Single parenting is never a cakewalk, especially with the hard economic conditions of the day. If you are struggling with raising up kids on your own, you will probably have to negotiate a number of financial hurdles here and there, and the same is affecting quite a good number of single parents out there. But there are a number of aspects that may lead to these hardships that you may consider mitigating.
Single parents run into problems if they don’t keep a firm handle on their spending. Because you are the sole breadwinner, you can’t depend on any additional income. So if you spend more than you take in, you have a big problem. The trick is to figure out where you can cut costs. Divide your expenses into essentials such as food, housing, electricity and transportation, and non-essentials like eating out. Look at the essential expenses and decide if there’s any way you can save money, such as switching to a cheaper phone service provider or using coupons to save on groceries. Meanwhile, look at non-essentials that can be drastically reduced or eliminated altogether.
Not Keeping Up With Credit
You never know when you might need to rely on credit to get you through a tough financial time. If you don’t pay your bills on time consistently, or monitor your credit score, you might not have access to credit when you need it the most. Getting new credit is even harder for many single parents because there is no spouse to contribute income or a higher credit score.
Expense of Childcare
Single parents who work must have someone to care for their children. Daycare costs can dominate your paycheck. If you live in an area with a YMCA, contact the organization to find out about affordable child care. You can also contact your state health and human resources department and ask about childcare assistance programs that are available.
If you are a single mommy, you will most definitely have to be so keen on the way you spend money as much as you have to provide for the kids. Do not let some unrealistic financial mistakes drag you back while you can avoid them; huge debts, buying insurance and failing to work on making more money are a great to your financial wellbeing.
Wrack up more debt
Sometimes debt is unavoidable, and consumer debt can be the result of health emergencies or the downside of lousy divorce law that splits a couple’s debt 50-50 — even if one person (usually the wife) earns far less than the other. The rates of bankruptcy for women have skyrocketed since the 1980s and one of the top reasons cited is divorce.
Even if you don’t make it all the way to bankruptcy, avoid debt at all cost. I don’t need to tell you why — it is expensive, it ruins your credit and keeps you back from doing all the awesome stuff you dream of doing. Also: it is really freaking stressful.
Fail to build wealth
While you likely have less than when you were married or if you lived with a partner that is not necessarily the case. Also, it is never too late to invest even a small sum each week or month. Putting away even $50 per week can mean the difference between homemade or Starbucks coffee — and a whole lot of financial security.
Don’t buy life insurance
A 2011 survey found that 69 percent of single-parent households with kids at home are without life insurance, compared with 45 percent of married-parent families.
So get life insurance. It is smart, and by doing so you enjoy the sweat release of guilt for not doing what you know you should.
Being a single parent does not mean that one cannot develop and prosper financially. People have capabilities which can stretch a little further if they understand that they are on the parenting duty alone and do something to save the situation, and who knows, you may end up turning the tables.
Embrace that you are now financially independent
Yes, you may receive child support and/or alimony. But remember this: That money could go away any time. He could lose is job, skip town, become disabled or pass away at any moment. You cannot control that. But you can control how much you earn. And you can earn far more than a judge may order you be paid.
Set quality of life goals
There is no point in paying off a credit card bill if it means you work so much that you never see your kids or have time to exercise. Consider free time, quality time, the health and wellbeing of your family. Think about how your money and life can work together.
Decide to make more money. Take a mentor out for lunch to learn about opportunities in your profession. Research going back to school. Consider starting your own business. Talk to your boss about telecommuting and other life-balance arrangements.