If you’re living alone for the first time or contemplating living by yourself, you need to be prepared to make some big changes in order to sustain in the long run.
Living on your own often means letting go of what you’re used to and finally growing up. Your mom will no longer be there to do your laundry or prepare your meals. You will be in charge of the household bills and the cleanliness of your space. In a nutshell, you have to do almost everything yourself and it’s not going to be cheap.
Here are 10 ways to save money when you live alone.
1. Get the basics first
Buy what you really need and the rest can come later. To save money, try ask your family members if they have any spare items you could use. Maybe they have a sofa they don’t want, or an unused coffee machine that’s been collecting dust in the store room.
“It’s not your salary that makes you rich, it’s your spending habits.”
2. Learn to cook
Instead of ordering takeout or buying food outside, learn how to cook. It’s not only healthier, but you’ll save more too. Try to find simple recipes online. Some meals don’t require a lot of ingredients and are really easy to prepare.
3. Plan your meals
Plan what you want to have for the week and stick to the items you have on your grocery list. To avoid wastage, take note of the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ dates and cook the ones that are about to expire first.
“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” — Warren Buffett
4. Make use of the freezer
Meat aside, keep extra food in the freezer instead of throwing them away. You can always heat them up when you’re too lazy to cook or don’t have enough ingredients to prepare another meal. You can also put certain dairy products in the freezer if you want them to last longer.
5. Do your own laundry
Instead of wasting your money on the dry cleaners, do your own laundry. A washing machine may be pricey, but you will save a lot in the long run. Don’t spend your money on a dryer either. Just get a rack and dry your clothes the old-fashioned way.
“Money does not dictate your lifestyle. It’s what you do to get it and how you manage finances that determines your lifestyle.” — Wayne Chirisa
Have a weekly or monthly budget and try to stick to it. Always remember to update your list so you can keep track on your expenses. Ideally, 50% of your income should go to what you need. 30% can go to your wants and the rest for your savings.
7. Get rid of unnecessary subscriptions
Magazines. Cable. Music streaming. Gaming. If you don’t need them, unsubscribe or find cheaper alternatives. You can also stop your subscription for newsletters from clothing brands, hotels, and others to help resist spending temptations.
“Money speaks only one language. If you save me today, I will save you tomorrow.”
8. Live by your means
Spend less than what you earn. Don’t spend on what you can’t afford. Swiping your credit card is easy and convenient, but it will lead to excessive debts. If you own a few cards, cancel them and just keep one for emergencies. If you have to use your card, make sure you pay it back immediately.
9. Find cheaper alternatives for monthly plans
If you’re used to expensive mobile and Internet plans, you might want to consider looking for cheaper options. Basic plans can be sufficient. Lesser known Internet providers can be just as good, if not better. Do your research and only pay for what you really need.
“The winning formula for being financially healthy is to spend less and save more. Simple.” — Amanda Steinberg
10. Try going out less
Instead of having expensive nights out with your friends every other week, invite them to your house. You can plan potlucks, game or movie nights, and even barbecues. If you’re a football fan, you can always get your buddies to come over instead of watching every big game outside.
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