A Single Gal’s Guide to Money

Posted September 29, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

The words “it’s all on you” are never so poignant as they are for a single gal when it comes to money. There’s no option to rely on your spouse for your rent payment or credit cards. You have to make enough money each month to cover your expenses and hopefully still put something into savings. And no matter your income, being on your own financially can be terrifying for women.

The scary bar goes up if you’re finding yourself single after a breakup or a divorce. You’ve likely become accustomed to a certain salary range, with two salaries and a lifestyle that matches those salaries. Moving out on your own can be harder when you’re transitioning from a relationship, or even a roommate situation. Four years ago, when I divorced, I walked away with an incredible amount of debt, bills to pay, and all on a the salary of a nonprofit middle manager. It was difficult, but over time, I found my way. And I’m here to tell you that you can, too.

Financial Tips for the Single Gal:

  • Make a budget. Sure, this seems like a no-brainer. But many women skip this important step in money management. Use a service like LearnVest or Mint.com to help you set and keep track of your budgeting process.
  • Pay yourself first. And by this, I don’t mean your shoe fund. I mean savings and retirement, specifically. When you’re making your budget, do it after you’ve budgeted a savings and retirement savings of at least 10% of your paycheck. Don’t over budget on rent and then tell yourself “I’ll find a way to save” because you won’t. You’ll wake up 5 years from now and wish you had.
  • Live a single person’s life. Repeat after me–you do not need a two-bedroom apartment or a three-bedroom house. You are a single person. Look for housing, food options, etc. that fit a single person’s lifestyle. Live small, and your life will get bigger.

Are you a single gal? Tell us below — how do you make your budget work for your lifestyle?

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."