Tips | March 1, 2016

Going it alone? Nine tips on how to save when single

Sometimes it seems the world is full of families or couples – yet statistics suggest that more of us than ever are living alone.

This can mean foregoing a chance to spread the financial load, whether the issue is taxation, buying property or simply booking a holiday.
Read on for top tips from Elvira Esparza, writing for ING eZonomics’ Spanish sister site

1 Establish a budget – and stick to it The first step might be to work out a monthly budget. This should reflected fixed income and household expenses (mortgage or rent and essential supplies) as well as more personal or non-essential spending (dining out and entertainment ). Ensure the budgeted amount is less than total income – so savings continue to grow. Then, analyse the budget in detail to see where to save even more.

2 Compare deals on utilities Reducing the energy bill can be easy - turning off lights in empty rooms , closing the tap when brushing teeth and not turning up the heat. But also review all electricity, gas and telecommunications contracts at least once a year – and switch suppliers when better rates are available. A good way to find special deals can be to use price comparison websites. Compare the terms and conditions of each offer as well as the price.

3 Ditch the landline Many people opt for all-inclusive services combining phone, mobile, internet and even television. Yet the fixed landline phone may be rarely used. If going without a landline is possible, this can save around €170 a year. Another option is to share a wireless connection with a neighbour – splitting the cost and potentially doubling the savings.

4 Cook in quantity and freeze When living alone, why not prepare food in quantity to consume over several days? It’s as easy to make a larger amount, freezing portions separately as servings for one. In addition, try making a few lunches as well – potentially slashing the cost of a working week.

5 Use public transport Taking public transport can save a lot of money. Weekly, monthly or annual tickets – especially online – can be cheaper than paying as you go. Sometimes bus or tram use is included with train fares for no extra charge. If you need a car, perhaps relegate it to travelling out of town, car-pooling to work, or making group journeys to cut costs when possible.

6 Accounting for costs and cards Reassess the cost of bank accounts, including credit and debit cards. The principle of inertia means it is easier to do nothing, letting the cards renew automatically every year without checking changes to fees and policies. Ask if there’s a better deal and make sure you take advantage of the best offers for you.

7 Buy on sale For a saver, the satisfaction of buying something you want for 50% off can be priceless. Sites like Italy-based can offer real deals. Stick to buying what you need whenever you shop – and for a treat, try the end-of-season sales. Avoid buying on credit, and if you do, pay it all off before the interest rates kick in – typically the end of a month.

8 That’s the ticket Entertainment can be costly. Consider buying tickets online or in advance for theatre, concerts or cheaper shows. Specialist websites like Spain’s Catch or Letsbonus can offer excellent discounts. If going to a film, try to take advantage of week-day or multi-ticket deals, which are often cheaper.

9 Holiday off-season Single people can often travel more easily out of season than a family and the sights can be less crowded too. The cheaper prices can help counteract the effect of paying more for a single room, with further accommodation savings possible through home-swap programmes, or by sharing with friends.

On their own, the potential savings from these actions might seem quite small. However, taken together, a considerable overall sum can be saved every year – increasing capital available to invest and improving your financial position for a better long term future.

eZonomics team
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