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I am in my early 20’s, single with no kids and I have been working on my Debt Free Journey since January 1st, 2017. A lot of people have said, “Oh, well with no kids to feed, it would be easy.” This journey isn’t easy whether you are single, married, divorced. Becoming debt free is a hard journey no matter what. There are constant, daily struggles of a debt free journey.
If you haven’t read my whole story, I started this journey just a few weeks after I got a loan for my Jeep right before my 22nd birthday.. I realized how deep in debt I really was because my student loans were all coming due. Then, I started to freak out. I had never ever had a vehicle loan because my I have always driven $1,500 or less vehicles. My Jeep is the most expensive vehicle I have owned at $3,000.
Mentally, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do because I was 22 and already overwhelmed by my debt. Not really how I imagined spending my early 20’s, but I am so thankful that I have spent the last year getting rid of as much debt as I could in a year. My student loan companies had started calling to talk about payment plans and I started getting bills in the mail for them. At 22, I got my first credit card to “help build my credit” after I didn’t get approved for my Jeep loan. (Thanks Dad for cosigning my Jeep, but also unknowingly encouraging the start of this journey.)
Having no one else to worry about when it comes to my budget has been great. There are HUGE perks to being single on this journey, but I have also found some things harder because I am single.
Here are just a few of the pro’s of my young and single debt free journey:
One of the best things about being single is no “budget committee meetings.”
Dave Ramsey recommends couples to have “budget committee meetings” for your personal budget as if you were doing it like a business. If the money affects you, you get a vote. But I am the committee. When I sit down to decide on my budget, what I decide is what it is. I’ve seen so many people in relationships pointing fingers or asking for advice on “how to get the hubby on board” or saying, “my spouse gets $100 more in spending money a month to keep him on board.” If that is what works for your family, there is no judgement from me at all. When I decide that my grocery budget is $100 and my “student loan” payment is $1000, there is no one else to suggest that I should use that money differently.
No one to meal plan/ prep around.
I am pretty into my routine of eating the same things for a few days in a row. I can make a double batch of any recipe and eat it for days. Being single means there is no one there to complain that I am eating homemade chicken fried rice for the 5th meal in a row (happens regularly). I don’t have anyone else’s dietary restrictions or picky eating to plan around. This allows me to go to the grocery store and get whatever I want. If I want to eat popcorn for dinner some nights, I will. Who is going to stop me.
Entertainment is easy.
Because it is just me, I don’t have to worry about date nights, fun stuff, or other entertainment. I am totally okay with sitting at home binge watching Netflix, so I never have to worry about much of a “splurge” fund or fun money. There are so many ways for me to entertain myself at home with TV, my computer, or the ridiculous amount of books that I have. I do have friends that occasionally want to do something fun, but most of my close friends are great with nights on the couch with food and movies. It might sound boring to some, but I will have the rest of my life to go out and do fun stuff! Working on my blog is probably one of my favorite past times and I don’t have to worry about what I am sharing
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I can work as much as I want.
I never ever feel guilty about picking up extra shifts at work because the house is totally empty when I come home anyway. There have been weeks that I have worked more than 70 hours in a week. I am usually tired after weeks like that, but I never feel like I am abandoning anyone with my workaholic tendencies. With working two jobs, there isn’t a lot of time for me to really enjoy anyone else’s company anyway. If you want to spend time with me, you can find me hiding in my apartment on Sunday’s (the one day a week that I refuse to work every week, because balance.)
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I am young so I have the rest of my life to do stuff.
Being 23, most of my friends are hyper focused on enjoying their young years before they have to settle down and work real jobs. I am the opposite. Who cares about your young, broke years, when I will be debt free and in my paid off house by 30. I will have the rest of my life to really travel and enjoy the things that I want to do, and it won’t include living off of Ramen or worrying about my lights getting shut off. There is no “YOLO” in my life because I know that I am setting myself up for true success in my future.
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It is just my debt.
