How did my spending habits change while “single”?

Folks, I’ve been alone for the last three weeks, living that “single lady” life. This is the first time I’ve ever truly been by myself in a home before. In college I always had roommates, and before I moved in with Ian I lived with two other girls in a small house. Three weeks is a decent amount of time to be alone. I didn’t have any friends come and stay with me, nor did I go on any trips. This led to almost of a month of wonderfully reduced spending.

Excluding rent, dance, and public transportation (expenses that are constant regardless of whether I am “single” or not, I spent $556. I’m a little in awe, to be honest. I know I could’ve easily spent much less, but $556 comfortably provided me for three weeks of discretionary spending.

My Three-Week Spending Breakdown:

Groceries: $198
Restaurants: $67
Activities: $77
Shopping: $74
Visa Application: $140

The visa application was my biggest single expense. I’m going to China next month, so I had to go to the Chinese Embassy to get all my documents in order. While it was somewhat an out of the ordinary expense, it is what it is.

Most of my money went to food. Before he left, Ian and I went to a few different grocery stores so I could stock up on anything that I needed. I was a little silly to need so much for one person, but I spent $60 buying regular meal prep needs, snacks, and frozen foods. The best part is that I didn’t go through many of the frozen foods, so those are still available for future use. My monthly food budget is currently set at $500. At a little over $250 in three weeks, that’s well within my spending limits. Because I was only grocery shopping for one, I even went pretty crazy on weekends. Ever find yourself buying family-size portions of chips and finishing them off in one sitting? Yeah… that’s me when left to my own devices. It’s terrible for my skin, but it also fulfilled that sweet, sweet craving… trust me, I’m very relieved that Ian is coming back tomorrow, so he can save me from myself.

The surprise category

“Activities” was the only category that really increased in cost. $77 included two events; buying booze for a friend’s housewarming party, and a night out with a visiting friend. For the friend in town, we went to Drunk Shakespeare (highly recommend; the cheapest tickets are on Groupon). Tickets were $26 each, thanks to Groupon and an additional 20% local events promotion that happened to be occurring at the time of booking. Lucky me! I paid an extra $20 for a drink at the show (does it count as Drunk Shakespeare if you don’t participate in the drinking?). For dinner, we opted out of a restaurant and went to a fancy grocery store instead. Why did we skip the restaurant? I’m actually in the middle of a Cash Fasting Challenge, so the grocery store was my idea. Plus, since my friend was in town interviewing, I wanted to give her a sense of what different NYC lifestyle aspects were like. We balled out quite a bit at the store, but it was still much cheaper than a sit-down restaurant.

How does this compare to my normal spending?

Since I excluded rent, public transportation, and dance expenses, it’s hard to get a sense of how much I reduced my spending. What did the three weeks prior to Ian’s departure look like, excluding the same categories?


Essentially, I spent roughly one-third in the past three weeks than I did in the three weeks before that. That’s crazy. To be fair, this time frame included my Boston trip, some of my Panorama costs, and my new work bag (😍). Excluding those three additional expenses, my spending drops down to $1,119, which is still double what I’ve managed lately. What an improvement!

So which is better?

Obviously, I like spending less money. I ate healthy (during the week only 😅), developed a routine (still prepping for that 10K), and still was able to spend money on going out, dining with friends, and shopping. Even if I had doubled my rent expense in the single scenario, I would be spending less living alone. (That’s more due to the rent situation I’m in though which I’m very grateful for.)

There were some cons. I made some extra efforts to socialize more, but it wasn’t easy, and I got lonely. I definitely spooked easily the first couple weeks, too. I’m talking checking behind shower curtains level of spooked, haha. Thankfully I’m still saving money living with Ian, so I’m super looking forward to having him home. ☺️


    1. Author

      Of course! I feel like a house party and a Drunk Shakespeare show amounted to an appropriate level of fun. I also hosted a Labor Day picnic at my place (included in grocery costs), so it’s been a nice three weeks.

  1. I hope that’s not the only reason you’re looking forward to my return! 😘

    Great job on the limited spending—I’m excited to see if we can keep that up, though it’s pretty easy for us to opt into fun little experiences on a whim when together… 🤔

  2. Haha- I love that Ian commented here 😉

    I know what you mean on the social side… when my husband & son aren’t around (rare, but it has happened for a weekend or two), I feel like I call everyone I know to figure out something to do! Oh- and I notice ALL the weird noises in our house when I’m alone… creepy!

    1. Author

      Hehehe yeah, he’s silly…

      I have been less social than normal, but overall I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Every once in a while, it’s good to spend some time with yourself. For me, the side effect was that I started talking to myself, so three weeks was maybe a liiiiittle too long, lol.

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