Being a single parent comes with all sorts of unique challenges, especially financially. Raising children is not cheap, and in a two=parent household, there are usually two incomes to handle this, and even then, there are struggles. So, if you are on your own, there are things you can do to try and ease your financial stress and here are a few tips on how to budget and make the most of each month.
When looking at budgeting, the two main numbers you need to look at are your total income and your overall expenses. Start by adding up your monthly income from any jobs you do to any child support you receive. Next, you need to look at your spending and add up what you spend each month and then divide it into two categories: essential spending to maintain your standard of living and “extras.” Necessary spending should include things like your rent or mortgage, utilities, Childcare, Groceries, your car, Insurance, Debt repayment and any of your child-related necessities like school lunch fees, school uniforms or activity fees for extracurriculars. Then on your extras list, you can put things such as eating out, entertainment, clothes, travel, TV, gym membership. Subtract all of your expenses, both essential and extras from your total income, and hopefully, you should have money left over which you can put into a savings account.
If you don’t have anything left over or you’re in the negative, you need to fine-tune your budget and reduce your expenses.
Reduce Childcare Costs: There should be some help you can get from the government for your childcare costs, but if you don’t qualify or you already get it but still need more help, there might be other options. Is there a family member who’s willing to offer childcare at a discounted price? Or could you set up a childcare swap with another mum?
Use Apps to Add to Your Savings: Whether you’re shopping for food, clothes, or anything in between, there’s an app that can save you money. There are apps which give cash back, discounts, and coupons. Then there are others which help you to save by managing your money. They will tell you what you have spent, how much you have left, and if you’re spending too much on something. Squirrel, Mint, and PocketGuard are just a few and will help you not to overspend.
Reduce Travel Costs: Walk more; it’s simple and will also save on the gym fees. You might have to leave a little earlier than getting in the car, but it’s good for the environment, great for your health and will save you a lot of money. If you need to have a car, then make sure you get the best deal and the best payment plan from somewhere like Georgesons. You need to be able to afford it each month as well as have the right car for your family.