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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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                                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.

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                                                Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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