Living alone is expensive, whether it be by choice or due to unfortunate circumstances. Utility bills, usually shared by a partner or a room mate, can be costly when you have to cover them alone. Let’s take a look at some simple ways in which you can save some money on living expenses and avoid having to rely on payday loans.
In this article about ways to save money when you live alone we shall examine:
- How money can be saved on communications
- Ways to make your home more energy efficient
- The money that you may be overpaying on council tax
- Ways to cut water bills
- Benefit entitlements
- Ways to cut the cost of running a car
- Savings that can be made on food shopping
The choice to live alone can be an expensive one
When it is by choice, living alone can offer freedom and the benefits of having no one to answer to. Unfortunately, this choice can be an expensive one. When you are living the single life living costs soar, as there is no one to share the expenses with, putting a big strain on your personal finances. There are though, plenty of ways that you may not have considered, that can cut living expenses and make your hard earned cash go further. Having to rely on payday loans could be a thing of the past when you read of our money saving tips.
Keep in touch for less to save money
A lot of money is spent on telephone communication and broad brand connections. Take a good look at the deal that you currently have, and shop around to see what else is available. Many servers offer great package deals when you use the same server for telephone and internet and their deals can change all the time. Consider if you really need that satellite TV subscription any more. Cheaper, on-line servers and websites where you can watch channels through live streaming are widely available and in many cases, free of charge.
Make your home more energy efficient and save hundreds on bills
The majority of energy companies estimate electricity bills based on the amount of rooms in a property. Let the supplier know that you are a solo dweller and regularly check your meter to calculate estimated readings against your actual usage. Make sure that you shop around and if you find a better deal then don’t hesitate to switch provider.
Make sure that you set timers on central heating systems to come on when you are in the house and not waste heat in your absence.
Have a think about how you use energy in your home and how you could cut costs. Radiators in unused rooms could be switched off when they are not being used. Towel heaters in bathrooms could also be switched off and towels dried using a clothes horse. Make sure that you set timers on central heating systems to come on when you are in the house and not waste heat in your absence.
Check out these savings!
By unplugging electrical appliances and not leaving them on standby mode, you could save yourself 30 pounds a year. Mobile phone chargers should also be removed from the mains when they are not in use.
According to The Energy Savings Trust, by remembering to switch unused lights off in your home you could save a further 15 pounds a year. Dimmer switches are a good way of using less energy and prolonging the lifespan of your light bulbs.
Old halogen light bulbs should be replaced the with the new energy efficient type in order to save up to 35 pounds on your electricity bill. As they are becoming more widely used and their price has dropped considerably over the last few years, you could pay for the upgrade and still have money in your pocket from the savings.
Try and dry your laundry outside whenever the weather allows you to. Clothes could also be dried inside the house on a clothes airer to avoid using the tumble drier, as it costs a lot of money to run. If you do use the dryer, make sure that you have a full load on to maximise its usage.
Invest in a tank jacket costing around 15 pounds for your water cylinder. Up to 75% of heat can be lost from an unprotected tank. This could save you a whopping 100 pounds a year from your energy bills.
Energy can be saved whilst you are cooking by following these simple steps
By keeping lids on your pans whilst you are cooking, the heat will remain in the pan and cook your food faster, thus saving you money on the time that the cooking ring is in operation. A lot of energy is wasted by boiling kettles full of water, when you only need a cup. Keep your fridge full, by filling containers with water when it is not full of food. Fridges and freezers run more efficiently when they are full and regularly defrosted.
Insulate your home for massive savings
Although the cost of insulating a home can be expensive, you will reap the benefits in the long run. Contact the Energy Saving Trust to see if you qualify for free insulation, or ask your energy provider, as some offer free wall and loft insulation. Carpets can keep the heat in floors and make the house warmer. If you have wooden floors, lay some rugs during the colder months. Consider installing double glazing, if you do not already have it. Shop around for competitive prices. Check out the GOV.UK website for more information on energy saving schemes and grants.
Save money on council tax
People living alone in a property are entitled to the single person rebate of 25% which is a huge saving. Council tax is calculated on the assumption that two or more people live in the property, so check your bill to make sure that you are not paying over the odds. You can contact your local council if you were unaware of this as you could be entitled to a rebate.
So what have we learned so far?
- Living alone can be expensive, but there are ways to cut your bills
- Cash can be saved by making sure that you are getting the best deal from your communications server.
