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The cost of living is high for everyone right now, but that’s especially true for those who live alone. Rent.com reports that the cost of a one-bedroom apartment is currently on the rise in 97.8% of states nationwide. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in 2021 was just under $1,700. This is a 22.1% increase from 2020. Some cities have seen an increase of over 40%. In Gilbert, Arizona, the cost of rent has increased by 117%. Housing is an unavoidable cost and the housing market is certainly benefiting from this right now. Paying for a one-bedroom apartment in big cities like LA is pretty much only accessible to the wealthy at this point. The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles is currently $2,225, according to Zumper.com.
So, we understand: living alone is expensive. But it also comes with plenty of benefits, like never again dealing with roommate drama or someone else’s dirty dishes or someone else’s music waking you up. Living alone, for some, is worth the cost. That doesn’t mean his finances aren’t real though. They are very real. If you’re going to live on your own and you can’t quite figure it out, you need to make a financial plan to save some money. We have some tips.
Find a location that includes utilities
Utilities can be a big expense that will surprise you. Rent might seem reasonable in one place, but by the time those utility bills between water, electricity and internet come in, several hundred dollars have been added to your cost of living. Some buildings build utilities into the cost. Because the entire building falls under one account, the landlord can get each tenant a better price per utility than if they had covered them individually. This is especially true for buildings that provide internet. If you know your life requires a lot of Wi-Fi, water, and electricity, look for a building that includes utilities in the rent.
Share a Shopping subscription
Costco memberships traditionally work best when split among multiple people. When you have one all to yourself, you might struggle to get the most out of it. A single person cannot eat seven pounds of chicken. No matter how good the deal, it’s not a good deal if you throw away half the food before it expires. If you live alone, see if a neighbor would like to share a Costco membership. You can take a trip to the store together once or twice a month, pick up loose items you both need, and divide them up. You can also split the membership price, saving you extra money.
Rent or refuse your parking space
If your apartment comes with a parking space, you pay for it. But do you use it? do you have to If you don’t even have a car, accepting the parking space is just a waste of money. Sometimes landlords are happy to take over that place and reduce your rent because they can rent that place out to someone else. If they don’t make that deal with you, consider renting your place yourself. You probably have a neighbor on the block who doesn’t have a parking spot and needs one. People will pay big bucks for a reliable parking spot within walking distance of their homes.
Leave the living room
If you are going to live alone, consider buying a studio. You pay a premium for a full room. Unless you host large parties often, you don’t really need that full living space. Lean into the minimalism of living alone. Studio apartments can save you hundreds of dollars on rent each month compared to a full bedroom. If you’re worried about having space to hang out with friends, you can find a studio apartment in a building with lots of community space like game rooms, a pool, or community patios.
Find articles for free
In terms of furniture and decoration, find articles for free. People post for free on Facebook, Craigslist, and Nextdoor every day. They don’t have time to try to sell things. They just need it out of their space so they can make room for new items, or don’t have to pay to move so many old items when moving house. If you have patience, you can check the “Free” category on Facebook market and similar platforms daily until the thing you want appears.
Sign a longer lease
This option may not be for everyone, but if you know you’ll be staying in a town for a while and you like the building, sign a long lease. Landlords are often willing to lower the rent in exchange for a guaranteed long-term rental. It also protects you from rent increases. Remember that if the landlord breaches any of the terms of the contract (like not keeping up with maintenance or keeping the building quiet as promised), you can terminate the lease.
Barter with your landlord
Some tenants barter with their landlords. Perhaps you have a service to offer your landlord in exchange for a rent reduction. If you are a CPA, you could do their taxes. If you have a landscaping company, you can take care of building lots at a reduced rate. If you are a babysitter, you can babysit the owner’s child. Get to know your landlord and figure out if there’s anything you could offer that they would find valuable – like a few hundred dollars off the value of the rent.
Look at this electricity bill
If utilities aren’t included in your rent, you can at least watch your usage closely. You don’t have to argue with a roommate to turn off the lights or turn on the heating. Be stingy with power. Get a heater that you only use in the room you occupy instead of touching the thermostat. Or, don’t touch the radiator at all and lie down. Only turn on the lights in the room you occupy. Keep showers short. Unplug devices that are not in use. Take advantage of the fact that nobody but you influences your electricity bill, because you live alone.
Get to know your neighbors
Knowing your neighbors can be helpful for many reasons. If you are a woman living alone, getting to know your neighbors can increase your safety since you will have people watching over you. Knowing your neighbors also means you can borrow rather than rent or buy certain things. This can mean borrowing anything from a barbecue to a car. You might also find that some neighbors will pay you to run errands like them, like picking up groceries or walking their dog.