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This article covers 7 highly effective ways to save money when you live by yourself – so you can enjoy all the many benefits of having your own place without the added money worries!
I’m just going to say it: I really, really like living by myself.
No one leaving crap on the floor or the kitchen counter. No one telling me not to leave crap on the side. Privacy to do whatever I want, when I want.
Total control over the TV.
Space to host friends and family, without having to double-check with anyone first.
I mean, sure, there are negatives.
If I leave a dirty plate on the side, it’s not going anywhere until I clean it up. Having no one to split chores with often leaves me in a semi-permanent sense of panic that I should have put the laundry on, vacuumed, wiped down the surfaces, disinfected the bathroom, dusted, tidied…yesterday.
Plus, it’s expensive. Rent is one thing, but then the BILLS on top of it all. Council tax, electricity, gas, broadband, insurance…that’s all on you. You don’t have to share your space with anyone – but you also can’t share your expenses with anyone, either.
The joys and downsides of living alone are well-documented – with the number of single-dwelling households predicted to be rising sharply.
So, naturally, since I’ve been living alone I’ve been making a concentrated effort to get the most out of my money – in order to get the most enjoyment from this new lifestyle change.
If you’re living alone right now, no doubt you already know all the benefits – and if you don’t, there are a lot of ways you can make sure you’re getting the most out of the experience. The following tips on saving money when you live alone might just help make it even better.
Pssst..! While you’re here, make sure you’ve unlocked your free access to The Wallet Moth Freebie Library, which is absolutely full resources all designed to help you start building a life that works for you, including free cheap & healthy meal planners, printables, a minimalist declutter checklist, and so much more!
7 ways to save money when you live by yourself
1. Make A Spreadsheet with all your outgoings
To be fair, this is something everyone should be doing, whatever your living circumstances. Once I started living alone, though, keeping on top of bills obviously became a much higher responsibility to avoid the water getting turned off.
To save money when you live by yourself, one of the first things I would recommend doing is to create a list of all of your income and outgoings. One of the first things I did when I started living alone was to make a big spreadsheet with a list of all of my expenses each month.
- Electricity and gas
- Council tax
- Car Insurance
- Car Tax (I pay both some of these annually but still good to note these down)
- TV licence
- Estimated fuel costs
- Income tax
- Phone bill
- Gym membership
- Business expenses (website hosting, marketing etc)
- Estimated food costs
This gave me a good idea of how much I would be spending each month, and how much I would have leftover.
While, yes, seeing those ‘expenses’ add up on top of each other was slightly terrifying (why does everyone want my money?!), it was extremely helpful to get a more exact picture of my outgoings every month and know what other things I could afford.
2. Shop around for the best deal for your utility provider
If you’ve just moved in, your home (rented or not) will be with a particular energy provider. Simply sticking with that provider for convenience could end up costing you a lot of money every month.
Being here in the UK, the previous tenants were with Scottish Power. I shopped around for some different quotes and found that Bulb could save me an average of £25 per month.
Plus, Bulb also supply 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon-neutral gas, so you’ll be doing your bit for the planet – this was a real selling point for me. If you’re interested in switching to Bulb, use this link and you’ll receive £50 for switching!
3. Shop around for the best broadband provider
Most broadband providers offer the best deals to new customers, so it’s worth shopping around and finding the best deal for you.
If you’re living alone, you’re not going to be using a huge amount of bandwidth at any one time, so you can afford to go for the cheaper options without having to sacrifice on broadband speed (unlike a house with multiple housemates or a large family).
4. Consider paying for some expenses upfront
If you’re pretty frugal with your money, you might already have an emergency fund or a savings buffer.
If you do have some savings to spare, paying upfront for some things may serve you better long-term. For example, I pay my car tax and car insurance in one lump sum annually, which works out as cheaper compared to the monthly cost.
Likewise, I also paid the one-off annual fee of around £150 for my TV license as opposed to paying via direct debit on a monthly basis, which also worked out as slightly cheaper.
Not only did paying upfront allow me to save money, but it also took the pressure off having to budget for those expenses every single month. As a self-employed person who’s income does fluctuate each month, this is extremely useful – but it can be helpful to have that expense paid for and dealt with even if you’re on a fixed income.
5. Be electricity conscious
Some people will have been taught to turn off the light in a room they’re leaving from a young age – for other people, it’s something you might not even think about.
Being electricity conscious is not only going to help you save money on your bills each month, but it’s also a more environmentally friendly attitude to adopt.
Try to get into the habit of only having a light on for the room you’re using – if you have a lamp, do you really need the overhead light on too?
Likewise, being more conscious of your water usage (not leaving the water running when brushing your teeth or doing the dishes for example), is a simple but effective way to cultivate more frugal and eco-friendly habits.
6. Become a master of meal prep
One of my biggest frugal flaws is that I love to cook, and that means I find it extremely hard to resist buying new ingredients every single time I leave my flat.
Part of saving money when you live alone, though, is making sacrifices: and that means accepting that cooking one big batch of (still delicious) food to eat for the next couple of days is far more cost-efficient than cooking something new each night.
Check out my guide on meal prep for more information – a few of my meal prep go-to recipes include lentil bolognese, dahl, or chickpea curry.
7. Stay organised
For me, keeping my life in order means my finances stay in order, too.
I have a “Getting Stuff Done” planner from CGD London and it honestly keeps me sane. I use it to plan out my day, my meals, exercise, write down reminders or personal notes – everything.
I’ve also tried to keep a strict schedule for cleaning my flat every single week, which may sound intense, but actually helps avoid chores piling up around me.
This planning and preparation is so essential for me to feel in control, which in turn helps me to stay more aware and more sensible when it comes to my spending.
Living alone isn’t something everyone has the opportunity or the privilege to experience, so I’m extremely thankful that I’ve had this chance to experience what being truly independent is like. Knowing how to save money when you live by yourself is a skill I really think you can take with you in life, wherever it takes you.
I don’t know how long this stage in my life will last (the travel bug is never cured!) or what will happen in the future, but having a frugal approach to spending is definitely enabling me to get the most enjoyment from this time – so I hope these tips help you out, too!