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how to live on your own frugally

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I have to admit that living in a one person household isn’t generally the least expensive choice. It does have it’s advantages however. The most important being that you only have to consult yourself when making penny pinching decisions. Here are four simple ways you can put your one person status to your advantage.

council tax

If you are a living alone in the UK, be sure to claim your 25% discount on council tax. You might argue that if you were in a 2 or more person household you’d be paying at most 50% each. This is true, but your house could well be larger - it may well pay off to be on your own.


There should be at most one light on in the house at a time - unless you can magically be at two places at the same time, in which case I want to hear about it. This saves electricity. You can also choose to install CFL bulbs with out anyone else complaining which also saves electricity. Saving electricity saves money and the planet. Win-win.


It’s true that bulk buying can reduce your costs per person in a multi-person household, but as any single person will attest, there are cheap meals that you eat that you wouldn’t dream of serving to another person. I will happily eat plain tuna sandwiches for dinner several days in a row, for example, or a weird concoction of whatever is left in the cupboard.

last but not least, no whining

Living on your own, you can turn the heating down and wear extra jumpers. Talk only for a reasonable amount of time on the phone. Refuse to own a tv. Wear really old clothes around the house. No one will whine about any of this and insist that you make a more expensive choice.

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36 comments for “how to live on your own frugally”

  1. And if you’re married, but kidless, you can probably also get away with wearing old clothes around the house. Or less clothes at all.

    Posted by Mrs. Micah | November 20, 2007, 12:42 pm
  2. There is an added advantage to turning the heating down. If you then wear lots of jumpers, then should you fall down then you have lots of padding.

    The food situation is not quite so good. If you take pizza out of the freezer to cook it by yourself, then I will eat the whole pizza. If someone else was there, I would share it. Of course… there has been times when I had to take 2 pizzas out of the freezer… I was really hungry.

    Agree with all the rest though.

    Posted by Llama for brains | November 20, 2007, 3:12 pm
  3. Llama - that’s what mini-pizzas are for. Or you can put half the big pizza in the fridge right away instead of eating it, and you have breakfast the next day.

    Good post, Plonkee. Very true that you can get away with a lot more penny-pinching when you’re by yourself, though you may be paying more in rent/mortgage than you would if you had a roommate/partner. The single-person tax discount sounds helpful too, though we don’t have that sort of thing here.

    I used to eat tuna salad sandwiches for multiple days in a row. Or Kraft Dinner. Whatever was on sale.

    Posted by Fecundity | November 20, 2007, 5:56 pm
  4. The “no whining” thing is big. My wife prefers the house to be warmer in winter; I prefer it colder. She likes to hang Christmas lights outside; I don’t. (All I can think of is all the non-renewable electricity being wasted.) Anyway, there are definitely some money-saving advantages to being single.

    Posted by Ryan Healy | November 20, 2007, 7:34 pm
  5. @Fecundity:
    I’d forgotten about pizza for breakfast. It’s definitely more of a single person meal I think.

    @Ryan Healy:
    Although I love Christmas, I think it’s such a waste of energy having Christmas lights that I don’t even put any on the tree, I just have sparkly ornaments.

    Posted by plonkee | November 20, 2007, 8:06 pm
  6. Mrs. Micah is dead on… I have a little toddler, and trust me - I get home from work and change into the same ratty shorts and t-shirt for days in a row. My wife and I have both adopted the “indoor clothing” routine - we wear nice stuff out and sweats and t-shirts indoors. I’ll wear the same “indoor” t-shirt for days (after washing, of course).

    Posted by brip blap | November 21, 2007, 2:41 am
  7. What exactly is the British understanding of the word “jumper”. A jumper in the US is a type of casual dress that uses shoulder straps and is worn over a separate shirt. Most men would not wear one and I don’t think I have ever seen a woman wearing more than one at a time.

    Posted by rocketc | November 21, 2007, 4:12 am
  8. I’m pretty sure “jumper” is what Americans call sweaters.

    Posted by E.C. | November 21, 2007, 7:26 am
  9. Er, jumper is the term Brits use for the garment Americans call a sweater. (Should avoid commenting while sleep deprived.)

    Posted by E.C. | November 21, 2007, 7:27 am
  10. Yes, E.C. has got it right.

    The garment you’re referring to rocketc is sometimes called a ‘pinafore’ and otherwise is probably just described as a dress. It’s seldom over seen here, probably because it’s a common item of school uniform clothing.

    Posted by plonkee | November 21, 2007, 9:31 am
  11. sorry for any confusion…

    yes, jumper is a woolly thing you wear. Can be hand knitted and given out at xmas as in Bridgette Jones diary.

    A sweater is someone who goes to the gym too much ;)

    Posted by Llama for brains | November 21, 2007, 10:05 am
  12. A Christmas jumper. Oooooh, please don’t let me get another one of those this year.

    Posted by plonkee | November 21, 2007, 1:58 pm
  13. Thanks for the answer everyone!

    Posted by rocketc | November 21, 2007, 9:10 pm
  14. You do have to love living alone, hot dogs and tune. There cheap fast and taste good. I never got the point of buying in bulk if you live alone. Too much of it goes bad or you always buy stuff you will not need.

    Posted by Roman | March 20, 2008, 3:25 pm
  15. I am 16 and I was thinking about moving into one of the houses my parents own and rent out. Is there any reason that i shouldn’t or any pointers to help get me started?

