Even though inflation is easing a little, prices are still rising fast and it’s a challenge to balance the household budget for many of us.
According to research we did at Finder last year, 96% of Brits were planning to give up at least one expense due to the cost of living crisis – expenses such as eating out, shopping and foreign holidays were high on the list
Managing your money on a daily basis can be tricky when the cost of living is high, but there are free apps that can help you budget and others that can help you find great deals and discounts.
Here are 8 apps our Finder experts have picked to help you balance your budget.
Saving and spending apps
If you’re looking for a way to save money without too much thought, Plum could be the app for you. It connects to all major UK bank accounts so you can track your spending effortlessly and set savings goals.
Using AI and automation, Plum will round up transactions to the nearest pound and automatically deposit the spare change into your Plum account every week. It also alerts you if you’re overpaying on your household bills, and lets you compare how much you could save by switching to a different provider.
Emma is another app that connects to all of your bank accounts and helps you categorise your spending and set budgets.
If you’re a serial subscriber, Emma will flag any repeat payments so you can easily cancel those you don’t need. Plus, it tracks the fees that you’re charged by banks, such as overdraft fees, and lets you know the biggest offenders when it comes to extra costs.
It can be hard to work out who owes what when you go on a group holiday or you’re in a house share. It can be even harder to ask your friends or roommates for your money back without feeling awkward! That’s where Splitwise comes in.
Splitwise is an app that keeps a running total of spending within a group and automatically works out who is owed what. The “simplify debts” feature reduces the number of payments that are needed so that there’s less hassle, but everyone still gets their fair share.
Apps for discounts and free stuff
1. Too Good To Go
If you love to save money while tackling food waste, try Too Good To Go. Getting takeaways and eating out is expensive, but Too Good To Go lets you pick up unsold food from your favourite spots at a fraction of the cost.
Find restaurants and shops in your local area and pick up a “Surprise Bag” at a discounted price. This includes a mystery selection of surplus food, but you can specify dietary requirements, such as vegetarian or vegan.
Olio is another app that aims to reduce waste while helping people save money, but it works in a slightly different way from Too Good to Go. With Olio, you can connect with your local community and offer things you no longer want, for free, to neighbours – items include food, clothes or household goods.
There are some items that people don’t want to give away for free, so Olio has also introduced a “For Sale” section. This means you can buy and sell second-hand items, so you can earn a bit of extra money on good-quality items you no longer need.
Buying new clothes during a cost of living crisis can feel like a luxury, and there are valid concerns about the impact fast fashion has on the planet. With Vinted, you can find “pre-loved” (second-hand) bargains, rather than shelling out on a whole new wardrobe.
You can also make a bit of extra money by selling your unwanted clothes on Vinted. Other similar options for buying and selling your unwanted items include Depop and eBay.
4. Airtime Rewards
Airtime Rewards is a cashback app that gives you the chance to get money off your mobile phone bill. If you link your bank account, it will automatically track your spending at over 100 retailers and give you a percentage back. Mobile phone bills are just one of the monthly costs rising with inflation, so this is a great way to get a bit of extra money back.
5. O2 Priority
While this app is only available to O2 customers, it’s worth mentioning for those who can access it. You can get free coffee and snacks, restaurant vouchers, and savings on holidays or entertainment.
It’s worth keeping in mind that other phone networks might offer cheaper deals on your phone, but if you’re already on an O2 contract, make sure you download the app and get the most out of the offers and prizes available.
Finding quick and simple ways to budget, sell any unwanted items, access discounts and get cashback can all help during the cost of living crisis. It all adds up, so it’s worth trying out some apps and tools that are designed to help you stretch your budget further.
About the author
Sophie Barber is a content manager for finder.com in the UK and she has over 5 years of experience in writing and publishing informative online articles for a variety of websites. She has a Master’s in English from the University of Exeter and is passionate about creating content that taps into trending topics and helps make personal finance decisions easier.
This article originally appeared on FinderUK and was syndicated by MediaFeed.
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