As more and more of my friends and peers get married, settle down, and start having babies, I think spend more thinking about being single and the effect it has on my life.
Once in a while I get all “Debbie Downer” about it and find myself thinking married people have it easier financially than those of us who are still single. I even wrote a post recently questioning whether my goal of full-time self-employment is even possible because of my being single.
But after some back and forth in the comments and further reflection on my part, I’ve come to realize that no matter if you are single or married, you need to embrace where you are in your life and make the most of it. Plus, the grass is always greener on the other side.
Both single people and married people have reasons to celebrate, and I’m going to start celebrating my “benefits” of being single.
In my last post on Frugal Portland, I shared that I’m not really socking away half of my income for savings each month, instead I’m putting the majority of that 50% toward debt, which may be better anyway. Today I’m going to explore some of the reasons that I think it might actually be easier to save half of your income if you are single instead of married.
Your Other Half (Probably) Has Baggage
When you get into a relationship, you have to realize that your honey probably has a different background, a different upbringing, and probably different financial habits than what you do. They may not even be frugal. They may come with some financial baggage, read: debt, that slows down your progress toward saving half of your income.
This can become even more of a liability for you if you and your spouse end up splitting ways and everything you acquired during the marriage is split in half. You might have accumulated more on your own without your spendy spouse and be closer to financial freedom if you’d remained single.
Couples Tend to Spend More
Even if your other half is a financial saint with no debt, it can be more tempting to spend money in certain areas when you are married or in a serious relationship. Gift-giving will probably be more expensive as couples tend to feel pressure to get each other the “perfect” gift for anniversaries, Christmas, birthdays, and more.
Plus, as long as you have your frugal act together, you don’t have to worry about a spouse’s spending habits while they aren’t with you. One of the worst habits my ex-husband had was spending $5-10 on snacks and junk food every-single-day and then complaining when I wanted to buy $50 of groceries.
Most people consider marriage to be a great way to get a tax break. For example, if you earn $50,000 annually and your new spouse earns significantly less, this may bring your household down into a lower tax bracket than if you were single. However, this rule can also come back to bite you in the butt if you and your spouse both earn a high income, which can sometimes put you in a higher tax bracket than you would be in if you were still single.
I know people don’t typically decide to get married or not based on these criteria, but maybe they should at least consider them before walking down the aisle and saying “I do”. Money is one of the biggest causes of fights and divorce, and therefore it warrants some serious consideration. After all, money isn’t everything, but it can sure have a huge impact on your life.
Can you think of any other ways that being single might make it easier to save half your income?