Data show how the number of people living independently in the U.S. went up almost 50 percent over the last half-century. This same phenomenon is actually occurring elsewhere: in Japan, Angola, and many other countries worldwide.
In the U.S., the 34 million adults who are living independently can be found mostly in cities, with St. Louis, MO, Pittsburgh, PA, and Cincinnati, OH topping the list among midsize cities. Meanwhile, Dayton, OH, Columbia, SC, and Topeka, KS took the top three places among small cities with the largest population of adults living alone. When it comes to the big cities, Cleveland, OH, Atlanta, GA, and New Orleans, LA were the top three cities with the most number of independently-living adults.
Now, if you live alone and are struggling to make ends meet most of the time, you’ll need to get your bearings and start doing things to save money each day. Here are eight money-saving tricks you should do while living independently:
Let professionals handle your dirty clothes.
If you’re better off working an extra job than washing your dirty clothes on your own, consider spending a few dollars each week on a local laundromat that will wash, dry, fold, and press your clothes. This way, you can take care of personal matters or earn extra money on a second or third job to help you finance your independent living lifestyle. It may seem counter-intuitive to some but it’s actually one of the best ways to save money, plus you also give yourself plenty of time to rest or take care of more important matters.
Cook your own food instead of eating/taking out.
Take out or restaurant food is significantly more expensive than home-cooked meals. Not only do you save money by preparing your own food for the day, but you’ll also be more confident eating your meals since you know exactly how they’re prepared.
Make a meal plan and consider re-heating/re-purposing left-over food.
Hand-in-hand with cooking your own meals is making a meal plan for an entire week (or a month) to guide you when you go shopping for supplies. If you have left-over food that is still good for human consumption, re-heating or re-purposing it is advisable, instead of just throwing it away.
Cut down on subscriptions.
Do you really need to keep your monthly Netflix subscription or you’d do just as well by watching digital content on YouTube? How about cutting short your other subscriptions such as cable, gym membership, and magazines? When put together, you can probably save a few hundred dollars by just letting go of these monthly expenses.
Follow the cheaper by the dozen principle.
Folks who buy in bulk, especially the things they constantly need on a weekly or monthly basis, save big amounts periodically than those who buy piecemeal. While this may be wallet-heavy since you’re buying things at once, the savings you’ll get by following the cheaper by the dozen principle is worth the initial toll on your wallet.
Mind your utility consumption.
Water and electricity bills can be quite shocking when you’re living independently. But, it should not be the case if you know how to conserve energy and water. Instead of using incandescent or CFLs, consider switching to LED lights since they consume lower electricity, plus they last much longer. Also, use a glass when brushing your teeth instead of just allowing the faucet to flow while you’re cleaning your teeth.
Buy in thrift stores.
Instead of always going to the department stores or buying designer clothes, why not source your clothes from a thrift store instead? There are plenty of decent clothes from thrift stores that cost just a fraction of the ones you’ll buy from high-end stores.
Buy food with a long shelf life.
If you don’t want to make frequent trips to the grocery or supermarket, buying food supplies that have a long shelf life is the most practical way. Not only do you save on gas or transportation, but you also save time and energy that you can spend doing more productive things.
Find low-cost alternatives. You don’t have to buy branded and ready-made products all the time. Having something fabricated could be a better and more affordable option for you. For example, you can ask steel fabricators to create a stainless steel cabinet or decorative feature. The best thing about it is that you can have your item customized to your liking.
With these money-saving tricks, living alone won’t take much toll on your finances.