As most of you know, I have been a single woman for 20 years. I’ve learned a thing or two through the “school of hard knocks” over the years about managing money in this chapter of life. Whether it’s our personal or professional life, there are pros and cons you discover along with some you never thought about. Such as – having the freedom to decide when and how to spend your money, but if you’re missing the accountability you quickly begin spending without realizing how much or how fast you spend it.
As a single, it’s awesome to be the only one in charge, isn’t it? Or is it? What are your big financial goals? Are you aware of the best way to save for retirement, buy a house, or pay off debt without taking on several side hustles? Here are a few tips to handling your money and the big decisions as they come along with confidence.
No matter your status, having a monthly budget sets you up each month to win with money. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Having a system in place that works for you is perfect. I started with a legal pad and wrote each month out for several years until I slowly transitioned to an Excel spreadsheet. Even then I tried several styles of spreadsheets until I found the one that worked for me. There are budgeting apps you can download making it super easy and does the math for us.
Establishing a zero-based budget simply means “Income – Expenses = Zero”. That’s it. Does this mean you don’t have any money left? No, it means you give every hard earned dollar a JOB to do. You are in control of your money instead of the other way around. $1000 is for rent or the mortgage. $200 is for utilities, and so on until you have zero. This includes money to savings, debt repayment, everything.
When I’m working with a new client for the first time the budget is the pain in the proverbial backside for a couple of months as we work through your situation and due dates. After that, you’ll find yourself spending perhaps 15 – 30 minutes a month and you’ll feel like you’ve been given a raise!
As a Money Coach, I’m your accountability partner through our sessions. Isn’t an accountability partner only for people who need help? Not at all. For the most part, I have my monthly spending planned and it’s uncomplicated and dull. But if I’m being real – there are times we all need help or someone to talk with. If you’re single and having trouble saying no to your fifth happy hour or another pair of those really cute boots, get an accountability partner. Not only will they help you say no to spending money you haven’t budgeted (or don’t have at all), but they can be the excuse you need. A helpful phrase, “it’s not in the budget” is great but if you find yourself not wanting others to know, use your accountability partner as the excuse.
You don’t need to be married to have an accountability partner. Ask a trusted friend, family member, or your coach to help keep you on track. Tell them about your goals, your dreams, and even your monthly budget. But remember: You have to be honest about the areas you need to grow in. The more you let them in, the more they can help you get to where you want to be.
To be blunt, debt sucks. Not only does it steal from your future, but it also keeps you stuck in your past. As someone who was stuck in paying the past that eventually landed me in bankruptcy it sucks!
If you have consumer debt, the best thing you can do is pay it off as fast as possible. Whether it’s student loans, credit cards, or personal loans, it’s all debt. I use a couple of different methods to help people get out of debt including the debt snowball and debt avalanche method.
For instance, the snowball method works like this: list your debts smallest to largest. Pay the minimum payments on everything except the smallest one. Attack the smallest one with everything you have until you pay it off completely. Then repeat the process with the next smallest debt! Start selling anything you can (and maybe even take on an extra job) to keep paying them off until all debt is gone.
Imagine, you’re working through your budget, paying down debt, and starting to see progress in your bank balances. It’s time to dream big, write down your short and long-term goals and be intentional. When you write them down or create a vision board of your goals it will be easier to stay motivated.
So, ask yourself, “If I could do anything—and money wasn’t an object—what would I do? Would you change careers or start a business? Would you travel or spend more time helping others? The options are endless. I was recently asked this question while attending a weekend retreat for 14 other women financial coaches. My answer, “live in Italy restoring a home while coaching money management to other women so they can live their dreams”!
Insurance is one of those things we easily brush aside because we’re single. It may seem like an annoying extra expense, but it’s like a life preserver. The main types of insurance you should have are:
When you’re out of debt and have three to six months of expenses saved in your fully-funded emergency fund, put 15% of your total income towards your retirement accounts. Imagine taking the money you spent on monthly debt payments and now it goes to savings for emergencies and retirement! Get started as soon as you can and with any amount you have, even $25 per month adds up quickly. You can open up a Roth IRA if your company doesn’t offer a 401(k) with a match.
Have you thought about turning a passion or hobby into a business? What better time than right now? You’re not tied down! That means you have the freedom to create your own schedule and work until the sun comes up if you want to. Who says you can’t make serious money pet sitting, taking photos, tutoring online, or baking cakes? No one, because you can.
Working a few extra hours every week on top of your full-time job, you can stockpile the cash to pay off debt, set up your emergency fund, or even save for bigger things like your dream house or car. So, what are you waiting for?
Learn the truth about how money works now so it’ll be even easier to narrow down your options and make more confidant decisions in the future. The more you know now, the better off you’ll be at other life stages you’re in. Trust me, when you’re stacking cash and excited about your goals, it doesn’t matter how many happy hours other people are attending. You’re crushing it in areas YOU want!
For more information check out my other blog posts, sign up for a free consultation HERE to learn more about coaching and if you ever need an accountability partner I’m here for you!
Your Money Coach,