It is common knowledge that if you have a roommate or a boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancee that you are living with, you will cut your monthly living costs substantially because you are sharing rent or mortgage, sharing utilities, sharing internet costs and other monthly non-negotiables that come with....well, living.
However, if you are not ready to move in together yet, or if you are single and prefer not to have a roommate (or you have enough money to not have to share with a roommate) there are many luxuries to living alone, such as being able to leave the place as messy or as clean as you want to, being able to scoop up yogurt into your mouth directly from the yogurt container, being able to leave your clothes or the floor (or not), and well, not having to answer to anyone but yourself and perhaps your pet cat or dog or ferret. However, the downside is the added cost of living alone. There is no one to share my mortgage or my maintenance fee with, my internet with, or my electricity with.
Here are some ways to save money when you are living alone:
Sundays and The Freezer are Your Friend
On Sundays I make it a regular routine to batch cook for the week and I basically eat leftovers for the week. On a busy work day when I don't get home until 6pm, I'm often too tired to cook so having food ready in the fridge that just needs to be heated up is a big relief. Besides, there are less dishes to do when you don't have to cook every day. If you want to switch it up, make sure that you put some food into the freezer when you batch cook and grab your frozen food to defrost to shake things up a bit. Batch cooking and using your freezer saves you at least $100 a month on groceries, wasted food, and avoiding eating out. On Sundays I also make a few salads ahead of time to bring to work for my lunches. Saving $50 a week for lunch means $200 a month, which means $2400 a year! Batch cooking and using the freezer are great ways to save money on groceries without couponing.
Make Friends with your Neighbour
Wise bread in a post called "How to Live Alone Without Going Broke" suggests making friends with your neighbour not only for added security, but to share the Internet cost with. Internet is pretty darn expensive these days (at least it is $40 to $70 a month) and if you are in an apartment or a condo, why not share the Internet with your neighbour and split the cost?
Make Friends with your Friends
Making friends with your friends also helps you save money when living alone to save money, suggests Lifehacker, especially if your friends have a Netflix account that they can add you onto. Although Netflix isn't very expensive (at $7.99 to $9.99, it sure beats $70-$90 of cable television) it is an added monthly expense that can be avoided if you have a friend generous enough to let you use their Netflix account.
Check your Thermostat
Since you live alone, you can keep your place as cool as you want. I turn my thermostat completely off in the summer months and pay very little for electricity in the summer months. In the winter months I turn my thermostat down and make sure I dress warmly. Since heat contributes to the largest portion of electricity use, it makes sense to cut down where you can.
Rent Out Your Apartment
The luxury of living alone means that you have control over your place. So with your landlord's approval or your strata's approval, you can sublet or rent out your space if you are going away on a trip (which would effectively offset the cost of your trip). Think Airbnb, VRBO, or subletting through Craigslist. Of course you need to make sure you screen people carefully because they will be living in your space while you are gone... and because of some horror stories of short term stays gone terribly bad recently in the media.
Bargainmoosers, have you ever lived alone? Do you have any tips to save money while living alone?
Photo credit: Joe St.Pierre