Most young people wonder how much does it cost to live alone. It’s a very legitimate question, as most young adults don’t really know how to manage their expenses.
There is really no shame in this. Maybe 50 years ago, we had to be more independent in order to survive. Nowadays, we have such a high level of comfort that we forget to do our research in regards to common things (like responsibilities).
If you just graduated from university and your parents don’t want to help you anymore, the situation might seem very hard. You will need a source of income in order to cover your basic expenses like rent, utilities and food.
If you’re here to find out how much does it cost to live alone, you’re in the right place! By the end of this article, you will know exactly what to do in order to be responsible and even slowly build income streams, so that you can be financially independent in the future.
How Much Does It Cost To Live Alone?
The good news is that you don’t need to make 6 figures per year in order to live alone. Also, if you have some kind of skills, you can get some Fiver gigs on the side in order to supplement your income.(1)
But first, we need to establish if you can currently afford to move out of your parents house. Otherwise, you will need to come back home with your tail between your legs.
This is not a pleasant thing to do, as I speak from my own experience. It’s a bit shameful to go back to your parents house after you’ve failed.
Therefore, we need to take a look at what expenses you will need to cover in order to keep yourself afloat.
The most important expense you will have is the rent. That’s because you don’t want to live under a bridge or on a bench in the park.
If you live in a big city like New York or Los Angeles, your rent will obviously be more expensive. If that’s the case, I strongly advise you to move in a smaller city, as you will be able to afford some nicer apartment with the same amount of money.(2)
In case you don’t want to move out, your best bet will be to get some roommates. However, it’s always better to rent a studio on your own, as you will have less distractions (especially if you want to build a business).
Keep in mind that some landlords require you to pay an up front deposit. Try searching for a place where you don’t have to pay the deposit, as you will probably never receive it back.
The best thing you can do is to get a plane ticket to a smaller city (that you like), where you will be able to pay less than $800 for rent. You should even consider moving to another country, as some places are significantly cheaper than others.
If you don’t want to do that, then the second best option is to get a studio outside the city center in order to save some money.
- Rent will definitely be your biggest expense, so you should do your due diligence when looking for an apartment.
The next important aspect you need to keep in mind is that you need … to eat. While living in your parents house, you didn’t have to worry about food.(3)
Now that you will live by yourself, you need to find a way to get affordable food. Of course, you will not eat at 5 star restaurants, but you should try to eat as healthy as possible.
Don’t eat fast food, as it’s very unhealthy and it tends to not last long. Try your best to learn how to cook, as it’s an essential skill for anyone.
Luckily, you can watch YouTube videos on this topic, as there are plenty of them. To be honest, you shouldn’t spend more than $150 on food per month.
Obviously, if you want to eat out it will cost more. But in the beginning, you should focus on saving money and building an income stream.
Utilities are expenses that you shouldn’t forget about. Sometimes they are included in the rent price, and sometimes they are not.(4)
If they’re not, it is mandatory to pay these bills every month, otherwise you will need to move out. Make sure you ask the landlord about the utilities, as it is very important to know exactly what you’re dealing with.
It’s always better for the utilities to be included in the rent, but for the sake of this article, we will take a look at the mandatory bills you will need to pay.
Luckily, the water expenses are not that high. The average family in the United States pays around $45 per month for water.
Considering that you will live alone, you shouldn’t expect to pay more than $20. Keep in mind that you should ask the landlord about hot water, as you don’t want to take only cold showers.(5)
If you live in a cold area, heat is very important, as you don’t want to freeze. Most apartments have the heating costs included in the rent.
A good rule of thumb is that if you’re not able to control the heat yourself, it’s most likely included in the price of the rent.
Obviously, it would be better to turn it up and down whenever you want, but most places don’t allow you to do that.(6)
Usually, the heating costs can go up to $80 in the winter, so you should keep that in mind.
If you want to live alone, you need to pay your own internet. Some apartments already have internet installed, so it’s better to find one of those.(7)
If that’s not the case, most internet providers charge around $50 per month for internet. Considering the world we live in, having a good internet connection is almost mandatory.
Especially if you want to start your own business (or at least a side hustle), you will need to have internet. My advice is to not pay for cable TV or Netflix, as it’s just a waste of time.
Also, this kinda forces you to spend your time doing something more productive, like making some money on Fiverr.
If you live alone, you normally don’t spend that much on electricity. The average family spends around $85-$90 on electricity.
You can expect to pay around $25, as you’re probably not the type of person that leaves all the lights on all the time.(8)
Electricity can get expensive if you don’t think about it. If you always close the light from the room that you’re not currently in, you will be fine.
You will need gas in order to cook your food. Usually, an average American family spends about $50 per month for gas usage.(9)
You can expect to pay around $15. However, if you’re into salads and that type of food, you will need to spend even less.
Some apartments come already furnished, so you won’t have to spend anything on furniture. My advice is to get a furnished apartment, so you don’t have to worry about buying more stuff.
You will need a bed, a desk and a chair. You don’t really need much furniture if you live alone.(10)
You should choose an apartment that already have a washing machine, as you don’t want to buy one.
Some washing machines also have drying options, so you don’t need to worry about that. Make sure you ask the landlord about the functionality of it.(11)
You can either get a car or pay for public transport. To be honest, owning a car as a young adult is very overrated.
My advice is to wait until you buy a car because there are a ton of expenses associated with it, like car insurance, gas, and so on.(12)
The most affordable way to move around the city is to get a monthly card. In most cities, this shouldn’t cost more than $50 per month.
Living alone is a thing everyone needs to do at some point in their life. In the beginning, it might seem overwhelming, but you will be happy you made this decision.
The sooner you move out of your parents house, the better it will be in the long run. You are forced to manage your expenses and become a responsible adult.
In the beginning, you might want to get a job in order to sustain yourself. If we add up all the expenses on this list, it will come down to around $1200 per month. And that’s if you live in a big city.
So it’s really not that expensive considering that it’s your independence we’re talking about. If you’re like me and don’t want to have a job forever, you should start creating income streams in order to sustain yourself.
If you have any kind of skills, the best thing you can do is to get some Fiver gigs. When you start getting consistent work, you won’t need to go to a job anymore and you will be able to create your own schedule and set your own price.