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15 Easy Ways You And Your Roommate Can Save Money

15 Easy Ways You And Your Roommate Can Save Money

Do you and your roommate want to reduce your living costs? As prices in pretty much everything seem to be on the rise, many people are struggling to pay the bills and have enough money left over at the end of the month for themselves. Check out these 15 simple tricks and tips to make yours and your roommates lives cheaper!

1. Close your closet

Every winter comes with the internal heating debate – should you put the heating on now, and pay expensive bills later, or put on another sweater and keep the bills low?

A handy way to make sure you get the most out of your heating is to try shutting your wardrobes and closet. They needlessly suck up heating, as no one spends time in the closet anyway. Close the doors so the heat stays where you are!

    2. Buy everything in bulk

    While bulk buying sounds pretty boring, it means you get a lot more for your money. Try going halves with your roommates on essentials like toilet paper, butter and coffee. This way you will have supplies to last you months, instead of picking up overpriced milk from 24-hour stores during the week.

      3. Bring your hobbies home

      Whether your hobby is yoga, dancing or painting, doing it at home will probably save you some money. Buy a yoga DVD, invite your friends around, and have a blast. Often hobbies come with added expenses and paying for classes, or a studio, can add up. This cuts some of the costs down, without cutting out your hobby or the socializing that comes with it!

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        4. Embrace natural light

        Switching off the lights and opening the curtains during the daytime is one of the easiest ways to save some money. Natural light will keep your house cheerful and bright during the daytime, and has the added bonus of keeping your house a little warmer. After an expensive December, this is a handy tip to help cut down on the upcoming electricity bills.

          5. Eat at home

          After a long, hard day at work, most people can’t face up to the effort of getting in the kitchen and cooking up a meal. It is much easier to just pick up the phone and order something delicious. Takeout can be a drain on your funds, especially if you are looking to save some money.

          A good alternative is for you and your roommate to buy some easy to cook meals and take turns cooking for each other. For every meal you make, you get a night off with a cooked meal – and some more savings in the bank!

            6. Buy all of your snacks with your weekly shopping trip

            Sometimes you crave something quick – preferably something sugary, salty or cheesy. However, buying your snacks from the nearest convenience store often means you end up paying more than you would at the supermarket. Try stocking up at the beginning of the week, and watch the spare change in your wallet grow!

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              7. DIY your laundry

              If you are trying to cut costs down, try doing as much as you can yourself. Paying someone else to do your laundry might be the only routine you know, but going to the laundromat instead can save you some serious money. Ask yourself – is it essential, or is it a luxury?

                8. DIY your furniture

                Although this is similar to the last point, DIY ideas are great for roommates looking to save money. If you and your roommate dislike your table and chairs, try painting them a new, fresh color. Painting old furniture often makes the piece look brand new – but it’s a lot cheaper than actually buying new furniture!

                  9. Make plans with your roommates

                  Lack of planning can end in reckless spending, as the easiest thing for you and your roommate to do would be to go out for a drink – or seven. But there are always cheaper alternatives, like movie nights, pamper sessions and game nights.

                  Try making plans at the beginning of the week, and you could have a great night watching Mad Men with your roommates – without reaching into your wallet.

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                    10. Start a household coin jar

                    Start a money jar for everyone in the house to put change into. Every few months, you and your roommates can cash the jar in and use the money for anything, from groceries to the expensive winter bills.

                      11. Become baristas

                      If you and your roommates love coffee and buy a cup most days, start buying flavored coffees and cinnamon so you can create them at home instead. Every drink you make instead of buying will be much cheaper – so get some great syrup and see what you can create yourself.

                        12. Rethink cable

                        Everyone loves a lazy evening spent on the sofa, watching marathons of your favorite TV shows. But are you paying more than you have to for your down time? Cable is often expensive, and you might find yourself paying for extra channels you never use.

                        Consider a cheaper way to catch up on TV, such as Netflix or Hulu. Although both are cheaper than cable, they still come with hundreds of recent movies and TV shows.

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                          13. Pack your lunch together on Sunday

                          Even though it is much easier to pick up lunch during the day, it could be one of your biggest expenses of the week. There are other downfalls – store-bought lunches are often unhealthy, and picking up lunch becomes a chore you need to do before you go to work.

                          Try to make lunch with your roommate the night before work. This means you get some time to chat to your roommate, eat healthier, and all while saving some money – bonus!

                            14. Scratch each other’s backs

                            While this tip sounds a little odd, it just means you can help them with jobs they would normally pay someone else to do, and they can do the same for you. It is likely that you have skills your housemate doesn’t and vice versa. If you are handy with a sewing kit, help them patch up some torn clothes. In exchange, let your housemate do your nails instead of paying a nail technician.

                            This way you don’t have to cut down on luxuries – you just stop paying for them!

                              15. Get green fingers

                              If you want to save a little money every week, go halves with your roommate on some seeds to start a container garden. Often, money saving tips require time and effort, but growing your own herbs and vegetables require very little time or effort, as well as being much cheaper than buying herbs and vegetables at the store. Just plant the seeds, take turns to water them, and then feast on your home-grown food!

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                                Amy Johnson

                                Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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                                Last Updated on January 2, 2019

                                How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

                                How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

                                Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

                                Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

                                Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

                                This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

                                Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

                                What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

                                Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

                                When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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                                How It Leads to Financial Improvement

                                It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

                                Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

                                Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

                                It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

                                Types of Personal Finance Software

                                When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

                                Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

                                For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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                                Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

                                When to Use Personal Finance Software

                                So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

                                Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

                                1. You Have Multiple Accounts

                                There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

                                If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

                                Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

                                2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

                                Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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                                There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

                                With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

                                3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

                                Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

                                Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

                                Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

                                4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

                                Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

                                You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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                                How to Get Started

                                From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

                                Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

                                It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

                                When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

                                Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

                                Final Thoughts

                                Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

                                In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

                                Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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