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

Revealed: The true cost of being single

author: Helen Fox

By Helen Fox


The ONS estimates that 8.3 million people live alone in a single-person household.

But did you know that those who live alone are paying on average £3,195.24 more every year than those who live – and split the bills 50/50 – with another adult?

We have calculated the typical monthly costs using ONS data for both groups of Brits including utility bills, housing, the food shop and more to discover where single people are getting the short straw. With the cost of living still high, we’ve provided money-saving tips to help everyone, but particularly those who live alone, 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.

It costs £266.26 more per month to live alone

Our research has revealed that on average, those who live alone are paying £266.26 more per month than those who split the costs with a housemate or partner, when accounting for bills, socialising, annual holidays and more.

We’ve created a profile for both people who live alone and one half of a two-adult household to provide their monthly outgoings.

The monthly cost of living alone


Living alone

Half of a two-adult household

Additional cost of living alone

Bills (inc. housing)




Food & alcohol shop




















Household bills are almost £300 a month more expensive (per capita) for people who live alone

The average Brit living alone spends a whopping £6,808.80 every year on their household bills. Meanwhile, two adults living together and each covering half the bills pay, on average, £8,818.56 between them - £4,409.28 each. We analysed the average cost of housing, utility bills, phone, internet and a mobile phone, a TV licence and council tax to discover that UK singles are shelling out an extra £199.96 every month, as they’re unable to split costs with someone else.

Housing and utility bills were the biggest contributor, with a single person paying, on average, £567.40 per month. Meanwhile, although two adults living together pay just slightly more at £734.88 per month on average, this is just £367.44 per person, if they split all costs equally.

Council tax was also a major factor in the higher costs for those living alone, despite the 25% discount for a single-person household. For the average Band D bill, someone living alone would pay £129.06 per month, but those splitting the bill 50/50 with another person need to stump up just £86.04.

Brits living on their own spend £15 more on their monthly food shop

We estimate that every month, single people spend just £15.16 more on their food and alcohol shopping compared to each of two adults who live together. Over the course of a year, this adds up to £181.92 more that people who live alone are spending on groceries.

The relatively small difference in spending between single-person and two-adult households may indicate that those who live alone are spending savvily on their groceries, taking advantage of discounts to buy in bulk and store the extra, and perhaps even buying better-value, larger packs of ingredients to batch cook meals, or freeze the additional portions for another time.

It costs Brits living alone £475 more to go on holiday

We analysed the cost of almost 200 holidays from two of the UK’s leading tour operators. For a seven-night, 4* all-inclusive stay in Majorca in June 2024, the average solo traveller would pay £1,446.97 for their holiday, but two adults booking together and sharing a room only paid £1,944.21 on average for the same holiday, or £972.11 per person.

Although this saving makes sense as accommodation tends to be priced per room – a cost two adults prepared to share can split - £474.86 more for a single person is pretty steep, especially considering there may also be additional costs like car hire and entry to attractions to pay for.

Singles pay as much as £26.47 extra per month to stream films and music

The UK is a subscription society, with memberships to video and music streaming sites like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Spotify, YouTube and Apple TV incredibly popular. In fact, if a household subscribed to all of these services, we found that singles would pay £26.47 more each month due to the better value deals available for multiple users on an individual account.

Monthly, singles would pay £65.94 to subscribe to these six sites, whereas two adults sharing the cost pay just £39.47 each. Streaming services generally offer plans for multiple users that represent better value per person,  meaning memberships can be more cost-effective for couples, families, and even groups sharing one account.

Singles spend less on recreation, but looking for a partner could set you back almost £2,000 per year

Our research revealed that Brits who live alone, a little sadly, spend less on recreation. This includes things like live entertainment (including sports matches), gym memberships, equipment for hobbies and visiting galleries and other attractions. They spend, on average, £143.09 per month, compared to the average of £157.98 spent by those who live with another adult. However, if someone living alone is also single and looking for love, they may spend, on average, £166 per month on dating. This is on top of the cost of hobbies and other activities they take part in.

We calculated the monthly cost of dating by looking at:

  • Average monthly dating profile - £29.98
  • Average monthly dates cost - £136.41

We analysed a variety of popular UK dating sites and found members shell out on average £29.98 every month for a membership, with the priciest coming in at just under £45 for those looking for love.

Dating site

Monthly membership













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 more like £1,637 spent going out with potential new partners every year.

Getting ready for a date could cost you over £100

In addition to the cost of dating sites and the dates themselves, those looking to impress a potential match with a fresh haircut and new outfit will likely be spending around £136.64 on getting ready.

According to the ONS shopping prices comparison tool, the average haircut costs Brits £29.49 and a new outfit – comprising casual trousers, a blouse or shirt, and shoes – averages £107.14! 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 live alone

Try the below tips to help reduce the cost of your monthly outgoings:

  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.


We calculated the average costs individuals who live alone and those who live together with another adult paid as part of their regular monthly outgoings, assuming that two people living together split all costs equally. Data was collected from the ONS Family Spending Survey 2022 on 19th September 2023 and adjusted for July 2023 inflation using the Bank of England inflation calculator.

Holiday spending was calculated by comparing the cost of a 7-night, all-inclusive stay at a 4* hotel in Majorca, departing from Manchester airport on 15th June 2024, taking the average of over 200 holidays offered by Tui and Thomas Cook. Data collected on 19th September 2023.

Streaming subscription prices were sourced from Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Youtube Premium, Spotify and AppleTV on 19th September 2023.

The costs of dating site memberships were collected from each site listed and are based on the cost of a single month’s membership on the most basic paid tier of each site. Prices are correct as of 19th September 2023.

Disclaimer: We make every effort to ensure that content is correct at the time of publication. Please note that information published on this website does not constitute financial advice, and we aren’t responsible for the content of any external sites.

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