Single parenthood comes with tremendous financial obligations that pop up quickly and need urgent attention. A relatable example that comes to mind is, of course, the pandemic, which required a lot of parents to purchase devices to ensure that their kids had access to virtual learning. These spur-of-the-moment financial responsibilities are undoubtedly stressful; however, that does not automatically mean that as a single parent, you can’t have a healthy relationship with money.
As with any life process, it will not be easy; however, the same recipe applies here. Self-discipline, diligence, and sacrifice will get you the money you need to place your family in a healthy financial space. Here are five easy-to-follow budgeting tips for single mums.
- Read Finance Books: On your quest to financial freedom, you must learn from those who have gained some measure of financial success. Finance books tend to have different tips and tricks, which you can use to train your mind to handle money in a more responsible way. Essentially, they teach you how to make your money work for you, instead of you being caught up in the process of working for money, i.e. living pay cheque to pay cheque. For a list of personal finance books you can read, click here.
- Budget for Your New Reality: This means that you constantly have to re-evaluate where you are in life. If you are a newly single mum, then this may mean you now have to refocus the goals you may have planned on achieving in a two-income household, to now one income only. For those mums who have been single for a while, you can create a monthly budget considering your expenses. Firstly you must consider your day-to-day expenses. Yes, adding to your savings account may be great, but it may not be feasible based on your immediate expenses, such as bills and groceries. How much money does it take to run your household on a daily basis? When you gain such clarity with your finances, then you can focus on adding to your savings account. Save all of your receipts to monitor your spending habits and see where you can cut back on spending, if possible.
- File Your Taxes on Time: For single mums who are business owners, you should definitely consider filing your quarterly income taxes on time. You never know when you may be entitled to a tax refund, which may come in handy. Quarterly taxes are due on March 31st, June 30th, September 30th and December 31st, so keep those dates in mind. For single mums who are employed, ensure that your Payroll Department has all of your information so when you have to file taxes, it will be an easier process for you both.
- Pay Off Debts: This is one of those statements that is one hundred per cent easier said than done. However, holding on to debt means that a portion of your income is already spoken for before you even have it! Debt is a barrier to financial freedom, and you can make your money work for you, the faster you get it out of your way. If you have several debts to pay simultaneously, I suggest consolidating them into one monthly payment. That may be easier to manage than having several ‘OVERDUE’ reminders throughout the month.
- Do a Savings Challenge: If savings is a realistic goal for you, a realistic means of achieving it is participating in a savings challenge. And I’m not talking about a pyramid scheme or even a regular sou-sou. Saving requires self-discipline, so it’s best you do it on your own. You can start small and work your way up to larger savings goals. Savings Challenges include a calendar with applicable monetary figures that you should set aside periodically, which add up to an overall figure. For example, Clark.com has a ‘Save $2,021 in 2021’ savings challenge that follows the same system. Download it here.
With your finances in check, single parenthood will be easier to manage. At the very least, it may be one less thing you have to worry about.
Clark.com. (2021). Save $2,021 in 2021. Retrieved January 12, 2021, from https://clark.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Save-2021-in-2021-chart.pdf