What do you think the main extras are that you have to pay if you’re single? A single room supplement in a hotel or on holiday? Ready made meals for one costing almost the same as meals for two? What about the fact you have to pay your mortgage or rent on your own? Or that there’s no-one to split the gas and electricity bills with? Here are my thoughts on the financial consequences of being single.
Rent/mortgage and household bills
This is one of the biggest ‘extra’ costs of being single. There’s no-one else to share the rent or mortgage with. But other costs can’t be shared, such as:
1. Gas and electricity bills. You may be quite frugal with your energy use, but you still have to heat your home whether there’s one or two of you living there.
2. Council tax. You can get a 25% discount if you’re the only adult in the property but if there are two of you, you pay 50% each.
3. Household insurance. No single person discount here — you’ll have to pay the premiums on your own.
4. Water bill. You may be able to reduce your costs by switching to a water meter, but not all properties are eligible.
Petrol/diesel, maintenance costs and road tax are all expenses that you’ll have to find on your own if you’re single. You may even be charged more for your car insurance as a single woman compared to someone who’s married. Couples can — potentially — reduce premiums by adding each other’s details as a named driver on a policy, even if they have a car each. Unless the named driver has made some claims, this should mean premiums are lower.
Going on holiday
Single room or travel supplements are often part of the deal if you travel solo. The Association of British Travel Agents, ABTA, says it’s because hotels don’t have many single rooms and so solo travellers are often given a double or twin room. But single rooms aren’t half the price (even if they seem like they’re half the size!). The holiday industry says that’s because many of the costs, such as the cleaning staff etc, are the same for a single or double room.
SAVVY TIP: It seems that the newer hotels are cottoning onto the idea that an increasing number of people are choosing to travel alone. There are also some specialist ‘solo traveller’ organisations. If you’re a single traveller, I’d recommend trying to haggle to get a discount. Hotels regularly have ‘flash sales’ and one day offers. Many are desperate to attract customers, so you could be in a strong position. It’s also worth trying rental sites such as Airbnb as they may work out cheaper if you want a room only.
Saving for retirement/change of career
If you’re single it can be harder to save for your retirement, because you’ll have less money at the end of the month from having to pay the mortgage and energy bills on your own, as I’ve outlined above. It may also be harder for you to take a career break or to retrain because there’s no one’s wages to rely on.
Being unable to work
If you become unemployed and have to claim out of work benefits, your partner’s income will be taken into account if you live with someone. So, on the one hand, you’re more likely to qualify for these benefits if you live on your own. But living on benefits is pretty tough, to put it mildly and building up a cushion of savings to live on while you’re out of work is harder.
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