For many people living alone is a luxury, but for others, it’s a necessity. If you’re one of the latter and have trouble coming up with the money to cover all your rent, bills, and food by yourself, then you might be wondering how to afford living alone. Here are 16 tips to help you do just that.
How to Afford Living Alone
We’ll go through the basics of how to afford to live alone by talking about budgeting and saving money as well as taking on roommates or increasing your income.
1. Create a Budget and Stick to It
First things first, you need to know how much money you have to spend on rent and bills.
If you’re living alone for the first time, this will initially be harder than if you’ve lived alone before.
However, it is important to get an idea of what your expenses are so that you can cut costs where possible.
Once you’ve done that, look at your budget and divide your monthly expenses by the number of weeks in a year (52).
This figure is the average amount of money that should cover each week’s expense.
Next, take out a weekly planner or notebook and begin listing all of your weekly expenditures.
Try to be as detailed as possible, listing exactly what you do with your money.
If possible, keep a monthly calendar where you list all of the week’s activities and expenses.
Once you’ve completed the list, look at it and see if there’s anything that could be cut out or reduced.
Think about whether or not you really need to buy a coffee out every day.
Couldn’t you just make it at home?
Try to see what expenses that aren’t absolutely necessary can be reduced or eliminated altogether.
2. Increase Your Monthly Income
If you’re having trouble keeping up with all of your bills then see if there is a way to increase your income.
First, look at your paycheck and see if you’re earning as much as you could be.
If you’re not making what you’d like, talk to your boss. It might be possible to get a raise.
Just keep in mind that companies that are offering raises usually ask their employees to put in extra time or work extra jobs which means that even if the end result is more money coming in, you might not be thrilled with all the extra time you spend working.
If this doesn’t sound like what you want then there’s another option available – getting more than one job.
In today’s world, it seems almost everyone has some sort of side hustle.
If you are one of the few that don’t then think about it.
Chances are there is something out there that you can do on your own time that you will enjoy and make money at.
Bringing in more income is one of the best ways to make living alone more affordable.
3. Start a Side Hustle to Increase Your Income
As mentioned above, a side hustle is a great way to bring in more income.
You could sell something (such as homemade crafts) or do freelance work in the evenings.
Sell books on Amazon.
Sell thrift store finds on eBay.
Throw up a gig on Fiverr.
Regardless of what you choose, there’s no reason why you can’t make some extra money and it might be enough to cover all of your monthly expenses depending on what kind of work you’re doing.
4. Rent a Studio Apartment Instead of a One Bedroom
A studio apartment is cheaper than a one-bedroom in most areas of the United States, so why not save money by renting one instead?
Less space means you’ll spend less money on furniture and other items.
Since there’s no need for a dining room table, you can use your living room as the dining area and get a nice, tidy-looking setup that won’t cost you anything.
5. Rent a Room Instead of An Apartment
If you’re struggling to afford an apartment and looking for cheaper alternatives, you may want to consider moving in with someone instead of renting an entire place.
Yes, you want to live alone, and I get that. However, if you rent a room it’s not exactly like living with a roommate.
Chances are you will have your own bedroom, bathroom, and possibly even kitchen facilities.
A lot of people that rent out rooms have spaces that even have their own entrance.
6. Shop at Thrift Stores
In order to save as much money as possible, it’s best to avoid shopping at the mall altogether.
Instead of spending $50 on a shirt that you’ll wear once, why not spend $5 and buy something from a thrift store instead?
You’ll be amazed at what you can find and it’s not just clothing.
You can pick up stuff for your home as well.
I once bought what looked to be a brand new bread machine for $2.00. Considering that they run around $80.00 dollars in a department store, it was a great find.
I’ve been using it for about five years now with no issues.
7. Find Free Entertainment
If you’re looking for entertainment that won’t cost you anything then it’s time to become a little more creative.
Go for a hike, cycle around the neighborhood with your friends, or visit local landmarks that don’t charge admission.
Instead of spending $10 or more on a movie ticket and then buying expensive snacks at the cinema, do something free or a lot cheaper instead.
Go to the library and rent, for free, movies and video games.
Go to the park and let your children run around for a couple of hours.
All of these things are fun, free, or very cheap and they can keep your kids entertained for hours on end without you having to spend anything at all.
For adult fun, invite friends over for a potluck.
Enjoy an outdoor music festival or movie
Have drinks at home instead of going to a bar or nightclub.
8. Take Advantage Of Move-In Specials
In order to entice tenants into renting apartments, companies offer special deals from time to time.
For example, you might be able to move into a one-bedroom apartment for $100 less per month if you sign the lease today instead of a month from now.
If this is a good deal then it’s definitely worth taking advantage of!
Oftentimes, these move-in specials will give you one month free or allow you to move in without putting down a deposit.
It can greatly reduce the amount you pay for rent over a year’s time.
9. Spend Less On Groceries
Save on groceries by planning meals in advance and have leftovers that you can use for a cheap lunch.
Take advantage of coupons that are mailed to you and buy generic brands as much as possible, especially if the store brand is cheaper than the name brand version.
Plan your meals ahead of time and stick to the plan.
Make a list and don’t buy anything that isn’t on your list.
10. Sell Your Stuff on eBay
If you have old clothes or toys that your kids have outgrown then it’s time to sell them online using eBay or even Craigslist.
In most cases, you’ll be able to make a little extra cash by selling your old stuff online and this can be quite lucrative if you have a large pile of items waiting to be sold.
I’ve sold odds and ends on eBay for years. It always gives me a few extra dollars in my pocket, and that certainly makes living alone much more affordable.
11. Get A Space Heater
Heat your home for less by getting a space heater.
Not only will it keep your home warm but you’ll be able to run it overnight while you sleep and you won’t turn on the furnace as much.
There’s no reason to keep the whole house warmer. Just use a space heater to warm the area around you.
12. Wash Laundry By Hand
Laundry machines use a lot of energy so you can reduce your electric bill and the amount of waste that goes into landfills by doing laundry by hand.
If you can’t live without a washing machine then try to cut the amount of time that it runs so that it cuts your energy bill in half.
If possible, wash as many of your clothes by hand that you can.
It will cut down on energy costs and your clothes will last longer.
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13. Put In A Low Flow Faucet
Save money every time you turn on the faucet by installing a low-flow faucet with a 1.8 GPF or less.
You’ll be able to stop wasting water and save thousands of gallons per year which will add up to significant savings on your water bill.
14. Get Rid of Your Car
Did you know that the average car in the U.S. is parked 95+ percent of the time?
If you’re not using your car, why have it?
Get rid of your car and use car-sharing, public transportation, biking, or walking for transport.
This can save you hundreds of dollars monthly.
15. Drive Less
Okay, so you don’t want to get rid of your car, then consider driving less often.
Consider how much you really need to drive or whether there’s any way to get around without a car.
Can you work from home one day a week?
Is it really necessary for everyone in your family to drive everywhere?
Can you consolidate your errands into one trip per week or even a month?
16. Sell Your Plasma
Yes, this might sound extreme, but I know that people do it.
Most people won’t donate their plasma because they think that the needles used are going to hurt.
The truth is they don’t hurt at all, and it’s very easy to make extra money by selling your plasma.
You can sign up at any time and go whenever you’re free, which means that you’ll be making $100 or more in just a couple of hours.
Not to mention, but you’ll be helping others in need.
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To Sum it All Up:
There are many ways to make living alone more affordable. From renting a smaller apartment to getting a space heater, you can reduce your cost of living without reducing your quality of life.