A Single Budget: Those Unexpected Expenses

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For some, it is pretty easy to stick to a Spending Plan except when some unexpected expense arises. Some of these expenses can be predicted, some are just pure, unwelcome surprises. It is important to have an emergency fund to take care of the unwelcome surprises that we know will happen from time to time.

However, there are many “unexpected” expenses that with a little thought and planning can be anticipated. Singles frequently tend to work more and socialize more because they often have fewer family obligations. In socializing, it is common to eat out a lot, celebrate lots of birthdays, weddings, babies and many other things. So we need to plan in our Spending Plan for things like gifts, dinner parties out, social events celebrating milestones like birthdays and graduations, etc.

We also have expenses that don’t occur every month. If we are not planning well, these expenses can be “gotcha expenses”. Examples would be things like oil changes, car tags and registration, children’s school Field Trip costs, Christmas gifts, etc. It is important to anticipate these expenses and work them into your monthly Spending Plan.

Take a calendar and go month by month to help you anticipate these expenses. Working these into your Spending Plan will help you have more confidence in your plan and therefore help you be more successful.

A Single Budget: How Can I Have a Life When I Have No Money?

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What a great church service you had this morning. Now all your friends from the Singles Group are heading out to lunch. You know your money is tight and a constant headache, but you just can’t take going back to your apartment and having something frozen. Besides you deserve to go out to eat because (insert reason here).

The truth is, if you don’t have the money in your budget for this meal out, then you don’t deserve it. In fact, you don’t deserve the hurt you are causing yourself by spending money that you don’t have. We all have a 5-year old living inside of us. That 5-year old doesn’t care about a Spending Plan.  That 5-year old wants what it wants, and wants it NOW!

Sometimes we have to tell our inner 5-year old “no.” That is harder to do when we don’t have a spouse or parents helping us keep ourselves in-check. So, does that mean we should put on a sack cloth and go home to eat our frozen dinner alone, never to have any fun again? Absolutely not! It just means that you need to be creative with a little discipline thrown into the mix.

Knowing that the group typically goes out, come up with some good alternatives. For example, you could pack a sandwich or a snack to eat on the way and then just fellowship with them once at the restaurant. This doesn’t mean go and order water and then fill up on the free chips and salsa. You need to do what is right and don’t forget to tip the server.  They are still serving you even if you just order a drink. Another idea would be to offer alternatives such as suggesting the group brown-bag it to a park one week, invite everyone to your place for a potluck, or share 2 for 1 coupons in order to reduce the cost of your meal.

Keep in mind, this is temporary. You won’t have to do this forever, just while you are getting to a better place in your finances. Keep your eye on the prize which is winning with your finances.

A Single Budget: So What’s the Plan?

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So, you are single, carefree and are thinking a week at a beach house with your buddies sounds like a great vacation. Or maybe you are a single parent who wants to give your 7-year old and your 9-year old the magical vacation that every child dreams of…a trip to Disney World! So you just grab a soda and jump in the car and go, right? Of course not! With no plan or thought put into it, that would just be crazy. So why do we treat our money any differently?

Have you ever gone to pay for something with a $20 bill only to find it isn’t in your wallet anymore? Yeah, me too. What happened? You just got $80 out from the bank ATM a couple of days ago. So where is it now? If you don’t have a plan for that $80, it vanishes.

Whether you are a planner or not, when it comes to money you have to have a plan. Otherwise, your money just goes and you don’t have control. As Dave Ramsey says, tell every single dollar where to go on paper before even one of them leaves your hand. Having a spending plan sounds constraining, but if you can do it for 90-days, you suddenly find it very freeing.

“The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit, but anyone who is reckless only becomes poor.” Proverbs 21:5. Although having a spending plan is a little uncomfortable to start, it sets you up to have success with your money, to take care of you and your family, and to experience the joy of making others’ lives better.

So what is your plan?

A Single Budget: A Spiritual Revival

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Money is the root of all evil, right? Not even close. Money is neither good nor bad. Money is a tool that can be used for some very good things, like feeding your family or giving to support a ministry. Money can also be a tool to do bad things like spoil children or finance terrorists groups. It’s not the money. It’s how the money is used.

How do you handle money? As singles we are blessed to get to control all of our money! We don’t have to share with a spouse–we can make 100% of the decisions about our finances. However, the curse of this is we can also easily misbehave with money and not have someone nagging about it. If you find yourself struggling with sticking to a spending plan, find someone to help you with accountability. It can’t be someone who is an enabler and will not ask you the tough questions when needed. Look for someone who is doing well with money and loves you enough to be tough with your feelings when needed regarding your money.

