Is it cheaper to be single?

Britain is becoming a nation of singles. One-in-five of us now live alone according to research from insurer LV=, which is more than double the number 40 years ago. But is a single life better or worse for your finances? We take a look.

model of single man standing outside new home

When being single costs you less…

Being single can be cheaper in many ways – here’s our top six savings you can make.

1. Council tax discount
If you’re living on your own, you’ll get 25% off your Council Tax bill. You can apply for a discount here.

2. Smaller food bills
Food costs for a single person will be lower than if you are shopping for two. Provided you’re a savvy shopper, there’s also likely to be less food wastage too. Single people typically make smaller, more frequent shopping trips than couples, so their fridge isn’t stashed with food that could exceed its use by date before it’s been eaten.

3. No financial dependants
Singletons only have themselves to support, so don’t have to worry about providing financially for a partner if they are ever out of work.

4. Cheap flights
 If there’s one of you, you don’t have two diaries to align for your holiday dates which will put you in line for last minute flexible bargains. You’ll also be in with a better chance of being upgraded on the plane!

5. No-one to damage your credit rating
When you’re in a couple, the chances are you’ll have shared financial commitments, such as a mortgage or other credit agreement. This means your credit reports will become linked, so a previous or existing debt incurred by your other half could affect your credit rating, making it more difficult for you to borrow in future.

6. Lower water bills
If you’re single, and don’t already have one, you could save money by getting a water meter fitted. Your water consumption is likely to be minimal if you’re living on your own, and this way you are only charged for the water you actually use. Read more about that here.

When being single costs you more…

To counter these savings, however, singletons face plenty of extra costs however. Here’s our top six reasons life can be more expensive on your own.

1. Steeper living costs
Living alone means you don’t have anyone to split household bills with. According to LV=, singletons spend £1,826 a year more on housing and utilities than if they were living as part of a couple, even with the single person’s Council Tax discount given factored in.

The research found that single households pay £1,392 more on mortgage and rent than someone living in a couple, £294 more on utilities and £140 more on household goods and services.

2. Higher hotel costs
If you’re a solo traveller, you won’t be able to share the cost of a hotel room. And you could even be charged a ‘single supplement’, which can be anything from 10% up to 100% of the standard accommodation rate.

3. More expensive car insurance premiums
Single men and women typically pay more for their car insurance than couples who are insured together on the same policy. That’s because if you’ve ‘settled down’ with someone, you’re considered a lower risk by insurers than if you’re a singleton. Married couples, on the other hand, are likely to benefit from the lowest premiums because statistically they have fewer accidents and make fewer claims than their single counterparts.

4. No supermarket bulk-buying
If you’re on your own, you won’t be able to take advantage of food bulk buy deals, which can be a lot cheaper, unless you’ve got a big enough freezer to stash everything in - or a very big appetite.

5. Pay more tax
You could end up paying more tax if you’re single than in a relationship.  Every one of us has a personal allowance, which is the amount you can earn before you have to pay income tax. This tax year the personal allowance is £10,000. If you are married but only one of you is working, you can transfer savings accounts to the person who doesn’t work, so that you pay less tax overall as a couple, but you can’t do this if you’re on your own.

As a singleton, you’ll also miss out on the marriage tax allowance, which is due to be introduced next April. From this date, married couples can transfer £1,000 of their personal tax allowance to their spouse or civil partner, provided one is earning less than the personal allowance.

6. Higher socialising costs
Single people are more likely to spend money socialising in bars and clubs than couples who might be content to spend most evenings snuggled up on the sofa together.

In conclusion…

It would appear that, overall, single life is more expensive than if you can split costs with someone else. That said, plenty of people who value their independence, or who perhaps just aren’t ready to commit, may consider it a price worth paying.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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