Living on your own for the first time can be exciting, but it’s also a bit scary. Fetch is here with a breakdown of everything you need to know to live alone for the first time, including the average monthly expenses for a single person, how to afford living alone and a checklist of essentials for your first time living solo.
5 Benefits of Living Alone
While there are some cons, there are a lot of pros to living on your own. Here are five of our favorite benefits of living alone:
- Guaranteed Privacy – You’re the only one with keys, so you’ve got all the alone time you want.
- Clean How You Like – No two people have the same idea of “clean,” and living on your own means keeping your home just as tidy as you’d like.
- Visitors When You Want – Double (or triple) feature movie nights? Hosting brunch for your friends? You call the shots on who gets to come over and for how long.
- Creative Freedom – Whether you’ve got a big space or a studio apartment, it’s yours to organize and decorate how you want (check with your landlord, they might even let you paint).
- No Sharing – Living with a roommate means sharing a lot. Maybe they use too much dish soap or never put the skillet away. Maybe you just like your things remaining yours. Living on your own means you don’t need to share.
First Time Living Alone Checklist
There’s never a good time to discover you don’t own a plunger. Our first time living alone checklist covers the foundational things you’ll need; we trust you to know you’ll need things like groceries and toilet paper.
Living Room Necessities
- Couch or loveseat
- Coffee table
- End tables
- TV stand
- Throw pillows
- Bed (mattress, bed frame, foundation/box spring)
- Extra set of sheets
- Toilet brush
- Bath mat
- More towels than you think you need
- First aid kit
- Ironing board
- Clothes drying rack
- Nonstick pots and pans
- Cooking utensils
- Dishes and silverware
- Leftover storage containers
- Dish towels
- Multi-purpose cookers (think Instant Pot or air fryer)
- Cleaning supplies
- Cookie sheet(s)
- Fire extinguisher
Wondering what you need for groceries? We’ve got you covered with some tips for solo grocery shopping.
Printable Checklist for Your First Time Living Alone
Average Monthly Expenses for One Person Living Alone
The average monthly expenses for a single person will depend quite a bit on where you live, and if you’re living alone for the first time, you might be surprised that most things cost more, not just your rent.
- The national average expenses for a single person living alone are around $3,500 per month.
- MIT estimates the average expenses for one person living alone in South Carolina are just $2,500 per month.
- Your expenses will be higher in a place like New York City or San Francisco, where the rent is often as much as total expenses in smaller cities.
Most people recommend a 50/30/20 budget, with no more than 50% of your take-home pay going to essentials, with 30% going to entertainment and vacations and 20% to savings (or paying off debt)
How to Afford Living Alone for the First Time
Those average monthly expenses for living alone might seem high, but it’s easy to afford living alone if you put a bit of thought into it. Here are some pointers:
- Make a Budget – Your money needs to be able to go a little further when living on your own. Creating a budget and sticking to it makes everything a little easier.
- Buy Bulk – For shelf stable items and dry goods, consider buying more than you need to save a bit on your grocery bill.
- Eat In – You’ve got your own place; rather than going out, why not invite friends over to make a meal together or have a potluck?
- Use Public Transit – If you’re in a big enough city, you’ve likely got buses and trains that cost a fraction of owning a car or calling a rideshare service.
- Outsource Things – Have your groceries delivered. Use Blue Apron for meal planning. If it means making better use of your time, sometimes it’s better to pay others to do things for you.
- Get Creative with Streaming – “It’s just $10.” That’s true when it’s one streaming service, but once you have three, four, five, or more, it becomes a serious expense. We’ve got tips for saving on streaming.
- Use Your Library – Libraries have books, sure, but they also have quite a few other entertainment options (and many offer free entry to local attractions, like museums). Take advantage of free programs to save yourself some money.
- Rewards Programs – Nearly everywhere you shop is going to have some kind of rewards program, and most are free. You can save even more on top of that by using the #1 receipt rewards app, Fetch.
Living on Your Own is Easier with Fetch
The Fetch receipt app makes living alone for the first time easier; here’s how:
- Free Gift Cards – Simply snap your receipt after shopping and start racking up the points toward free gift cards. Sync up your email to have Fetch automatically snap your eReceipts!
- Special Offers – Make your shopping lists using Fetch as your preferred grocery app so you can see the brands and products that have special offers and bonus points, piling on the points.
Start Snapping Receipts With Fetch Today
We think the pros of living alone far outweigh the cons, and it gets even easier when your everyday expenses earn you points toward gift cards. So download the Fetch app, start snapping your receipts and put to rest any worries about the expenses of living alone.
David Fairbanks is a writer, science educator and Chicagoan fueled by coffee. He's written about everything from Ferraris to handcrafted pet urns to Superman, and he genuinely loves loyalty/rewards programs.
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