    Posted by Oosh | April 25, 2008, 1:28 am
  16. It’s more difficult to move into your own place when you are below 18 as you can’t normally have your own name put on utilities and so on.

    However, plenty of people have done it. I’d imagine that you’ll need the support of your parents to move into one of their houses. There are lots of things you might want to think about financially, especially budgeting - how do you think that would work out?

    Posted by plonkee | April 25, 2008, 8:34 pm
  17. i think that living on your own by yourself should be a good thing, i live on my own and love it i walk around naked all the time and dont have to worry about a thing

    Posted by t bone | June 4, 2008, 12:49 am
  18. Personally, I live by myself (well, technically, I don’t…too much to explain here.), and survive by buying bulk Ramen noodles.
    They’re cheap, quick AND easy (rare combination), filling, and even tasty, if you get good kinds (Lime Chili, MMMM….). Only downside is low sodium, but that’s all dependent on whether or not you wish to starve.

    During summer here in the US, I have a large solar cell, that runs a simple positive and grounder to a floor fan (ten dollars at Dollar General). If it’s hot, open my door, stick the cell outside, and put the fan in the door. Bam.

    Posted by JamesW | September 16, 2008, 8:44 am
  19. Uhm, can’t edit, change that “low sodium” to extremely high sodium. I was thinking ahead of myself.

    Posted by JamesW | September 16, 2008, 8:45 am
  20. @JamesW:
    The solar hookup for the fan is inspired. Sadly, it’s never that hot in the UK, but I hope someone else can make use of that idea - maybe someone in Australia, it’s getting towards spring over there.

    Posted by plonkee | September 16, 2008, 7:07 pm
  21. I live w/ my boyfriend and am ready to live on my own because there is too much “whining” on both sides we are diffrent people and can’t agree on anything (food, temperature, cleaning) nothing!!! I hate it, but I don’t thing I can survive on my own because Im a college student and can only work so-many hrs.. Any advice?

    Posted by Frustrated | October 12, 2008, 5:25 pm
  22. @Frustrated:
    Do you have any friends that you could move in with? Or look for housemates in general, there’s usually adverts on craigslist, or in your local shops and so on. That would mean that the costs were about the same as those you have now. Honestly, I’m sure that you can survive on your own if you really want to.

    Posted by plonkee | October 13, 2008, 12:51 pm
  23. i really have not had any exsperienses of living on my own. im 19 and my drivers lisenses are invalid. im a high school graduet. and i wanted infomation on how to live on my own. my dad keeps saying he dont want me to become a nobody. so please i need info about how exspensive it is to live an aapartment for a one person how much are the bills. any advice

    Posted by tiggen | October 21, 2008, 1:37 am
  24. I found the biggest financial risk of living alone is that you can feel the need to go out all time for company. Sharing a house with someone gives you at least a bit of social kick even on a gloomy Sunday.

    Posted by Monevator | January 14, 2009, 2:31 pm
  25. I for one think that “food” is a huge component of living frugally. I can’t tell you how many people I know that claim to be broke, but are out eating at restaurants for lunch and dinner. It’s pretty simple, save a couple hundred bucks a month by packing a lunch for work and cooking a meal at home for supper.

    Posted by FixThePig | February 3, 2009, 2:29 am
  26. hi im 17. i just would like some help. ive been kicked out of my home and im looking for somwere to live. im a student in college and only earn 30 pounds a week. i live in the uk ant theres the credit crunch here. do you think i will be able to get benifits or anything. or get a free flat, i dont wanna live in a hostel. thanks..x

    Posted by trisha | April 24, 2009, 4:15 am
  27. I really admire those people who lives frugally, it’s something I need to learn for my future.

    Posted by Living Trust California | November 9, 2009, 12:43 am
  28. I’m planning on moving out when I am 18, im 17 now. I think I have most of the info I need to be able to make it on my own, and I have also been considering splitting an apartment with a friend.

    I’m not gunna get a credit card, at least until I have everything under control, and I’m pretty good at budgeting. My dad has been out of his job for a good 5 years now, and living off of small odd computer jobs since he started his own company, so I am used to being thrifty with my money.

    Any tips for me? I read everything above and there’s a lot of good info.


    Posted by MACE | January 2, 2010, 5:53 pm
  29. i never commented before but i just had to now. good site.

    Posted by make your own t shirt | January 19, 2010, 1:41 am
  30. Being frugal is a great way to keep out of the poorhouse. However I see too many people who treat it like a religion. Do not let your choices become gospel. You can seriously de-value your time and life trying to save money without maximizing your enjoyment. Never sacrifice your happiness for your ego.

    Posted by online forex trading | July 13, 2010, 3:30 am
  31. I live on my own for quite a few years now and it is the way to live your life. To depend on someone else really sucks. It is a big step to make but if you have the possibility do it!

    Posted by john | August 6, 2010, 12:53 pm
  32. I never got the point of buying in bulk if you live alone. Too much of it goes bad or you always buy stuff you will not need.

    Posted by printing | October 1, 2010, 8:46 am
  33. CFL bulbs are occasionally on offer for as little as 10p each. This is because the price is subsidised by energy companies.

    CFL bulbs have improved a lot in the last few years and mine use about 1/5 the electricity compared to tungsten bulbs.

    Posted by Dimmable CFL | October 7, 2010, 11:15 am

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