When you’re single, it’s easy to lose control of your budget or even feel like you don’t need one at all. Date nights, takeout, no one to share streaming subscriptions with… the costs of being single quickly add up. Without a second income, you have to get creative with saving. At the same time, you have the freedom to be creative as you can make your financial decisions independently.
Jen Smith, personal finance expert, co-host of @frugalfriendspodcast and @modernfrugality on Instagram, has shared her top tips for managing your finances as an individual.
Balance your social life with affordable options
It makes sense to capitalize on your singleness with a thriving social life. At the same time, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of expensive dinners and drinks, especially when that’s all your group of friends seem to want. Smith shares how the relationships she formed with people who were willing to spend time for free ended up in much deeper friendships in the long run. Learn how to say no to unnecessarily expensive plans (rooftop bars age very quickly) and come to the table with affordable alternatives. Heres a list of social plan ideas that won’t break the bank. If someone doesn’t want to spend time together without all the expenses, this could be a friendship you’re growing out of.
Analyze where you can cut back
Smith recommends examining at least the last 90 days of your spending to see exactly where your money is going. Many people panic at the thought of losing weight and assume that their lifestyle needs to change radically. Smith says this is a fear response and often isn’t. The first thing you think you need to cut, like your daily coffee or weekly happy hour, can usually be the last thing to cut. Smith shares that most people, after examining their spending habits, find that they can start by saving in areas they don’t even know are wasting their money (overlooked subscriptions come to mind). A unique benefit here is the fact that deciding how and where to trim is a lot easier when you don’t have to involve other people or make it a lengthy discussion.
Learn how to cook for one
After examining your spending habits, you might be grimacing at how much money is being spent ordering takeout. I get it: portion control is difficult and takeout is easy. Smith says that learning how to cook for one person (without beating yourself up with the same leftovers all week) is a crucial money-saving hack. Here are some more tips for saving at the grocery store.
Build a rainy-day fund
It’s never too early to contribute to a rainy-day fund, which is savings you set aside for unexpected expenses later. Smith recommends about a month’s rent plus your insurance deductible as start-up capital for rainy days. Smith advises that it’s important to build that kind of security for yourself. Even if you have a partner, you don’t want to make them dependent in times of financial hardship. For more details on building your emergency fund, here are more of Smith’s tips on what to do now to prepare for a looming recession.
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