Singles and money
I read an article yesterday in which the journalist was giving tips to single people for sparing money. Ah, I thought, finally someone who realizes that being single costs much more than the expenses of a couple divided by two.
People around me do not seem to realize that. Although I appreciate very much the support of family and friends in this time of unemployment, I get a lot of advice and suggestions that are a total nonsense when speaking of budget management based on one income.
Consider the average income of an average qualified employees, it goes around about 1500€ (yep that is what remains after you paid over 40% of taxes, Belgium had a very high taxation level, remember?). In most cities, renting a small appartment will cost you about 600€, much more if you live in Brussels. That is more than 1/3d of the average income. But if you are living on 2 incomes, it goes down to 1/5th of what you are making. Then there’s heating, and cooking, and electricity… Heating the place costs the same, no matter how many people live in it – make it about 130€/month, and our average single has spent the half of his income already!
The food? Most products are packed with several portions, which means you buy more than you really need and you always end up with out of date stuff in the fridge. Single portions are not common and are of course more expensive.
And so it goes. Add a car to those calculations (loan+insurance+taxes+very expensive gasoil = about 500€/month for a small car), because when you live in the kind of place I live in, you have to drive miles and miles to work and there isn’t practically any public transportation to commute, so no, the car is not optional, and you will understand why being single is very expensive.
So if I hear one more person telling me that “I should go back to teaching because making 1300€ is not that bad compared to unemployment” I am going to get crazy, because how hard is it to understand that that salary is not enough to pay for all my bills? And I am not even talking about saving, opening a retirement fund or having money to go the restaurant… Is that so difficult to understand?
And next to that, I have worked hard to get valuable skills and experience, it is only normal that my salary should match my profile, I don’t wee why I should undersell myself and put myself in financial trouble.