Many of the blogs that we write here on our site are aimed at families and the financial situations that go with having them. The fact is however that, for many people in the United States, their family unit consists of only one parent. If that describes your family and financial situation then you’re in luck because this blog is specifically for you. (Frankly where surprised you found time to read this as busy as you must be.) Simply put, keeping your finances in order as a single parent is even more important for you and your children because you don’t have a spouse, and their income, to fall back on if you lose your job or have a sudden decrease in income. Setting up a single mom budget can prove to be very useful. With that in mind we’ve put together a smattering of excellent financial tips for you to use. We hope that it offers some valuable advice. Enjoy
More than likely the majority of your money is going towards housing, food, clothing and of course gasoline. One of the best ways to make sure that you aren’t overspending on any of these is to closely monitor and scrutinize your spending over a 1 to 3 month period. If you do this diligently you will get a lot of valuable information about where your money is going and where you can possibly cut back on spending and increase your savings.
Unless they are very young it’s okay to have a frank discussion with your children and let them know about your family’s financial situation. You might be surprised how well they understand and how much they are willing to contribute, or at least cut back, to help keep your financial ship afloat.
One area where a lot of savings can be found is on childcare. If you’re lucky enough to have a reliable family member to help you that’s great but if not, check with your work to see if you can alternate your schedule or talk with your neighbors to see if any of them can provide child care in trade for something else, possibly something that you can do for them professionally. There are also options at school, church and other local community organizations so make sure you check into all possibilities.
One of the most overlooked areas to save money is when filing taxes, especially the child care tax credit that you will more than likely qualify for if you’re a working single parent. When you have a spare moment surf to the federal government’s webpage on tax credits http://www.irs.gov/publications/p503/ar02.html.
Depending on the type of work that you do and the type of clothing that you need to wear there are many ways to save money on clothes. Interchangeable items in basic colors that will mix and match easily are your best choice and, if you can put your pride aside for a bit, thrift shops can sometimes offer amazingly good deals on all sorts of clothes and other household items. Purchasing your children’s clothes there is also an excellent idea as well and purchasing clothes for yourself and the kids that don’t need to be dry cleaned is also a great way to save.
Saving money on gasoline is something that everyone wants to do these days as gasoline prices keep rising. One of the best ways to do this is to coordinate and organize your car trips so that, rather than making five or six a day, you make one trip and get everything done during that trip that you can. This will not only save you gas but save you valuable time as well.
Children love books and videos. Heck, we adults love a good book and a great video from time to time as well. If you’re keen on saving money on books, videos, music, magazines and even video games, do yourself a favor and take a trip to your town’s local library. It can not only be a lot of fun but you can borrow all of these things for free instead of purchasing something that will be used once or twice and then put on a shelf to gather dust.
While you may think to yourself that it’s impossible, starting a college and/or retirement fund is vitally important for your future and, even if you only do it a little bit at a time. When it comes time to send the kids to college or retire you’ll have at least something stashed away. If you start when the kids are young you’ll be surprised at how much interest you’ll make by the time they’re ready to head off to university. If you have the opportunity to have money directly deposited into a 401(k) or other retirement plan you should definitely take advantage of it. Also, consider some riskier investments like forex trading. Easy-to-use forex accounts aren’t difficult to find, and surprisingly enough they can protect your retirement accounts from the wild effects of currency fluctuations.
Lastly, do your best to purchase adequate insurance so that, heaven forbid something happens to you, you will have enough disability or life insurance to take care of the kids.
We know that being a single parent can be difficult sometimes (some of us here are single parents as well) but if you take the advice above and put some of the tips to good use you should do just fine. Make sure to come back and visit us soon for more financial tips and advice as well. See you then.