An expert shares how single people can get on top of their money in the pandemic

Single people are feeling increased financial pressure as a result of the pandemic, new research from Lloyds shows.

That makes sense when you think about it.

When you’re coupled up, it’s easier to split the costs of essential bits – like the big food shop, rent, and so on – and share the stress of money in the process, as you always have someone to lean on and chat things things through with.

When you’re single, you can feel like you’re all alone. When coronavirus hit and jobs were lost, earnings were depleted, and lifestyles changed, single people had to ride the tide solo.

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Research from Lloyds estimates that 17.5million single Brits are under more financial pressure than ever before, due to Covid-19.

Their survey of 2,001 single people found that 25% are more worried about their financial situation as a result of the pandemic, with concerns around being unable to make ends meet, spending all their savings, and job stability, while 24% say they’re worried about covering the costs of weekly shopping.

When reaching important life milestones, over half of Brits (51%) agree it is harder for single people compared to those in a relationship. Of the major milestones, 44% of all respondents agreed that buying a house is easier in a relationship, and a quarter (24%) believe it’s easier to deal with financial difficulties when you have a partner.

Jo Harris, managing director at Lloyds Bank, said: ‘No matter your relationship status, the last few months have been incredibly tough, especially when it comes to people’s financial affairs. Single people are undoubtedly more hard-hit when faced with a financial shock, as often, financial independence also means not having a back-up plan or someone else to step in and help.’

We spoke to Lucy Vine, the bestselling author of Hot Mess, for her tips on how singles can make financial independence feel achievable.

‘As someone who has lived alone for the past nine years, I’ve always made being financially independent a key priority,’ she says. ‘But like many others over the past few months, I’ve felt the pressure of the current situation on how I manage my money.’

Give yourself a break

‘First and foremost, stop giving yourself a hard time,’ Lucy says. ‘We’ve all been in the same boat throughout all this, and – whether you’re single or have been married for 20 years – it’s been tough for everyone.

‘Remind yourself that’s OK, and give yourself the time and space you need to regroup.’

Break the money chat taboo

Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you have to tackle financial stress all alone.

‘As someone who’s lived on her own for nine years, I know better than most how important it is to talk to people – and ask for help when I need,’ says Lucy. ‘Throughout lockdown, I found nothing more effective at taking the pressure off money worries, than talking things through with family, friends or an expert at my bank.’

Talk to someone you trust, whether that’s a friend or a family member, to lighten the load. And don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to money – most of us don’t.

It’s never too late to start to start saving

Lucy says: ‘Let’s face it, I’m no financial guru. In fact, I’ve pretty much emptied my savings pot this year, thanks to a lack of work during lockdown. But I’m not going to let it stop me starting again.

‘I transfer £50 a month – more when I’m able – into a savings account I call my Adventure Fund. It makes me feel much more secure knowing it’s there, and there’s nothing more satisfying than watching it grow.’

Start small with your savings and keep your goals achievable so you don’t get demotivated. Anything you can put away is great.

Cut down on those late night shopping binges

‘A lot of us have been re-examining our budget these past few months, and research shows more than half of us are cutting back on non-essentials,’ says Lucy. ‘I’ve also found it helpful to go through my online banking statement, making a list of everything I spend in a month.

‘And once I got over the shock of how much I waste on lattes, I found it really helpful in keeping a lid (coffee pun?) on my spending.’

It’s been tempting while we’re in lockdown to go hard on the online shopping. Take a moment to reflect on how much you’re really spending, and try following the three-day rule – whenever you’re struck by the impulse to buy something non-essential, wait three days. If you still want it, buy it. But you might find the urge disappears.

Let’s call a lottery win Plan B

You have to stop pinning your plans on an unrealistic ideal.

Yes, there’s a chance you could win the lottery. But it’s teeny-tiny – and in the meantime, you can’t keep putting off sorting out your finances. It’s time to plan for the future.

Lucy says: ‘OK, so let’s pretend for a second that you’re going to win the jackpot at some point in the future – what are you going to do about money when you’re older?

‘These last few months have finally kicked me into action when it comes to sorting out my pension, and I have to tell you, it’s made me feel so much better about my future. Because, if 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that absolutely anything could happen and I need to be ready (2050 – the year of the zombies, I’m calling it now).’

If you want more tips and tricks on saving money, as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join our Facebook Group, Money Pot.

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