Saving Money as a Single Parent

1.  Start tracking expenses    

If you’re a single mom or dad, then your expenses are going to be significantly higher than if you’re a stay at home mom or dad. That’s because a single parent needs to do all of the work to make sure that their children are taken care of no matter what. They have to make sure that food is there in the house, that clothes are bought and worn, and that they (the parents) have enough money for all of those things.

The good news is that the problem can be solved in a couple different ways. You can start tracking expenses as a single parent by making a list of every single cent that you spend on each expense. Or you can start tracking from the beginning and write down everything that you spend, including cash purchases and credit card purchases. Both ways will give you a good sense of how much you need to adjust your spending habits. Start with the first method and if that doesn’t give you what you need, try the second.

Nowadays, debt management has become a crucial issue for single parents. Debt can be dangerous, especially if it gets out of control, because many young people tend to use their credit cards to buy everything from food to medication without thinking about how they will pay for them. They don’t realize that when they get into debt, it’s usually not just one debt, but many, and they are likely to stay in debt for their entire lives if they don’t do something to fix the problems.

However, you don’t have to be a single parent to start tracking your expenses. Even if you are divorced or widowed, you can still make a plan to save money. You just have to take the time to start. Start with a small starter kit to get you started and then build on it from there. Saving money on energy and other everyday costs is vital as a single parent. Tracking expenses is important so that you know where you are overspending and how you can cut back. For instance, if you notice a higher then normal Gas south bill you can make more conscious energy habits to bring your costs down and by applying this strategy to all of your other expenses you can save a decent amount.

         2. Save little by little   

Being a single parent is challenging. If you have a tight budget and are in a bind financially, you might be tempted to cut back on certain expenditures and even waste money on impulse buys. The truth is, however, that you do not have to blindly follow the crowd in order to save money. The good news is that there are lots of simple ways to save money right now and breathe some new life (and new cash) into your monthly budget.

Probably the single easiest way to start cutting back on expenses and increase your savings is to make some changes in the way you eat. Eating healthier can really add up over time and can really start to pay off in the wallet. Start by eating at home, rather than eating out in restaurants.  This definitely includes bringing a lunch if you are away from home at work or play, when you would like to be eating your mid-day meal.  By eating less high-calorie food and more fruits and vegetables you can start saving money right away on grocery bills. If you enjoy a particular vegetable or fruit, try growing it yourself instead of buying it in the grocery store. Not only will you probably enjoy better tasting vegetables, but you will save money by growing them yourself as well.

Another great way to save money in the current economy is to take advantage of every available discount. Try to use coupons and rebates to save money on every purchase of household items.

Remember that even little changes tend to add up significantly over the course of a year, or even a month.

 3. Cut out excess spending 

Once you have determined how much money you need to save each month, it’s time to set up some strategies to help you cut back. The first thing you should do is call all of your credit card companies and tell them that you’ll be cutting your cards in half or even eliminating them. Don’t tell them why; just be honest and tell them that you won’t be purchasing any new cards or using your current ones any longer. You may even be able to convince them to lower your interest rate to some extent or agree to a repayment plan that allows you to pay off your balances over a longer period. This will save you more money and let them know that you’re serious about paying down your debt quickly.

After you have gotten hold of your credit cards, it’s time to start working on saving money on other things as well. A single parent with children can spend a lot of money on daycare, transportation, child support, and even clothes for their children. You can save money by setting up a savings account and investing some of the money in low-interest investments. Or you could save up money that will go toward being able to pay your child support obligations.

Another strategy you can use to cut back on your expenses is to create a household budget. It doesn’t matter what household you have. You need to sit down and create a family budget that takes into consideration every aspect of your family. Include money for daycare, transportation, child support, and any other expenses you know you’ll have each month such as groceries. For the single mom and dad, you can even include part of their paycheck to help them pay some bills including daycare.

A money management plan is essential if you are going to successfully be able to control spending. Once you know where your money is going, you are in a better position to cut back and save money. If you want to be able to have a peaceful and happy life, you need to learn money management. By cutting back on unnecessary spending and saving up, you are on your way to a frugal lifestyle which is beneficial to your long term financial goals.

Written by Faraz Butt


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