in your case you might need to “trick yourself” into saving money.

Try setting up automatic transfers to move $5, $10, or $20 at a time from your checking to your savings account throughout the month. In most cases, you won’t notice the money leaving your account until you see it begin to stack up in your savings at the end of the month! You could also try a service like Acorns, which rounds up each purchase you make and puts the extra money toward a stock portfolio of your choice.

6. Make Home Repairs.

You can save money by making small improvements to your home. Even simple changes like adding draft stoppers to your door or changing your furnace filter regularly can make a big difference, according to AC repair company Right Now Air. You should also consider installing low-flow faucets and/or toilets and adding more insulation to your home. The savings can add up big time throughout the year.

7. Unplug Appliances.

Are you familiar with the phrase “vampire power?” It’s your appliances using energy when they are not running but are left plugged in. Your television, phone charger, hair dryer, and laptop can all be unplugged when not in use, saving you money on your electric bill.

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8. Make Popcorn!

Have you ever noticed just how pricey your favorite brand of potato chips is? Despite the fact that potatoes are one of the cheapest commodities in the world, potato chips (and other salty snacks) can cost more money per pound than steak!

Instead of buying potato chips, try making popcorn at home. It’s cheap, simple, and can be flavored in dozens of different ways.

9. DIY Your Home Decor.

Buying expensive decorations at stores like Hobby Lobby or TJ Maxx (I love both but they’re pricey) can really hurt your bank account. Instead, find a great project on Pinterest and create these decorations yourself! You’ll cut the costs quite a bit and you will have a fun craft project to enjoy alone or with your family.

10. Ditch the Gym Membership.

An average gym membership can cost upward of $25 per month. That’s $300 in a year! Yowza. Save yourself a bundle by working out at home. YouTube is filled with an incredible number of workout guides that you can watch anytime, anywhere. My personal favorite is The Fitness Marshall.

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11. Cut the Cord.

If you’re still paying for a cable or satellite subscription, you’re missing out on huge savings. A membership to Netflix or Hulu will cost one-fifth the price of a satellite subscription and can provide just as many quality TV episodes and movies as your old dish or cable provider. Do yourself a favor and cut the cord.

Saving money doesn’t have to be boring, and it’s far from impossible. In fact, with these eleven simple tips you can start saving money right now without even leaving your house,

Leave a comment and let me know which tip you’re most excited to try!

Featured photo credit: 401(K) 2012/Flickr via flickr.com

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Jimmy Winskowski

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Published on November 5, 2020

8 Best Finance Apps For Effective Budget Tracking And Planning

8 Best Finance Apps For Effective Budget Tracking And Planning

Looking for ways to effectively track, plan, and manage your budgeting? Well, there is a multitude of apps for that! Finance apps are the best options around for tracking and planning your budget and keeping you accountable. After all, using a pen and paper can make it cumbersome to track.

The apps that we’ve listed below do a ton of the heavy lifting for you and provide a wide array of functions to help you with your financial needs.

How to Pick a Suitable Finance App

When looking at some of the best finance apps that are ideal for budgeting, we found these particular features to be important. Keep these in mind when looking for ideal finance apps.

  • User interface – Navigation is key in any circumstances of an app. This is especially true for helpful apps like finance apps. You want to be using them regularly. As such, the interface should be simple to navigate.
  • Habit building – Finance tracking is all about building money habits, and apps have unique ways of building those habits. There is the app itself but features like push notifications are also essential in some circumstances.
  • Syncing – You should be able to connect your bank account to these finance apps, and that process should also be pretty easy to do, too.
  • Usefulness – The number of features that the app has should be relevant and make it something you want to check. Sure, some of these finance apps work in the background, but those on this list help significantly when you check them regularly.
  • Data presentation – The number of reports and analytical data is a core focus for these finance apps as well since it allows you to make sound financial decisions.

1. Best Finance App Overall – Mint

    If you’re looking for an overall quality finance app, Mint is the first that comes to mind. It’s one of the most well-known personal finance apps around and for good reason. It provides you with a complete financial picture all in one place.

    By connecting your debit and credit cards to your account, Mint will provide you with a list of transactions and break them into categories, showing you exactly where you are spending your money. You can also track billing and create a budget on the app to help you stay on track of your savings goals.

    A new feature that Mint rolled out recently is the ability to see your credit score. Through this feature, you can also see the factors that are contributing to your credit score. Beyond that, you can also track investments and schedule routine utility payments.

    Download Mint here.

    2. Best Finance App for Debt Management – YNAB

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      You Need A Budget (YNAB) is an app that is built on four rules:

      1. Give every dollar a job.
      2. Embrace true expenses.
      3. Roll with the punches.
      4. Age your money.

      Based on these four rules, the app will help you build a better budget while also allowing you to gain control of your spending. You can import transactions from your checking account and apply them to each budget category to get an accurate look at your spending.

