When you live by yourself, you have whole lot of freedom to style your home and habits exactly as you please. Since you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself, it should be easy to pad your wallet with savings, right? After all, you don’t have to honor any special request at the grocery store, worry about providing the latest toys to a toddler or chip in for shared items that you don’t really want.
On the other hand, living by yourself means not having anyone else to help you pay for things, either. You may find yourself spending more to keep your household afloat than you would if you had roommates to share the costs.
Though there are definitely some money pitfalls when you live as a single person, you can avoid them if you’re careful. Here’s how to keep your costs down when you live alone so you can build your savings and win the game of life.
Right-Size Your Rental
Rent (or a mortgage payment) is most likely your single biggest expense when you live alone, and it can get pricey when you don’t have anyone to split the costs with. To keep your monthly payments low, stick to a one-bedroom or studio so you’re not paying for space you don’t need. If you’re thinking of turning that extra bedroom into an office, forget about it: You’ll probably just use your laptop on the sofa anyway. For inspiration to make the most out of a small space, check out Ikea and Apartment Therapy.
Get Rid of Your Car
Even more important than your apartment’s size may be it’s location. With all the freedom in the world to choose where you live, try to snag a place that’s within walking distance of your workplace — and then sell your car. The average person ends up shelling out $9,000 a year to own a car, so you can make serious bank if you don’t have to have one. If you can’t walk everywhere, at least aim for a place that’s convenient to public transportation — or download that Lyft app. Even if you have to rent a car or take a real taxi on a few occasions, you’ll still come out ahead. And since you don’t have to work around anyone else’s schedule, you’re in the perfect position to be car-free.