Living life and providing for your kids as a single parent can be hard sometimes and incredibly rewarding at other times. However, earning and saving money can constantly be a struggle if you do not have a strategy for making the most out of your incoming funds.
Saving Money as a Single Parent Can Be Possible
Whether you are currently a single parent or you are going through a divorce, managing your finances is of utmost importance. You need to make enough to pay the bills and save for the future. If you need help in that area, then consider these helpful tips.
Create a Budget
The most important step to financial longevity as a single parent is to create a budget. You need to take a lot of time on this and ensure to account for every incoming and outgoing dollar. First, sit down and look at all of your income streams. That may include money from your primary job, a side gig, money from a divorce settlement, and any other funds that you can count on month after month.
Next, you need to take a long look at your bank and credit card statements and note every expense that you have on a recurring basis. First, factor in your essential bills, like those for the mortgage, rent, utilities, car, and grocery bills. You will also need to think about your flexible expenses, which are items that you pay for often but not every month, like the costs of clothing and school. Finally, consider your discretionary expenses. These are items that you want but don’t necessarily need, like dinners out on the town, movie tickets, and the multiple streaming services that you subscribe to every month.
If you find that your expenses outweigh your incoming funds, then you need to make a change. You can do that by eliminating or modifying several of your discretionary expenses. Instead of going out to the movie theater, watch movies on cable. Instead of going out to lunch every day at work, pack your lunch at home. Seriously think about what you need versus what you want and modify your budget as you go along.
Smart Saving Techniques
One of the main reasons that you need to create a budget is so that you can see how much money you can set aside for savings. You may be thinking that you don’t have much to put away, so there isn’t a point in saving money, but that isn’t a good enough excuse. If you only save $50 per bi-monthly paycheck, you could have close to $1,200 by the end of the year. That could be enough to pay for unexpected car maintenance, work around the house, or even a well-deserved vacation with the kids.
Of course, the more money you can save, the better. One way that you can save more without needing to do much is by putting your cash in a high-interest savings account that will earn additional interest every month, so you have even more at the end of the year. You can take the anxiety out of saving money by setting up your paycheck so that a portion of your earnings goes directly into an external savings account. That way, you won’t even realize that it is missing.
When you are saving, it is important that you think about long-term goals and issues down the road. A good portion of your savings should go into your emergency fund. This fund should have at least enough money to cover three to six months of your basic living expenses. You should also start saving for retirement so you get a chance to relax later in life. Look online or contact a financial advisor to talk about retirement accounts. This is another instance where you can invest when single and have a lot when it comes time to retire.
Do Some Work at Home and on the Side
When you are a single parent on a budget, you tend to find ways to do things yourself so you don’t need to hire a professional to do them for you. For instance, you may find that you are more willing to clean gutters and do your own landscaping work in order to save money. You can even do your own winter plumbing. By engaging in simple tasks like pouring vinegar down your sink to eliminate clogs and draining your water heater, you can ensure that your house runs like a dime throughout the year, and you will save a bundle.
It is also wise to maintain your appliances so you don’t have to buy costly replacements down the line. Always ensure that you are using your appliances correctly and keep a close eye on all of your warranty paperwork so you have it if something goes wrong. You can also ensure the longevity of many spaces in your home by cleaning and frequently vacuuming to keep your counters pristine and prevent stained carpets.
While you are in the working spirit, you might consider working an additional side hustle if you need more money to meet your essential expenses. There are many side jobs available, including working as a freelance writer, online tutor, or food delivery driver. It is a great way to make more money when you need it. Plus, you can make your own hours so you can always spend quality time with the kids.
As you can see, it is very possible to save money as a single parent. Consider the many tips and tricks discussed here, and you can save for the future and beyond.
Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees”- Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and her search for the truth. You can find more samples of her writing in her portfolio.