Whether you’re divorced or just choosing to parent solo, raising children alone is a major responsibility. Not only are you juggling the demands of parenting, but you’re also balancing finances, work, and running a household among other tasks of daily life. It can be a heavy burden to bear, especially if you find yourself strapped for cash. The good news is you’re not alone, and it’s not impossible to become financially independent as a single mom. Check out these tips to help keep a tight handle on your wallet, while working toward a positive financial future for you and your family.
Live frugally (for now)
To get a baseline, you’ll want to review your current financial situation and establish a household budget that fits your family’s needs. Be mindful of how much you’re spending versus earning in a month. Are you able to tuck anything away into savings? It’s important you accurately identify both your expenses and your children’s expenses. It can be easy to overlook the cost of new school clothes or birthday parties, but it all adds up eventually.
If you find you’re spending more than you make, look for areas where you can cut back. This is particularly important if you have some big-ticket debts you’d like to pay down.
As you work through your budget, include a few line items for your financial goals. Whether you’re looking to travel, build an emergency fund, tuck money away for your children's college funds, or finance a new vehicle, setting goals is a great way to create an effective plan to manage your money. This will help you determine your priorities while sparking your confidence in your financial future.
Invest in yourself
Have you ever heard the old saying, you can’t help others until you help yourself? It couldn’t be more true in parenthood. As a single mom, you likely spend most of your time investing in your children. So much so, that you might forget to invest in yourself. Take the time to practice self-care, both emotionally and financially.
One of the easiest ways to stay in tune with your finances is by maintaining a good credit score. This is especially important if any of your financial goals are dependent on your credit standing. For example, do you have the credit score to buy a home or refinance your student loans? If you have good credit already, protect it. Be sure to make all payments on time and try to avoid credit cards as much as possible.
Another way to financially invest in yourself is to put money away for retirement. While you work to make ends meet now, it can be easy to forget about the future. But to lighten the financial load on both you and your children later, it’s important to make this a priority now.
And as always, take the time to care for yourself emotionally. Allow yourself just five minutes a day to breathe and recharge. Remember, you deserve it.
Applying these tips to your daily life can make budgeting and finances as a single mom much easier. Creating financial goals, saving money, and working toward financial independence is also a great way to teach your children good money habits along the way. Overall, it’s a win-win.