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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

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                                Published on October 8, 2018

                                13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

                                13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

                                Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

                                Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

                                So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

                                1. Choose a major category each month to attack

                                As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

                                Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

                                By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

                                2. Only make major purchases in the morning

                                If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

                                Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

                                Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

                                3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

                                Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

                                The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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                                Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

                                4. Read one-star reviews for products

                                Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

                                By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

                                Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

                                5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

                                If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

                                The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

                                Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

                                This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

                                6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

                                One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

                                While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

                                The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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                                7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

                                Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

                                That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

                                That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

                                8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

                                Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

                                If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

                                Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

                                Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

                                This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

                                9. Budget using cash and envelopes

                                As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

                                Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

                                This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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                                The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

                                10. Join a like-minded group

                                Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

                                You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

                                Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

                                No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

                                For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

                                This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

                                11. Reward Yourself

                                When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

                                Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

                                With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

                                But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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                                Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

                                12. Take the Buddhist approach

                                You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

                                Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

                                Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

                                The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

                                13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

                                If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

                                It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

                                Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

                                Conclusion

                                Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

                                However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

                                Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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