A whopping 36.2 million people live in single-person households in the US.
Having control over your personal finances is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.
We share our top tips on how to save money when living alone.
How to save money when living alone
Living alone can be awesome.
There’s nobody to argue with your choice of TV show or disagree with what to have for dinner.
However, living alone can also be costly because there is nobody to share the bills with, but there are lots of ways to cut costs and save some dollars.
These money-saving hacks will help you get your finances in order so you can live comfortably on your own.
Learn to cook
Ditch the expensive takeaways and convenience food and learn how to cook.
Cooking your own meals gives you complete control over the cost of your meals and your health.
Start with healthy recipes that only require a few ingredients to make your meals simpler to prepare and more cost-effective.
If you really want to cut your grocery store bill, stop buying costly meat and give vegetarian meals a go
Before visiting the grocery store make a list of what you need to buy to avoid buying things you don’t actually need and eliminating food waste.
You can also save money by buying staple foods such as pasta and rice in bulk.
Plan your meals
Meal planning will not only save you money, but it will also save you a huge amount of time.
Make use of your freezer by freezing extra portions of your home cooked meals.
Even though you live alone, you will save time and money by cooking for more people and freezing your leftovers to use for lunch or dinner another day.
Start by making a list of your favorite freezer-friendly meals then spend some time every Sunday planning what meals to make from scratch or defrost for each day of the week.
Stick your weekly meal plan on your fridge to keep you on track.
Some meal prep can even be done the day before such as chopping vegetables or seasoning meat.
Find cheaper alternatives to monthly packages
Shop around for cheaper mobile phone and internet plans.
Depending on your needs, basic plans are usually more than sufficient.
Do your research on internet providers and only pay for what you actually use.
Go out less
Staying in with friends and family instead of going out is just as much fun, and way better for your wallet.
Here are our favorite ideas to try:
- Plan a murder mystery night: pick a theme, write a story, let your guests know what costumes they will need, and plan your food and decorations around the theme. Invite your suspects and get ready for a night of fun.
- Do a movie night: pick a genre and grab some popcorn for a fun night of action, laughs, tears or frights. You can even make it extra special by asking your guests to dress up or creating a themed meal to go with your movie.
- Host a cocktail evening: pick some simple cocktail recipes that don’t require too many ingredients and do the prep before your guests arrive. Make sure you’ve practiced the cocktails beforehand, then impress everyone by showing them how it’s done.
Be more energy efficient
The cheapest way to live alone is by reducing the amount of energy you’re using daily.
Give these simple changes a go and see how much you can save.
- Turn your thermostat down: the more your heating is on, the more energy it’s using and the more it will cost you.
- Wash your clothes at a lower temperature: higher temperatures use a lot more energy which will increase your electricity bill. Try switching to a detergent that works at lower temperatures.
- Stop wasting water: you’d be surprised at how much water you can save by turning the tap off when you brush your teeth and having showers instead of baths.
- Don’t leave appliances on standby: laptops, TVs, and washing machines still use energy if they are left on standby. Turn them off and save yourself some cash.
Buy second hand items
Make the dollars you spend go further by buying used. If you want to save money, buy the following items second hand:
- Clothes: if you like branded clothes, buying used items can save you a small fortune over the years.
- Jewelry: there are lots of affordable second hand jewelry available at local jewelers and online that you can pick up for a bargain.
- Books: if you get through books quickly, it’s much more cost-effective to buy second hand books that cost a fraction of the price of a new one.
- Furniture: furnishing a home can be expensive. Some people barely use the furniture they buy, meaning you can pick it up second hand for a small price.
Switch grocery stores
The cheapest way to live alone is by switching to a cheaper grocery store. You can save $1,000s a year by comparing the cost of where you shop online.
Also, try switching your favorite branded products to own-brand alternatives.
You might be pleasantly surprised by the taste and quality as well as the savings available.
If you want to dramatically save money on your monthly food bill, write a list before you go and never shop when you’re hungry as you will be more likely to buy items that you don’t need.
Collect and use coupons to slash your bill even further.
If you want to know how to save money when living alone, you need to start by setting yourself a budget.
Budgeting is key to meeting your savings goals and keeping you out of debt.
The first step is to make a list of all your income and all of your outgoings, including any debt repayments.
Go through your list and see where you can remove any wasteful spending such as subscriptions.
Allocate a realistic budget to each area of spending and stick to it.
There are lots of budgeting tools and apps available to help you keep track of your spending on a monthly basis.
Look for a side hustle
A popular way to finance the cost of living alone is to start aside hustle.
You can easily make an extra $200-$500+ a month through a side business that you can do alongside your full-time job.
Popular side hustles include:
- Delivering items and food with Postmates and DoorDash.
- Starting a blog.
- Becoming a virtual assistant.
- Selling things on eBay.
- House and pet sitting.
If you have debt, a side hustle is also great for eliminating debt and reducing your monthly repayment costs.
The best thing about a side hustle is that you can use the money you make to save, whilst using the income from your main job to pay your bills, mortgage, and living expenses.
How much do I need to save to live alone?
The more savings you have, the more financially comfortable you will be living independently.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any savings though.
The tips above will help you start creating a savings fund.
However, the most important thing is that your outgoings are not more than your monthly income.
Regularly checking your income and total expenses will ensure that you are budgeting for what you need to, and give you an opportunity to make changes in certain spending areas if needed.
Do you get reduced water rates if you live alone?
If you live alone, all of your bills will be less than if you had several people using the electricity and water.
You can help keep the cost of your monthly expenses down by only using the energy that you need to.
Find out if your provider can put you on a meter that only charges you for the exact amount of water you use per month, rather than charging you an estimate.
Consider getting a smart meter fitted to help you keep track of your energy usage and avoid wasting energy and money.
By seeing areas in your home that use the most energy, you can focus on reducing it rather than guessing what is costing you the most energy to run.
It is predicted that 84% of households will have a smart meter within the next five years.
Start financing living alone
Now you know how to save money when living alone, you can start using these tips to save yourself some cash every month.
What will you spend your extra dollars on?