Single and Staying On Track

Debbie asks Dave what she can do to stay on track as a single person.

QUESTION: Debbie on Twitter asks Dave what she can do to stay on track as a single person.

ANSWER: Two things. One is you have to do the same thing that marrieds do, and that is have a written budget—a unique, new, written budget every month before the month begins for that month’s income and that month’s outgo because every month’s a little different. There are a lot of things that are going to be exactly the same. The rent or the mortgage payment is going to be exactly the same. If you’ve got a car payment, it’s going to be exactly the same. But your electricity, food, gifts, travel, probably your utilities in general are going to be different month to month. So you need to go ahead and lay that out and say, “For this particular upcoming month before the month begins, I’m going to not only write what my exact income is going to be—or as close as I can determine it—across the top, but I’m also going to write where every dollar is going.” Every dollar needs a name. Income minus outgo equals exactly zero.

So thing one that singles have to do is the same thing marrieds have to do. They have to write it down in detail, because once you’ve done that, you’ve put it into your brain. Now you don’t then throw that sheet in the drawer and never think about it again. That is your contract with yourself of where your money’s going to go, and it doesn’t need to go anywhere except where you said it was going to go.

The second thing is I would find someone to be my accountability partner. I’d find someone that is good with their money, that is wise, that you could look up to that loves you enough to hurt your feelings for your own good that you can show your budget to. Once a month, sit down with them and have a cup of coffee and that’s your accountability partner. That could be a parent. It could be a boss. It could be a pastor. It could be your Financial Peace University coordinator if you’re in the class. It could be those kinds of things. But it’s not your broke shopping buddy. “Oh, get three!” That’s not what we’re talking about. That’s not accountability. Accountability is someone who’s ahead of you on the journey who can show you the path to wisdom on your particular journey. Let them look at your budget with you then they can ask you questions like, “Do you really need to budget $800 a month for clothing? Really? You need that many more purses? Seriously.” They can hold you accountable for what you’re doing for your own good. That simple.