Being a single parent means taking on full responsibility for your family’s finances – and that can be expensive. When you’re managing financial obligations on your own, it’s critical to have a solid plan in place to support your money goals.
They say money can’t buy happiness, but a shortage of funds or questionable financial decisions can earn you lots of stress and anxiety. To transform into a financially savvy mom and money manager, check out these winning tips to help you keep a tight handle on your wallet.
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Maximize your budget
When you’re starting your financial-planning journey, the smartest thing to do is take an honest look at your finances – what you’re saving and what you’re spending. Calculate what you earn versus spend in a month, identifying your expenses and your children’s expenses. Don’t overlook the cost of school clothes, weekend activities, or birthday parties because it all adds up.
Once you have an understanding of where your money is going, create a budget that fits your family’s needs. If you discover you’re spending more than you earn, look for areas where you can cut back. Can you make those fancy coffees at home? Can you visit McDonald’s less or avoid costly babysitting services? Maybe there is a trusted relative or close friend who could watch your kid(s) instead.
If cutting back on your expenses doesn’t give you the immediate boost in funds you were hoping for – and you have the time and the energy – consider picking up a side hustle or second job to earn additional income. The internet is crammed with side hustle ideas. Do you have a Pinterest account? Type in “work from home” and watch the ideas populate.
Pay off debt
The faster you can get out of debt, the faster you can attain financial freedom. Depending on how much you owe, paying down your debts may feel like progress in slow motion. But here’s one good reason why it’s important to hang in there: You are likely paying interest on your debt, which will make your debt even more expensive. Finding the cash to pay off your bills can be challenging, but in the end, you’ll pocket all that money you didn’t put toward interest.
Working to eliminate your debt is a great step toward increasing your credit score as well, which will be particularly important if you want to buy a home or car in the future. Start thinking about every dollar as an opportunity to make smart money decisions for your family.
Motherhood is hard, and it can be even harder for single mothers. Give yourself grace. If you’re struggling right now, comparing yourself to the other moms or families you know won’t help your situation. There’s a reason why it’s called personal finances.
Set goals that work for you and take into consideration everything you’re juggling, from child care to your peace of mind. But don’t be afraid to think big. Don’t make one list, make two or three. Think about your short, medium, and long-term goals.
It’s okay to dream of your perfect home with a backyard for your kids or a comfortable nest egg for retirement while you pay off your high-interest rate credit cards. It’s always a good idea to save for rainy days, the unexpected, and your aspirations. Experts recommend saving a minimum of three months’ living expenses.
Setting the foundation to live the best financial life for you and your kids can feel challenging, but like everything life has thrown your way, it’s a challenge you can meet – and meet successfully.