Managing finances can be a struggle, especially when you’re a single parent. You have the challenge of running all aspects of a household, working and raising a child, alone. It’s tough to stay organized and sometimes things get lost in the shuffle. However, it’s very important for you and your child that money management is intact.
The easiest way to pay off debts, maintain good credit, save and live within your means is to create a budget. Wealthy people know where every cent goes and you should, too. When you know exactly how much is coming in, how much is going out and where all of it is going, you can make responsible decisions and be better prepared to handle unforeseen circumstances. This is especially important when you’re all you have for support—financially, emotionally and physically. Your child doesn’t need to know or see the madness mismanagement creates when funds are surprisingly low. As a parent, it is also your responsibility to teach good habits and be the first example of financial planning.
Your budget should account for all income (excluding child support and/or alimony) and fixed and variable expenses. Child support and alimony should only be included as a reliable source of income when the father has a strong track record of paying in full and on time. Expenses should be listed according to importance. That way, if you are currently in over your head and can’t afford to pay everything on time (if at all), you know which bills are most pressing. Additionally, allocations to an emergency fund (six months worth of total living expenses) and savings should take precedence over clothing allowances and entertainment for you.
Single Mom Financial Help is a great resource for single mothers looking to spend wisely. The site offers printable monthly budget and grocery list forms to help track your funds and prevent overspending. There are also free budget calculators online.
Below is a sample of where your money should go when preparing your budget:
|Miscellaneous (Life Ins., Entertainment, etc.)||5-10%|
Are you a single mom? What financial advice do you have for your fellow single parents?