Is it easier to budget when you’re single, or as a couple?

I’ve seen this question thrown around on a couple of the budgeting YouTube channels that I watch and I was single back when I watched them.  Fast forward about a year and I’m now budgeting with my fiancé so I’ve seen both sides of the fence.  So which has a greener yard?  I’m here to break it down for you.

Budgeting While Single

Pros:

  • You’re in control, baby!  Literally every decision about your finances is up to you.  Wanna save for a new phone?  Go for it.  Wanna up your retirement savings next year?  Feel free!  You don’t have to consult anyone before you go on a Target splurge, and that freedom can be pretty awesome.  Just don’t let it go to your head.
  • You’re only spending money on yourself and what you’ve chosen to be important to you.  What I mean is, none of your hard earned money goes towards someone else’s hobbies, or weird grocery choices.  You get to directly see your money benefitting you, and that can be pretty nice in a slightly selfish way.
  • You don’t have to justify/explain/fess up to any of your purchases.  When I was single and I randomly got the urge to buy $100 worth of garden plants, and promptly let them all die in my yard, I didn’t have to tell a single soul about it.  I certainly felt guilty, but not having to admit to that waste of money was pretty nice.
  • Groceries cost less.  I’m curious if this is just my situation, but as a single vegetarian female, my grocery bills were significantly less than they are now that we’re buying groceries for two.  The cost did not just double, and part of me misses being that cheap-ass girl buying $40 worth of groceries for the week.

Cons:

  • You likely only have one income.  Unless you’re pulling in MAJOR side hustle money (in which case – props to you!), you’re probably working with less income than a couple would be.  You’re picking up the tab for rent, utilities, cable, internet, gas and everything else all by yourself.
  • There’s less accountability.  It’s not as easy to make a frivolous purchase when you have a second set of eyes looking at your spending, knowing you’re going to have to justify buying yet another candle warmer.  And now that I’m budgeting as a couple its kind of nice to have that reigning me in sometimes.
  • There’s less brains.  That sounded mean now that I’ve typed it out!  I don’t mean you’re not a super smart single budgeter.  What I mean is that when you budget as a couple you have a built in second opinion.  As a single budgeter I only asked for advice or help when I really needed it or if I felt in over my head.  However, when you’re budgeting as a couple you have a second set of eyes; a person to ask “Is that really as low as we can get our car insurance?”

Budgeting As A Couple

Pros:

  • Double the income!  This actually doesn’t apply to me, because the whole time we’ve budgeted as a couple one of us has been in grad school and only one of us was working.  However, I hear that most of the time two people working and making money is awesome!
  • There’s a shared responsibility.  You’re not totally on your own and responsible for every single potential money mistake.  Someone is there to help pick the best IRA account, or make sure the car payment gets mailed on time.
  • Misery loves company.  Okay so it’s not MISERY budgeting, but it is nice to have someone else around when the stuff hits the fan.  My sewer line backed up when I was single and I was quoted $8,000 for it to be fixed, so I cried about it alone.  The furnace went out last month in the dog days of summer and I got to cry about it with the only other person who understands how much we couldn’t afford to fix it.  See what I mean?  It’s just nice to have someone there to commiserate with.

Cons:

  • Sharing is NOT caring.  Sharing is hard!  It’s a major adjustment to stop thinking about “my money” and start thinking about “our money”.  It’s hard to compromise when you want to save for a new phone, but your partner wants to save up for a camping trip.  It’s just plain hard to have conversations about money.  They are hard conversations but they’re also super important and beneficial to your relationship in the long run.
  • You have to trust another person 100%.  With money.  Some of which you presumably earned.  It’s easier said than done, believe me.  Now, it’s unlikely that you’re in a relationship and sharing finances with someone that you find completely untrustworthy, but even so, it can be difficult to let go and just accept that you’re not going to be in control of every penny.

What do you think?  As I look back through my list it seems as though most of these could apply as pros and cons to being single and being in a relationship in general.

Comment and let me know if there’s anything you think I missed, or if you like budgeting as a single person or as a couple better!

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