I had a fun weekend. It was enjoyable seeing my brother and cousin. They are about the same age born 3 years apart on the same day, with my brother being the elder. But they live two very different lifestyles and it pretty cool to be able to observe the differences.
First my brother is married with one child, townhouse, and a stay at home wife. He lives in the suburbs and is planning on selling his townhouse and buying a single family home in the country with a yard. They have a 10 year old Jeep and 3 year old Acura TSX. They eat out maybe once a week but in general stay at home with their 2 year old son. My brother's one indulgence is a Harley he bought right before he got married, although there was talk of him selling it since he rarely rides it. For the record he's only been married about 3 years so marriage hit him late.
Then my cousin is a 35 year old divorced, single guy who lives in the city in a very trendy neighborhood. He owns a 700 sq ft loft style condo without a parking spot, but is walking distance to public transit and many restaurants. Within the last week he bought a 2007 Chevy Corvette and enjoys going out with friends and family. I think he's lonely, so he's always hanging out.
I can definitely see the benefits of both. However many single people talk about how married couples save money by being married. The biggest money saver I can tell is they no longer feel the need to go out and do activities with other single or married friends. They have a companion to stay at home with for free. But single people often hate going home to an empty house and will instead have dinner out, or go to a movie, or coffee, bar, pretty much anything.
Second I think that single people unfortunately also are still are working on maintaining their attractability to the other sex (or same). Where they buy new clothes, date, work out a lot, etc. This is natural and unfortunately I think can become quite expensive.
However singles also get things their way. They make all their own financial decisions, they have no joint financial goals. They are the only ones controlling the purse strings. My cousin decided to buy his dream car now because he can afford it, has no future wife or kids. It strangely I think paralleled my brother's purchase of the Harley. While single they were or are able to indulge in spending money, that would never happen to a married person.
The married person would have to consult with their spouse. They would have to ask the question is this purchase selfish? What does it contribute to our goals?
So when I'm questioned by friends is it better to be married or single? I'm still debating. I love being married, but I can definitely see the good points of being single. I also can see why singles complain about spending more money than married couples. But I also realize that married couples make more sacrifices for marriage and money.