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Making It: Self-Supporting Singles

Chaia Frishman

Not everyone is given a “cookie cutter, one-life-fits-all” plan. These self-supporting singles inspire as they embrace their mission.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


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GGrow up, get married, move out. In that order. Simple! Life’s expected order of operations sometimes takes on a trajectory of its own. It did for the singles in their 20s and 30s you’ll meet on these pages. They might not have found their bashert...yet, but the move out of their childhood nest is their next step toward gaining vital life skills to prepare for their future home.

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It’s a challenge. There’s work, and sometimes school to juggle, not to mention paying the bills, arranging Shabbos plans, and squeezing in a social life, all while weathering the pressure of dating and marriage. Not everyone is given a “cookie cutter, one-life–fits-all” plan. These self-supporting singles inspire as they embrace their mission.

Avigail Silver

Age : 25

Employment: Speech therapist

Income after taxes: $2,700/month for ten months a year, $30/month babysitting, summer job $2,000. All after taxes.

Rent : $400/month

Utilities: $100/month

Food: $150/month

Medical insurance: Copays about $200/year on parents’ plan

Auto financing: $500/month

Auto insurance: $200/month

Gas: $60/month

Student loans: $0

Entertainment including gym membership: $190/month

Trip budget: $125/month

Grooming: $40/month

Maaser: $300/month

Shul membership: $50/month

Phone bill: $60/month

Clothing/accessories: $150/month

Flight expenses: $600/year

Prepare for the Future, But Live in the Present

Growing up, we lived on the outskirts of the frum community in Cleveland. My little sister has Down syndrome and my parents chose to live in our neighborhood so she could get the best education possible. It didn’t affect me much. I had a great social life in school, would hang out with friends during my free time, and spend Shabbos in their homes. I didn’t grow up wealthy by any means, but we never felt deprived. Still, with the challenges that a child with special needs brings, I never wanted to add to their burden, so I was pretty independent from the get-go.

I babysat and worked in day camps in the summer, and always saved money for my own luxuries and even necessities. My parents were happy to give me money, but I preferred not to ask them.

I graduated high school, went to seminary with all my friends, and returned with hopes of an imminent engagement. I dated throughout college, but lived at home. I paid off as much college debt as possible because I didn’t want to owe money once I got married. I was exhausted every week, so I barely went away for Shabbos in college. Most singles hope to get married before they graduate, but if they don’t, it’s not exactly par for the course, or very “acceptable” to move out.

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