What Does It Cost to be Single These Days?
Blowing that hard-earned paycheck on shoes and cocktails? Saving for a down payment? Best part of being single: The moneyand the decisionsare yours.
The Sensible Stylist
Amber Starks, 33, Portland, Oregon
Occupation: Owner of Conscious Coils natural-hair studio
Annual income: $45,000
Home, sweet home: "Last year I put down $4,000 for a $132,000 two-bedroom townhouse. I pay $800 a month for my mortgage. Friends have asked to rent my second bedroom and I've told them, 'Sorry, this is my fortress of solitude.'"
Bills, bills, bills: "Gas and electric are $25 to $30 each a month; wireless is $35. My garbage collection is $44 every other month; water is $150 to $200 every three months. I also rent Conscious Coils' down-town space for $400."
Savings & loans: "I save for emergencies, travel, and my business. I have around $5,000 in my emergency fund and $1,000 in my vacation account."
Meal plan: "I spend $90 to $110 two to three times a month on groceries. And I eat out a lot because I'm exhausted from 10-hour braiding stints! So I make practical choices, like a $6 vegetarian burrito at Chipotle."
The weekender: "Braiding on the weekend boosts my client list. But after that, all I want to do is watch PBS's Masterpiece Theatre."
My biggest splurge: "I wanted to study abroad in college, but my boyfriend at the time said, 'Why would you leave me for six months?' So I didn't go. Now I'm making up for lost time. Last summer, I spent around $2,000 going to Mexico. I've also been to the Florida Keys and Hawaii, both of which cost me less than $1,000 because I stayed with friends." As told to Marisa Carroll