There are many advantages to living alone, but saving isn’t usually one of them. It is nearly always cheaper when you have someone to share bills with you and, if you are hoping to buy a house, you can get so much more for your money when your mortgage is based on two incomes. However, many people can and do live alone and, with some preparation, it is perfectly possible to live within your means and save some money at the same time.
Cook from scratch
When you live alone, it can be very tempting to avoid cooking for yourself, opting for ready meals and take-aways. However, cooking from scratch really doesn’t need to be all that traumatic. You don’t even need to cook every day; if you make meals in bulk two or three times a week, you can freeze the extra and then eat them on those days when you don’t feel like cooking. It will work out much cheaper that way. If you’re worried about buying fresh vegetables and then not using them in time, frozen vegetables can be a lot more convenient.
Be aware of single person discounts
There aren’t many discount options for single people, but make sure you know about those that do exist. In the UK, for example, there is a 25% Council Tax discount available for a single person; if you previously lived with someone else, you may not be aware of this. You can also try to get discounts in other areas. For example, try asking potential landlords for a rent discount because you are single and there is likely to be less wear and tear on the property. It may not work in every circumstance, but it is certainly worth a try.
Watch your energy and water bills
If you are the only person in the house, you will have much better control of your energy and water use. Make sure that you only use what you need by turning off appliances you aren’t using. In the winter, ensure that you turn down radiators in rooms that you don’t use on a regular basis. Look at cheaper options, such as halogen heaters, or simply wear more clothes so that you can keep the heating down. Look into getting a water meter so that you are only paying for what you use – you probably use a fraction of the amount that families get through.
Be sensible with your car
Running a car can be expensive, but may be a necessity for getting out and about. You can do a number of things to cut down on costs. When it comes to paying insurance, consider adding another person onto the policy, because it may save on the premium, especially if the other person is older. Only use the car when you really need to; for example, if you’re just popping to the shops and can walk, then do so. You could also consider car pooling with other people at work so that you don’t have to use the car to go to work every day.
Move to a cheaper property
If you are still living in a property that you previously shared with someone else and it is really too big for a single person, it may be time to consider moving. A smaller property should be easier to look after and heat, especially if you are paying to heat rooms that you don’t even use. If you’re renting, the difference in rent may not be enormous, but it will add up over time, especially when combined with the savings you make in energy bills. You could also make the most of the fact that you are far more in control of your choice of living arrangement and consider moving to a cheaper area;.
Cut down on expensive entertainment
One of the downfalls of living alone can be loneliness and boredom, particularly if you are a social being. This can lead to over-spending on entertainment if you are not careful. However, if you plan ahead, you can have a great social life without spending a fortune. Get together with other single friends and take turns to host evenings at home. Spend time with friends and family members who have families and don’t mind an extra person slotting in. Find a new hobby to keep yourself occupied if you need to, especially one that involves meeting new people.
Find an extra means of income
If you think you are doing all you can to live within your means, but are still not managing to do so, find a way to earn some extra money. You probably have more time on your hands than you would if you were living with someone else, so you could find a part-time job, or you could look at ways to earn extra money on the Internet. Selling unwanted goods on eBay, or another auction site is another option, or you could sell crafts to earn some extra money. It may just make all the difference.
Living alone doesn’t need to cost you a fortune, provided that you live within your means and keep a careful eye on your budget.