Today, let’s talk about a big issue that confronts a lot of single adults, both mentally and financially, in our country.
And that’s the issue of being lonely.
And although it’s also possible for married couples to be together and still feel lonely in their marriage, loneliness is a common pain that many single adults almost always have to struggle with.
And loneliness doesn’t just make you sad, withdrawn, and frustrated, as a single adult, you’re more likely to overspend on unnecessary expenses, precisely because you’re lonely and can’t find any kind of relationship around to keep you accountable.
Right now, we’re in the third paragraph of Page 35, under the title ‘Single-Adult Trouble Spots’, in Chapter 2 of Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money.
And here’s my lesson for the day:
As a single adult, if you’re struggling with overspending because you’re lonely, know that you’re not alone. Simply take a deep breath and adopt these practical steps to master your mind and money.
So take the case of a 23-year old lady, Allison, who just graduated from college.
Allison got her dream job, in a town far away from family and friends. Allison knew she wanted this role so much, that she didn’t even think twice before saying “yes” to accept the job offer.
Allison arrives in her new city and starts at her new job. 6 months into her job, she feels alone and lonely. At this point, she doesn’t feel comfortable enough bringing one of her co-workers home from work – either ladies or guys. Allison just doesn’t feel like she knows anyone yet.
She hasn’t found a church she likes, and the popular spots in this town for people to hang out are casinos and night clubs. Even though Allison drinks once in a while, she just doesn’t see herself going to those places, just to be around people.
A lot of single adults in America today are like Allison.
For me, at least, Allison’s story sounds very similar to mine. My first few years in America also followed a similar pattern.
I mean, it’s all good and nice to go to work and be able to find somewhere to go, but spending that evening alone in your room, lonely and sad, is the worst, and unfortunately, more and more single adults are struggling with this and don’t know what to do.
Dave shares a similar story in the book. You can read it on Page 36.
And it’s not just that single adults are lonely and frustrated, they’re also overspending and falling short of their personal finance goals.
Because it just so happens that, even if you try to stay away from eating out at restaurants every night (so you can cut costs), choose to not go to pubs or bars (because you don’t want to spend money on something you don’t like), and resist the temptation from constantly buying new clothes or shoes (because it just doesn’t align with your present financial goals)…
… being lonely might make you want to do all of these things and more, so you can just be around people and feel less alone.
And if loneliness constantly messes with your mind and your money, then you bet that that’s a challenge worth tackling.
Because not only will you feel peace, calm, and joy in your adult as a single adult, you’ll spend within your budget, and continue to stay on track to achieve your financial goals and aspirations.
Here are practical ways to make that happen for you.
5 Practical Tips You Can Take To Fight Overspending And Loneliness As A Single Adult
1. Know that relationships doesn’t make people happy
Often times, single adults think married couples have it the best, and life just sucks as a single adult.
It’s easy to think that all of your challenges come from you being a single adult, but if you can just take in the fact that your happiness comes from within you, then that will make you be calm in yourself, and want to build the happiness you want to see.
A healthy relationship consists of two people who are happy with themselves, so that they have more happiness to share when they come together. In other words, you determine your own happiness, not someone else’s.
What does this mean for your money?
It means keeping yourself accountable with your money is your responsibility, and being a single adult gives you that opportunity to build up that responsibility in you. Because if you miss this opportunity now, it could mean money fights between you and your spouse or friends down the road.
2. Be interested in other people
While it’s okay and fine for you to be single and by yourself, know that being interested in other people and starting social interactions with others is a valuable skill in and of itself.
So, if you feel you’re not meeting anyone or not developing any relationship with anyone, why don’t you start conversations with the first person you meet tomorrow? It might be at the train station, at your local grocery store, or at work.
Show interest in wanting to know more about the person, and don’t expect any ‘relationship’ to develop from the interaction. You’re just reaching out and asking someone else about their day, that’s all. And this person doesn’t have to be a stranger… it could be your mom, your siblings, your friends from college. As humans, we tend to neglect our ‘old’ relationships and constantly try to foster ‘new’ ones. Why don’t you improve on the relationships in your life that you’ve built from the past?
What does this mean for your money?
It means you’ll get to talk to people, maybe in person or over the phone, and talk about issues that you, typically, won’t talk about. This occupies you, makes you interesting to the other person, and makes you feel happy. That way, you don’t have to worry about any sadness or emptiness, and the need to ‘compensate for that’ with food take-outs or daily movie nights.
3. Find things to be thankful for
It’s always easy to see what’s missing or absent in our lives, and not even appreciate the great things we enjoy every day. For you, I don’t want you to appreciate what you had once it’s gone – that sucks. Appreciate what you have now… it’s how you get more in clarity of mind and financial freedom.
A single adult who moved to a new town for his dream job might not appreciate the fact that he got to work in his dream job from 9 to 5; but he’ll constantly feel dejected every night about this loneliness.
This is not a bad habit in itself, everyone does it. And so, it’ll require you to be very intentional about counting your blessings and being grateful for the so many good things you have going on in your life.
Because here’s the deal: You’ll almost never get to a state in life, when you have everything you want. There’s always be that next goal, next dream, next yearning, next ambition, that you’re striving towards.
I do it, you do it, everyone does it. It’s that little thing called ‘life’.
And so, if you mind constantly messes with you about how you’re lonely and why that’s bad, a good way to combat that is to set aside some minute every evening to write out the things you’re grateful for. For example, you can be grateful for being alive. None of these would matter, if you’re not even here to worry about friendships, or loneliness, or money, or personal finance, or careers.