As Christians, we know our money is not really our own. We are money managers for what God provides for us. He is our provider.

Does your money spending reflect your values? The answer is yes. Like it or not, where we spend our money says a lot about what we value. It doesn’t mean we should give all our money away and live in a tent and eat bread and water. It is okay to enjoy some things, but Believers should also be balanced in living, giving and saving.

When we start managing money God’s way, amazing things will happen. Your debt will be under control, you’ll experience more joy of giving and you’ll move towards a greater understanding of God and His love for us. He has many good things for us and wants us to have joy. Give thanks for the things He has provided and focus on how He wants you to manage His money.

Head in the Sand


I sometimes stick my head in the sand. It’s comfortable down there. Especially around the 1st and 15th of the month when I have to sit down, write checks and pay daunting companies for the services they provide out of my already low bank account. Indeed. Punching numbers and paying the Piper has lost its joy these days, but not paying the Piper brings unwanted rats into my life. As I sighed one day in annoyance at the consequences of my sand-like avoidance, I wondered why I did it. I knew that such evasion would mushroom into a big ugly stink, but I burrowed my head anyway.

How many times do we stick our head in the ground when we know there’s something unpleasant to battle or face in our lives? Whether it be a bill collector or a secret sin, avoidance only amplifies issues and prevents us from dealing with the situation at hand. As singles, avoidance is easy to do. We have a choice to invite people to hold us accountable, to call us out of the sand or to be silent and stay in it. However, when we lift our eyes and face the facts, we obtain clarity, structure, healing, teaching, encouragement and whatever else, and usually more than, we need. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9 (NIV). The alternative to our heads in the sand is to keep our eyes open, our heads up and pay attention.

How many times have you made an error because you weren’t paying attention? Overpaid? Missed a deadline? Said the wrong thing? Heard the wrong thing? Undercounted? If it’s easy to miss things in our everyday visible life, how much more could our spiritual, invisible lives suffer detrimentally due to the lack of attention?  

Fortunately, our Father already knows what we need and has provided it for us in the form of His Word. Hebrews 2:1 encourages us to pay close attention to the Word: “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it” (NLT). The truth of the Word is a tidal wave washing away the sand from our lives.

Attention requires discipline, which isn’t pleasant at first. But after a while, reaps a harvest. Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (NIV) Training requires focus and attention. God’s word tells us to focus and fix our gaze upon Him and when we do that, we will reap a harvest of righteousness and peace. If we discipline ourselves and accept the discipline from our Heavenly Father, we will bear more fruit  “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2  (ESV)

If you and I lift our heads, gaze on Him as we face the discomfort, the things in our lives which threaten the status quo and require obedience and sacrifice– if we just face those, I believe our lives will be made better by He Who washes away all dirt.


Be An Adult

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So when do you become an adult?

Is it when you get keys to your first car at age 16?
At 18 when you can make your own legal decisions?
At 21 when you can legally drink alcohol?
When you move away from home?
When you get your first job?
When you can pay all your own bills?
When you get married?

Defining adulthood is nothing short of impossible. The idea that an age, ceremony, or responsibility defines adulthood gives no target of what it means to be an adult. So we find adults of all ages acting like children and youths acting like adults. So maybe the best way to define being an adult is to say it is a mindset.

Paul, while talking about love, speaks to knowing true love by laying down the things that made him a child and acting like an adult. James reminds us that we are but a vapor in this life and time is short so we need to ask the Lord what is His will for our life. (James 1:13-17)

Maybe adulthood is what Paul asserts happened when we realize this life is a vapor as James explains. A mindset of adulthood embraces the reality of time (1 Corinthians 13:11). Time that has passed and is passing and will not always be present. One way to see this is by decision-making.

What was it that made you say “I’m an adult now”?

Singles Lose at Christmas


Where will your family celebrate Christmas this year?

As the days zoom past before Christmas, families across the country start discussing where Christmas will take place. For some, this is easy. There is a set location and family gathering time regardless of any other circumstances. For others, a tug-of-war begins between single and married siblings.

Singles often lose at the holidays when they have a married sibling in the family. It’s likely that Christmas is where the married sibling is or it could be whoever has the most children. These conditions often leave the single adult with nothing as a leverage chip for family to travel to the single’s house. Family members may say it’s less expensive for the single to travel to the larger majority. Sure it is “cheaper” for one person to fly, but proportionally as a single adult a plane ticket can mean a big hit to the budget with one income vs two. The expense can impact for months leading up to and after the gathering.

