Tips for managing money as a single person

Whilst being single brings with it a range of your own space, independence, and freedom to do whatever you want, it also brings challenges like trying to manage your finances alone, at a t

Whilst being single brings with it a range of your own space, independence, and freedom to do whatever you want, it also brings challenges like trying to manage your finances alone, at a time where everything seems to be constantly rising in price. 

The way we live, eat and pay for things is very focussed towards couples and families, and doing it the single way can often come with added charges. As well as the higher costs for singles, research also indicates that following a break up,  20% of UK adults will avoid their financial situation for the first 12-months, which will then lead to debts.

For single people, it’s never been more important to properly manage your money and improve your financial resilience so when things you can’t control hit, like National Insurance hikes and inflation, you’ve got emergency funds to help you through. 

Whether you’re renting or have a mortgage, unless you have a roommate, you are responsible for the full costs of that - along with the bills that come with it. Buying food from the shops, which usually comes in packs of two, or even a food subscription service which have two-portion minimum orders, all makes it difficult to budget as a single person.

Because we know managing money as a single person can be tricky, we wanted to share our top tips to help ease financial pressures for those living alone:

Watch your bills

One plus is that you have no one to shout at for filling the kettle too much, or leaving the heating on all day. Being mindful of small changes can help reduce your bill significantly. Just by filling your kettle less and turning your heating down by a few degrees can help to reduce your energy bills.

Manage your subscriptions

According to some of our most recent research, 52% people would say that their worst money habit is not cancelling unused subscriptions. As a single, you are paying the full cost of these to yourself so make sure to cancel any ones that you don’t need.

To keep costs down and still having access to all your favourite streaming services, why not share them with your friends? That way, rather than all paying for individual subscriptions, you can share your logins and split the bills. Win, win!

Watch out for wasted food subscription boxes

Depending on what subscription services you use, picking the right ones for your lifestyle can also help you to avoid wasting any money. Most meal delivery services (like Hello Fresh) have a two person minimum order, so opting for ambient meal kits like Simply Cook which have a much longer shelf life is a better idea because you'll have more time to use them up. Alternatively, look for meal kits that offer options for one person. For any pasta lovers, Pasta Evangelist offers single portions.

‘Come Dine With Me’ with your friends 

Take advantage of the perks of being single and plan to see your friends every week, whilst getting fed. Designate a specific day of the week for a ‘friends night’ where you take turns in eating at each other's homes. This makes the weekly shop cheaper as you have one day less a week where you have to pay for food.

Find mortgage options suitable to your situation

Whilst getting on the property ladder for anyone can be difficult, buying a home as a single person can be even more difficult. You’re instantly at a disadvantage if you’re buying alone, as the amount you can borrow is only based on one person’s salary and not two. There are however different schemes that you could look into if you’re set on buying a property:

1) Look into mortgage guarantor schemes, where you can use your parents income to boost the total amount you can borrow.

2) The Government has recently brought out the shared ownership scheme which allows you to buy a share of your home and pay subsidised rent on the remaining amount. This can help with those struggling to save up the large deposits required by many banks, and it can also let buyers keep a pot of money aside as an emergency fund should any unexpected costs crop up.

3) You could also look to buy with a friend or a relative as Tenants in Common, meaning you can choose the split of ownership if you would like to own the majority, rather than purchasing through the Shared Ownership scheme. This might mean you can find someone you trust who views the property as an investment, rather than to live in, meaning you get to keep your privacy.

Sell and swap your clothes

As we become more aware of the impact fast-fashion can have on the environment, instead of buying a new outfit for each new date you have, arrange a clothes swap with your friends.

You could also look into building a capsule wardrobe. It's one of the best ways to save time, space and importantly, money. The foundation of a capsule wardrobe is to fill your space with classic essentials, so you always have something to wear, during any season. Instead of having multiple pairs of jeans, you would have just a few jeans that you’ve paired with multiple tops, so you always have something to wear. This stops you from buying the odd fast-fashion top here and there, or shoes that you don’t end up wearing as you have nothing to wear with them. Whilst couples can of course also build a capsule wardrobe, it’s a great money-saver for singletons who have to be more careful with their budget

While creating your new money saving wardrobe, if you have a backlog of clothes that you know you won’t wear again, apps like Depop and Vinted are a great way to make a bit of cash whilst freeing up some space in your wardrobe. If you try this, make a deal with yourself to save 50% of everything you make to help you build up your financial resilience. 

Set positive money goals

Thinking about bills or debt can feel quite heavy, so set money goals that feel positive too. Is there something you could save up towards, like a new home item, or booking a weekend away? Managing finances shouldn’t always be doom and gloom, and it can make you feel much more motivated to save up and be careful with your money.

Have knowledge of your finances 

A plus of managing your finances as a single is not having anyone else's finances to think about. This means you can put all your energy into understanding the current state of your finances. With apps like ours that allows you to see all your finances in one place, you can easily budget each money and figure out how much you need for your bills, and how much you have to spend.

Create financial resilience 

Although it can be tricky with increasing bills across the board, trying to create some financial resilience for yourself can really help if you ever run into any financial disruptions. Just looking at the past few years shows how unpredictable life can be, so having back up funds to help with any unexpected life events such as losing your job, boiler breakdowns or unexpected bills can really help in the long run. Even if it's just £10 per month, it all helps and as you gain more and more control over your finances, you can gradually increase the amount of money you put away. 

Get the discounts your entitled to

You are currently entitled to a 25% discount on council tax as a singleton living alone, so make sure you’re taking full advantage of that. Some benefit schemes are based on household income, and not just personal income. If you’re living alone, it might be worth checking to see if you are eligible for any support or tax relief.

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