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32-year-old Michael works in tech and lives alone in Cheshire. He just got out of a year-long relationship – and while some of his living costs have skyrocketed, others he's surprised to find have fallen.
A Monzo user since 2016, he’s also found it easier to budget and save while being single because he has more control over where his money goes. There’s also less social pressure to buy certain things.
Food, in particular, is much cheaper now he’s not regularly spending £40 on spontaneous supermarket dinners, wine and unnecessary snacks. But other things, like holidays, are pricier than before.
"My ex and I had different approaches to managing money"
I’m pretty open with how I handle money and whether or not I can afford something. I often stop myself from buying things.
My partner earned less than me and I was always worried he’d spend beyond his means and buy things unnecessarily. I made a point of trying to set a limit on Christmas and birthday presents so he wouldn’t overspend.
During the relationship, I was trying to stick to a budget but my partner wasn't. It was difficult because I didn’t want to turn around and say “let's not get this” or “let's get that”.
Unfortunately, we rarely communicated openly about money and it wasn’t something he was open to fully discussing. Some people just aren't and it can impact plans you make as a couple.
"Our priorities were different"
I was looking to move in, settle down and push forward. I'm pretty settled in my career, I’ve got a dog, a good group of friends and I take regular holidays. My ex spent a lot more time living a student-esque lifestyle, despite being the same age as me. And he wasn’t ready to move in.
I wanted to prioritise being financially stable, while my ex was more inclined to buy what he wanted and be more spontaneous.
"We split most costs 50/50, apart from when I wanted the more expensive option"
We lived separately but spent a lot of time at my house rather than his flat. My house is cheaper to heat and more energy efficient so given the increasing costs of gas and electricity we decided to stay at mine. We split most things down the middle for our day-to-day spending and some meals out. I'd sometimes pay for additional things on holidays where I preferred a nicer place to stay, or a more expensive meal out.
My ex didn't contribute to bills and since the relationship ended they’re cheaper. Because he’s not around anymore, the cost of my water, gas and electricity bills is down along with my usage.
"Holidays are more expensive now I’m single because you don’t get to split the costs"
Trips we were looking at doing together now cost more for me to do on my own simply because I'm single.
Council tax is also more expensive when you’re single. You get a single person's discount, which is only 25%.
"But I spend less on going out than I did when I was in a relationship"
When I was in a relationship I found myself spending more on things I don’t now I’m single.
I'm not particularly frivolous in how I spend money. I tend to not go away on holiday much, or go out for meals and that sort of thing. Whereas when I was in a relationship, I found myself doing the opposite. I was trying to share moments and memories with someone else and take them along for that enjoyment. I don't get the same satisfaction from doing those things on my own, so I don’t do them as often.
"My food spend is 30-40% cheaper"
Since we broke up in December I’ve switched to using HelloFresh for my meals, which is £40 a week. My subscription is for four meals a week for two people, which means I can have the extra portion the next day.
On weekends I'm normally away seeing friends or family, or may treat myself to a takeaway. I’ll sometimes batch cook at the weekends as well, which isn’t something my ex-partner was on board with.
We'd just go to the shop on the night. Before we knew it, we’d spend £30-40 on a bottle of wine, a meal for that night and snacks we didn’t need. Now, my food spend is probably 30-40% of what it was before.
Now I’m single I don't feel I have to go and buy the most expensive or luxurious food. I can buy own-brand cheese if I really want to!
"If you’re happily single, it’s easier to live cheaply than if you’re trying to meet someone"
There are differences in the cost of living as a person who’s content being single versus someone who’s single and dating. If you're wanting to meet someone, there are a lot more costs: clothing to try and look good, going out for meals and that sort of thing.
Whereas if you're on your own and quite happy, as I am at the moment, you don't have those costs.