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5 Ways to Save Money While Living Alone

Updated on September 17, 2015

According to the Census Bureau, over a quarter of American Households have only one occupant. Wow, that’s a lot of people living on their own! If you are one of those people, costs can start to add up. Rent and utilities seem like a huge undertaking when there is no one to share the costs with. But if you’re anything like me, you believe it’s worth paying a little extra to have your own place. I have only been living alone for a year, but in that time I have learned some pretty great tips and tricks to saving money while living alone.

1. Make shopping lists and stick to them.

Seriously, this is the most important one! And that goes for groceries, as well as everything else. And i do mean EVERYTHING else. It might take awhile to gauge exactly how much groceries/toiletries/cleaning supplies you need, especially if it’s your first time living on your own, or if you’ve always done the shopping for more than one person. I’ve learned the hard way that when you don’t stick to your list, you end up with stuff you didnt originally intend on buying, because you just couldnt resist. This means you end up with more than you can consume. And when you have too much food in the refrigerator and not enough time to eat it, things go bad and you end up throwing them away. That is money going down the drain, people.

2. Buy certain things in bulk.

Now this completely goes against my previous point of buying what you need and only what you need, but I still strongly believe that buying in bulk is a really smart way to save money. Just do it with non perishable items. Things like cereal, paper towels, toilet paper, toiletries, and dish soap are always exponentially cheaper in bigger quantities. If you live in a 350 square foot shoebox apartment, you'll have to get creative with your storage. For those of you who live in small houses or medium size apartments, this is totally do-able.

3. The smaller the home, the cheaper the utilities.

My apartment is about 600 square feet and my PG&E bill last month was $19. My parents house is upwards of 2,500 square feet, and their PG&E bill is in the hundreds every month. Enough Said. Even if its just The difference between 400 square feet and 600 square fee of living space, the few bucks you'll save each month will add up.

4.Go cheap on utilities.

There are certain things we just can’t live without, like running water and electricity, and in this day in age probably internet, but what about those 300 TV channels you hardly watch? Do you really need that? I got rid of cable all together. It's so much more cost effective to pay for Netflix or Hulu, which both run around eight bucks a month. Plus, nowadays half of the TV shows we watch are available for free online on network websites. You could even cut your internet bill in half by sharing wifi with a neighbor. Finding an apartment that has a gym is also a fantastic idea. Who doesn't love having one less bill hot pay each month? Cutting out certain unessesary utilities is a great way to save money when you live alone.

5. Shop what’s on sale.

Before you head out to the grocery store check online or in the stores ad to see what is on sale, then plan your meals for that week around those things. Stores rotate sale items, so every week different things will be on sale. Sign up for store loyalty cards. Places like Safeway and Raley's Bel Air typically give you extra savings and coupons and signing up is free. Also you can save money by cooking for yourself at home rather than going out to eat or getting take out. Ive made the mistake of spending too much money on food only to feel pretty dumb later. Sometimes I like to splurge on some Chinese takeout, but doing it twice a week isn't the cheapest, or the healthiest.


Dont worry if it takes awhile to get into a frugal mindset. I promise it will be worth it.

Living alone is expensive. How do you save money while living alone?

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Useful hints. I lived alone for several years and found that planning meals was an important area (avoiding fast foods, making a meal and dividing part of it for the freezer for later).