The Savvy Single Knows How to Save

saving money for singles

Society tends to view the single person as foot-loose and fancy-free. They have no-one to answer to, they can spend their hard-earned money in any way they choose, and they have much more freedom on where to spend their time.

However, being single also means that there is no one to pick up the slack if something goes wrong. We can’t predict the future – companies are sold, jobs change and unexpected costs come up. Our job is to be prepared – the savvy single anticipates change & plans ahead so we can tackle any challenge head on.

The Rising Cost of Living Alone

There is an on-going debate on who fairs better financially – married or singles. Living alone comes with certain freedoms in how we spend our money.  But married folks gain the financial advantage of combined income, shared housing expenses and retirement account benefits.

Where you live is just as important as who you live with. The cost of living in major cities such as New York or San Francisco can be almost double that of living in a smaller suburb.  In New York City it costs about $43,500 to cover just your annual expenses such as housing, food, health care and transportation. In a smaller city such as Clevland, Ohio it costs just $26,100 – which is 40% less.

money tree
Money doesn’t grow on trees – although it sure would be nice!

One surefire way to save on your expenses is to live in a city where the costs are lower. If you choose your hometown wisely, you can save a ton of money each year.

And of course you should always strive to live within your means – and this translates to working within a budget.

Setting up a Detailed Budget

A budget is one of the most useful financial tools because it helps keep track of income and expenditures. Setting up a budget, will greatly improve your chances of attaining your financial goals. When creating a budget, make it as detailed as possible.

It’s important to have a very clear understand of your current expenses. Often times we simply don’t realize how much is spent each month on food, clothes, eating out, etc. To make sure you capture everything, keep track of all expenses for at least a 3 month period. Then create an average amount spent for each major category.

This will help you make a budget which will work with your lifestyle. If you get to a point where more money is going out than is coming in, make an effort to adjust your budget accordingly.

Saving Money on Groceries When You are Single

Eating healthy is important, but that does not mean that you have to spend a fortune on groceries. Thankfully, you can still save money on groceries by using some simple strategies.

Firstly, bulk buying may not necessarily work for a single person, especially when it comes to products that go bad quickly. For this reason, you should consider buying such products in smaller quantities for slightly higher prices.

Secondly, eat out occasionally. While this may seem counterproductive, it can actually help you save some money,. For example, eating a chicken sandwich out may be cheaper than the cost of all the ingredients you would require to prepare the sandwich.

woman making decisions at grocery store
Don’t get distracted at the grocery store – stick to the list!

Finally, make a shopping list and stick to it. Be sure to watch out for those end-of-aisle temptation items. Stores will place impulse buy type goodies at the end of each isle in order to lure you into buying more. Sometimes you need to put your blinders on when in the grocery store – keep your head down, stick to the list and by all means – don’t shop on an empty stomach!

Investing for the Future

Creating an emergency fund is essential. One of the drawbacks of being single is that, should something happen to your income, you may struggle financially, if you have no emergency savings.

For this reason, you should set some money aside for emergencies. Additionally, you should consider investing for the future. This means that you should diverse your investment portfolio to include both short-term and long-term investments. Suitable long-term investments include bonds, stocks and retirement funds such as IRAs and a 401k plan.

yellow and red piggy bank
Make sure to plan ahead for a rainy day

Being single means that, it is entirely up to you to plan for your future. Your retirement is an important part of that future.

Try to set aside as much as you can each month towards your retirement. You should also meet with a financial planner to see how much you need to have in savings before you retire.

Even if you don’t make that much money now – putting away just a small amount can really make a difference. A financial planner will be able to workout a plan for you to stay on schedule and help you achieve the lifestyle you desire.

The key to saving for retirement again is automating the process. More importantly, start saving as early as you can.

The Finanically Responsibile Single

Every person – single or married needs to consider their financial matters as a high priority. You should continuously devise ways to cope with the rising costs of living, including tracking your expenses.

In addition, you should embrace tips to save on food items like groceries, to avoid wastage.  Most importantly, remember that your future rests squarely on your shoulders. For this reasons, you should plan for your future accordingly by setting aside an emergency fund, saving for retirement, investing for the future, and keeping your debts as low as possible.

When Is It The Right Time to Buy a House?

Photo of house with blue roof with title: Are you ready to buy a house?

Buying a house is a huge decision. We never know just exactly when the perfect time comes along to take the plunge.

Many first time home-buyers go through the same trepidation. It’s a huge undertaking, not only the financial investment of the house, but there will be additional costs such as:

  • Moving Expenses. This can be anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
  • Home Staging & Cleanup. Selling the old house normally requires a list of things to fix before it goes on the market.
  • Junk Removal. If you have a cluttered basement or attic – it might be better to have the junk items hauled away by professionals.
  • Redecorating Expenses. Sometimes you just can make the old stuff “fit” in the new house
  • Time off work. If you schedule a mid-week move, many times you can get a nice discount from your movers – so be sure to ask!

So, if you are a first time buyer – it never hurts to keep an eye on the market and mortgage rates so you become familiar with the averages in your area. And always keep an eye out for that perfect property for sale – you never know when a bargain may come along.

Here are a few good points to evaluate before you take the plunge.

1.  How Stable is Your Job? Have you been with the company a long time? Is your industry prone to periodic layoffs or reorganizations?

Nothing is more devastating than to buy a home only to be forced to take a salary cut, or to be laid off, a year later.  If your current employment situation doesn’t feel stable then now might not be the best time to buy a home.

2.  Do You Have 20% or more for a Down Payment? No matter the financial climate, it’s always wise to put down the standard 20% of the purchase price. A good sized down payment gives you a good chunk of equity in the home, and protects you from any economy swings.

3.  Know Exactly How Much House You Need For Your Family.  While it’s tempting to want the biggest house you see on the market, you never want to become house poor.

Never plan on spending more than 25% of your budget on the monthly mortage payment. You’ll want to have plenty of room left over for other items such as repairs, maintenance, and all those other little expenses that just tend to creep up when you own a home.

Always evaluate your financial situation closely before taking the plunge. If you’ve never owned a home before, consider talking to other homeowners in the neighborhood. They can help you get a good idea on the amount of money you should have set aside for upkeep.

Don’t Throw Out Good Eggs! Try The Egg Freshness Test.

How Long Do Eggs Last?
Eggs are one of the easiest (and inexpensive) protein, rich meals. They are quick and easy to fix plus they are packed full of vitamins and minerals which can start your day off just right.
However, too many times people are tossing out perfectly good eggs, simply because the date on the package has passed. What a waste!  Those dates are merely to help the grocery store manager know when to take the eggs off the shelves. In many cases, even after the date has passed the eggs are perfectly fine to eat.

So, Just How Do You Know When an Egg is Bad?

That’s easy! Do the water in a bowl test..
Here are the instructions:
Step1: Fill a bowl with tap water and gently place an egg in the bottom of the bowl.
Step2: Check the position of the egg
  • Laying on it’s side = The egg is perfectly fine
  • Floating on top of the water = No bueno – toss that puppy down the drain.
  • Somewhere in between = Maybe OK, but it’s getting close to going bad. This one is your call….

How Long Do Eggs Typically Last?

According to the USDA, When refrigerated, eggs should last about three to five weeks.

There is a 3 digit code on every carton of eggs – this is the day of the year. For example, 001 = January first and 365 equals the last day of December.
Take a look at this number, this is the day of the year the eggs were packaged.
So for a rough idea of your egg’s freshness factor, take today’s date & subtract the date of on the page. If less than 3 weeks have passed, your eggs are probably fine. It never hurts to do a little test though, plus it’s kind of fun!