Single and trying to make a life for myself, by myself. Without the help of anyone else but God.
Budgeting When You're Single
As a single adult, independence is hard. Super hard. We don't have the luxury of two incomes. We're on our own. Completely.
And there's nothing wrong with that. I love being single. Having my weekends to do whatever I want, eating whatever I want, I don't have some significant other to be accountable to. Just me and God, that's all I need. But that doesn't make it easier.
Here are some tips for making your budget work on a single income that I've learned as I've started my journey toward financial independence.
1. Keep Necessary Expenses Low
It's an obvious but nevertheless ignored fact that if your whole paycheck goes into payments then your budget isn't going to do you much good.
By necessary expenses, I mean food, water, shelter, transportation, and clothes.
Food and water are the easiest to trim down in the budget, but the hardest to trim down in real life. Going out to eat is more expensive than going to the grocery store, bottled water or other drinks are more expensive than tap water.
Clothes are the easiest for me. I only buy clothes when I need them and Goodwill and the Salvation Army are one of God's ways of proving he loves us. Most months I don't even have clothing in my budget, but when I do, Kohls and Payless shouldn't be where it's going. Even if their dress pants do actually have pockets (a requirement for life obviously.)
Last is transportation. If you live in town, great! Bike it all the way baby. For a one-time payment, for a good quality bike and some storage space for it, all your travel expenses are free. And as a bonus, who needs a gym membership if you're biking across town every day? I don't have the luxury of being within biking distance of work so it's a car, gas, and car insurance for me. These can be steep. But if you're smart and buy a used car from some guy with a "for sale" sign in his yard and give him cash for it you can knock these prices down too. It's a proven fact that driving 50mph uses less gas and running all your errands at once keeps the rising costs from making too big of a dent in your budget. Insurance is actually cheaper as a single since you only need one car and one driver on your policy. Shop around and get prices from all the best companies. Since you've thrown some cash at a random stranger instead of getting a loan you don't need full coverage either. So save as much money there as you can.
Shelter isn't something I've figured out yet. Living alone is possible without saving for five years just for a downpayment. But when I do it, I'll be the first I've ever met. If you have any experience with single homeownership drop some tips in the comments, I'd love to hear your stories.
2. Side Hustle
Being on your own doesn't mean you have to be a one-income household. What are your hobbies? What do you do after you get home from work to wind down for the night and relieve stress? Find a way to make money off that. For me, it's writing. Online writing can create revenue for creators and it's only the start of my journey to earn money from my hobbies. Dipping my toe in the water. Do you watch TV? Review the shows you watch on a blog. Play video games? Streaming sites like Twitch and Youtube are full of gamers looking to profit from what they enjoy most of all. You won't earn a lot when you're first getting started, but a little goes a longer way than nothing.
3. Save Money
If your car suddenly decides to give up the ghost what do you do? How do you fix it? Borrow money? That's not very independent of you. You don't need Cash Advance or Discover to give you some quick money if you've got a savings account. And who wants to rely on corporate greed to get their car fixed?
The common rule is to have 3–6 months of necessary expenses in an easy-to-reach savings account in case of an emergency. That way, if you lose your job or your car breaks down you've got everything you need to pick yourself up and keep going. Because no one is going to pick you up for you.
There are only two people everyone can trust 200% of the time: God, and themselves.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2019 Evelyn Williamson