How many times have you thought of living on your own? Imagine getting a place without siblings to argue with 24/7 or no roommate that makes snacks at 3 in the morning, which, by the way, is no way subtle in his movements.
Besides the peace, you’ll also get to satisfy your desire to experience adulting fully. The rush of independence and having a place that you completely control and own. However, it can get overwhelming; so many responsibilities with no one to help you. You finally get rid of your messy roommate, but now you realize you have to clean the whole place yourself.
But the bigger doubt that you probably have is how are you going to afford this new lifestyle? The good news is that living alone is doable on a budget. However, there are a lot of changes that you must do in order to sustain this new living situation.
How to Save Money if You Live Alone
Choose the Place Accordingly
There are so many factors that you have to consider when choosing a new place. First is if its location is convenient for your work. Even if the rent is cheap, if you’re shelling out more on your gas or transportation expenses, then you’re not really saving any money. Compromise is key when choosing a place. It might be far from your gym, but if it’s a walking distance to the store and workplace, then it’s not a bad compromise.
Another thing that you must keep in mind is if the place matches your needs. Don’t end up paying for space that you don’t need just because the place looks amazing. Consider a one-bedroom apartment that you can make the most out of its available space. You probably won’t need an extra room for gaming or reading since realistically, the couch is enough for these activities. Sorry to ruin your dream of having those instagram-worthy apartments.
Remember that you don’t have anyone to split the costs with. Once you’re earning enough to afford that place with a patio overlooking the beach, then go ahead and get it.
Needs Over Wants
Just like when choosing an apartment, ask yourself if what you’re planning to buy is fitting to your lifestyle. Do you really need that wifi-connected oven when your non-wifi gas range is working just fine? Regardless of your income, you must always prioritize needs over wants.
The 50-30-20 rule is also applicable when you’re living alone. This means you’re allocating 50% of your income for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings. In fact, why not change it to 30% for savings? Savings are for your financial goals and security. It can also become your emergency fund, just in case. Remember, you’re living independently. And while you might have someone to help you, it’s better to feel secure on your own.
You can also divide your wants with half of it as “savings” for wants. For example, if you want to travel to a gorgeous resort for your birthday, you can use this portion for it. This “wants savings” is also a nice source of funds for spontaneous me-times to unwind and relax.
Lastly, don’t be afraid of second-hand items. Of course, you’ll still need to check their quality and background. But if a friend or family member not using a perfectly working item, you might as well ask.
However, in the long run, it might save you more money if you opt for a new, high-quality item that you can use for longer. This way, you’re not shelling out money every time an affordable stuff gets broken.
Be Mindful of Utilities Consumption
Another significant factor that can make or break your allocated budget is your energy consumption. In particular, how well do you think you’re “budgeting” your energy and water usage? Electricity and water are needs, so they are not something that you can’t prioritize. However, some areas, particularly busy cities, might be pricier in terms of utilities.
As we have mentioned earlier, a smaller place is going to save you money. And this is true since you’re also paying for fewer utilities. An additional “hack” that you can do to be more frugal is by using appliances that are energy/water efficient.
For example, an electric tankless water heater is a more energy-efficient choice over heaters that use tanks. The latter needs to maintain the stored water’s temperature, compared to the former that supplies you hot water on demand. You will also save on gas and other electronics if you’re the type who needs hot water sporadically throughout the day.
Besides hot water on tap, you can also look for appliances that have auto-shut off function when idle or those that use timers. In addition to these suggestions, the use of less powerful appliances will even do you a favor in terms of budget cutting. Perhaps you can use the fan instead of the aircon if it’s not that hot. And since you’re living alone, your savings from a smaller-sized fridge might mean the difference of getting a vacation in December.
Lastly, keep in mind to turn off anything unused be it a plugged charger or a faucet while you’re brushing teeth. Not only you’re saving on expenses, but you’re also choosing a more eco-friendly approach of living.
Shop Once, Cook More
The most straightforward explanation is that during shopping, stick on a budget. Yes, no matter how enticing the new artisan coffee is on the aisle! We recommend you only to go grocery shopping twice a month. This way, you get to stick much easier to your allocated budget. Also, make sure to bring a list of needs before going out, and avoid going grocery shopping hungry. Trust us, getting four boxes of pizza is not going to be as appealing if you’ve eaten beforehand.
Lastly, another way that you can save costs is by cooking in bulk at home. If you’re already busy, this will also benefit you in terms of time management. Plus, wouldn’t it be fun to try out new meal plans? Whenever you have free time, prepare your meals beforehand and freeze them in stacks. This way, you won’t have to give in to unhealthy take outs when you come home tired from work.