- Personal Finance
5 Saving Money Tips for People who Live Alone
If you're one of the growing numbers of people who live alone, you've probably discovered that it's much harder for you to save money than it is for your dual income friends despite what they might say.
I happen to live alone (with no kids) and I've often found myself annoyed when forced to listen to married or common-law co-workers who whine about their money struggles. These people do the same job that I do and make the same amount of money that I do so who are we fooling here? Even if these people DO have kids, they are living in dual income situations and as a household, generally make TWICE the amount of money that my household of one makes. That means TWO people paying for one mortgage, TWO people paying household bills such as internet, TV, phone - the kind of bills that cost around the same as mine except I have to pay for mine alone.
Living alone is expensive and people like us have every right to complain about money problems just as much as those in a dual income household with kids (yes, I understand that kids are expensive but get over it!).
especially have respect though for those single parents out there - and I have a
few friends who are - because that is even more financially draining. I just wanted to put that out there!
I've been living alone for a few years now and have learned a few things about how to make it work financially for me. Here are my 5 Saving Money Tips for People Who Live Alone. I hope they can help you!
1. Watch your grocery bill
- This is common sense for anyone who wants to save money but it's especially important for people who live alone. The tricky thing about grocery shopping for one is that if you want to buy perishables like meat, produce and dairy, unless you are very careful, they will often go bad before you have a chance to eat them. I hear my single friends complain about this one a lot.
- What you can do is make a large stir-fry, for example, using all the veggies you bought that day. Eat one portion for dinner that night, pack another serving for your lunch tomorrow and separate the leftovers into several containers that you put in your freezer. Then just take them out when you need a quick meal.. no rush! It's a good way to save money on your groceries without having to eat the same thing all week.
- I've discovered that it's actually cheaper (or at least a whole lot easier) to eat out as a single person than it would be for my married friends with kids. I have done the math and decided it's not that pricey to order a large pizza, eat a few slices on the spot and save the rest for lunch and dinner the next day. Who really wants to cook just for themselves anyway? Not me!
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2. Save Money on Water
- I'm about to share a rather gross tip with you. One of the advantages of living alone is that there is no one to consider but yourself so is it really necessary to flush the toilet every single time you go for a number one? There's a saving in Australia that goes "if it's brown flush it down, if it's yellow, let it mellow." I have actually done a little experimenting on this one and found that by cutting down on my number of flushes that I can save at least a few bucks a month. Decide for yourself if it's worth it or not!
3. Watch your entertainment expenses
- Again, this is common sense for anyone who wants to save money but when you live alone, chances are you have a bit more free time on your hands like I do and it can be all too easy to try to fill that void with expensive entertainment such as going to the movies all the time.
- If you can, try to find a few friends who also live alone. Hang out together - maybe even cook together which can help with that grocery bill! Do things together that don't cost a fortune like go for free walks or runs.
- I understand that living alone can be lonely but try not to fill the void with too many shopping sprees! Moderation is key here.
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4. Live within your means
- Face it, when you live alone, you probably can't afford the same kind of houses that your dual income friends do (although hooray for you if you can). One of the things about living alone is that you do not have that much stuff (if you do, get rid of it!) so you really don't need that much space. Live in a one bedroom apartment if you have to. I haven't done this myself but do wonder sometimes why I'm living in a 4 bedroom house when it's just me and the dogs.
5. Consider getting a roommate or tenant
- This might be a last resort for you but it really is worth some thought. I happen to live in a house and have thought about renting out my basement which could bring me in an extra $500 at least a month. I am hesitant to do this because I don't want a stranger to infringe on my privacy and space but I think I will have to get over that because I really could use the money.
- It won't hurt you to at least see who might be out there looking to rent a room. Take a look at the ads on kijiji, Craigslist or in your local newspaper. You might be surprised and you could at least meet up with a few potentials for an interview to see if they might work for you. It really is hard to pass up that kind of money!