I recently wrote about getting back into good habits, such as cooking at home and bringing lunch to work. I also went to the gym, read several books, and caught up on a couple months' worth of New Yorker magazines. I even took out my recycling, cleaned the house and did laundry-- so what happened? Did I suddenly run out to a phone booth and turn into Princess Awesome? No. What happened was that I spent a week being totally anti-social.
I know some people might have a hard time with this, but for me, it happened to be fairly easy-- a significant other thousands of miles away, as well as my other friends being busy or away (or I was just ignoring them). And I don't have kids, obviously. So I just spent some quality time alone, and realized this should be another one of my financial rules:
- Be Anti-Social
- Be Social
Doing things with other people also allows you to spread out costs-- it may not be exactly true that two can eat as cheaply as one, but it's certainly easier to buy groceries for two, and to buy other items in bulk at lower unit prices. And you can order wine by the bottle instead of by the glass!
Traveling is another area where it definitely saves you money not to be by yourself. Most hotel rooms are designed to hold two people, and are priced accordingly. And how many times have you seen a really cheap price for a packaged trip where the small print always notes that the price is per-person based on double occupancy, and that the "single supplement" will double the cost of the trip?
Around the house, there are many ways you might save money by living with someone else rather than alone. First of all, studio and one-bedroom apartments tend to cost more than half what a two-bedroom costs, so having a roommate can save you money on rent. Then there are tasks like cooking, cleaning, and repairs. For people who live alone, doing all these things can start to seem burdensome and you're more likely to want to pay someone else to do them for you. But if you can share the housekeeping with someone else, it won't seem like as much work, and you're more likely to continue to do it yourself. In the case of repairs, it may even be unsafe to do things yourself without help-- if you fall off a ladder or something, the medical bills could end up costing you way more than hiring a handyman would have!
So, alone or together? Social or anti-social? Hermit or party animal? Once again, completely conflicting advice, but I do think it's possible to find a balance between these two extremes. One solution might be to find a partner who travels a lot!