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PDS save money essentials live alone header

Seven ways to save money on the essentials when you live alone

Living on your own has a number of advantages from sole control of the TV remote to being able to cook what you want when you want, but the financial downsides to living on your own can become a burden.

However, managed correctly, you can cut costs and save money on your essential household bills to make living alone a more affordable prospect for you and your budget. With that in mind, here are our seven tips to help you cut the costs of your household bills:

  1. Mortgage

A mortgage is an expensive cost and for a couple the cost is split every month, assuming each has an income,  making the large expense much more manageable for many. Alongside this, in the majority of cases, couples are offered better rates on a mortgage as according to mortgage brokers, Private Finance, the “analysis shows joint mortgages generally perform better than single applicants.”

It can also be much more difficult to save up for the deposit needed by yourself which can put many looking to buy a house on their own out of the range of the best mortgage deals on the market. Two ways to deal with these issues include searching the market for the best deals for 5% and 10% deposit mortgages and asking your parents to act as guarantors on your mortgage.

However, asking parents to do this can be risky as they are then held legally responsible for paying your mortgages if you default on the payments. Therefore it is always worth looking into the terms of the contract before opting for this regardless of the potential benefits it could provide.

  1. Council tax

If you live on your own, you can get a 25% discount on your bill which could save you hundreds of pounds every year. To do this you will need to get in contact with your local council to inform them that you live alone and they should be able to arrange a new bill, including the deduction, to be drawn up for you.

For further information on this, visit GOV.UK who has a guide to council tax and the costs.

PDS save money essentials live alone content
  1. Food bills

When shopping just for yourself, it can become very easy to shop as and when you need food but this can become very expensive over time. Shopping weekly or monthly allows you to create a budget and a meal plan to stick to them to help you save money in the long run, especially if you decide to bulk buy certain products such as pasta and tinned food.

It’s also worth freezing food such as bread, fruit and vegetables to ensure larger portions are not wasted. Again, living on your own allows you the opportunity to meal plan and pay better attention to use by dates so you can cut back on waste and save yourself money.

  1. Water bills

Unlike most other household bills, you can’t swap the provider of your water to a company which is offering a better or cheaper deal. However, being on an unmetered bill can end up becoming more expensive for those that live on their own.

This is because water companies work out unmetered bills by estimating the number of people who live in a property based on the number of bedrooms there are. Therefore, water meters can be beneficial for single person households as they measure the amount of water used in the property and you are billed accordingly.

As one person households are likely to use less water compared to a four person household, you could end up saving yourself a good amount on your monthly and yearly water bills.

  1. Energy bills

When it comes to your energy costs, there are a number of different ways to lower the price of your monthly bills including opting for tariffs which do not include a standing charge. Standing charges are added to energy bills as a fixed daily charge on top of your usage cost. Non-standing charge tariffs allow you to pay only for what you use hopefully saving you some money.

When comparing the market, you should specify your current average annual/monthly usage to look for the plan which will suit your use of energy and it may highlight plans which reward low usage.

Living alone also allows you the freedom to take full control over the amount of energy that you use so you can do things such as setting your heating to only come on when you are at home, avoid leaving any electrical items on standby and filling up your fridge and freezer which will reduce their running costs.

  1. Car insurance

If there is only one person on your car insurance policy, it can actually cost you more money than having multiple people on your policy. The best way to lower your premium is to include another person such as a flatmate, parent or sibling onto your policy. It will be particularly beneficial for the cost of your policy if the person added is older and has a good number of years no claims bonus.

However, make sure you only add them as a named driver not a main driver because although this is likely to make your quote cheaper, it is classed as fraud to name someone as the main driver on your insurance when they are not. The best thing to do is use comparison sites and tweak your claim accordingly to produce the best quote for you.

  1. Check benefits

Some state benefits are based on the total household income rather than the individual wage so you could be entitled to certain benefits if you live on your own. You can check the GOV.UK website to see what benefits you may be eligible for and take their quick eligibility test online to see if you should be receiving extra money.

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