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  • Love being single? How to overcome the price you pay

    The cost of being single is a whopping £860 a month – here are our top tips to overcome the price you pay.

    Being single can be stressful. You dodge incessant – and intrusive – questions as to why you aren’t in a couple. But also navigate well-meaning attempts from friends and random acquaintances to pair you up with someone they’ve decided is perfect for you.

    Many people simply can’t get their heads around not being part of a couple. Companies assume I’m married by putting Mrs on correspondence despite the fact I always put Miss. One person I had to deal with looked completely baffled when I told him I was both unmarried and had a mortgage.

    I can understand it to an extent – being single is expensive.

    Being single is expensive

    We put the cost of being single at a whopping £860 a month. This covers the fact you have to pay housing costs alone, as well as the soaring energy bills that are prompting everyone to tighten their belts.

    You might get a discount on your council tax for living by yourself, but it’s only 25%. Even your food bill is likely to be higher as you aren’t sharing the cost and it’s usually packaged with families in mind.

    In times like this the cost of being single can feel particularly high and there’s no doubt people are struggling right now.

    I’ve definitely had to tighten my belt – my bank statements have been scoured for potential savings and my hatred of food waste has made me a batch cooking queen.

    Make your money go further

    I’ve found the secret to making your money stretch further is to have a plan.

    This plan could include things like:

    1. A financial MOT

    MOTs aren’t just for cars. Your finances should be regularly checked for any issues too. You can start by reviewing any outstanding debt, assessing your savings, and checking your pension is on track.

    2. Using your workplace benefits

    Many employers offer a benefits package to their employees. This package could include things like gym memberships, private medical insurance, travel loans and discounts on high street retailers. If you have one, it’s worth taking advantage.

    3. Cancelling unused subscriptions

    Life happens, and it can be easy to forget what services you’re subscribed to. However, it’s worth taking stock of your subscriptions, and cancelling any that you don’t use. This could save you hundreds every year.

    When you do go to cancel, you’ll often be given a retention offer. If you do want to keep the service, great, but don’t get sucked in if you don’t need it.

    4. Using a comparison service to reduce your bills

    Like subscriptions, it’s important to keep an eye on your bills. Sometimes if you let contracts roll over, you’ll be charged more.

    If you do end up in this situation, comparison sites for things like car insurance and WiFi can be a godsend for reducing your bills. They will allow you to compare multiple providers side by side to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

    5. Earning cashback

    If you regularly shop online then a cashback reward programme could be for you. These programmes allow you to earn a percentage of your money back whilst shopping online. Just keep your eye out for hidden fees.

    6. Giving your wardrobe a spring clean

    If you’ve got old clothes that aren’t fitting the bill anymore, then selling them on reselling apps could be an option for some extra cash.

    And this isn’t just great for your wallet, it’s great for the environment too.

    7. Collecting loyalty points

    Loyalty schemes really are a throwback. But schemes like Clubcard, Nectar Card and the Boots Advantage Card can really help you save money. If you regularly shop at these stores, you can collect points without really trying and they really add up. I recently just treated myself to some new skincare without spending a penny – big thanks to my trusty Boots Advantage Card.

    And finally, always be willing to play the long game. You might not be able to put much away now. However, by putting away anything you can, over time it will really build up and bring you that much closer to your financial goals.

    How to save a penny for a rainy dayHow to save a penny for a rainy day

    Saving for your first home?

    If you’re saving for your first home, getting a Lifetime ISA (LISA) is a great option. You can save up to £4,000 each tax year and the government will top it up by 25% (up to £1,000).

    You can withdraw money from a LISA to buy your first home, or for later life at age 60. Other withdrawals will usually mean a 25% government charge, meaning you could get back less than you put in. You also have to have it open for at least 12 months before you buy your first home. LISA tax rules can change and their benefits depend on your circumstances.

    This article gives you information to help you make the most of your money, but it isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure if a certain action is right for you, ask for financial advice.

    Stretching your money further will help with the extra cost of being single. However, your financial resilience also matters.

    To help build your financial resilience, take a look at our five key building blocks.

    Being in a relationship isn’t always the answer

    You might think a relationship is the answer. Double the people, double the finances. Right?

    But what if you don’t have the same approach to finances?

    I’ve seen the stress that can cause and the corrosive effect hiding purchases or savings from your partner can have. I’ve also seen friends in relationships they can’t afford to leave or have found themselves almost penniless when a long-term relationship has come to an end.

    Being single can be tough, but it gives you a real sense of independence which is hard to beat. What money I have is mine – and I can do what I want with it.

    The freedom to make my own decisions and plan my own financial future is priceless.

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