So, you’ve finally got your own place! It’s an amazing feeling, isn’t it? BUT living alone means you are solely responsible for home expenses. Bittersweet. You might’ve heard before that in order to save yourself some Benjamin’s you need to cut back unnecessary spending. Well… yes but for some of us there is a slightly different line between what’s necessary and unnecessary. It’s up to you to make decisions based on what’s needed and what isn’t.
Create a Budget
First of all, and if you haven’t already, start living within your means by creating a strict budget. Having a plan allows you to make sure you don’t spend more than you make. You will know how much to put towards bills, food, entertainment and even unexpected expenses that may come your way. It truly makes like a bit easier. Side Note: It may be tempting to used credit cards while paying expenses but remember credit cards are not free money; avoid them if you know you won’t be able to pay them. Why? Because the longer you take to pay your balance off, the higher the interest climbs.
Meal Prepping is Key
Fast food is convenient, I get it…but trust me you will be glad to cut back as you notice the money you’re saving. Try preparing meals at home big enough to leave leftovers to store in the fridge and eat later. This will cut out your reliance on ordering takeout or dining out all the time; plus, it’s not only cheaper, but could be a healthier option too.
Are you one of those grocery shopping wanderers? I feel you. Next time, don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry! Create a grocery list that includes specifically what you need and buy the smaller versions of those items. You can also be on the look for coupons and shop only when there are sales.
Save Money on Monthly Bills
If you pay for both heat and AC, try cutting down those expenses by simply turning off your heating/AC. Purchase a fan or open windows to get some fresh air during the summer and wear extra clothing layers & thick socks during winter. Also, make sure you are keeping lights off when not in use. If you have cable; think about canceling and switching over to Netflix or Apple TV. It’s better and a lot cheaper in the long run. Remember to cancel any subscriptions that you aren’t using as well.
Bonus Tip: When it comes to cleaning your beautiful living space, try buying multipurpose cleaners instead of buying different product cleansers for each material (glass, wood, marble). You will likely spend less money and get the same quality and amount of cleaning done.
What advice would you give to someone living alone for the first time?
*This post was written by past intern, Yair Fauster. Yair is a college graduate of Loyola University.