While 19% of Quebecers live alone – a record in Canada – not being able to share expenses puts a heavy strain on budgets. State of affairs and advice to ease the tally of single life.
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If living alone has its perks, it also comes with a price, because you can’t share the financial burden with someone else. It is therefore necessary to assume all fixed costs – rent, electricity, insurance, etc. – but also to feed and clothe themselves.
The government determines that the low income threshold for a person living alone, based on Canada’s average cost of living, is $2,355 per month. For a pair we’re talking about $2,931 or just $600 more. In other words, all things considered, the weight is higher if you live alone.
Everything is more expensive
An opinion shared by Lucie Dal Molin, Budget Advisor at ACEF de l’Est de Montréal.
“We cannot split the bill when we buy furniture or appliances that are very expensive. The same applies to buying a vehicle, which is much easier to do with two people than alone,” she says.
There are also fewer discounts when shopping for groceries for a single person, she adds.
“We often find promotions of the two-buy-one type or for family sizes. When you’re alone, you don’t necessarily need such large quantities and you can’t take advantage of economies of scale,” she notes.
Living alone also often rhymes with more waste, such as the gallon of milk we didn’t use before its expiry date, wilted vegetables and expired yoghurts… You should know that single-serving products tend to be more expensive, too are .
Finally, on a fiscal level, governments are rarely generous to single people. The latter only have access to the single tax credit offered at state level. It is also single people who pay the highest marginal tax rate compared to other categories of taxpayers.
Tips for reducing costs
If it’s difficult to reduce fixed expenses unless you live with a spouse or roommates, there are ways to reduce certain expenses.
“When it comes to groceries, the best way to buy bulk is to only buy what you need, so pay less and avoid wastage,” advises Lucie Dal Molin.
If you have storage space, take advantage of bargains when nonperishable foods are available at good prices. A freezer also allows you to stock up on meat, fish and other perishable foods; just freeze them in individual portions.
Warehouses like Costco aren’t just for big families! You can share the cost of the annual subscription with friends and shop as a group. We will then split the grocery bill and quantities. The key is big savings.
“Cooking yourself is a great way to save on spending, as processed products are usually more expensive. But when you’re alone, you don’t necessarily want to eat lasagne all week… Freezing individual portions is a good idea,” says Lucie Dal Molin.
You can also combine business with pleasure and cook with friends, then distribute the bill and food according to each person’s needs.
Finally, apps like Flashfood and FoodHero make it possible to get your hands on products that are approaching their sell-by dates at cheap prices.
Creating a budget is even more important when you live alone and need to cover all expenses. With this tool, you know where your money is going and can track your financial goals.
Living alone has its downsides financially. It also allows you to remain in full control of your money and not go into debt to adjust to the higher standard of living of a spouse who earns a better income. This is especially true if we have opted for a 50:50 split of costs in the couple. With this model, those who earn the least are always at a disadvantage.
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