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Revealed: The true cost of being single

author: Helen Fox

By Helen Fox

The ONS estimates that 35% of the UK’s population is single, with 7.9 million people living alone in a single-person household.

But did you know that the UK’s singles are paying on average £7,564.50 more every year than their coupled-up counterparts?

Ocean Finance has calculated the typical monthly costs using ONS data for single and coupled-up Brits including utility bills, housing, the food shop and more to discover where singles are getting the short straw. With the cost of living increasing, we’ve provided money-saving tips to help singles cut their outgoings and stay on top of their finances.

We’ve also uncovered the potential costs for people looking for love using dating profiles and going out with a possible match.

The cost of living is £630 more expensive for singles per month

Ocean Finance's research has revealed that on average, singles are paying £630.38 more per month than those coupled up, when accounting for bills, socialising, annual holidays and more.

We’ve created a profile for both singles and one half of a couple to provide their monthly outgoings.

The monthly cost of being single

 

Single

A person in a couple

Additional cost of being single

Bills

£956.48

£593.28

£363.20

Food & alcohol shop

£290.24

£200.09

£90.15

Recreation

£257.66

£201.61

£56.05

Holidays

£135.45

£80.02

£55.43

Subscriptions

£82.09

£48.36

£33.73

Eating out

£189.01

£157.27

£31.74

Total

£1,910.93

£1,280.63

£630.30

Household monthly bills are £363.20 more expensive for singles

The average single Brit pays a whopping £4,359.48 more every year on their bills. We analysed the average cost of housing, utility bills, internet, a TV licence and council tax to discover UK singles are shelling out an extra £363.20 every month, as they’re unable to split costs with a partner.

Rent was the biggest contributor with a single person paying, on average, £674 a month and a couple paying just slightly more at £866 a month, £433 per person.

Council tax was also a major contributor despite the 25% discount for a single-person household. For the average Band D bill, singles paid £113.60 a month, but individuals with partners paid just £75.75.

Single Brits spend £90 more on their monthly food shop

Ocean Finance estimates that every month, single people spend £90.15 more on their food and alcohol shopping compared to each member of a couple. Over the course of a year, this adds up to a staggering £2163.72 more that singles are spending on groceries.

The extra cost comes from not being able to split meals with a significant other. Prices are also generally higher for smaller portions of food, which are usually the preferred option for singles.

In a leading UK supermarket, we found that a 1 pint of semi-skimmed milk costs 60p - £1.06 per litre, whereas 6 pints of the same milk is £1.60 - that’s only 47p per litre. Most groceries in a weekly shop follow suit, quickly adding up.

It costs single Brits £665 more to go on holiday

We analysed the cost of ten different holidays around the world from some of the UK’s leading holiday providers. For a seven-night all-inclusive stay in June, the average single paid £1,625.50 for their holiday, but couples only paid £1,920.50, or £960.25 per person.

Although this saving makes sense as a couple would share accommodation, £665.25 more for a single is pretty pricey, especially considering the additional cost of a flight, baggage and food.

Singles pay £33 extra per month to stream films and music

A recent study found that, on average, UK households have seven monthly subscriptions and memberships with the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Spotify and the National Trust. We found that singles pay £33.73 more each month due to the discounts available for multiple users on an individual account.

Monthly, singles pay an average of £82.09 whereas people in couples pay just £48.36 each. Streaming services generally offer cheaper plans for multiple users to access a service at one time meaning memberships tend to be more cost-effective for .

Looking for a partner could set you back £1,750+ a year

Ocean Financed calculated the monthly cost of dating by looking at:

  • Average monthly dating profile - £22.57
  • Average monthly dates cost - £123.42

You don’t just save money being in a couple - looking for love costs on average £145 per month thanks to dates and dating site memberships.

We analysed the UK’s most popular dating sites and found members shell out on average £22.57 every month for a membership with the priciest coming in at just under £35 for those looking for love.

Dating site

Monthly membership

Eharmony

£29.90

Match

£19.95

EliteSingles

£34.95

Plenty of Fish

£16.05

Bumble

£11.99

Average

£22.57

A 2,000 person survey by a leading dating service provider in 2019 found that Brits spend on average £1,349 a year on dates. With the cost of inflation, you’re looking at £1,481 going out with potential new partners every year and up to £3,200 according to an Ocean Finance study.

Getting ready for a date could cost you £81

In addition to the dating and profile costs, those looking to impress a potential match with a haircut and new outfit will likely be spending around £81.66 on getting ready.

According to YouGov and ONS data, the average haircut costs Brits £22.08 and a new outfit averages £59.58. Add on something like flowers to take to the date or a taxi journey and the cost quickly escalates.

Five top tips on how to save money if you’re single

Try the below tips to help reduce the cost of your monthly outgoings or read our blog on how you can save £1,450 in 2022.

  1. Partner with a friend - with offers like a Two Together Railcard or Spotify Duo account, you can partner with a friend to cut your outgoings.
  2. Cut your subscriptions - most of us have at least one or two subscriptions we’re not making the most of, or don’t give us much we’re not getting from one of the others. Cancel the ones you use least and see if you can reduce the ones you’re keeping by lowering your packages or buddying up with a friend to share an account - you might be paying for more than you need.
  3. Buy in bulk - the general rule when it comes to food shopping is “the smaller the packet, the more it’ll cost.” Try buying in bulk and splitting food into the portions you need, freezing or by storing the extra in airtight containers. You can also batch cook your meals to help reduce costs and save you time.
  4. Look for discounts - some bills are cheaper for single-person households. You’re eligible for a 25% discount with council tax and you can apply for a rebate if you’ve been overpaying.
  5. Switch to the right tariffs - by choosing the right tariff, a single person can reduce their monthly spending on bills. For example, changing your water bill to a meter rather than a set fee can give you a significant reduction.

Want to stay safe financially when looking for love? Check out our tips to spot and avoid common dating scams.

Methodology

Ocean Finance calculated the average costs singles and couples paid as part of their regular monthly outgoings. We used this to estimate the price two individuals would pay vs. how much couples were spending working out the additional cost per person. Data was collected from the ONS.

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Helen Fox

By Helen Fox

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Happy single lady in peach top and jeans sitting on a grey sofa Happy single lady in peach top and jeans sitting on a grey sofa