10 living alone budgeting tips
Who do you live with? Many of us live with friends, partners, and even parents. All our financial situations are different, as our are living arrangements. If you live by yourself, you might be finding the cost of living getting more out of hand. Where can you find extra income when you have no one else to turn to? There are ways to save money when you live by yourself though. In this post, we’re looking at living alone budgeting tips.
Check your council tax
Did you know that if you live alone, you can get a council tax reduction? This can actually be backdated. The sooner you inform the council about living alone, the sooner it will be applied to your account and your direct debit. A huge 25% discount is available for those people living by themselves, which is a huge amount of money over the course of a year. The average annual council tax bill in the UK is just shy of £1500. 25% of that is almost £400! A huge amount to save over 12 months. Be sure to apply your single-person council tax discount and start saving on these bills.
Install a water meter
Next on our list of living alone budgeting tips is water. If you live by yourself, you are possibly overpaying your water bill. Water bills are often figured out based on how many bedrooms there are in a property, not the number of people living there. You can request for a water meter to be installed so you will only pay for the water you actually use, rather than an approximate fee per month. If you spend a lot of time at work or even shower at the gym, there is no point paying higher bills for water you are not using. Be sure you are only paying for what your usage is.
Automate your heating & get an app
You should also look at your heating. We spend a lot of our money heating our homes. If you live alone, you know better than anyone when someone will be at home. There is little point in heating a house where no one is. This is why you should automate your heating, to come on just before you get home in the evening from work. Turn the heating off during times when no one is home and automate your heating based on your normal weekend schedule. If you install a smart thermostat, you can use an app to turn your heating on and off wherever you are. So if you decide to stay at work for an extra two hours to catch up on emails, you can delay your heating coming on, remotely. Similarly, if it’s throwing it down and you’re soaked to the skin, you can turn your hot water on so you can jump in the shower when you get home. Get savvy, get smart!
Set up an emergency fund
When you live alone, you need to rely on yourself. If something was to go wrong, who would you keep the roof over your head? Now is the time to start an emergency fund. Take a little bit of your monthly salary and build an emergency fund that will keep you afloat should something happen. This should be a minimum of 6 months worth of bills and mortgage payments or rent. To keep you financially going so you can concentrate on getting a new job. Emergency funds are often talked about but not many people actually put them into play. Start saving into yours today.
Save for your future
You should also look at your future and start saving towards that. Do you have a pension? If you are an employee, you can take advantage of a workplace pension to which your employer will also make contributions. You could look at using your money for investments, or even a property to rent out. Saving now can help grow your money even further due to extra years of compound interest. Remember though, if you do invest, you are always at risk of getting out less than you put in. Saving for our future is a great idea, we just need to be wise with how we do it.
Pay into sinking funds
Sinking funds are a great way to take the financial hassle out of things. There are bills we have to pay every year. Car insurance, for example. We know it’s going to need paying every 12 months, so why struggle to find the cash in one go when it is due? Instead, save up throughout the year which is much more manageable. The same can be said for house insurance and even Christmas! We know when Christmas will happen, so save throughout the year to pay for it. Birthdays too! Make your finances more manageable with sinking funds.
Plan your meals
Do you know what you are going to eat every day? How much planning do you put into your weekly shop? Do you have a freezer that you use? When we meal plan, we can cook meals in bulk, freeze them for a later date and also only pay for the food shopping we’re going to actually use. It’s much healthier and economical to cook for yourself in this way, rather than buy ready meals or takeaways. Lots of people who live alone don’t see the point of cooking for one, however, meal planning is important, hence why it’s on our list of living alone budgeting tips. You’ll save money and enjoy what you eat.
Switch your providers & haggle the price
When was the last time you swapped providers? Many of us are happy with the broadband service we are getting, but might not realise that the 12 month reduced rate ended 18 months ago and we’re paying more than we need to be. If you are free to switch, use a comparison website to compare broadband deals.
This is the next idea on our list of living alone budgeting tips – keeping on top of your providers. It can be time consuming, especially when it’s all on you, but it can save you big bucks. Think of all the things you pay for every month, from mobile phones to gym memberships! There are lots of other providers out there who will give you a better deal. You might be able to haggle the price down or simply ditch and switch. Use your phone calendar to make notes of when contracts come to an end so you don’t move to the default tariff and pay above the odds for the service you need.
Stay clean, tidy and clutter free
It is so easy to fall into the trap of owning lots of stuff. When you live by yourself, what does it matter because no one else sees it? Well, keeping your home clean, tidy and clutter-free is important for life. Not only your physical health but your mental health too. We’re not saying not to own things, but keep everything tidy. Stay on top of your cleaning, no one else will do it for you. Your home is your castle and when you’ve finished a long hard day at the office, it’s your piece of tranquillity to retreat to. Somewhere you can truly be yourself and enjoy life. When you do have visitors popping around, you can’t blame the mess on other people as you are the only person who lives there. Have some respect for yourself and the place you live.
Put your goals first
It is so easy to say yes all the time. Maybe you have friends who go out for drinks after work most nights, or who dine out every Friday night. Getting swept along with friends and colleagues is so easy to fall into however on Saturday morning, we can look at how much we’ve spent and start to regret it. We need to learn to say no, and to put our financial goals first. If we want to be financially stable and have financial security in the future, now is the time when we must put habits into place and make wise choices. You can still enjoy yourself, just figure out your goals and find ways to stick to them.
Now is the time to look at these living alone budgeting tips and put some changes in place. Living alone can be fantastic, but it can also be expensive. Saving money where you can, planning for your future and keeping hold of more of your cash is a plus point. Use these top tips and more to do just that.
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