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Budgeting For Single Moms
Are you looking for effective budgeting tips for single moms? Being a single parent comes with dramatic changes and the most important one is to figure out your finances.
If you are a newly single mom, these moments are unquestionably difficult, but it doesn’t mean that having a good life is not a viable option anymore.
The sections below cover thorough budgeting help for single moms.
Effective Budgeting Tips for Single Moms
You can start your new life by creating a detailed plan based on your new income threshold. In most cases, this means that you have less money, while expenses are the same or higher, especially if you previously shared your expenses with your partner.
This process is vital because it’s a wake-up call, helping you accept the new reality and objectively assess where you’re standing right now.
Be honest with your budget and yourself, as you now are dealing with the loss of your partner and/or the addition of a baby. That’s a lot of money, and taking care of the changes to your finances is going to be a problem. Take some time to sit down to get started.
Write down everything and make sure that you are keeping track of every single expenditure, even the very small ones. The more information you have of your finances, the better chance you have of obtaining a good analysis of your budget.
After you have created your budget, look at your income. Again, this should be something that you are honest with yourself about. Your income might change if you have a child, as you might have to work less or take on additional jobs to make everything meet. Try to be as specific as possible about the money you are bringing in, and write all that down as well.
In some cases, when you start budgeting as a single mom, you will end up with a negative cash flow. Do not let this overwhelm you – keep in mind that it is only temporary. You are in a bit of a crisis mode at the moment, but it will be okay. People gain and lose money all the time, even single moms, so make sure that you keep that in mind.
It is best to lessen your focus on savings and your retirement plan until you achieve a positive balance again.
Let’s take a look at some ways to improve the finances of single moms!
There are a few budgeting ideas for single moms, and one of them is overshooting. When you estimate your bills, always consider the more expensive months only. This way, you won’t be surprised by higher bills and you will also have a little extra at the end of the cheaper months.
People do a lot of things with money, and one of those things is to consider only the good days and months. They take the slowest months where they made the most money and then apply that as the ‘normal’ for the entire year. Instead, you need to do that for the most expensive month. Make the most expensive month the month that you plan for. It can be hard, especially whenever you feel yourself cutting corners that you don’t feel like you need to cut.
Still, stick to your budget and you will build up a bit of a buffer for yourself. That money is going to support you if things fall a little short, and can carry over if things have gone well for the previous month. You really need to be thinking about your budget as a feast or famine, all or nothing type of extreme, at least until things settle down for you.
Once your income and expenses are well-defined, start looking for places where you can cut your spending. This can be particularly difficult if you are used to having a comfortable life, but budgeting for a single mom will change your life in more ways than one.
Examine your highest expenses per month and see what you can do about them. If you can do without them, cut them. For example, for some people, maintaining a car is a bit of a high expense, but ride-sharing services such as Uber, public transportation, and using your own two legs to get around can work. It might not eliminate your need to use a car every once in a while, but it can prevent the gas bills from pilling up.
Switch To Cheaper Plans
Maybe you can switch to a cheaper mobile phone plan, stop upgrading your phone to the newest model, and even cut your cable cord. There are numerous cheaper streaming services that can help you save money each month.
Then, start looking at smaller, but frequent expenses, such as the daily morning coffee at your local shop, or stop eating out and prepare healthier, tasty meals at home.
You can keep finding alternatives. Too many times people cut their budget in half and then feel bad about what they’ve lost. Instead of cutting everything, try your best to see if there’s a cheaper alternative. Instead of the monthly Netflix fee, see if your local library has anything to rent for free.
Instead of paying for your gym subscription, you can work out at home using homemade weights or bodyweight exercises. Of course, this won’t apply to everything, and some costs will need to be cut and not replaced. However, if you want to have a budget without bemoaning the losses, this can be something that you can do.
There are many ways to cut your spending, depending on what your habits are. When you do your grocery shopping, look online for discounts, cashback offers, and promo codes. You can buy clothes for your family during general discounts and sales, or use coupons.
