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The cost-of-living crisis is affecting single people – here’s what to do about it

man looking at bills sitting at home
The cost-of-living crisis can disproportionately affect single people (Alamy/PA)

Few people are immune from the effects of the cost-of-living crisis, yet some demographics are feeling the strain more than others.

Couples – whether they cohabit or not – can share the cost of some outgoings, but single people don’t always have the same luxury, especially if they live alone.

“The buck stops with them – they must shell out for rental or mortgage costs in full, along with utility and food bills and other household costs such as insurance,” says Alice Haine, personal finance analyst at Bestinvest (

“People living alone aged between 25 to 64 spend 92% of their disposable income on average, compared with 83% of two-person households, which means the hit from the cost-of-living crisis will be greater for singles.”

The situation can be even worse for single parents.

“They not only have to pay for all the childcare costs, but are restricted on how much time they can devote to work or to side hustles to make ends meet.”

So how can the financial burden be reduced?


Single people are less likely to own their own home, and a greater proportion of their income is often dedicated to housing costs such as rent or mortgages and household bills, making it harder to build up savings.

One way to mitigate costs is, where possible, to share your home with someone else, Haine says. “While younger people often share their home with friends to split the bills, older single people could consider taking in a lodger if they have a spare room or an outside annexe, or renting out part of their property.”

Not only could you share the cost of bills, but you can also take advantage of financial incentives.

“There are various tax-relief allowances that can help with this, such as a property allowance of £1,000 to account for any income derived from your home or land, such as letting someone park on your driveway or store items in your garden shed,” Haine says.

“Separately, there is the £7,500 rent-a-room scheme if you let out a room to a lodger – a great way to earn an income from your home and pay down the mortgage. Note, however, this can’t be used in conjunction with the property allowance.”

Income and outgoings

For those with spare time, Haine suggests taking on a side hustle – perhaps using your expertise on a freelance basis, taking on a second job or selling unwanted clothes on sites such as Depop (, Vinted ( or eBay (

You could also try to reduce your outgoings where possible.

“Explore all the ways you can save money, whether it’s setting yourself a strict budget or taking advantage of tax allowances,” such as the 25% council tax reduction for people who live alone, she says. “And make sure your status is updated with your local authority.”

Household bills

Man Paying For Groceries

“In terms of managing rising household bills in a single-person household, my advice would be to look for ways to reduce your monthly electricity, gas and water usage,” says Pete Mugleston, MD and money expert at OnlineMoneyAdvisor (

“This could include turning down your heating by one degree, switching to more cost-effective cooking appliances like an air fryer, and turning down the temperature when washing clothes.”

These may seem like small changes, but together they can add up to significant reductions. Making some supermarket swaps can also help keep grocery bills down.

“Look to buy and cook food that can be frozen and reheated in the future, that way, you have a lot more time to eat the food before it goes bad,” Mugleston advises. “In addition to these, if the taste is the same, try switching to supermarket-own products rather than named brands.”


customer paying the restaurant bill with a virtual mobile card

While having a partner can save you money, looking for love can be an expensive business when you’re footing the bill for dinners, drinks, gifts or weekends away – but that doesn’t have to be the case.

New research from Bumble ( suggests 42% of people would prefer modest date locations to avoid any pressure or stress about money, leading to a rise in ‘low-key dating’.

“Always choose dates that are within your means, and if someone suggests a date that’s more extravagant, don’t be afraid to counter with a lower-cost date,” says Hayley Quinn, dating expert for Match (

“A great, cheap date could be going for a bike ride, grabbing a hot chocolate and doing a wintery walk, or wandering around a farmers’ market.”

And ‘going Dutch’ is perfectly acceptable, no matter who suggested the date: “Whilst being treated to a date is always nice, it is more important to show consideration and meet someone halfway when everyone’s feeling over-stretched.”

Planning for the future

woman looking at her bills sitting in the living-room at home

Money can be a confusing topic, particularly when it comes to things like savings and investments, but there are lots of resources available to help you get to grips with your finances.

A qualified financial planner can offer advice on the best way to save and invest your money for the future, with companies such as Bestinvest offering free financial coaching whether you’re a customer or not.

And websites like MoneyHelper ( and MoneySavingExpert ( also offer free, impartial advice on a wide range of consumer subjects.


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