      This app also provides detailed reports to show you your spending habits while you are striving to keep a balanced budget in the various categories. YNAB will also point out other spots that you can improve your spending.

      According to YNAB, the average user will save about $600 in the first two months and can save over $6,000 in the first year. It sounds promising for a debt management app.

      Download You Need A Budget here.

      3. Best Wealth Management App – Personal Capital

        Another solid choice is Personal Capital. It focuses on wealth management but also serves as another personal finance app. Through this app, you can manage assets and investments along with setting up a budget for everyday spending accounts.

        This service integrates with over 14,000 financial institutions, allowing you to link your bank account(s) directly to the app and through it. By linking your bank account to the app, you can track your spending, too.

        That said, the app really shines when you connect it to your investing accounts. By doing so, you have a convenient spot to track your portfolio by account, asset class, or individual security. The app can also show you opportunities to diversify, manage risk, and find any hidden fees that you could be paying.

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        You can also compare your own portfolio to the major market benchmarks to help you keep track of whether you’re on track to reaching your goals. You can also get financial advice from this app as the financial advisors here are registered and can provide you with advice tailored to your goals.

        Download Personal Capital here.

        4. Manage Your Subscriptions – Clarity Money

          One of the popular business models that companies are moving to these days is subscription-based. While this model does have its merits, one of the many problems that we face with this model as consumers is that we find ourselves subscribed to things we don’t need. Paying for a streaming service is nice, but many people often are subscribed to multiple streaming services.

          Because it’s so difficult to remember and even track all the subscriptions we’re paying for, this particular app can provide us with clarity. Clarity Money is all about bringing to light what you are paying for and providing you with a convenient way to cancel and throw away unused subscriptions you’re not using.

          Beyond removing unnecessary subscriptions, the app also looks at your spending behavior and offers suggestions for ways to improve your financial health. You can even make deposits to your savings account through this app.

          Download Clarity Money here.

          5. Best Bill Paying App – Prism

            If you’re looking for a convenient app that shows all of your bills and financial apps, this is the app for you. Prism takes pride in having 11,000 billers on this app. This is the highest amount of billers on bill-paying apps you can find. From billers like large banks to even small utility companies, chances are high that the company you’re paying for accepts this app.

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            In terms of actual function, you can add your bills to the app and the app will then automatically track it. It’ll send you date reminders to pay the bill as well so you won’t get hit with late payments. On top of that, you can schedule payments to be made the same day or several days in advance as well. Prism is a nice app that allows you to pay bills in one sitting without having to log in to several accounts.

            Download Prism here.

            6. Best Shared Expenses Management App – Spendee

              Many of these apps are focused on providing services to a single user. This is natural considering most of these apps are asking for your banking information. However, this is one of the few apps on here that allows multiple people to use it.

              With Spendee, the idea is to create shared wallets with your friends and family that you can then use to manage shared expenses for a household budget. You will need to get bank transactions for this to work, but that is fine. After that, the app will categorize all of the transactions and tally how you’re spending money every month.

              You’ll be able to add cash expenses manually as well for accuracy. Beyond those features, you’ve got bill tracker functionality to ensure you pay your bills and avoid late payments. There is also a budget component that will allow you to save and ensure you don’t overspend.

              Download Spendee here.

              7. Best Visuals on Finance App – Mobills

                Mobills is another bill management app that offers a great presentation of information. The app focuses on bill management and offers typical features you can find in these apps. These include categorizing your bills, paying them through the app, and setting up budgets to ensure you stick to them.

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                That being said, Mobills delivers these features remarkably. It presents you with charts that are completely interactive and can help you analyze your financial life. Also, moving bills to various categories is easy and smooth to do.

                Download Mobills here.

                8. Best Finance App for Budgeting Overall – EveryDollar

                  Dave Ramsey is a personal finance expert who urged people to follow a zero-based budget method. This method is the idea that every dollar serves a purpose in your budget. It’s this concept that has inspired the name of this app: EveryDollar.

                  With that in mind, the app provides a monthly expense tracker that you can connect your bank account to. This will take note of important transactions to ensure your spending is in check. You can even split expenses between multiple budget items. The tracker also provides you with an overview of how much money you’ve spent this month and what you’ve got left.

                  Staying true to the name, EveryDollar also has a money management aspect that will help you set up a money management plan. You’ve got access to money management experts who will guide you through financial planning.

                  Download EveryDollar here.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Many financial apps are available to help you achieve your financial goals. Each app has its own perks and benefits to consider. The nice thing about many of the apps on this list is that they have free trials that allow you to get a good feel of them before fully getting them.

                  More Finance Apps

                  Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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