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Living on Your Own: Tools for Managing Money, Budgets, and Shopping

Managing money, planning meals, and shopping for groceries are all fairly essential skills for learning to live on your own. A variety of tools are available to support these key areas of independent living, including apps for tracking money spent, anticipating upcoming expenses, managing a budget, planning meals, and shopping for groceries. An important consideration when selecting a financial app is whether you want to link to a bank account – not linking means you have to enter all data manually, and linking means entry is streamlined, but you need to consider security issues.


For a set of online money planning tools, visit this website: Practical Money Skills Calculators. Online calculators include “How Much Car Can You Afford?,” “Cost of Credit,” and “Saving for a Goal.”


Apps to consider:

  • Money Up! – Build Life Skills, iOS only, $15.99
    • Designed to teach money skills to people with special needs, based on the “Next dollar up” method
  • Dollarbird, Android & iOS, Free or Pro $3.33/month
    • Calendar-based money management app shows a daily net balance (income minus expenses)
  • Life Budget, Android & iOS, Free or Premium $1.99
    • Colorful and easy-to-use app for managing expenses and a budget
  • Mint, Android & iOS, Apple Watch, Free
    • Links to your bank account to track spending and manage a budget
  • Grocery IQ, Android & iOS, Free
    • App has a large database of items with images on detail screen for brand name items
  • Mealime, Android & iOS, Free or Pro $5.99/month
    • Search meals, create a week’s meal plan, access a grocery list with all recipe ingredients, and follow recipes with detailed step-by-step instructions


For more information on these and other apps, follow this link to view my presentation from PACER's Simon Technology Center - APPy Hour: Apps for Independent Living – Managing Money, Budgets, a....

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Tags: adulthood, finances, independence, living, skills


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Comment by Adrienne Kleinman on January 23, 2019 at 3:45am

Thank you so much for sharing this, Sarah! I would find the tools and resources you mentioned to be absolutely beneficial.

Comment by Erika J. Kluge on January 21, 2019 at 8:24pm

Great information- thank you for sharing. This is often an area forgotten and can be helpful to everyone.

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