It’s a debate as old as time – are you financially better off in a relationship or as a single person? Research from Confused.com can finally reveal that it’s in fact those who are single who are better off – to the tune of £2,340 a year.
Research from the leading price comparison site shows that Brits in a relationship spend £195 a month more on living costs than those who are single – those with a partner spend, on average, £1,003 a month compared to just £808 for those riding solo.
When it comes to their household costs, such as their rent, mortgage, and bills, people in a relationship spend, on average, £538 a month compared to £421 for those who are single. Those in a relationship spend, on average, £144 a month on socialising compared to £139 for single people – perhaps as a result of wining and dining with their partners.
And when it comes to buying food and household essentials, people in relationships are paying a premium of £52 – £200 compared to £148 on average. This extra costs equates to a staggering £624 a year.
This is despite more single people living alone – more than half of those who are single (53%) say they live alone compared to just 8% of those in a relationship. Of those in a relationship, the majority (84%) say they do live with their partner – meaning they are more than likely to be splitting rent and bills.
When it comes to monthly spending, there are some stark differences between what people in a relationship are spending their money on compared to those who are single.
Nearly half (48%) of those with a partner say they spend money on eating meals out whilst just over a third (37%) of single people say they spend on the same. Similarly, whilst just under a fifth (19%) of those in a relationship say they spend their money on weekends away, less than one in eight (13%) of single people say they do.
Those with a partner are also nearly twice as likely to spend money on gym memberships – one in seven (15%) compared to just under one in 10 (8%) single people. It’s clear looking and feeling good is a priority for those in a relationship as they are also more likely to spend their cash on buying clothes – more than a third (38%) compared to just 32% of single people.
Interestingly, more than one in seven (16%) of those in a relationship think they spend less money when they are in a relationship, whilst nearly a third (31%) of single people think they spend more money when they are in a relationship. And nearly a fifth (19%) of single people say they think being single is less expensive as they don’t have to buy gifts for a partner.
And there’s not just monetary benefits to being single – more than two fifths of single people (44%) say their relationship status means they can enjoy their independence/freedom, with a third saying they like not having anyone to answer to (34%).
However, when it comes to special occasions, those in a relationship seem to have the upper hand. More than two in five couples (43%) say they split the cost of buying present for special occasions – compared to just under a third (31%) of single people who do the same.
And when it comes to socialising, single people seem to feel like they are missing out as nearly one in seven (13%) say they only see their friends who are in a relationship when they are celebrating something. More than one in five (21%) say they attend their friends’ special occasions more than they host their own.
Some will simply avoid buying a present for these special occasions (31%) preferring to simply buy a card, some feel a bit more generous (17%) and say they splash out even if it means they have to cut back elsewhere. And whilst some are making cut backs, others are choosing to use credit cards to fund their attendance at special occasions – with one in five (20%) saying they use their plastic for travel costs, purchasing a new outfit, or buying gifts.
Nerys Lewis, Head of Credit Cards at Confused.com, says: “The question of what’s better for your pocket – being single or in a relationship – is an argument that will always divide. People who are single might feel like they are constantly paying for things themselves; conversely, those in a relationship might forget how quickly those date nights and meals, whilst a lovely treat, add up. It might surprise people to note that being in a relationship seems to cost more than being single – despite having someone to split costs with.“
But whilst there is a difference in monthly spending, when it comes to purchases for special events, there isn’t too much difference. Whilst it’s advisable that people do budget for special occasions, it’s understandable one in five of us turn to our credit cards to help fund these days out. And whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, people shouldn’t rely on their credit cards as a way of funding these events.”
Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll research on behalf of Confused.com. This was an online poll of 2,000 UK adults (nationally representative sample). The research was conducted between 22nd April and 27th April 2015 and the 27th May and 29th May 2015.