If you live alone, you’re not the only one. Nearly 32 million people in the United States live alone according to a 2012 report by the US Census Bureau. This number includes single, divorced and widowed people. You can avoid pitfalls such as financial problems and loneliness that might come with living alone by addressing a few areas, including cutting costs, security concerns, finding the best location and keeping a busy social life.
Since you’re solely responsible for the finances, it’s easy to spend too much when it comes to providing for your basic needs. One way to avoid financial disaster is to cut costs where you can. Preplan your meals, buy only what you need at the grocery store, and plan for leftovers. If you want to buy food in bulk, consider splitting the supply and cost with other single friends or family members in the area, suggests financial planner Clarissa Hobson in the article “Living Single? Here are 4 Ways to Save,“ on bankrate.com. You can do the same with toiletries. Look for coupons, both in the newspaper and on retailer’s websites, and sign up for customer reward cards when they’re available. Setting up a monthly budget also helps keep your finances in check.
Address Security Concerns
When you live by yourself, a little extra security helps you feel more comfortable. Look for locations that have gated entries and even security guards, deadbolt locks, door chains inside and alarm systems. Get to know your neighbors so they can keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Getting a dog if they’re allowed, leaving lights or the TV on, putting extra shoes on your porch, and having motion detector lights installed outside all add an extra layer of security, according to the article “9 Safety Guidelines for Living Alone” on safewise.com.
Where you live makes a difference when you live alone. If you’re single and looking to hang out with other singles and potentially meet people, you might choose a larger metropolitan area. Living alone is becoming much more common in big cities according to an interview with Eric Klinenberg, author of the book “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone,” on Smithsonian.com. The top cities for singles in 2014 were San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C., Boston and Seattle according to a survey on rent.com. If you’re older, you might consider moving into a senior living complex.
Keep Your Social Calendar Full
One of the biggest issues people worry about living alone is loneliness. People who live alone actually socialize more with friends and neighbors than married people according to Klinenberg’s research. Attend community events, volunteer, find new interests, join a church or just head outside in your neighborhood to keep up your social life. Besides going out with people, you can stay social other ways as well. In his book, Klinenberg points out that today's communication technology allows people to stay social even when they're home alone. You can connect with people on the phone and through the Internet via blogs, chat rooms and other social networks.
- U.S. Census Bureau: America's Families and Living Arrangements -- 2012
- bankrate.com: Living Single -- Here are 4 Ways to Save
- Smithsonian.com: Eric Klinenberg on Going Solo
- safewise.com: 9 Safety Guidelines for Living Alone
- Rent.com: Top 5 Best Cities for Singles
- Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone; Eric Klinenberg
- Inti St Clair/Blend Images/Getty Images