Overall, I enjoy being single, but being single isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. One definite disadvantage of being single is single people are not able to take advantage of sharing the economy and the cost savings that can come from it as easily as those who are married.
Sure when you are married, or in a committed relationship, some costs go up. You’ll be buying food for two people, paying for hot water usage for two people’s laundry, showers, etc. but those things are usually offset by the savings of splitting the rent or mortgage. Not to mention, it’s also pretty common that both people in the relationship are contributing their earnings to the household..
Being single can make it harder to get ahead financially, and it was certainly a factor I considered before jumping ship to become self-employed. However, this doesn’t doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
Here are some ways that single people can take advantage of their situation and start saving more money.
Saving on Groceries
One of the most common questions I’ve received from readers at my own blog, as well as friends and family in real life, is “how can you save on groceries and prevent waste as a single person?”.
I’ll admit it, when I first began living on my own I spent way too much money on groceries and I ended up wasting a lot of food. I was used to helping my mom with shopping and cooking for four, including a growing teenage brother. So, shopping and cooking for one was an adjustment. Before long I figured out a few tips and tricks to help me spend less and waste less too.
One of the ways I’ve began saving money on groceries is by only buying what I need. Duh, right? Well it took me a little experimentation to figure out how much I actually eat in a week, but now it’s pretty easy. I go to the grocery store on the same day each week and I know exactly how much I need to buy to last me until my next trip to the store. Of course, life happens and once in awhile I get off a little bit, but overall I waste a lot less than I used to. (I can’t remember the last time I threw something away.)
For only a few bucks a month, I recommend eMeals to help you save money on groceries. You can try it for free for 2 Weeks and you’ll get a list to buy only what you need, therefore cutting down on your grocery bill.
Other than that, the next challenge for single people seems to be regarding the use of leftovers. Once when I was newly single I made a whole pot of spaghetti and I had to eat it twice a day for a week because there were so many leftovers. Believe me, I didn’t have spaghetti again for almost a year!
Now I have a different approach. I intentionally cook more than I need to so I can eat leftovers for a meal or two, but any more than that and I don’t usually finish them off. Instead I cut down on waste by freezing the rest of the leftovers.
Saving on Housing
Housing is one the most expensive things when you are single. As I mentioned earlier, couples have the benefit of living together and sharing the mortgage or rent. If I had that benefit I could be saving an additional $5,100 every year! As it is, I pay my whole mortgage myself.
Housing is one area where I didn’t make the best decision. I currently live in a 4 bedroom house by myself. I have thought about renting out the basement of my house but with my pets, my love affair with privacy, and the fact that I work from home, I haven’t done anything to really explore this option.
Another great choice besides taking on a long-term roommate is to offer up a bedroom from your home as a short-term rental on a site like AirBnB. I know several single friends who have made enough to cover a big chunk of their mortgage payment each month using this method.
If I could do it over again, I’d probably buy (or rent) a much smaller house that’s more suitable for what I actually need. Personally, I think too many single people fall into the same trap I’m in and they buy way more house than they actually need.
Saving on Other Purchases
One of the biggest complaints I hear from other singles is they don’t feel they can take advantage of buying in bulk to save money. My response to this complaint is two-fold.
First of all, buying in bulk doesn’t always save you money. There are many items in bulk stores like Sam’s Club or Costco that cost the same, or even more per ounce (or other measure) as what you can buy in non-bulk stores like Walmart. Before you buy in bulk, make sure you do a price comparison to see if it’s worth it.
Secondly, you can still buy some things in bulk. I buy paper towels, toilet paper, facial tissue, pet food, and a few other non-food items in bulk to save money. I have plenty of storage for them in my house (because I live in a 4 bedroom house) so that’s not an issue for me. When I lived in a small apartment, space was an issue. Back then I had a different solution.
Every time my bulk supplies ran low, my best friend and I would go to Sam’s Club together. We’d stock up on the few items we needed and we’d split the cost and the products in half. This way we still were taking advantage of bulk pricing but we only had to store and use half of the normal amount of product.
As a single person you can still save money on the things you purchase, you just have to be a little bit more creative to find a solution sometimes. A little extra creativity never really hurt anyone. 🙂
-Kayla, Contributer for Money Peach
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