The MoneySavingExpert.com forum community call the moment you realise that you need...
Single life on a shoestring budget – 9 great tips
With the rise in living costs and the increasing difficulty to get on the property ladder, many single people are struggling to ‘live in the now’ and also save for the future. Whether it’s being savvy with your bills or finding cheap ways to keep entertained, our handy hints will mean living on a budget doesn’t have to be a financial burden!
Being single and skint doesn’t mean you have to stop what you enjoy doing. If anything, it’s about making simple changes and boosting your savings without doing any extra work.
1. Dinner for two
And I don’t mean setting an extra place at the dinner table. Food plays a large part in a budget because everyone needs to eat. It’s often difficult to buy food for one without making too much. Making too much means you can take it for your lunch (which saves waiting in a queue) or freeze it and heat it back up when you don’t want to cook from scratch.
2. Pay on payday
One of the biggest difficulties people have is managing their bank accounts. Make sure your direct debits and standing orders are set up to come out on the day or just after you get paid. You’re guaranteed to avoid being charged by your creditors for late payment (providing you don’t splurge all your cash on payday!) It also means that all your important costs are paid first leaving you with more control over your monthly spending.
3. Be a frugal wooer
The average singleton spends £104 on a first date! However, it’s possible to make a good impression on a date without having to blow your budget. Our Frugal Wooing article will tell you ten simple tricks to keep the costs of dating down (it was written for Valentine’s Day but the ideas work all year round).
4. Going mobile
Mobile and online banking is good for you busy singles on the go. It means you can know exactly what you’ve got available and what bills have gone out without having to wait for your statement to arrive.
5. Don’t flush money down the drain
If you’re living on your own then it’s likely you’ll use less water than the average household. So providing you’re not prone to hour long showers or have an Olympic-sized swimming pool in your back garden you’ll save money by installing a water meter.
If you’re not on a metered bill then you should speak to your water company and they’ll arrange for one to be installed. If you’re not saving money after a year they’ll let you return to a fixed bill, so you can’t lose!
6. Have a clear out
Cancel unused direct debits and subscriptions. For example; you can still give to charity without a direct debit. Give when you can to a money box or a friend fundraising.
7. Make a wish list for things you want
Try using Amazon’s wish list system. This way you can keep enjoy shopping on the internet without having to splurge loads of cash. Rather than giving in to your impulses you can save items you fancy for later.
Review your list after a few days and delete anything if you change your mind. You can then send the link to your friends and family at Christmas and birthdays, meaning they know exactly what you want and you haven’t had to spend your own cash!
8. Get 25% off your council tax
Another way to save a bit of money on the household bills is to check you’re getting the discount you’re entitled to on your council tax. If you live on your own you can get a 25% discount on your bill, but you’ll have to contact the council to make sure they’ve updated your account.
9. Find cheap ways to socialise
Being single and skint doesn’t have to mean that you stay in the house with an ever expanding number of cats! MoneySavingExpert.com has a forum thread dedicated to free cinema previews for movie fans or you could indulge your inner culture vulture by visiting your local art gallery.
If you put your mind to it there are loads of free or cheap things you can do with your pals. It’s just a matter of being a bit more creative with your thinking.
There are hundreds of ways you can enjoy the single life without haemorrhaging cash. If you’ve got any suggestions please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!