How to Budget When Living Alone for the First Time


Whether you’re just graduating from school or your roommates have told you they’ve signed a lease to live somewhere else, you’ll soon find yourself living alone. You can always find a new roommate but for many who have had roommates or lived with others it’s time to get a place all to themselves. Before you make your own move, here are some tips to help manage your finances and not worry about your bills.

Before you do anything, sit down and create a reasonable budget. No longer will you be pooling your money together to pay for the utilities or rent, it’s all coming out of your take home pay. Itemize the expenses you know you’ll have such as your mobile phone bill and car payment. Then consider other expenses you’ll definitely need such as food and entertainment. Figure somewhere around one-third of your gross monthly income for rent.

It’s the unplanned expense that wrecks most budgeting plans. Advertisers pay lots of money to people who make some very slick ads. Don’t feel as if you have to have every new product that hits the market. It’s tempting because today you’ll see ads pop up on your screen that match recent searches you’ve made. If you’re thinking of making a purchase off-budget, just wait a few days to see if the temptation passes.

Set up automatic bank drafts for your regular bills each month. Have your rent, your car payment and other fixed expenses auto-debited from your checking account. That way your bills will be paid on time and you’ll get used to the expenses automatically deducted.

Stay away from so-called “single serving” foods at the supermarket. They’re expensive. Instead, buy larger portions and store them For example, when hamburger meat is on sale, but the larger package and then wrap and freeze individual servings.

Finally, and this should be done as soon as possible, create an emergency fund. Add up your required monthly expenses and then gradually save six months’ worth of expenses to be used as an emergency fund. If you find yourself out of work or otherwise unable to temporarily bring home income, this emergency fund will provide you with enough funds to cover any emergency.

For more information or questions about mortgage loans,
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