5 times apps are awesome when you’re flatsharing

Sharing a house with a bunch of strangers is mostly exciting, sometimes terrifying and, frankly, a rite of passage you need try at least once in your life!

Of course, once you’ve found a place to call home, the challenge is in keeping things sweet, tidy and within budget – but it’s no sweat when you’ve got one of the bad boys below to hand. Our top app picks are either free or cheap as chipolatas, too: what’s not to love?

1. When you’re the new kid on the block

Whether you’re in town to study, work or travel, rocking up in a new location can be both brilliant and bewildering. Luckily, there are ways to get your bearings asap! • Google’s Maps (Android, iPhone) is solid for walking, driving, cycling or public transport routes. While there’s no fare info, it does have a real-time scheduler – so you know exactly how long until the next bus or train. It also doubles up as a bar, caff and cash machine finder, and will even spot your nearest or cheapest supermarket. • Find places to eat and things to do on Yelp or Foursquare or, if you need mates to do ‘em with, take a look at Meetup. Don’t forget Twitter for local trends, offers, giveaways and pop-up events, too. • Load up on Pokémon Go – no, really! If you want to get to know your neighbourhood, PG will get you pounding the streets with a purpose.

2. When you want to spend less...

• Keep an eye on how much gas or leccy you’re guzzling, especially if money’s tight! Download your energy company’s app, try Meter Readings (iTunes, £1.99), or take a look at this free Android app (confusingly also called Meter Readings). • Add a basket of goods over at MySupermarket and it’ll show you which supermarket or substitutions are cheapest, along with any deals going (you don’t need to buy anything through the app if you don’t want to). • Get ClickSnap or CheckoutSmart. Both list loads of offers at your local supermarkets – if you buy any of those products, you just snap and upload a receipt to claim cashback on ‘em. Worth a look!


3. ...but you have to pay your way

Few things can sour friendships and flatsharing like not paying your way. Avoid the trauma (and the stink eye) and get one of these in your pocket instead: • Payfriendz: request cash, pay your dues – job done • Splittable: split shared expenses without the drama, including running totals of who’s paid for what along the way • Coople: short-notice shift work isn’t for everyone, but it might be worth keeping this on standby if you’re ever so skint it hurts. The app claims to match users with local employers with quick jobs to fill (think bar work, catering or office admin).

4. When you need to do your bit

From not hogging the hot water to doing your bit around the house, sharing is caring! Well, not always – but at least it stops arguments (and rodents) getting out of hand. • Trello or Wunderlist: set up a to-do list with your housemates, add the chores that need to be tackled, and then deal ‘em out. Simples. Steal a trick or two for Trello here. • Five people, one shower? You need a timer! There’s plenty to pick from in the app stores, but the clock that came bundled with your phone will probably do the job. • Yummly or BigOven: easy-peasy recipe finders and shopping planners – perfect for feeding yourself or nailing shared cooking duties.

5. When you want to keep the peace

Because sometimes, you just need some P&Q: • White Noise Free: background buzzing, crashing waves, or your own mix of sounds to help you snooze or drown out distractions. • Headspace: lets face it, when your flatmates drive you crazy, you’ll want a little time out. This meditation app runs on a paid subscription model, but you can download the intro course for free. • Headphones: No, it’s not an app – just get yourself some decent headphones and relive your Bieber addiction without judgement. Get the over-the-ear kind and they double-up as ear warmers and sound blockers, too. Sorted!