How to Plan Financially to SINK

by Kristina on November 6, 2014 · 3 comments

being single, on a single income, single expenses, just broke up

Our friend Mel from Broke Girl Rich is joining us today.  Please welcome her to Dinks Finance.

Hi there, Dinks!

I’m here to talk with you about something I hope you guys never experience. It’s the after effects of when you SINK – single income, no kids.

A few months ago, my boyfriend of the last four+ years and I broke up. Amid the emotional turmoil and dizzying feeling of all my future plans falling apart, I noticed my credit card bills creeping up even though I didn’t feel like I was doing anything different!

And truth is, I wasn’t.

We both met working out on a cruise ship and then we joined the circus together, so while our lives weren’t exactly normal, and we didn’t pay rent living together in either of those accommodations, a shocking number of expenses we had every month were being spit between us and I’d never really paid any attention.

So, Dinks, if you’re on the verge of SINKing – either from a relationship ending or even just one of you being laid off, here are some expenses to consider.

1.     Rent – obviously this is all about to fall on you. What was previously a really reasonable number is about to get out of hand. Two ways to tackle this without increasing your housing budget are to take on a roommate or move. If you were splitting a little studio apartment, you’re probably not going to want to take on a roommate. The final option is to pony up the other half of the rent on your own.

2.     Food – a big one that hit me was food. I don’t even mean going out, restaurant style food, because, honestly, I became a slightly creepy hermit for a few months and rarely ventured out for anything but work. You’d think this would save you money! Turns out that cooking for two is almost like cooking for one, and you’re probably both splitting the cost of those groceries. Shelling out that money for just you every time now is likely to eat a bigger part of your monthly budget than it has been.

3.     Entertainment – yes, this is a little sexist, but a lot of times my ex paid when we were out on dates (granted, not all the time). So, gentlemen, you may actually save some money on this front. If you like hitting up the movies, roller skating, taking tae-kwon-doe or whatever your bag is, if you were splitting the costs before, they may go up. If you’re preparing to SINK as a couple, they will definitely go up.

4.     Travel – we did a lot of traveling together and it’s definitely a lot cheaper to travel as two instead of one. A shocking number of deals also apply to two people as opposed to one (cough, cough, solo traveler fees, WTF?). If road tripping costs are considerably cheaper splitting them between two people and we used to road trip all the time! One major expense for me was gas for my car. Previously we split all those costs since we both used my car. Gas is expensive. Maintenance is expensive. A car tire is expensive when you hit something that looked like a paper cup but clearly was not (ok, I probably would’ve been covering that tire anyway since it was me that hit the not-a-paper-cup thing).

5.     Utilities – just because he’s gone doesn’t mean his 300 channels of MLB are. Or the super fast internet that you guys decided was worth the extra $30 a month, since it was really only like $15. Re-evaluate that your utilities are actually things you need.

So if you’re on the brink of SINKing, keep in mind these financial pitfalls to avoid. Moments like these are why it’s always a good idea to know your bare bones budget. It can help you get by until you put your financial house back in order in the event of a breakup OR until you’re back on your feet as Dinks again.

Photo from Flickr

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Kathy November 6, 2014 at 8:31 am

The sad reality is that even happily married couples of long duration will likely have to face this some day, probably in their older years when they are really settled in a financial routine. My husband and I have been married over 37 years and look forward to growing verrrry old together, but we have already gone over how our finances will change if one of us dies. Our pension income will be reduced but our investment income will stay the same and only have to support one person instead of two. Expenses will likely go down such as our family plan health insurance, food, need for just one vehicle etc. But you are right that others stay the same such as utilities. Everyone needs to plan for being alone.

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