The High Costs of Living Alone in Cities
On TV, living alone is seen as pretty glamorous. We grow up thinking that we’re going to move to the city and suddenly be living the Carrie Bradshaw or Harvey Spector dream, in a swanky pad, complete with panoramic city views and a seemingly endless bank account to fund it. However, the reality can be a little less exciting - sky-high rents, meals for one and another Friday night in on your own with your Netflix account.
At Lyvly we strongly believe that the pros of house shares totally outweigh the cons, and are infinitely better and more fun than living alone. Our shared living community helps you find people to live with even if you’re moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone. If you’re still toying with the idea of living alone, here are just a few of the key benefits we believe shared-living offers - and it’s way more than simply the cost of bills.
Better for your bank balance
Ok, it is way more than the cost of bills - but it seems like a good place to start as it’s one of the biggest drivers for people to decide against living alone. The average monthly rent of a studio flat in London ranges from just under £700 in Dagenham to over £2000 in Barbican. Whilst £700 might not sound too bad, bear in mind it would take you over an hour to get into the centre of town- and you’re in real trouble if the District Line is down.
You’d struggle to get a one-bedroom place in Zones 2-3 for less than £1000 a month, and you can often double or treble that when looking at zone 1, all of which, for many young professionals, is simply way out of their budget. And that’s before we even move on to bills.
It’s true, you can get a 25% discount on your council tax if you live alone, but other than that, the full weight of gas, electric, internet and TV falls straight on your shoulders when living by yourself. With the cost of living rising, especially in the capital, finding affordable housing is key to actually being able to enjoy London life, without being stressed about money. However, it’s not just about having more cash in your back pocket for your social life.
Many young people dream of being a homeowner one day and need to be able to save for a fairly hefty deposit. Living in a house share is often a great stop-gap between leaving your family or uni home and buying a flat or house of your very own.
Helps improve your mental health
It’s not just the financial implications of living alone that can impact your stress levels. Feelings of loneliness and isolation are probably way more common than you realise - over 23% of people said they felt lonely always or often, in a recent survey. Whilst this is often something that we associate with the older people, loneliness still affects young people, even in a buzzing metropolis like London - 68% of millennials in the capital have said they feel isolated. The effect of loneliness on our mental health is something we are incredibly conscious of at Lyvly, and we recently chatted to PhD student and Wembley member Andreea about the topic as part of World Mental Health Day.
Andreea has lived in 3 different countries and really understands how easy it can be to feel lonely in a new place. “Some members have moved thousands of miles away from their friends and family, so it’s great to have a home full of people who are willing to help them get settled in, or go out for a coffee or a walk when they’ve had a bad day.”
Everyone knows it’s totally possible to feel lonely in a crowded room, but having housemates helps reduce the risk of you feeling isolated and cut off. Whilst loneliness isn’t a mental health issue in itself, it can fuel conditions including depression and anxiety. Knowing you will have daily interaction with another person feeds our human need for connection and can help keep negative feelings at bay.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, sometimes a little space is needed. However, sometimes you need to talk about your problems, get some support and have someone around to stop you feeling alone. Shared living means there is always someone around to talk to or to help get you out of the house if you’re feeling down.
Someone there to lend a hand or an ear
On a more practical level, having housemates means there is almost always someone around to help you with day to day tasks. That can be anything from signing for your parcels to helping to build a bed, reaching up to get the sugar when it got stuck at the back of the cupboard or to telling you when you’ve got a label left on the back of your new jumper.
It also comes in very handy when you have forgotten your keys - if people didn’t have housemates the streets of London would be littered with people who had locked themselves out each evening and shares in locksmiths would skyrocket. In a perfect world, it also means that you will have people to share the weekly chores with.
Admittedly, the potential of messy roommates is one of the downsides of house shares, but at Lyvly we combat this by having fortnightly cleaners, so you never have to argue about whose turn it is to clean the fridge.
However, it’s not only practical things that housemates can help you with. Living with friends gives you a ready-made sounding board when you need advice on the trials and tribulations that life throws at you. Whether you just need to come home from work and rant about your boss or ask someone’s opinion on your new Tinder bio, housemates are a great source of advice and perceptive, there who you need them.
Gives you a sense of belonging
One of the biggest benefits that comes with having housemates, is the community and networks it opens you up to. When moving to a new city, it can sometimes to be hard to meet people that aren’t your colleagues, especially if you are living alone. Shared living immediately opens you up to a whole world of people you may never have met before, and you have a ready-made social life right there in your home. Very often, people that start off as strangers - then housemates - will end up being friends for life.
Community is at the centre of everything we do at Lyvly, and our members host monthly events so they connect and can hang out with other members across our various London homes. From running clubs to Friday night drinks, members punctuate their calendars with activities to help kick start their social lives to help them feel part of something really exciting.
For some, living alone might be the right solution, but if you think house sharing could be for you why not join our growing Lyvly community.