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5 Tips for Living Comfortably on a Budget


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The Roof, The Roof is on Fire
Handing over your house keys to someone else might seem scary, but if you choose wisely, a roommate can save you dough.
Handing over your house keys to someone else might seem scary, but if you choose wisely, a roommate can save you dough.
Hemera/Thinkstock

Hopefully, your living quarters aren't literally on fire, but if you're paying for digs that are well beyond your means, those shingles might as well be singed because you won't be there for long. You need shelter of course, and you can find comfortable living quarters without sending your bank account up in flames.

If your situation allows, finding a roommate is one of the most powerful ways to reduce living expenses. Stay in the same location and cut your rent and utilities literally in half, or move into a bigger, swankier place and you can still pay less, just by sharing your space with someone else.

This rule is especially true in areas with high costs of living. For example, in Los Angeles, you could easily save more than $200 per month by sharing your space [source: AAGLA]. In San Francisco, you might save a whopping $700 per month. That's like giving yourself a nearly $9,000 raise in salary [source:William Paid].

Just be sure to choose your roommate carefully, and consider setting automatic payments so that you'll never have to worry about getting stuck with someone else's share of the rent [source: Bank of America].

Carefully furnishing and maintaining your home can also drastically lower expenses. Opt for used furniture and appliances instead of fancy new items. Take the time to clean and refurbish them yourself. Not only will you save cash and learn some extremely useful skills, but you can take pride in your work and value those items as more than throwaway, disposable goods.

Extend that DIY attitude toward maintenance, too. You may not have Bob Vila-level skills, but you can solve many household problems without hiring an expensive expert. Just look for a YouTube video that walks you through ways to unclog that sink.

On the next page, you'll see even more about budget living, and how you can avoid the enemy of all good budgets -- burnout.