NEW YORK (MainStreet) According to the New York Times, nearly 50% of people in Manhattan live alone, while other major cities like Seattle and Denver have about 40% of residents living solo. Having a place to call your own, one without someone else's dirty dishes in the sink, is preferable for some, but it can also be a more expensive option.
Yet you don't need to find a roommate to save money. It is possible to manage your finances and cut down on the monthly bills, and we've got some of the easiest ways to save while living solo below.
1. Cut down on takeout
People who live alone spend about $1,800 a year on food away from home, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Consumer Expenditure Survey. That's a good amount of money, so do yourself a favor and learn to cook. You can find informative and free videos on YouTube for some pointers. Check out the channels Chow, FoodWishes and BBCFood to get started. You'll find everything from how to hold a knife properly to making cold-brewed coffee in your blender.
Another strategy to save on food, hosting a potluck can eliminate the cost of meals for several days. It can also be a way to socialize and possibly meet new people.
"The point is to socialize and eat for cheap," says Miranda Reiter, a CFP and founder of She & Money Financial Planning. If you're new to the city, Reiter suggests using a site like Meetup.com to attend a potluck or asking people in your apartment building to attend.
2. Cut out cable
The average bill for pay TV, not including Internet and phone, was $86 a month in 2011, according to the marketing research company NPD Group. And since the company also found pay TV costs are rising by about 6% each year, it's not getting cheaper. So consider doing what Julie Beltz did and cut out cable.