10 frugal hacks for single living

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Getting a roommate may be a surefire way to save money, but sharing a living space isn't the ideal scenario for everyone. For instance, you're in medical school or law school and need plenty of quiet time to study and rest. You're a single parent and don't want another person's influence on your kids. You're recently divorced and want to entertain friends and guests. These are all good reasons to want to live alone. However, living alone doesn't mean you must forgo frugality.

Here are 10 frugal living hacks for anyone who prefers to live alone.

1. Live, Work, and Play in the Same Neighborhood

Major city centers are ripe with live, work, and play communities, but it shouldn't matter in what area you live. You should be able to carve out the right balance to conveniently commute between work and home and find activities in your area that keep you balanced.

2. Rent a (Spacious) Studio Apartment

Save on rent by renting a studio unit instead of a conventional one-bedroom. And if you live in anything larger than that, downsize and rent it out to sock away the extra savings. I understand there are reasons one might want to purchase a three-bedroom home, but until you're ready to start using all those rooms, be smart.

3. Rent in a Building With Luxury Amenities

For an extra couple hundred bucks per month, you could rent the same apartment in a nicer building. If you're a fitness buff, rent an apartment in a building that has a gym (pool, racquetball, etc.) and save by not needing a sports club membership. The building might have a business center, which could be great if you work from home. Or, the property could have a car sharing program and other luxurious money-saving amenities. Meanwhile, it's a great way to network and get acquainted with neighbors, which could one day lead to business.

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10 frugal hacks for single living

Dog-sitting, babysitting, or house-sitting

These jobs are always in high demand, and the best part: you can name your price and create your own schedule! Post an ad on craigslist, or use your friends' and family's connections to get your name out there. 

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Rent out your space 

List your apartment on Airbnb or another rental site, and make some easy cash by staying at a friends and renting out your place for the weekend.

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Share your space

Just as you can rent out your full apartment or house, you can also post a free room (or even just your couch!) on sites like Craigslist or Airbnb. This way you can split your living expenses -- and maybe even make a new friend!

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Sell your body parts

Now here's a weird one: Donate your hair, breast milk, or even plasma for a profit. According to Grifols, if you're healthy and weigh above 110 pounds, you can earn up to $200 a month donating your plasma to life-saving medicine. 

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Sign up to participate in medical tests and clinical trials. 

Universities constantly need volunteers to test new medicines and treatments -- and because the pool of willing participants is limited, there is typically a large compensation for being a guinea pig. 

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Participate in a focus group

Companies and organizations will pay you to join a focus group. These can be conducted in person, online, or via phone. You will most likely be reimbursed in cash or gift cards -- plus, you often get to test out fun new products! 

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Take online surveys

Similar to focus groups, you can get paid to give your time and insights on an online questionairre. Plus, you can do this from the comfort of your couch. 

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Bank on your sperm

Although we don't necessarily recommend this option, there is a very high demand for healthy sperm donors. Keep in mind some of the obvious drawbacks, but sperm donation is non-invasive and highly compensated. 

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Crowdfund your dreams

Crowdfunding allows you to raise monetary contributions from a large group of people who want to support your venture. Post your project or idea on a crowdfund site, like GoFundMe.com, and see the cash pile up.

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Become a tutor

If you're qualified, post an ad online or on a community board to tutor children on their school courses or for the upcoming SATs.

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Get a part-time job

Capitalize your free time (on the weekends or after work hours) by working a part-time job. A bartender, waiter, or Uber driver are all great options for an additional source of income -- and great tips! 

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Resell tickets

Take this suggestion at your own risk: If you're staying within legal limits, buy tickets low and sell high as an effective way to source additional money. (Just make sure to check your state and local laws first!)

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Rentafriend.com

You can sell anything on the internet these days... including your companionship! Get paid to go on a platonic outing for a few hours and enjoy your afternoon with a new friend. 

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Rent out your parking spot

Make sure to check with your landlord first, but if you have the option to park your own car further away, lend or share your parking space or driveway for the hour, day, or even month! 

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Keep a coin jar 

This one takes patience before a big pay out, but keep a spare jar or drawer for loose change that you usually toss anyway. It will keep it all in one place -- and those quarters do add up! 

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Make something to sell 

If you have a knack for arts & crafts, create jewelry or other handmade gifts to sell on sites filled with other thrifty vendors like Etsy

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Sell items online

This effective strategy requires low effort with a high return. Post photos of your used or non-used items on sites like eBay or Craigslist, and let the bidding begin! 

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Have a yard sale

Sell clutter you've been meaning to get rid of right in your front yard. This simple tactic is convenient, and guarantees a wad of cash right to your pocket.  

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Return past purchases

This tip may seem obvious, but is often overlooked: Take your recently-purchased items that are laying around back to the store for either store credit or a full refund. 

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Recycle scrap metal and cans

Collect cans and scrap metal out your own garbage, basement, and street and bring to your local recycler to exchange your findings for money.  

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4. Cook Meals

Pizza is perhaps the cheapest dine-out meal you can buy. But it doesn't matter how you slice it, preparing meals at home is the best way to go. Although you will be cooking for one, it still makes sense to prepare meals at home and take leftovers to work the next day.

5. Buy in Bulk

As someone living alone, it doesn't always make sense to buy in bulk, but it may be smart to grab family packs of non-perishable foods and meats. Separate meats into smaller quantities of two to four, and freeze them in freezer bags. Now, you only need to do major shopping once per month for minor things, like fresh veggies, bread, and dairy. (See also: Save Big at These 4 Discount Supermarkets)

6. Take Public Transit

When you live and work in the same community, you eliminate the need for a car, and in the case of most major cities, the cost of a parking space. On occasions when you do need a car to visit family or weekend getaways, use a ride sharing program like Zipcar or Uber. It will give you peace of mind and save you time and money. Not to mention, some transit services offer perks that include discounts around the city. For instance, using Philadelphia's SEPTA Pass Perks includes discounts on Zipcars, attractions, restaurants, and more. (See also: Car Sharing: Why Own When You Can Just Share?)

7. Ditch Cable Subscriptions

Don't get bullied into expensive cable subscriptions that will cost at least $100 per month. Cable providers now try to rope subscribers into package deals, where at first glance it actually appears to make more sense. Really, how often are you going to be home to utilize a cable subscription? Netflix it instead. Netflix subscriptions start at $7.99 per month. For Internet, consider an Internet-only provider and don't pay more than it's worth.

8. Sign Up for Discounts

Just because you live alone doesn't mean you shouldn't be a frugal shopper and sign up for in-store discount savings programs. Also join a program like AAA and save at hundreds of merchants, including on rental cars, hotel stays, restaurants, attractions, and more. They even offer discounts with area cell phone, Internet, and cable service providers.

9. Check Out Intuit's Benefit Assist

Use Intuit's Benefit Assist to find out if you qualify for discounted health insurance, reduced utility bills, low-cost cell phone service, cheap auto insurance, and/or have unclaimed money laying around. The website says you could qualify for as much as $2,000 in benefits.

10. Put Yourself on a Budget

It's easy to overspend when there's no one to think about or care for other than yourself. That can cause people living alone to overspend on activities and shopping. Be mindful of your spending habits and put yourself on a budget. Although you're on your own, you shouldn't need to spend more than $50 to $100 per week on miscellaneous things. What you save could be going towards your retirement. (See also: Build Your First Budget in 5 Easy Steps)

Live alone? What frugal tricks do you use to contain your spend?

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