The financial burden of living alone is not easy, particularly as the coronavirus pandemic takes a toll on people’s incomes.
Data by the Office for National Statistics shows that single-person households spend an average of 92% of their disposable income every month, compared to two-adult households that spend 83%.
A report by insulation product provider Insulation Express noted that that the number of people living alone has increased by a fifth over the past 20 years. It shed some insight on steps such people can take to reduce the amount they spend per week by £172 ($238), which adds up to almost £9,000 a year.
1. Cut your council tax by a quarter
Those who live alone are entitled to a 25% reduction on their council tax. If you’re a student, then you won’t need to pay council tax at all. Contact your local council to apply for discounts and you could save £6.13 a week, according to the report.
2. 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.
3. Reduce the cost of your car insurance
If you add a named driver to your car insurance, and they are older and have more driving experience, this can lower insurance costs.
You will need to ensure it is clear they are the occasional or ‘just in case’ user of the car, because if they are listed as the main driver and you’re using the connection to get cheaper insurance, that’s called fronting and is classed as fraud.
4. Plan meals in advance
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.
“Your freezer is your best friend,” according to the report. It can be used 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.
5. Buy second-hand
There are many items that can be bought second-hand in really good condition that not only save you money but are good for the environment too.
Clothes is one example: 95% of discarded clothing can be recycled or upcycled. Charity shops are a great place to start, but gems can also be found on sites and apps like eBay, Preloved, Facebook Marketplace and Vinted.
This could save at least £21.50 a week on clothes alone, the report said.
It’s also a great idea to buy cheap books second-hand, and then sell them off once you’ve read them, making some of your money back.
Cars significantly depreciate as soon as they’re bought, so buying one second-hand is also a great option, as is second-hand exercise equipment.
6. Insulate your home
Insulating your property can increase its value and cut your energy costs by £10.10 every week, the report noted, while also making your home environmentally friendly and efficient to run.
Wall, floor, roof and acoustic insulation are all ways to insulate a home, and the government is offering grants in place to help make it an even more viable option.
7. Instal a water meter
Most people’s 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.
This can help you save at least £1.92 a week, which adds up to £100 a year. Most people who switch report saving hundreds of pounds, the report said.
8. Check your heating bills to switch
It’s now 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.
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.
This could save you an average of £5.77 a week
9. Rethink your mobile phone
Instead of going for the latest iPhone or a contract that ties you down to two years of high monthly costs, consider buying an Android phone upfront, which start at around £100.
That will allow you to get a SIM-only deal with with unlimited calls, texts and data for £10 to £20.
Use comparison websites to find your best deal. This could save you at least £1.92 a week.
10. 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.
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