How to keep your romantic situation from hurting your finances
Ahh, the single life. On your own, paving your way, looking out for number one. It certainly sounds like it should be easier, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, not being in a committed relationship has its financial repercussions, often dubbed Singles’ Penalty.
For one, unless living with roommates or still under your parents’ roof, you’re likely responsible for 100% of your living expenses — rent, food, wi-fi, etc. — on a single income. Secondly, you don’t benefit from other typically mutual/bundled expenses such as health insurance and even gym memberships. Finally, as a single individual you’re encouraged to socialize more than the average married Joe/Jane. Between bar bills, club entry tabs and online dating subscriptions, meeting your soul mate can get expensive… Quick.
Bottom line? Single folks need emergency funds (i.e. savings) more than anybody. We don’t believe you should ever have to make a choice between meeting The One and making ends meet, but you should take meaningful steps to manage the situation. Our experts have come up with 5 tips to enable you to save while you’re single, and still have a life that your couple-friends envy.
Don’t borrow from your future self
Avoid incurring debt you’ll suffer to repay tomorrow, to live large here and now. Don’t assume you’ll eventually cover today’s lavish expenses, perhaps fantasizing about the future help of a hypothetical well-off partner. Financial planning is about being realistic, and being able to prioritize. Be conscious of your financial capabilities and live within your means, setting aside what you can.
Stop after a drink or two; you’ll be more likely to make a good impression, save yourself from a hangover, and keep your wallet plump. If you know you’ve got a dinner date tonight, cook lunch ahead of time so you avoid spending money on food twice in one day. Bonus: your weekly grocery store run just might be where you meet the love of your life. Have you ever heard of a cuter meet-cute?
You and your dependents come first
Some singles care for children or other relatives, and if that’s you — that’s where your priorities should lie. It may be tempting to try and have it all: be the perfect single parents, the perfect son/daughter, the ultimate supportive friend and the best date in town. However, unless you’re a superhero, you’ll need to think deeply about whom you can take care of, and how much spare time/money you can afford to invest.
Start a sharing #squad
Even if it seems like all your friends are paired-up and living that Netflix life, odds are you have more than a few single friends. Rally them up and speak candidly about ways to help each other diminish regular expenses. Hold clothes swaps, offer to perform a service for a friend who may reciprocate, host pot-lucks and even bulk shop with a shared Costco/Sam’s Club subscription. Everybody wins, and you’ll see your friendships tighten over comically large bottles of Mayonnaise.
It’s never too early to save for retirement
If you’re under 30 and single, you’ve probably seldom given thought to purchasing a retirement plan. However, the earlier you start putting away money for retirement, the less you’ll need to put aside each month.
Follow these rules of thumb to maximize your savings, even when burdened with double the expenses of the typical married individual. Your social life shouldn’t miss a beat, and you’ll feel so empowered you’ll (rightfully) be less likely to compromise when the right one comes along. Who knows, your money-wise ways may be what attracts them to you in the first place.
Originally published at gochange.co on August 15, 2016.
Change develops an Invisible Service that links to bank and credit card accounts, analyzes money transactions and discovers bad financial behavior (symptoms). It then matches those symptoms with behavioral treatments that are executed through smart sms messages (nudges).
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