Hi, and welcome to my blog! I’m C: a mid-30s, long-term single woman with a humanities PhD and a desire to keep afloat without a second income — as well as to catch up after a dozen financially “lost” post-college years. I write primarily about my own life and finances, and I’m obviously no professional; any advice I give is to be taken with plenty of salt.

I started my adult life in debt, borrowing a few thousand dollars for my first year of college, and throughout my 20s and early 30s, while living in New York City as a freelance writer/editor, a theater/tv/film worker, and a graduate student, I mostly tried to stay frugal, but my student loan balances crept steadily upwards and I bounced in and out of credit card debt. I had health insurance only intermittently, never started a retirement account, occasionally borrowed from my parents, and in short, made all the mistakes that go along with assuming you’ll always be ok with being a starving artist.

When I received my Ph.D. and moved out of New York in June 2013, I decided it was time to grow up a little; I opened up a mint.com account and set a nebulous goal of paying off my student loans in a year. In March 2014, I had made headway on that goal, but I wasn’t really on schedule…and then some Life Stuff happened, I found myself googling “pay off student loans vs. retirement savings,” and the next thing you know I was neck-deep in the personal finance blogosphere. I knew right away that I wanted in — I wanted to talk to and with people who, just like me, were struggling with the financial ups and downs of life.

As of December 31, 2014, I’m 100% consumer and student-debt-free, having paid off $23697 in the 18 months after graduation. From here forward, I plan to keep talking about debt (both how I got into it, and how I got out), but also to focus on budgeting, savings, and the emotional side of money management.

16 thoughts on “About

  1. MJ says:

    I would love to know more about your conclusions regarding saving for retirement versus paying off student loan debt. I’m in a similar situation. I’m single, in my late 30s, and I’m staring at what feels like a gigantic debt load when I know I should be putting away money for retirement. It’s so frustrating! But reading your blog helps:)

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you for the request! I’ll put a post on that in my queue. The short version is that if you have a relatively short timeline (I was about four months away from paying off my student loans if I kept putting everything into them) just pay the debt down, but if you have a long timeline (years to go) you should put something into retirement. I’m glad reading my blog helps — writing it helps me! It can be frustrating being our age and being so “behind” but it’s helped me a lot just to get on top of my situation and make a plan.

      1. moneystepper says:

        Hopefully, this might help:


        From my analysis, paying down debt instead of saving for retirement (especially if you have an employer matching scheme) can be a fairly costly error.

  2. ARBM says:

    Hi C!
    I nominated you for the Liebster Award! (Sorry if you’ve already been nominated before…)

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Hey thanks! I have been nominated before but I think you can do it twice, right?

      1. ARBM says:

        I think you can do it twice, but I’m not super up on the “rules”…

  3. Congrats on paying off your debt so fast! What a great achievement, even if it felt like you were doing it later than others. We have found that, once you make up your mind to change things, change can happen pretty fast. Look forward to joining you for your journey.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you! I feel ancient compared to most PF bloggers who are as broke as I am, but I try to remind myself that starting is the important part 🙂

  4. Christine says:

    Aloha! I’m so surprised and happy to come across your blog. I am astounded at the similarities of our stories. I am just starting my blog about the things I did to turn my life around financially and I got started the same way you did. By doing a Google search after an undeniable urge to get out of debt. And the fact that your name is C too made me giggle and I just had to respond to this page (I was going to go by the same initial and same site name as you LOL.) However I’ve got a 10-year head start on you in the financial mistakes department and I’m about 3 years behind you on making things right. As a single, you inspire me and I’m glad you are doing this. Most of the sites I come across have tips for families and couples, I can’t quite relate but I’ve learned so much and I can’t wait to share. Thanks for what you do and congratulations on paying off your debt and starting your savings!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Hey, nice to meet you! I love reading stuff written by people of all situations, but I definitely have a special love for the few blogs written by long term singles. It just makes it a bit easier to relate. Looking forward to checking you out.

  5. DragonToes says:

    Oh my goose! Someone like me in the FI community!
    Hi there! I’m D, I’m 29, and I’m so so happy to have found your blog. Every other one I’ve come across has been about finances for couples or families, and it’s so nice to hear from someone choosing to go it alone too :). I paid off my student loans earlier this year (37K) and am now aggressively trying to save. I look forward to your posts and congrats on all you’ve achieved so far!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Wow, congratulations on your loan payoff — $37K is huge, especially by age 29. I do like to write about the issues I have as a single, which are sometimes more universal and sometimes more particular. I look forward to getting to know you better.

  6. Mariana says:


    I love your blog! If you see in your statistics that someone read 60 pages during one session – that would be me!

    I am your age (36) and although not single I feel we are so similar. I can relate to a majority of your posts (including precooking a batch of oatmeal every Sunday night). Seriously, I do do it.

    I guess I am just saying hello and cheering you on your money saving journey.


    1. thesingledollar says:

      Oh, wow, thank you! that’s so nice of you to say. I’ve been taking a little time off from active blogging but it’s been so important to me and I’m really glad the site’s interested you. And precooking oatmeal is the greatest. Love your blog title and looking forward to checking it out, too.

  7. I didn’t know you had a PhD! Good for you. I have a doctorate too but earned that with 10x the debt. No comparison game. Just saying. Good to see another well educated woman trying to carve her own financial independence.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Part of the trouble with doctorates is the debt, and part is the general lost earnings potential…I don’t regret doing it exactly, but it was hell on the $$ part of my life. Oh well.

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