I might sound a bit smug when I say this, but relationships have always been a debatable hot topic, especially when it comes to money. More often than not, people like to picture themselves on the lesser favoured end of relationships. The singles are sure that they’re spending more being single and the couples can’t stop complaining about how expensive life gets for them once they double up.
In all honesty, there’s no winning end. And well, there isn’t a set, super profitable way to live life for most of us. That said, there are a few clear areas where you can see how one side has it better than the other. As someone who’s spent quite some time on both sides of the spectrum, here’s a little breakdown of how cheap or expensive your current relationship status is:
Dating really isn’t for the weak. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in the process of knowing how taxing it can get. From finding someone attractive to getting to know them to actually heading out with them. It can all be a bit too much… on your wallet. We’ve all been in that place where we finally ditch our food-stained t-shirts and messy hair to actually buy a good outfit and look great when we meet our date. To add to it, we also make the bold choice of going to fancy dinners, coffees, movies, and maybe even on trips.
Singles spend way more on dates than couples. The reason? They’re exploring, figuring out who they like and how. Couples have that bit sorted and tend to spend less on dates. Also, unlike the singles, couples probably live together or see each other all the time. Couples do spend more on trips, but overall, they’re more in profit when it comes to going on dates. But it doesn’t have to be all that bad. When my partner and I started seeing each other we’d meet every other day for a walk and a chai. We had our fancy dates as well, but both of us thought it was ridiculous to head out for food and drinks every time we met. Similarly, if you and your date are on the same page, try out cheaper date ideas? The end goal, after all, is to get to know that person more.
Daily spends and saves are super subjective and don’t change if you’re single or with someone. Couples who live together though, save quite a bit on rent. What really matters here is how couples spend. If you are living together or married, you could save double or spend double, it’s up to you. Couples have to put in extra effort to understand and build a common financial plan with each other. It’s quite common that the quality of life goes up when you’re in a relationship. Financially, this is more applicable if you’re in a relationship where one partner out-earns the other. And while this dynamic is normal, it’s important to make sure that no one thinks of their partner as a source of extra income.
It’s highly likely that couples who are on the same page about saving, sticking to budgets, and financial goals will build more wealth than a single person. In addition to this, single people are more likely to spend more on food, groceries, rent, bills, and even transport. I know, not fair.
If you think it doesn’t matter if you’re single or in a relationship in the long term, think again. Of course, getting married comes with obvious benefits in taxes, insurance, housing and so much more. Singles spend at least 50% more than couples in buying a house or starting a family. It’s likely that singles have to work longer to have a good retirement fund as well. But there’s an important catch that’s ignored - All of this is applicable and comparable to married couples with relationships that actually work out. The giant issue which is often overlooked is unsuccessful marriages. Divorces can financially set you back to ten years. No one wants to be thirty-six with the wealth they had at twenty-six. Marriage comes with another huge risk - marrying someone who has tonnes of debt. Debt, on an individual level, is harrowing enough to deal with. When two people with debt are married, the world (and banks) don’t treat them all that well. It increases your liabilities on an individual level, especially if you don’t have strong plans to go debt-free. Add having a child to this mix and it’s clear that the singles and their pets save more than their married friends.
When you look at it closely, there’s tons of ways to build retirement funds, get debt-free, and be financially independent. But there’s really no denying that it’s easier when you’re in a relationship or married.
Believe it or not, financial compatibility is a real thing, and it goes beyond deciding who’s paying for the next date. You’re bound to be different from your partner, and that’s both the exciting and profitable part of your relationship. If you’re someone who cooks, and your partner is someone who’s super hands-on with house repairs, there you go, you’ve saved some money you’d spend otherwise. It’s not surprising that having different financial views breaks so many relationships. Each one of us has a different equation with money, and while you share financial plans jointly, it’s important to have that personal equation and control over your money as well.
Maybe soon society will be more accommodating to you. Maybe there’ll finally be right-sized portions and prices for singles at the grocery store, and housing will get cheaper, loans will get easier. But until then, find those loopholes which make it cheaper to live. Stay in a bigger apartment with flatmates, share your transport or carpool, and try new ways to invest and build your wealth. Being single comes with the perk of deciding exactly what you want to do with your money (apart from the unmatched perk of having the bed and blanket to yourself), so use it to the full advantage and fill that wallet well!