How Much Does It Cost to Live Alone?

Is it time for you to move out? The cost to live alone can be pretty high, depending on where you live and what you have to pay for. Before you start packing your bags, it’s important that you take the time to figure out how much it’s going to cost you and whether you can afford it. 

Cost to Live Alone Varies by Location

It’s important to note that what it costs to live alone varies depending on where you live. Living alone in New York City is going to be very different than living alone in Brunswick, Georgia.

It’s important to take note that different locations mean different costs for a few of the more major expenses. Namely, rent. That said, other expenses are similar or the same across the board. 

Rent

The biggest impact that location has is your rent.

The average cost of rent for a 1-bedroom in 2019 nation-wide was $1,216. However, if you’re living in a bigger city like Boston, that goes up to $1,650, and in places like Los Angeles, it skyrockets to $2,362.

So, if you’re planning to live alone in a major city, you need to make sure that your income can cover your rent plus all of the rest of the expenses. 

The very first month of your rent will also have damage and/or security deposit attached to it. This is usually one month’s rent. 

Other Costs of Living Alone

Renter’s Insurance

You absolutely need to have renter’s insurance. The insurance that your landlord has will not cover damage inflicted by you or others. For some reason, it seems like new renters think this is a thing they don’t need but I’ve had some firsthand experience with this.

When I was living in my first apartment, someone cooking three doors down from me lit the kitchen on fire. It caused extensive damage to her unit, the two units beside her and the main hallway. 

The rest of us had some water damage from the fire department and smoke damage from the fire. Almost everything I owned had to be thrown out. And I was the ONLY person on the floor that had renter’s insurance.

That meant that while I could leave the building, rent a hotel, replace my furniture and have what could be cleaned, everyone else was left with whatever they could salvage on their own. Paying $20 per month for three years meant that I didn’t have to pay the almost $15,000 it took to replace everything.

Electricity

Your electricity costs will vary depending on how much electricity you use. Things like the size of your apartment and whether or not you have air conditioning and a washing machine, will all affect the cost of this. Different times of year will also determine your bill. 

I’ve always paid between $50 and $100 for my electricity, but I’ve heard some astronomical costs from others. The big rule when it comes to electricity is to assume it will cost more and be pleasantly surprised.

Internet and Streaming

Everything’s online these days, which means that you need to think about getting the internet in your apartment. Monthly bills can vary depending on what you need. 

If you lightly use the internet, you can probably go with a cheaper plan but for those of us that need to go online for work, a bigger package is probably in order. I’ve often spent around $80 per month, but it can get well over $100 if you’re going big.

I’ve also stuck streaming in here because while traditionally you’d probably get cable from an internet provider, most who live alone just get a streaming service or two. For Hulu and Netflix, you’ll pay somewhere around $20.

Furniture 

Chances are you won’t be moving into an already-furnished apartment as they tend to have a much higher monthly cost. That means you’ll need to pay to furnish your apartment. 

The cheapest way to do this is to get it second-hand. If you furnish an entire apartment from scratch with new (cheap) furniture you’re probably looking at somewhere around $10,000, depending on how many rooms you have and what you need. 

You should also take into consideration that furniture in the moving-out context also means everything else you need from towels to cookware. So, definitely have some money set aside. 

Food

You cannot forget to add food expenses to your cost of living alone. These also vary depending on where you shop and what you eat. For one person, you can keep this as low as $50 per week if you’re really smart about it.

However, if you’re going big, this cost can be $400 or more. You’ll also need to consider start-up food costs like your spices, butter, etc. Things that you’ll need to start cooking.

Transportation

Owning a car can get pretty expensive depending on where you are. I had to pay $100 or more for parking at each of my apartments. Then you also need to consider the insurance costs as well.

If you are going the public transit route, you can reduce your transportation fees. Or you could use a shared-ride service. But it all still costs money.

Other Expenses

While that covers most of the basics, it doesn’t really consider doing anything beyond sitting at your house and cooking food. Chances are you’ll want to do things, replenish your wardrobe or order food in.

With that in mind, you’ll want to set aside some money for personal expenses when you calculate the cost of living alone. 

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