Q: I hope you can help. What does an independent, savvy single woman do when most of her single income is tied up in a mortgage and living costs? On the one hand it's great to be financially independent, but it doesn't leave anything left over to socialize and meet potential partners. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated... -KLM, Australia
First congratulations for being a home owner! That is very savvy of you. With that being said, you don't want to be in a situation where your finances are so tight there is no room to breathe or socialize!
Start by coming up with a realistic number of how much extra you need a month. Once you have that number, you can start looking for it in other places in your budget. Perhaps you can bring your lunch to work, so you have extra money to go out at night. Or maybe you don't need your cable TV or other monthly subscriptions we tend to forget about. You can also carpool to work to help with commuting costs.
The next place to examine is your fixed expenses. Do you have a gym you aren't using? Or are your car payments too high? If so, consider a less expensive model. If you carry credit card debt, the interest payments can really weigh you down as well. Deal with the debt and eliminate it as fast as you can.
On a final note, if your mortgage is too much to handle right now, perhaps you need to refinance and get a better rate. Or consider moving to another home where your payments will be less.
These are all great habits to integrate whether you are single or in a relationship!