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January 14, 2014

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 money—and the decisions—are yours.

Single Girl's Guide To: Flying Solo | Traveling the World | Building Your Own House | Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro | Driving Cross Country | Meditating for a Month | Starting Over

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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


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