- Plenty can be saved by checking your energy bills, or changing your supplier
- By turning off unused lights, unplugging appliances and changing to energy efficient bulbs, substantial savings can be made.
- Insulating your home can keep bills down
- Single people pay 25% less council tax
Have a water meter installed to save on your water bill
Water bills are calculated by the companies estimating the amount of water that will be consumed, by the amount of people living in the property. They do this by calculating the amount of bedrooms, and go from there. You could save a lot of cash by installing a water meter that would charge you for the exact amount of water that you were actually using. You would save money year after year by doing this.
Check if you are entitled to any benefits
Check the citizens advice website, or drop in to your local bureau to see if you are entitled to any benefits that you may not have been aware of. Millions of pounds a year are unclaimed by people who miss out on what they may be entitled to. There are benefits for householders that are based on the income of the household, as opposed to an individual income. If you are living alone you may be entitled to some financial assistance that you were unaware of.
Save money on running your car
Were you aware that it costs over 2000 pounds a year to run a car? By using public transport, if you were well connected, you could save on this huge cost. You could also look into car shares for a cheap way to get to where you need to be. Car clubs are a new idea that work similarly to a car rental, except you can only use the car to make the journey that you are making. You will not incur any maintenance costs or pay any insurance. Check out Zipcar or Enterprise CarClub to see if there are any cars near you.
There are ways to save money on car insurance
Insurance costs can be reduced by adding a named driver with a good no claims history to your policy. Named drivers do not have to drive the car, but may be added just in case they needed to. Many insures take this as an indication that an older driver, with a good, clean history will be less likely to make a claim and so lower the premium. Be sure to add them, as opposed to making them the main driver, if it is you who are using the car on a daily basis, as this is against the law. Check that your breakdown cover is for the vehicle, as opposed to for individual use, as this can reduce the cost if it is a single vehicle being covered.
Parking spaces can be rented when they are not in use
By renting out your driveway or parking space when you are not using it, you could earn a bit of extra cash that you could use to pay another bill. If your home is situated near to a mainline or underground station, people are willing to pay you money, as it will save them from paying for expensive parking on a daily basis. Residents in the Wimbledon area take advantage of this concept for the 2 weeks in the summer when the tennis championships are being held. It’s a good way to earn some extra money.
Learn how to maintain your car
By taking the time to learn a bit about your car you could save quite a lot of money. A basic check of the fluids in your car could save you causing damage that could lead to costly repairs. By knowing a little bit about your car and how to take care of the basics you may be able to cut down on the running costs.
Storage space in your home can be rented
People all over the UK rent storage space. It can range from a lock up garage, to a space in a storage unit. You can rent out a room, a corner or even a small cupboard to people who are willing to pay. There are websites such as Store mates that you can visit that will put you in touch with people in need of storage in your area. The terms and conditions can be sorted out amongst yourselves. Many people rent out spare bedrooms, sheds or their garage if they do not use it.
It’s a good idea to take a friend shopping with you. That way you could both take advantage of bulk buys by sharing the cost and the savings.
Reduce your food costs
By changing the way that you shop for food you could cut a lot of money from your food bill. Make sure that you are buying for one, as this can be hard to get used to if you had been previously sharing meals with someone else. It is a good idea to make a shopping list before you go and stick to it, buying only the things that you really need. Take advantage of multibuys, lots of food can be frozen without compromising its taste. It’s a good idea to take a friend shopping with you. That way you could both take advantage of bulk buys by sharing the cost and the savings. Remember to take your food coupons with you for extra savings.
Avoid food waste by shopping wisely
Living alone can offer the advantage of being able to eat exactly what you choose. You can plan and shop for this by calculating exactly what you will need to feed yourself for the week. This way you will avoid buying foodstuffs that will not get eaten and be wasted. Lots of cooked food freezes wonderfully, just look in the freezers in the supermarkets for evidence of this. By cooking large portions and freezing them into smaller amounts, you will economise on time and money by saving on the energy used to cook multiple meals.
Surprised at the amount of savings?
It is surprising how much money can be saved by being more vigilant around the home. By following some of these cost cutting tips, living alone could be less of a financial burden. It is important when you live alone to get out and socialise. This doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money, there are lots of free activities to do in cities at weekends. Joining a website to meet people in a similar position is a good way to make friends and get out more and enjoy life.