Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Lori Pace
Raising a child is always a costly and stressful experience, requiring good mental and financial preparation. This process becomes incredibly challenging for single parents, as they need to manage a smaller monthly budget for basic living expenses than for full families. Statistics show that mothers stay with their children after divorce more frequently than fathers. Therefore the creation of a single-mom budget becomes a crucial issue.
Wondering how to save money as a single mom? Keep reading to explore the ten best money-saving tips for single parents.
Budgeting for Single Moms
Single-parent budgeting is one of the most important ways to obtain financial freedom after divorce. Cut your monthly expenses, create savings accounts, manage child support, and you will achieve financial security in the near future! Therefore, spend time creating a single-parent budget correctly.
In many cases, applying for cash assistance for single moms may be a necessary step to achieve financial recovery after divorce. If financial difficulties occur, you can obtain extra money from charity organizations, traditional and online lenders, or government assistance programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, and others.
Furthermore, there are numerous available educational assistance, medical assistance, and dental-care programs, enabling single moms to alleviate the financial stress associated with these high-cost expenses.
Why Should You Budget as a Single Mother?
Budgeting is vital for all single parents, as it allows them to understand what they spend their money on. This is especially important if you are a single mom raising kids on a low income. Even if you receive child support or alimony, it is often insufficient to cover all the necessary expenses related to your child.
Thanks to the budget, you can:
- Avoid overspending and paying for unnecessary things;
- Save money regularly;
- Pay off your debt;
- Don’t live from paycheck to paycheck.
10 Tips for Saving Money as a Single Mom
How to save money as a single mom? This question appears immediately in the lives of many single parents after divorce. If it is relevant to you, you are in the right place! We have prepared an article with the best money-saving tips for single parents, which will help you create your monthly budget and increase your net worth.
#1. Track Expenses
Making purchases becomes increasingly straightforward and affordable in the XXI century. As a result, it is easy to overspend on unnecessary expenses. You can buy an item online with one click and have it delivered on the same day. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly essential to track your expenses to avoid borrowing money for your everyday costs and stay debt-free.
You can find a single-mom budget template on the Internet and compare your expenses with the expenses of other single-parent families.
#2. Pay Off Debt
If you have multiple credit cards with outstanding debts, you should repay them as soon as possible. Life without debts is one of the first steps to achieving financial freedom. Review your credit card and other debts and begin the repayment process.
If you have high-interest debt, applying for a personal loan to consolidate it may be a good idea to avoid paying expensive interest charges. After you repay your biggest loan, you can focus on returning your next debt, which is typically smaller.
If the previous option does not suit you, you can try the debt snowball method. This option is based on repaying the smallest debt first and gradually increasing the amount of debt you return.
After you pay off debt, you can allocate more funds to child care and everyday expenses. Unfortunately, several loans and credit card cash advances might be unaffordable for single parents. If these financial options don’t suit you, you may need to consolidate the debt or create a debt management plan.
Furthermore, it is essential to avoid delaying your debt repayment. This habit will help you become debt-free and manage your expenses even on a tight budget.
#3. Increase Your Income
Even if you properly manage your personal finance, live on a budget and receive child support and alimony, it may often be not enough even to cover your grocery budget. Therefore, new single moms are often looking for a second source of income.
They often apply for remote, part-time, or freelance jobs. Although it is often complicated to acquire new skills for a new job, you will benefit both mentally and financially. Self-developing and learning new information are excellent ways to recover after divorce. Single mothers can explore numerous freelance websites to find work and discover various positions to find one that aligns with their goals and interests.
For example, single moms might explore options like freelance copywriting, virtual assistance, web design, and various other fields.
#4. Create an Emergency Fund
Having an emergency fund is a demonstration of good money habits for every single-parent budget. Ideally, it should cover from three to six months of your basic living expenses, such as food or housing. However, if you can’t afford to save such a substantial amount, try to save at least a small sum during each pay period. It is still better than not saving at all.
Thanks to an emergency fund, mothers can be sure they can afford expensive back-to-school shopping, pay school fees, and cover any unexpected expenses with their emergency savings.
Even if you lose your job or need to pay costly bills, an emergency fund can make you feel safe.
#5. Automate Your Finances
When you need to manage a one-income household, it becomes challenging to remember all the payments. Therefore, it may be necessary to automate your finances to avoid late fees for your outstanding bills.
Schedule automatic transfers with your providers and forget about overspending on late fees. Furthermore, it may be an excellent idea to send automatic payments to your savings account to achieve your financial goals earlier. When the set sum is paid automatically to your savings account, you will not forget about making regular transfers.
#6. Prioritize Expenses for Yourself And Your Children
Prioritizing expenses is an essential step for the right money management. As a single parent, it is important to remember numerous expenses related to your children.
You need to include in your single-mom budget clothes, activities, toys, textbooks, and many other things for your kids. Prioritizing is also about cutting expenses for unnecessary items to buy more important ones. For example, it may be problematic to visit amusement parks as often as you used to do during marriage. Therefore, you may need to look for other, cheaper, or free alternatives to save money for more essential things.
If you are a newly single parent, calculate your budget carefully to ensure you can cover all the costs. Furthermore, don’t forget to include in your budget paying for health insurance and other insurance premiums.
You can get more information about managing your disposable income on numerous personal finance websites. If you are solely responsible for your family budget, learning information from various sources can help you earn more money and manage to cover all the fixed and variable expenses.
#7. Set Long-Term Financial Goals
Saving money is often an unpleasant and difficult process, especially if you are not motivated. Therefore, it is essential to set a financial goal that will inspire you to save funds. The most popular long-term goals include:
- Saving for retirement;
- Making a down payment;
- Purchasing a home;
- Buying an auto;
- Saving for children’s education.
When you are shouldering the financial burden alone, having the right financial goals may serve as excellent motivation for saving and significantly improve your well-being. It is possible to have several goals simultaneously, but in such instances, you must ascertain which one holds the highest priority. Keep saving regularly, and you can achieve your goals soon!
#8. Cut Your Expenses
As you may need more money to pay for expenses related to your children after divorce, it may be necessary to reduce your other costs. If you have a costly Internet or phone bill, it may make sense to look for cheaper service providers.
If you usually go to restaurants, it may be necessary to start having dinners at home. Furthermore, you could consider finding a smaller and cheaper apartment to live with your child and save on rent.
#9. Plan Your Budget
One of the most important things after divorce is to plan your single-mom budget. Calculating how much you spend and own can help you see the entire picture of your financial situation. Moreover, it will demonstrate how much money you should save and the amount you are currently short.
Incorporate your income, child support, alimony, debts, and other relevant factors into your budget. The more effectively you plan your budget, the lower your chances of overspending and needing to borrow money.
#10. Talk to a Financial Advisor
Raising children presents unique financial challenges within every single-mom budget. Unfortunately, not all one-income households can make even minimum payments for everyday costs. If you find it challenging to plan your family’s finances, reaching out to a financial counselor might be a beneficial step. They will help you create a realistic plan for your new budget and repay your outstanding debts.
Managing your finances solo may often be problematic, especially if you are a single parent. You might need to increase your income, cut your expenses, and establish long-term goals to regain control after divorce and uphold a good quality of life for you and your children. Therefore, dedicate sufficient attention to creating your single-mom budget and embark on a new journey toward financial independence for yourself and your kids.