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Woman, 27, buys house without help from parents – 13 ways anybody else can too

In the past year, 7.9 million people in the UK lived in one-person households.

If you are one of those, you might be wondering how you can save money on utilities, rent and even shopping when living by yourself.

Luckily, budgeting experts at thinkmoney are sharing their tips to saving for those living alone and have spoken to Jennifer Jordan, a 29-year-old PR consultant from Middlesbrough, on how she has saved hundreds.

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Jennifer has been living alone since 2015, she said “I’ve lived on my own since late 2015. After I moved back from university and lived at home for a few months, I decided to rent a one-bedroom flat before moving to a two-bedroom flat after the previous landlord decided to sell up.

“I then bought my house in July 2019 and the difference between renting and owning a property has been both good and bad! Being a homeowner means that I’m responsible for any repairs and general maintenance, which, unfortunately, due to owning a house over 100 years old, there have been a few costly issues to deal with since I moved in.”

Jennifer admitted there have been a few bumps in the road and costly issues since she moved into her new home.

She added: “But having my own space is priceless and I love the independence of being a single homeowner. I can decorate how I like and create the perfect sanctuary for myself without any compromises.”

Jennifer adds “I moved from a small flat into a three-bedroom house so I didn’t have much furniture when I first moved in, but I was given a sofa, desk and dining room chairs by family members which worked well until I could afford to furnish everything to my personal taste.

“The previous owners agreed to leave a beautiful dark wood wardrobe in the main bedroom and offered to leave further bits of furniture which was helpful.

“I get staple items from places such as IKEA and Wayfair, and I always purchase smaller homeware items such as soft furnishings and decor from cheaper stores like Home Bargains and Primark.”

“I once got a bargain on Facebook Marketplace – two IKEA Hemnes bedside tables for free which would have been £100 in total at £50 each! I decided to upcycle them to fit in with the theme in my bedroom, so I sanded them down, spray painted them black and added some new handles from TKMaxx.

“I also got a free zebra print tub chair from Facebook Marketplace that I adore.”

Woman, 27, buys house without help from parents - 13 ways anybody else can too

She continued: “My biggest expense has probably been my new orange velvet sofa that I bought from an online store on eBay, and fuelling my framed artwork addiction. During lockdown, I spent £85 on a print from a French store which was more than I would usually spend but it has become a focal point in my living room.”

Her tips are:

Get a 25% reduction in council tax when living alone

A single person discount is available for those living alone, and this will see your council tax bill reduced by 25%. You may also qualify for this discount if you live with another occupant but they are known as ‘disregarded persons’. This discount alone can save you hundreds. For instance, the average council tax bill for Band D is £1,898. But you’ll save £475 with the single person discount, so it’s worth your time to speak to your local authority.

Save more than £116 on regular prescriptions

If you are someone that pays for regular prescriptions, the costs can start to stack up. However, you can save up to £116.30 each year if you require two or more items each month.

You can buy the prepayment certificate online which also covers NHS dental prescriptions for £29.10 for three months, or 10 instalments of £10.40 for 12 months.

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Switch your broadband provider and save up to £69

Jennifer says: “Always make a note of renewal dates for insurance policies to avoid premium hikes, and definitely shop around to get the best deals – loyalty often doesn’t pay when it comes to bills!“

Join a dining club and save 50% at restaurants

If you have been spending more time eating out with friends and family, why not join a dining club to save up to 50% at some chain restaurants.

Get a water meter fitted and save up to £100

Installing a meter will ensure that you only pay for what you use. As a general rule of thumb, this will help those with more bedrooms than people in the property. So, a single person living in a two-bedroom flat can get savings of up to £100!

Don’t forget your supermarket loyalty cards when shopping to save up to £400

Jennifer said “Make the most of membership benefits available at various stores, such as Tesco Clubcard and Lidl Plus, to save some money on your weekly shop.

If you drive, consider a car-sharing scheme to save up to £1,000 each year

If you need to travel to and from work each day, a good option to save money could be signing up to a car-sharing scheme, which could see you split the bill on petrol and take turns driving. In some cases, members of schemes have saved up to £1,000 each year.

Wash clothes at a lower setting to save 40% on bills

Jennifer added “I’m also strict with things like putting my washing machine on at off-peak times and making sure I switch off lights and electrics to try to save money on energy bills. It may be pennies but it all adds up!”

Consider multi-occupancy properties if you are looking to move

Kev Tilley from Mortgageable states that “the best option for a single person looking to save money is to opt for renting a room in a multi-occupancy dwelling. Often, these set-ups include all bills for one monthly payment, which, in many cases, can mean saving at least 50% more than you would in a traditional property.

“In the past, multi-occupancy dwellings have had a bad reputation since they are commonly used by students. But there are some very nice properties available with strict eligibility criteria, so being worried about troublesome neighbours shouldn’t be an issue if you shop around.

Boost your credit score when paying your rent

If you always pay your rent on time, you can use this to your advantage and help to boost your credit score. You will need to be signed up for an average of six weeks to see these appear on your file, but people using the schemes have stated they have seen improvements. The Rental Exchange Initiative is perhaps the most well-known and adds your payments to your Experian credit file. However, it’s important to note that if you miss a payment, it will show up on your report.

Check your deposit is protected as your landlord can face fees if not

Your landlord must protect your deposit. If they don’t, you can take them to small claims court. The landlord will either have to pay the deposit to you or put it into a deposit protection scheme (DPS) within 14 days if you are still in tenancy. However, they may also be required to pay you a penalty of up to three times the value of your deposit within 14 days.

To check your deposit is protected, speak to your landlord or letting agent and ask them to put the scheme in writing if it is not named in your contract.

Get free furniture to furnish your flat when living alone

Jennifer adds “I moved from a small flat into a three-bedroom house so I didn’t have much furniture when I first moved in, but I was given a sofa, desk and dining room chairs by family members which worked well until I could afford to furnish everything to my personal taste.

“The previous owners agreed to leave a beautiful dark wood wardrobe in the main bedroom and offered to leave further bits of furniture which was helpful.

“I get staple items from places such as IKEA and Wayfair, and I always purchase smaller homeware items such as soft furnishings and decor from cheaper stores like Home Bargains and Primark.”

“I once got a bargain on Facebook Marketplace – two IKEA Hemnes bedside tables for free which would have been £100 in total at £50 each! I decided to upcycle them to fit in with the theme in my bedroom, so I sanded them down, spray painted them black and added some new handles from TKMaxx.”

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