Living alone has its benefits and drawbacks, with the main negative being the increase in living costs compared to couples and families.
Some would say that’s the price of privacy, but it doesn’t need to be quite so steep if you’re careful.
The number of people living alone has increased by a fifth over the past 20 years. In 2019, there were a staggering 8.2 million people living alone across the UK, according to Statista.
There’s plenty of evidence, too, showing that there’s a ‘single premium’ for these people. Single-person households spend an average of 92% of their disposable income, whereas two-adult households only spend 83% of theirs.
With that in mind, Insulation Express have revealed 10 straightforward steps that those living alone can take to reduce the amount they spend per week.
Cut your council tax by a quarter
You’re entitled to a 25% reduction on your council tax if you live alone. If you’re a student, then you won’t need to pay council tax at all. Just simply contact your local council to apply for discounts.
This reduction can save you £6.13 a week, or £318 per year.
Check which benefits you are entitled to
Many benefits are based on wage, so even if you think you might not be entitled to anything, it’s worth checking. The average housing benefit payment per week is £95.77, which would be a huge help towards your living costs.
Use a benefits calculator to see if you could be eligible, and you could be getting £95.77 a week towards housing costs.
Reduce the cost of your car insurance
Did you know that you can add a named driver to your car insurance, and if they are older and have more driving experience, this can lower your insurance costs?
Just make sure that they are the occasional or ‘just in case’ user of your car, because if they are the main driver and you’re using the connection to get cheaper insurance, that’s called fronting and is classed as fraud.
Meal plan and save
Planning your meals for the week can reduce food spend and food waste significantly. Buying only what you need and knowing how you’ll use it is efficient and time saving. If you can meal prep too, then even better.
Your freezer is your best friend. Use it to store meat, pre-cooked meals and multi-buys where you buy more food because it’s on offer, but aren’t going to eat it all at once.
Tesco offers a meal planner to help you create your own menu and shop for it too. It’s estimated you can save up to £24.76 a week by reducing those impulse buys.
One person’s rubbish is another’s treasure. There are certain items that can be bought secondhand, in really good condition that not only save you money but are good for the environment too.
Try your best to ditch fast fashion, and repair or upcycle clothes if they break or aren’t in style anymore. Make use of charity shops (when we can) and sites eBay, Preloved and Vinted to find the best bargains.
Everything from books, cars, and furniture can be bought secondhand – or even free from Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree.
It’s estimated that if you just switched to secondhand clothes alone, you could be banking £86 a month (or £21.50 a week).
Insulate your home
Insulating your property can increase its value and cut your energy costs, while also making your home environmentally friendly and efficient to run.
Wall, floor, roof and acoustic insulation are all ways you can insulate your home, and with 22% of all UK’s carbon emissions coming from our homes, there are now green grants in place to help make it an even more viable option.
Depending on the size of your home. this could save you £10.10 a week.
Install a water meter
For most people, their water bill is based on the size of the property and the number of bedrooms in the house. If you’re living alone, it’s highly likely you’re using less water, so having a water meter installed means your usage can be properly measured and you’ll pay for what you’re actually using.
A saving of just £1.92 a week adds up to £100 a year, but most people who switch report saving hundreds of pounds.
Try this water calculator if you’re thinking of switching.
Switch energy provider
It’s now really easy to check your gas and electric spend and switch suppliers if you can find a better deal. There are lots of comparison sites for this.
You could reduce your bill by £5.77 a week, while barely lifting a finger.
Lookaftermybills.com is one that does everything for you, ensuring you get the best deal and you don’t even have to speak to the gas or electric suppliers.
Rethink your mobile phone
Do you really need the latest iphone? Do you absolutely have to have the highest quality camera? If you don’t (and most people don’t), there are lots of Android phones that retail for around £100 and SIM only deals with unlimited calls, texts and data for £10 – £20.
There’s really no need to be spending upwards of that every month on a long term contract. When you think that an average saving of £1.92 a week could leave you with £100 extra come Christmas, it really doesn’t seem worth it.
Use comparison websites to find your best deal and don’t forget to check the phone coverage in your area as one service may be better than another depending on where you live.
Set up a regular savings deposit
Setting up a deposit from your current account to a savings account and treating it like a regular outgoing, will help you to save.
Most experts recommend saving at least 20% of your income each month. So set up a budget sheet and work out what this is. Once you’ve saved in other ways from our list of tips, you might have more to save than you originally thought.
Apps like Chip and Plum can help you put money away without feeling it, using an algorithm to work out what you can save while still having enough for usual expenses.
How much do you spend on your mobile phone contract a year?
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Get in touch at MetroLifestyleTeam@metro.co.uk.
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