9 savings tips for single people
The figures prove it. As in many European countries, increasing numbers of people in Luxembourg live alone. The last census, conduced in 2011, indicated that 75% of Luxembourg residents aged between 25 and 29 were single, as was also the case in Germany, Belgium, the UK, Spain, France, Italy and the Netherlands. And according to research published in 2013 by Statec, Luxembourg’s national institute of statistics and economic research, one in three people in Luxembourg lives alone. The snag is that living alone is expensive. A minimum of €1,923 per month is needed to live decently in Luxembourg as a one-person household, Statec reveals in a research project from December 2016. How, then, to bear the full cost of living alone without sacrificing creature comforts? Here are nine tips on saving money for people who live alone.
1. Use a dish washer instead of washing up by hand.
Contrary to widely-held belief, dishwashers waste no more water than doing it by hand. If you get machines rated A+ and A++, the opposite is in fact the case. They use half the water and half the electricity. They are admittedly more expensive to buy, but the extra is soon paid off in the savings they make. Just make sure you buy a dishwasher with a “half load” option, so you don’t find yourself running out of crockery after a few days.
2. Stop eating ready meals and at restaurants.
Eat out as little as possible, and prepare your own food at home. If you are no masterchef or you lack inspiration, the internet is teeming with cookery sites where you will find a great many recipes from all over the world that are relatively easy to prepare. Not only will you spend less, you will also eat more healthily.
3. The freezer is your most useful asset.
Cooking the right quantities for one is not always easy, or even possible. Rather than always eating left-overs from yesterday and the day before, you can vary your menus and freeze your meals in individual portions. Similarly, freeze fresh bread and just defrost the number of slices you think you’ll need, the day before you need them.
4. Keep an eye on best-before dates.
As you eat less, you run a greater risk than other people of keeping food beyond its expiry date. Before opening a tin or a packet of frozen food, check the date properly. As for fresh produce like fruit and vegetables, buy them loose rather than pre-packaged. And go round the market - fruit and veg is usually cheaper from a market than from a supermarket.
5. Don’t rely on petrol stations and all-night convenience stores.
They are handy when you realise your fridge is empty after 8 pm or on Sunday afternoon, but their convenience has a cost. Get yourself organised. Always prepare a shopping list and try to keep to schedule of buying food once or twice a week.
6. What about a joint tenancy?
It is no secret to anyone that rent is a major cost item in Luxembourg, especially in the capital city. To cut their rental costs, and service charges, more and more people are sharing rented accommodation. Social networks, especially Facebook, abound with house- and flat-share adverts in Luxembourg and sites such as http://www.appartager.lu/, www.recherche-colocation.com and coloctoit.com allow you to create and search adverts. That said, if compromises are not your strong point, it might not be for you.
7. Opt for non-motorised transport.
Car ownership entails costs, all the more so if you are the only person who uses it. Use public transport or go by bike for trips around town. If you are not particularly athletic and hills put you off, an electric bike is a good solution. The insurance is cheaper, it uses less fuel, and you will save time. And if you really cannot do without your car for one reason or another, split the costs by using car sharing.
8. Try some DIY.
Even if you are not a born DIY-er, you can repair many more items yourself than you think. The main thing is to have the manuals for all your devices within easy reach, containing plenty of information about troubleshooting the most frequent problems, and the right tools to bail you out when the time comes.
9. Sort your waste.
You are helping the planet and you reduce your use of expensive bin bags. Almost every district has recycling bins for paper/cardboard and glass, free to use. Valorlux blue/green bags for all your plastic waste are available free of charge from the town hall/council buildings. There is even a recent “my blue bag” app that can be downloaded free onto your smartphone and that gives you advance notice of the next collection in your district (www.monsacbleu.lu/fr).
The queen of cards. There are many different types and they offer many possibilities other than cashless payment, from differed repayment to additional guarantees on purchases.
3D Secure is an internationally recognised security standard for online payments. The service is limited in Luxembourg to credit cards.
If it’s true that when we shop in a store and handover physical cash, the pain of paying finds the act prompts more awareness about spending, and parting with cash may even hurt a bit more than swiping a bank card.