The High Price of Being Single

Rent and mortgage. Homeowner or renter’s insurance, Property taxes, utilities and food. These types of essential costs really add up for all of us.

Couples, however, benefit by paying much less, proportionally, than singles for living expenses. Regardless of how many people watch a movie together at home, the cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity to power the lights, television and heater or air conditioning remains constant.

If two people halve basic costs, both automatically benefit from a 50% discount! Federal tax codes and auto insurance companies also favor married couples. Add up these savings over a month and, expenses for each person in a couple will drop by hundreds of dollars. Over a year, savings can reach into the thousands.

Higher expenses often lead to increased debt. In fact, 41% of those seeking budget and credit counseling help from Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions in 2008 were single.

So what’s a financially-strapped single do? The consumer credit counselors at Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions offer cost-saving measures to help those who are most vulnerable in this tough economy.

  • The first step is to create and follow a spending plan. Although following a budget is helpful for everyone, doing so is vital for singles.
  • Consider renting out a spare room. Utility, Internet and cable expenditures may be split. The greater the number of roommates, the greater the savings will be. Although living with roommates may not be a long-term solution, it can help you weather the crisis until the economy improves.
  • Shop at warehouse stores with friends or family members, and split costs on bulk purchases. A purchase of 20 frozen chicken breasts may be overkill for a single, but just 10 may provide meals for several weeks.
  • Cooking larger quantities of food is usually most economical. Try making a deal with a friend to invite each other over for dinner once a week. Or, go out together and split a large meal.
  • Create your own low-cost entertainment. Entertainment is one of highest line items our budget that’s largely in our control. Opt for low-cost fun–rent a movie or watch programs online, play Scrabble with a friend, or go for a hike.

Singles, you are not alone. According to the most recent Census, 47% of the population was unattached. Clearpoint offers no-cost budget and credit counseling from NFCC-certified consumer credit counselors. To schedule an appointment call 800.750.2227 (CCCS) or start your session immediately online.

Thomas Bright is a longstanding Clearpoint blogger and student loan repayment aficionado who hopes that his writing can simplify complex subjects. When he’s not writing, you’ll find him hiking, running or reading philosophy. You can follow him on Twitter.

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