People have been saving money and finding ways to make expensive things cheaper for a very long time, and if there’s something that can be saved on, chances are the internet knows how to save on it. Don’t be afraid to look around for options, and to buy a few things secondhand for a while.
Once you get your budget prioritized, you and your child will have a better life, but for now, you need to take every opportunity you can get to be frugal.
Prioritize Important Expenses
Keep in mind that being late on payments is not a solution, especially for those that collect high interest, such as credit cards. Make sure you prioritize all the important expenses and pay them on time to avoid more debt.
Your budget shouldn’t just be a list of rules that you follow to make sure that you stay above the red; it’s also something that you need to do to get out of debt. Too many people try their best to stay above water when it comes to clearing their debt, except they never actually get out of debt and spend the rest of their lives struggling.
Make sure that the various important expenses are always paid on time, and if you’ve been sticking to your budget and working with the idea that the most expensive months are normal, you should be fine.
Once you have the most important expenses paid off, then you can focus on the smaller expenses until you are completely freed from your debt.
Best Budgeting Apps for Single Moms
One of the best budgeting ideas for single moms is to use an app to help you throughout the entire process. For example, Mint is a free desktop and mobile phone app that will connect automatically to your bank account and helps you create your target budget.
A great feature of the app is that you don’t need to worry about security because the app is created by the makers of TurboTax.
Another free app is Wally. This is more of an expense tracker, but it does a great job of reminding you to stay true to your budget. You can add your expenses by either taking a photo of your receipts or introducing them manually. This will help you track your spending and make you more accountable.
Budgeting Loan for Single Parent
If you live in the UK, you may be eligible for a budgeting loan. The main benefit is that it is interest-free, so you pay back only what you borrow. To access the loan, you must have been getting at least one of the following benefits for the past half a year: income support, income-related employment and support allowance, and income-based jobseeker’s allowance.
Budgeting for a single mom can be difficult but this loan may help you until you figure everything out. You usually need to repay the interest-free loan within a maximum of 2 years or 104 weeks, so there’s enough time for you to cover it.
The minimum amount you can borrow is £100, while the maximum limit is up to £812 if you claim child benefit.
The budgeting loan can be used for furniture, rent in advance, moving house, maternity costs, expenses associated with a new job, maintenance of your home, and many more.
Start Saving Money
One main problem with managing your expenses is that it might be difficult if you keep the same habits as before. Saving money becomes tricky and leaves you feeling stressed out about making ends meet while ensuring that your kids have everything they need.
Instead of being stressed out, stick to your budget like it’s the most important thing in the world, and make sure that you regularly check it. Then use your budget to create new habits for yourself, and make sure to follow through with the budgeting tips.
The list below compiles the best budgeting tips for single moms to help you cut your expenses and start saving money:
- Plan your home-cooked meals in advance and set a strict grocery budget per week.
- Spend time with your kids by doing only free activities, i.e. visiting free-of-charge museums, going to the park, etc.
- Keep an eye out for coupons and join a rebate program to earn cashback.
- Change your mobile contract to a prepaid cell phone.
- Avoid purchasing any item that is not a necessity; if it’s a must, then choose used items over new ones.
- Find ways of earning additional income – such as selling your clutter, complete surveys for cash, etc.
Budgeting for a single mom is not the easiest task, but not an impossible one. Once you accept the new reality, start looking for ways to make the best of the situation.
Cutting back may be necessary in the beginning, depending on how much you earn per month compared to all of your expenses. You can also seek other ways to boost your income stream by taking a part-time job or asking for a raise.
There are plenty of jobs you can do from your home as a single mom. From freelancing to making art, to selling clothes and shoes that you don’t wear anymore. You don’t have to go out and get an outside part-time job if your children aren’t ready for it, but you can instead work from home and make sure that you are still around for your kids.
Stay away from the lifestyle creep which means that, as you earn more, you also spend more, because this will cancel all of your efforts.
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