Singles, be encouraged that even if your family doesn’t travel to you and your budget doesn’t allow you to go to them, you have Framily, a family of friends, who are eager to gather for the holidays. And even if your budget allows the travel, there’s nothing that says you have to wait for blood relatives to celebrate.

Don’t save all the holiday cheer for only the relatives. Decorate and invite your friends over. They’ll appreciate your effort, especially during this time of year, which can be lonely for many.

Organize a white elephant gift exchange and invite your friends for a dinner, or even simple snacks. It is a great way to give other singles a taste of the holidays at your home and opens your ability and opportunity to minister to them. Often, the non-Believer will enter the hospitable house of a friend before they enter the doors of the church.

Have Christmas at your place! Even if it is not with your immediate family. You and your Framily will have a blast at your place!

Single Struggles: Big Purchase, Big Decision

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Big Purchase, Big Decision

For single adults, financial decisions often feel like something you have to do on your own. Sure, you have friends and family to help. But friends and family are not always the wisest counsel when it comes to large purchases.

Who do you trust when you have to make a  tough choice?

Do you go with Internet reviews?  The article about Top Ten Cars? The brother-in-law who is a mechanic?

Mortgage websites can provide information but you can also find conflicting information about the choices when buying a house. Some say choose a fixed rate, some say a variable. And, let’s not even start a discussion on reverse mortgages.

Your singles group at church can certainly show support with prayer and bouncing off of ideas. There may even be wise singles in the group with a financial career. Maybe someone who recently spent a large sum of money on the very item you are considering. Connect with that individual and seek advice.

Collect the information to make a wise decision but don’t move forward without seeking the wisest Counselor we have.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (NAS)

While doing your research, pray about whether God has the specific purchase in His plan for your life. Trust in Him to open doors that lead to making that large purchase or close doors that require a waiting period.

Can’t Take It With You

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Proven fact: if it’s here, it stays here.

Have you ever stopped to look around your home at all the things you have? This is not a blog about how “things” are bad or how we should even sell it all and give it to the poor. This post is about the life of a widow.

They had been married for years and years and with that length of time came things. Books, electronics, things of sentimental value and even things forgotten. Then came the sudden death of her spouse, the wake, the funeral, and the support from a local church. This widow, now in the house alone, is left to deal with the possessions of two lives. She is overwhelmed by the amount of material possessions that seem worthless now, but at one point, were treasured. It wasn’t that they were rich or lived a life of glamour–they just never let go of things.

Does the amount of items in your home reflect the fact you can’t take it with you when you die? As a single adult, when you honestly reflect on the things around you, does it show you are committed to this life or the next?

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)(NIV)

When you are called home to heaven, be a single adult who doesn’t let the stuff left behind be your legacy. As a singles leader, encourage singles to chase after the Kingdom and not possessions or a relationship status.

Why Give to Table For One?


Table for One Ministries seeks to build community for single adults through discipleship. We are not a para-church organization, but a resource destination to both singles and churches on ways to reach single adults. God has called us to connect single adults to Him! This bold path is one that targets all backgrounds and types of single adults, which comprise nearly half of the United States’ population.

Table for One has no payroll. Those who contribute to this ministry; the founder, the board, the writers, the editors, and the volunteers receive no income. Our ministry is held accountable by nine board members, including a CPA that ensures every donation is accounted for and used responsibly to further our ministry goals. Our blogs are written by our board members, by single adult missionaries, and by local church leaders who share our passion for single adults.

Your donation, either monthly or one-time gift, will go towards paying the routine monthly expenses necessary to any organization. Website development, advertising and communications make up the majority of these expenses. We cannot continue to reach out to single adults without your support! In time, we hope to produce curriculum and other paid services to help offset these monthly expenses, but for now we rely solely on your support.

Will you join us? Please pray for us, and also prayerfully consider supporting Table for One Ministries through a financial donation. Tax-refunds often provide a wonderful opportunity for giving. We would also encourage you to prayerfully consider a monthly gift (perhaps $5, or $50, or more) to provide ongoing support for this ministry. Your monthly contribution would help provide a stable platform from which to propel our ministry forward. Please e-mail [email protected] with any questions you may have about donating to Table For One Ministries..

Thank you for your prayers and your support! We look forward to years of serving God through this Ministry.