There are many articles out there about how to deal with money in a marriage or in a family, but “single money” is rarely discussed. As I use the term “single person,” I am not referring to those who are single in the relationship sense, but those who only have to provide for themselves financially. I’m referring to financially independent people who only have themselves to rely on and cannot depend on someone else to take care of their basic needs and don’t have to worry about taking care of anyone else, such as children. In this article, I will be looking at how these people can survive and thrive on their own.
When you are married or have a family to raise, it can be difficult trying to make your money stretch out as far as possible to put enough food on the table for everyone, however, when you’re married, there are generally 2 streams of income (if not more) so it becomes much easier down the road. It’s not that much difference between paying for a 3 bedroom house or a 2 bedroom house and as a family, the most you have to give up is your space. But as a single person, it can much more difficult to meet all your basic needs without any help. Working together financially with a significant other can be easier on the wallet, so how do you deal when you have to fend for yourself?
The Single Person’s Residence
One of the things that you will always need is a place to call home, but being single it can be difficult to afford anything decent on your own. Splitting a one bedroom apartment with a significant other is much cheaper than trying to rent one out on your own. If you go down a notch, you can get a bachelor pad with much less room and not much less of a price. And let’s not forget all your utilities on top of that. In many places you have to pay for your own water, heat, electricity, phone, cable, internet, sewer, etc. It seems that the only bachelor who can afford a nice 1 bedroom already has a good job and has all their finances already worked out. It can be very difficult to afford even a basic residence by yourself if you’re still working on your career, or are currently in school, so most single people look into sharing their space with a roommate.
Roommates can be fun at times, but sharing a small space with one can become very overwhelming. When looking to share a place together, make sure you find a residence that has enough space for the both of you. If you move in somewhere cramped where you two are constantly in each other’s way, you may end up irritated and cranky. Most single people move in with a close friend but be careful before choosing this option. Many friendships have ended while living together because you never really know how your friend is at home until you live together.
The other option is to find someone through the internet or the newspaper that is looking for a roommate. Make sure you check out the place before hand and go with your gut instinct. Some people live with more than one roommate since the rent is generally even cheaper, but don’t go with too many; remember, you will be seeing these people a lot and you want to keep your sanity. Go with what feels most comfortable for you; if you’re a social butterfly and love hanging out with people all the time then go for it and get quite a few. I personally can’t live with more than 1 or 2 roommates at the max or it starts to get too loud and uncomfortable for me, but it really just depends on your social and comfort level.
One of the biggest areas of our lives is our place of residence and it can be very difficult to pay for as a single person. Because of this, paying for a place by yourself or living with roommates you don’t like usually goes on the negative side of being financially independent. However, if you are in that stage of your life that you already have a steady stream of income and are not looking to share a space with anyone, consider buying a place to call your own. Look around, get a mortgage, and then when you move in, you can decorate it and renovate it any way you like and you’ll be paying off your mortgage and getting closer to having your house paid off, instead of paying someone else’s mortgage off.
The Single Person’s Meals
Overall, buying food is one of the positive aspects when it comes to being a single person. Feeding just one mouth is much easier than feeding multiple mouths and if you cut back on fast food and going out to restaurants, it shouldn’t cost you more than $50 to $100 per week on groceries. Shopping for 1 is easy because you can just pick out what you would like to eat and you don’t have to think about anyone else, and cooking for 1 is also easy because you don’t have to throw together a big elaborate meal to feed a whole family; you can just throw something quick together to feed yourself. One of the things you should keep in mind though is that if you have roommates, there is a very good chance they will “help” you eat your food and this may cut into your budget a bit. Overall though, it is not very difficult buying food for the single person and you can definitely save money in this area by being a bachelor.
The Single Person’s Unexpected Expenses
One of the negative sides of being financially independent is that when unexpected expenses pop up, you have to pay for them on your own. If you are with a significant other and it’s time to get a new bed, you both chip in and it is much easier to pay for. While you are single, this may be a little more difficult. Unexpected expenses will come up so it’s best to try and be prepared for them since you most likely won’t have any help paying it. One of the smartest things you can do as a financially independent (single) person is to start an emergency fund for yourself. You never know when your car might need repairs or when your suede boots will get peed on by your neighbour’s dog, so it’s best to keep a little bit of extra money put away, especially since you’ll probably have to pay for your emergencies yourself.
Cutting Down Expenses
What is the best way to get more money for the single person? Since a single person does not have any kids to look after, the majority of his money usually goes to his personal expenses. The best way to get more money is to cut out some of these expenses. Now some expenses such as residence, food and other basic needs such as transportation can’t really be cut down too much. However, take a look at your last few bank statements and see if anything really pops out. Do you go out to bars and movies quite often? Do you buy really expensive, brand name clothing? It can be easy to cut back on expenses and get a little bit of extra walking around money if you observe where your money usually goes and try to cut back.
The Single Person in School
Many single people are still in the stage of upgrading their careers and their incomes so it can be difficult to get by on just one income and having to pay for everything yourself. A good majority of single people are students who are still in school and have to worry about not only all the basic expenses, but also tuition, books and other school expenses. Most of the single people in school either get a student loan or a part time job to help out with all the expenses required. Some even take a year of two off to save up before going to school so they can be better ahead of the game. If you are thinking about going back to school, consider taking a few courses in the evenings and weekends, or doing your schoolwork online so you can keep your job. If you keep your full time job and just do your schoolwork in your spare time, you can pay off your school faster and still maintain a decent lifestyle without having to take years of time off and ending up in overwhelming debt.
It can be more difficult trying to pay for everything by yourself and if you need to, consider getting a second job. Try looking into a small cozy bachelor suite that you can afford instead of an elaborate condo or house.