Being a single mother is hard, and it comes with lots of unique and tough challenges, especially in the financial arena. As we all know rising your kids’ doesn’t come cheap, the USDA indicates that raising a child to the age of 18 years old will cost around $233,610.
In a two-parent household, there are (or may be) two incomes to handle the expense. But for single strong moms, on the other hand, are more likely to make it work on just one single income alone. That’s where a budget becomes critical.
Budgeting can be lifesaving for single moms especially when they’re raising their kids. And today we’ll give you some of the greatest tips that can help you nail your budget and make the most of your money every month and not waste it.
Earn Like Your Life Is Depending On It
Let us be claire here, the vast majority of single moms raise their kids with just a little or in some cases with no financial or logistical help from their children’s fathers. 22 percent of dads who live separately from their kids see them at least 2 to 3 times a week, and the average summery of child support received is about $300 per month.
Most single moms, statistically poor (or don’t have enough money to raise their children and feed them the right way). So don’t be poor, be different, work hard, even if it means you have to work a few extra hours each week, that’s okay. Consider hiring babysitting at least temporarily, so you can get that chance to qualify for more promotions in the near future.
Take that risk that few single moms are willing to take for the sake of their children and their future. Start that dream business, invest in yourself, because statistical risk over the long-term is rewarded.
Note: this does not mean you won’t be seeing your children at all, no. it’s just a few extra hours in your desk job every week.
You Have To Budget Your Monthly Expenses
This can be intimidating, but creating a budget is important no matter how much you earn. Basically a budget is a Spending Plan that you can create and use to dictate where your money goes each month. Don’t worry I’m going to make some great suggestions for you.
First, you can sing up to youneedabudget.com, or mint.com. Those are free financial software programs available on the internet, and they will basically do your budgeting for you. Mint, For example, will create a visual pie chart showing you how much you spending each month on gas, food, housing and more.
With this great strategy, you can track your spending easily, and if it turns out that you spending too much money on food, you can start making the necessary adjustments to get your spending on food under control.
However, if you that kind of mom that prepares to create here own budget the traditional way, I’ve created a budget calculator that you can use, which includes child support, gas, food, clothing, and other things.
- Food: 10%
- Housing: 23%
- Insurance: 7%
- Auto: 12%
- Debt: 6%
- Child Care: 7%
- Clothing: 7%
- Savings: 5%
- Investments: 6%
- Medical/Dental: 5%
- Entertainment: 5%
- Miscellaneous: 7%
Automate Your Savings
It’s really hard to save money as a single mom, but saving even a $5 per paycheck is better than not saving at all. Also, one of the best ways that you can save money is by saving it automatically to your savings account. This way you won’t even notice the money being saved and it will seem effortless.
You can set up 10% of your monthly salary to be saved automatically to your savings account. A few months later you’ll find yourself with a respectful amount of money that you can spend on your kids or invest it to make even more money.
Pay Down Debt
No one likes debt right, and most if I didn’t say all single moms that need help managing money actually need help getting out of debt. However, there are a lot of single mothers out there that succeeded to get out of their debt, and you can be one of those mothers.
Managing your debt is just a numbers game. As a single parent, Always make sure to control your debt, and don’t let it control you. First things first Try to pay off the debts that are charging you the highest interest first like credit card debts, student loans, privet loans, mortgages, etc. Then Aim for paying off your smallest debts as a second step. This way you’ll get out of debt as quickly as possible.
Have an Emergency Fund
Having an emergency fund is really important, because there will come a time when you need it, and as a single mom you don’t have the opportunity to turn to a spouse or significant other for financial help. That’s why it’s extremely important to save up a little money for emergency
Having an emergency fund can help you and keep you from getting into more debt (which is something you really don’t want) or worse, like not being able to afford essential necessities (car repairs, home repairs, etc).
There isn’t a hard or fast rule as to how much you should save in your emergency fund. You can maybe put aways aside at least 10% of your income into emergency savings each month, this will help you in case something unexpected happens.
One of the things that you need to do as a single mom is to stay away from the mall. shopping for fun won’t help you save money and manage it, in fact, it will help you spend money on things that you probably don’t need and won’t use.
If you need something search for it and buy it online. This is not only will help you get the best deals with lower prices, but you will avoid window shopping and buying stuff that you usually don’t use. The idea here is to buy what you need and manage your money the right way.
You can download the extension honey on google chrome, to get the best prices of different items. This extension will search the entire internet looking for the best coupons for that specific item and gave them to you, and this is something that you will not get if you shop on malls.
Also, there are a lot of shopping online apps that will save you lots of money. Ibotta for example, offers rebates on grocery purchases so you don’t have to clip coupons. Kidizen is great and designed especially for moms who want to buy or sell kids’ clothes, you can get some nice affordable clothes for your kids there.
Find A Way To Earn More Money
The best thing to do after getting out of your debt and building an emergency fund is to start looking for some extra cash that you can earn each month. There are plenty of ways that you can do to start a side hustle and start making some extra income, whether it’s just from your home or outside of your home.
And to not make this article any longer, here are some legitimate stay-at-home jobs that you can try right now, or if you want to start a side hustle and grow it part-time, check out our article about 15 side business ideas to increase your monthly income
Set Big Financial Goals
If you as a single mother struggling and comparing yourself to your neighbors or friends who seem to be doing better then you financially, it can be easy to fall into the pattern of setting small short-term goals, such as having extra money at the end of the month or paying off a credit card.
But goals can’t be achieved by sitting around and doing nothing, you need to take action and work hard for them in order to make them real and to achieve them. If you are diligent and consistent, and a hard-working mom, you’re more likely to achieve your goals.
So set your big scary glorious goal in front of you, and start hustling for it. It can be a dream house, dream job, or whatever it may be, if you worked harder enough to achieve them, it will be yours at the end of the day.
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