Not everyone has the luxury of immediately leaving home to live in a home with the love of their lives. Some of us find ourselves in a position where we no longer want to live at home with parents, and we can’t always find a room-mate that we’d feel comfortable living with either. If you’ve ever thought about living alone before, then you’ll probably know how expensive it can be to exist on just one income.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help yourself manage the costs of living by yourself. Here are some of our top tips to get you started.

1.     Be Realistic About Your Budget

The first thing you need to do before you start looking at apartments is be realistic about how much you can reasonably afford to spend on rent each month. Think about how much you spend elsewhere on things like food and travel costs and consider the additional expenses that will come alongside your rent, like paying for gas and electricity. Write down a list of all the costs you can think of and run it by people who already have their own house for some extra help covering things you might have missed.

2.     Take Every Opportunity to Keep Costs Low

Once you know exactly how much money you’re going to need to spend each month to be able to live on your own, look for other ways to keep costs low. For instance, if you’re going to need to get a loan to help you pay for everything, then think about comparing your options online before you commit to any single lender. There are various banks and building societies out there that can offer different interest rates depending on your circumstances. At the same time, remember to compare everything you can, from your insurance costs to the price of your broadband and energy.

3.     Buy Furniture Second-Hand

You can save a serious amount of cash if you’re willing to avoid buying your furniture brand-new. There are countless websites out there for people selling their old and unwanted items, like eBay, and Gumtree. You could also consider asking friends if they have anything that they can donate to your cause. You don’t necessarily have to buy everything second-hand, but the more you can save on furniture, the more you’ll have to spend elsewhere.

4.     Don’t Buy Things You Don’t Need

Before you commit to paying for anything when you’re living alone, you’re going to need to get into the habit of asking yourself whether you really need what you’re buying. For instance, do you have to spend extra on getting a television, telephone and broadband package when you only really plan on using the internet? Getting rid of your phone bill and eliminating those television channels can save you some serious cash in the long-term, particularly when you make your calls on your mobile and watch Netflix instead of tv.

5.     Learn How to Cook

When you’re living alone, you’ll find that every penny counts. This means that you can’t afford to spend extra on things like eating out at restaurants with your pals or calling a pizza place every time you don’t feel inspired in the kitchen. The best thing you can do to save some money on food expenses is learn how to cook and create a list of great, cheap recipes that you can whip up in a hurry. You can even try preparing a few of your meals in advance so you can simply heat something up from the freezer when you’re feeling lazy.

6.     Avoid Buying Things Just Because They’re on Sale

While a sale can be a great opportunity if you’ve been waiting to buy something for quite a while, it’s important not to let yourself get tempted into impulse spending just because something is slightly cheaper. Avoid your favourite stores during sale season unless you know there’s something you really need and can reasonably afford.

7.     Find Ways to Spend Less and Earn More

Finally, successfully living by yourself is all about spending less than you earn. Unfortunately, that can be tougher than it sounds. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you could always look for additional ways to make some extra money on the side. For instance, you could offer to walk the dogs in your neighbourhood during your free time or make things that you can sell on Etsy. Alternatively, check out the freelance websites and contractor spaces online to see if you can sell your skills online.