How To Save And Spend Money Wisely When Living Alone
If you live alone, you probably already know that money can get tight – after all, living with roommates lets the bills be split in half. When it’s just you, there are lots of advantages but saving money isn’t always easy. It can be hard sometimes to find out how to save money living on your own, but today we’re here to take some of that burden off your shoulders.
That is to say, saving money isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. While it may seem that some people are just more hard-wired to save as much money as possible, it’s almost always a learned behavior. That means that it’s never too late to start becoming a saver!
Saving doesn’t mean you should start denying yourself nice things or conveniences in life. In general, try to look at saving money as a mindset rather than a negative restriction. As long as you spend wisely and live somewhat below your means, you can still live comfortably while padding your future savings.
So today, this guide to saving money is specifically for those who are living alone or thinking about it. There are some things you can do to live alone while being money-conscious, and we’re going to share them with you.
Cut Unnecessary Costs And Expenses
As someone living out in the world, of course, you’re going to have a unique list of expenses each month. Disregarding living expenses you can’t do much about, there are likely some things you’re spending on that you could cut. Buying coffee each day before work? That’s $3.50 * 5 workdays * 52 weeks, which equals $910 over the course of the year.
Use this formula on your daily, weekly, or monthly expenses to calculate how much you’re really spending. It might not seem like much at first, but things as small as the daily coffee can really add up! If there’s anything you can do yourself instead of buying, you might want to go with that instead. For example, still have coffee each morning, but make it in a pot!
If you apply this concept to every expense, find the ones that matter the least to you. Again, don’t get rid of anything that really betters your life. But if you want to save money, find what isn’t necessarily worth the cost.
Try To Save A Set Part Of Your Salary
One of the most tried-and-true ways to make saving easier is picking a set percentage to save on each paycheck. The baseline number that most savers go with is somewhere between 10-15%. But, if you can afford to save more than that, there should be nothing stopping you!
The savings you generate from picking a percentage and sticking to it can be life-changing down the line. Why? Because of interest, baby! It’s not as if savings are just put into an account to sit, stagnant. The point is that this money can grow while it’s in the savings account, or be focused on investments.
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In fact, even if you don’t actively invest the money that you have saved, you’ll still gain interest as the bank uses your money to lend to others. Over time, this interest becomes compounded, which can help you realize huge gains over the years. Even if you don’t live alone for too long, this is a great way to build up that nest egg.
Generate Income From Other Means
If you’re looking for a different approach on how to save money living on your own, try a side hustle. While it may seem a little bit daunting to start up a business, there are many easy ways to make some money on the side. If a small business is for you, go for it! Otherwise, there are lots of things you could do.
For example, you could start freelancing in your line of work. If you work in business, you could consider setting up a small consulting service. If you work in tech or IT, there’s always a high demand for an expert who can help solve problems. People are willing to pay others to do odd jobs here and there, so get out and check the job boards!
Overall, another stream of income can help your savings drastically. If you want, you can even dedicate all earnings from the side hustle to savings, letting you spend more of your official salary.
10 Smart Ways to Cut the Cost of Living Alone
Wondering how to live cheap when you live alone? The ways we described above can apply to anyone wanting to save more money, but there are some more methods that apply more to your living situation. The cheapest way to live alone is to follow these 10 tips:
1. Plan your meals
Meal planning is one of the best ways to live alone on a budget. Making your own food has proven to cost much less than going out regularly. It takes a bit more work, which is a big deterrent. But, what if I told you that it doesn’t really have to take much of your time?
If you pick a few meals you want for the week, make them in advance, and freeze servings, you can eat healthily every day for just an hour or two of your time on Sunday. Meal planning is great!
2. Cut council tax
If you live in certain parts of the UK, you could be subject to a council tax that tends to drain bank balances. There are ways to cut down on this – if you live alone, you can have this amount reduced by 25%. If you’re a student, you don’t need to pay for this. So, take advantage of these discounts if you’re eligible!
3. Shop second hand
Living alone comes with certain expenses. Of course, everyone needs housewares, clothes, and furniture. But, a great way to save money on these essentials is by buying from second-hand shops. The quality remains good in most cases, but the items you buy are heavily discounted if they were previously owned.
Overall, you could actually save over $20 per month if you start buying second-hand instead of new ones!
4. Install a water meter
Sometimes with house bills, it can be hard to see exactly what the impact is of every little action. How can we know how much we’re using, or if there’s a leak we don’t know about that’s costing us money?
Installing a water meter can tell you exactly how much you’re using. This helps because you can better plan your usage if you have a baseline. Additionally, you can learn from how much you use at the end of each month and adjust shower times or laundry loads accordingly.
5. Check your heating bills
We all need good heating when it gets cold. But are you getting the best deal? There are lots of suppliers out there for utilities, and it’s becoming easier and easier to switch plans when you’re paying more than you should be.
Download an app or visit a website that can bring together all the options you have for heat providers. Chances are if you haven’t checked yet, there are some lower prices out there. Never be content until you know you’re paying the least amount possible for the same service.
6. Set up a regular savings account
If you want to know how to save money living on your own, we’d say that one of the biggest factors is whether you have a regular savings account. Keeping track of your savings can help you stick to the goal and remain in the saving mindset. It can be hard to lose control if you don’t have a specific account where your savings can lie.
Open up a savings account if you don’t have one already, and start watching that number rise as you contribute more and more.
7. Insulate your home
We mentioned finding lower prices for heating, but there’s also an option to decrease your overall reliance on heating services. This is insulating your home with materials that can trap heat inside, ultimately lowering your overall heating requirement.
To insulate, find the weaker points in your house where warm air can escape to the outdoors. Are there any cracks in your windows, spaces under the front door, etc.? If so, find the best ways to plug them up to conserve heat.
8. Check which benefits you’re entitled to
Sometimes, it might be wise to evaluate whether you’re entitled to benefits based on your wage. If saving is hard because you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you might actually be able to catch a break!
You can see online based on how much you make whether you’re allowed to get food stamps or monthly payments to supplement your income. These can be life-changing, so don’t hesitate if you think you might be eligible for a program!
9. Reduce the cost of your car insurance
Something a lot of people might not know is that there are a few solid ways to reduce your car insurance payments. If you’re younger, consider adding an older driver to the insurance. Since insurance charges are based on risk, they think that older people are less likely to cost them money in the long run.
Additionally, if you insure multiple drivers and vehicles at the same time rather than separately, you can save some money that way too.
10. Rethink your phone
While you might have already done this at the time you purchased your phone, there’s sometimes room for improvement as data plans change. If your phone carrier isn’t the best option for you or charging you too much, it’s time to rethink. Many carriers will offer discounts for switching over.
If you like your carrier but aren’t using much data, you could also consider reducing your data plan but sticking with your current carrier to save money that way.