As you chase your next goal, realize that it’s a privilege, and taking few minutes every evening to appreciate those privileges would keep your mind straight and sharp on how good you have it in life.
What does this mean for your money?
It means that you don’t spend to make yourself ‘feel better.’ If you’re constantly in a state of dejection and pity about your ‘little lonely life’, then you’ll be forced to ‘reward’ yourself by overspending and buying things you don’t need or want, just to be less lonely. Suddenly, you now see all the great things happening in your life and finances, and you won’t want to overspend, because that’ll just mess up your financial blessings.
And if you mess up once? No big deal, be thankful that you can know to get back on track, and then get back on track.
4. Develop yourself
Rather than overspending on foods that you’d rather cook at home, why don’t you use that time to pick up a new skill, develop yourself, or get better at something?
When you sign up for a new activity that interests you, you get better yourself while spending time with other people. For example, you can take up your interests in gardening, reading, cooking, writing, singing, or playing an instrument, workouts, etc.
Look for online clubs or classes that help you get better at your hobby or new skill, and that joyous feeling of getting better and improving yourself could be all you need to ditch those feelings of loneliness and being alone again and again.
Or you can even take this special time to learn about yourself:
- Who are you?
- Which activities give you the most energy?
- Which tasks drains you?
- What are your strong personality traits?
- What work would you do, if money wasn’t an issue?
- What good habits do you struggle with?
- What bad habits do you need to ditch?
As you learn about yourself, don’t feel the need to find your purpose and life’s mission right away. Instead, find something that interests you now and start working on that. For example, you might enjoy making Sourdough bread, knitting, or watching surfing channels on YouTube. Do the things that interest you here and now, and by doing not searching, you’ll start peeling off the layers off your interests, and gradually evolve into your life’s purpose.
Finding your life’s purpose won’t come in an instant, it will take a while – what better time to start working in that direction, if not now as a single adult?
What does this mean for your money?
It means you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on clothes, bags, or food you don’t need; when you can spend way less on an actual skill that you truly appreciate and cherish. Even more, you won’t feel any regret about spending money on learning a hobby or skill since it’s part of your self development and personal growth as a single adult. You can even have a line item in your monthly budget that goes towards skill building or classes and activities for building skills.
5. Know that there are perks to being single
As much as we’ve talked about why marriages make partners accountable to one another, some couples still feel choked and hindered in their marriages because they don’t feel the freedom to do what they want. Not so for you as a single adult.
Right now, you can switch careers, work longer hours, and take risks with high potential and upsides. Those tend to become challenging to do when you have a partner that you need to discuss with and run your decisions by.
So, does marriage mean zero freedom? Absolutely not.
Here’s the deal: Your status in life is what you make of it.
While many couples see their marriage as a chain holding them back from getting to where they want to be in life, other couples see their marriage as that propelling force, getting them to their life’s goals and dreams faster and better, especially with the support of a trusted partner.
Same with you as a single adult – while many single adults only see their status as a failure and can’t wait to get out of it so bad, many see the great sides of being single and still having the choice to decide who they want to be with, spend time with, and how best to spend their money for better upsides and returns in the future.
Learning to enjoy your own company is a big perk of being single? Most people never learn this as a single adults, and so they always come across as needy to their future friends or relationships.
Being alone is good – it’s how you tune out the world and its noise, and get in touch with yourself, your inner core and being.
Personally, being alone helps me connect with God, listen to what God’s saying, and share my burdens and concerns with Him. Connecting with God is a need for me, and in a world where many single adults and married couples today don’t see the meaning in life, being with God is my only safe place and restful refuge.
And the best time to start that connection with God is now, when you’re a single adult. You can differentiate between what’s right and what’s wrong, and your values now will heavily influence the kind of partner you choose to marry.
And I can tell you that being able to connect with God early in life as a single adult is a great perk, that helps you find a partner also thinking in the same direction. This would help you a great deal to start your marriage on a very solid spiritual and life foundation.
What does this mean for your money?
Use this time as a single adult to build a better financial foundation for yourself.
For example, did you know that:
You can retire with more than $1.1 million, by saving just $100 a month, every month, from age twenty-five to age sixty-five (your working lifetime) at the stock market average return of 12 percent?
Yes, that’s very true. Knowing how this works is a skill that would literally make you a millionaire… guaranteed.
Well, now’s the best time to start saving that $100 a month. If you start now, it’ll be easier for you to maintain that momentum when you meet more friends or get in a relationship.
Plus, making over $1 million in that time frame requires you to start essentially as a single adult. In other words, you need to start now. Yes, that means, knowing this as a single adult is a big blessing to you, and consider that just one of the perks you have because you’re a single adult.
Of course, there are more perks in being a single adult, and the more you start adopting that positive mindset to master your mind and finances, the more those benefits come to you.
So please remember:
- Relationships, on their own, don’t make people happy;
- Being interested in other people makes you interesting to other people;
- Finding things to be thankful for will free your mind to spend money on important expenses, rather than on stuff to make you feel good about yourself;
- By investing in yourself, you’re shaping your mind and money to align with your life and financial goals; and
- There a whole lot of perks to being single – you just need to find and realize those perks
And even more, don’t forget that:
As a single adult, if you’re struggling with overspending because you’re lonely, know that you’re not alone. Simply take a deep breath and adopt these practical steps above to master your mind and money.
That’s all for today, my friend. We’ll continue in the second paragraph on Page 36 of the book tomorrow.