Because it is just me, it is just my debt. It was my decisions and my education that I am currently paying off. All of the debt belongs to choices that I have made in my past. That means there is no resentment or blaming. I am not saying that this happens in every couple, but I am sure that there are moments where it has happened. Also, because it is just my debt, it means that the number is lower than most couples debt’s. I am only paying for one (more like half) degree, one vehicle, and one set of credit card spending. My total debt started at $34,000, but I have seen so many people post numbers of $100,000+. I don’t have as much debt to pay off because it came from just one person.
And the Con’s of being single on this journey..
I feel like I have to justify my payments.
When I posted that 46%+ of my income has gone to my debt this year, I felt like I had to put the disclaimer up that I didn’t have kids or a spouse. Sometimes I feel like I have to justify my low grocery bill or the fact that I don’t spend that much because I don’t have anyone else to feed in my house. I am also a millennial, so explaining to everyone else that I am only 23 and I don’t actually act like a millennial seems necessary.
It can be quite the double edged sword because I am proud of how hard I have worked especially for being young, but I hate that because I am young it becomes that much more of an accomplishment. In almost every post, I feel like I have to explain that I am doing this journey on my own, so putting $15,000 towards debt in a year on one income is actually a TON even though some people paid off $40,000+ last year as a couple.
Less of a “shovel.”
The debt free community refers to the amount of money you can throw at debt as a shovel. You are “digging yourself out of debt.” Some people might as well have a Backhoe, because they are able to pay off $7000 a month easily. Because it is only my money, it means that I have less momentum. As a single person, I only have so many hours that I can work in a week.
Usually, it’s between 65-70 before I just curl up and want to die. If there were two of us working 65 hours a week, I would have been done by now. But it is also only my debt, with another person usually comes additional debt. Towards the end of my journey, I worked 55 hours in the restaurant during the holiday season. It wasn’t the ideal situation, but it definitely got me that much closer to hitting my goals.
There is no one there to picture my future with.
I talk about buying a house with no mortgage before I am 25, but I am so unsure of that. I always pictured buying a house after I was married. It would be the fairy tale image of the newlywed couple looking at houses. Right now, it is more likely to be my mom, dad, or roommate who looks at houses with me. I can’t wait to buy a house and being single is definitely not going to stop me from my home buying adventures, but sometimes it is hard to not have anyone to picture living in my paid off house with me. Someday, I will be appreciative that I built my finances before my family. In your 20’s, it is tough.
It is hard that I don’t have anyone to keep me accountable.
There is no one to see me spend that extra $5 on coffee and $15 on a book in Barnes and Noble. When I fall off the wagon for a little bit, there is no one to keep me accountable. My friends mostly do a good job with telling me to slow down or ask me if I really want to spend the money on something. Things like browsing Ebates deals become dangerous when no one else is home because I could potentially buy whatever I want and justify it because I am getting the cash back.
Dating is kind of a joke.
Don’t even get me started on trying to date during my Debt Free Journey. Even though I have been sad about not building a future with anyone, dating is just that much harder. While it is true that usually the guy pays on first dates, explaining to someone that you can’t go out for drinks because it might cause you to spend money is no fun. My favorite date is something creative at home. If we are leaving the house, the cheaper the better because it usually means an adventure. Not spending money just brings up the awkwardness of who is paying before the date begins.
This journey has also changed my taste in men. This year, I am focusing on trusting God’s timing instead of my own. I have found myself watching their spending habits as I get to know someone. You can tell a lot about a person by what they spend their money on. I still fully believe that Dave Ramsey needs a dating app for singles that have gone through Financial Peace University.
There is good and bad in every life changing journey…
At this point in my life, I find it a blessing that I don’t have to beg or bribe someone else to stay on budget with my own money (because it is all my money in my journey). Because it is all my income right now, I get to make all my own choices. Being single on this journey has definitely forced me to grow as a person. It has taught me to trust God and his plan more than I had before. I have been able to focus on really loving myself instead of focusing on other people. I have dated a little bit during this journey, but never anyone serious. None of them were helping or on this journey with me.
While some things are harder because I am on my own, I believe it is a blessing. Ultimately, I know that as much as I complain about being single now, I am doing the right thing. I am setting my whole future up for success. The hard parts about being young and single now are going to make my future better! I look forward to seeing what the next years of my life will look life.
Are you single on your debt free journey? What did I miss about being single on this journey? How are you handling it?