Being a single parent can be tough, not only emotionally but financially as well. There are many money-saving tips that you can use today to help put your mind at ease, free yourself from worry, so that you can be sure you are meeting all of your family’s needs.
Learning how to budget and save money will help you to become financially independent so that you can adequately care for your family.
Monthly bills and expenses can begin to pile up. That’s why it’s important to keep a detailed record of your monthly expenses, to know your budget, and to learn how to save.
Today, we will explore ways to effectively plan your budget so that the needs of your family are met.
The Importance of an Emergency Fund
We’ve all been there. Things finally seem to be turning around. Everything is going well. You’ve actually been able to pay all of the bills on time this month. Then, disaster hits. Your car breaks down. You have an unexpected medical bill. Your roof needs to be repaired. These are all things that can’t wait.
An emergency fund will help you to avoid unnecessary stress when an unexpected expense occurs. Setting aside at least $1,000 will provide you with peace of mind, knowing that you will be able to handle a small emergency without the need to use money set aside for your normal monthly expenses.
How to Set Up Your Emergency Fund
Make your emergency fund a priority. It may take several months to build this up, but the peace of mind that comes with having this extra money in case of an emergency is well worth it.
You might consider cutting cable, forgoing your morning coffee run, or giving up going out to eat until this fund is set up.
Once you have at least $1,000 saved up, don’t touch it. This is for emergencies only. No, your late-night pizza craving does not qualify as an emergency.
If you can, add money to this fund each week, even if it’s a few dollars at a time. You will be able to breathe a little easier, knowing you have money put away if you need it.
Set a Budget
Setting up a budget is essential if you are a single parent and your funds are limited.
To use an analogy, you wouldn’t go on a trip without a map. A map provides you with the necessary instructions to get to your destination the most efficient way possible. Think of a budget as your roadmap to financial freedom.
Important Steps for Creating a Budget
- Account for all of your expenses – Write down every single monthly expense. Use a spreadsheet and add up all of your expenses. Include rent/mortgage, utilities, car payment, insurance, food, gas, cell phone, Wifi, streaming services, memberships, and credit card payments. This will give you an accurate picture of how much money you need to make in order to cover the necessary expenses.
- Eliminate any expenses that aren’t absolutely necessary – Can you work out at home and cut the gym membership? Shop at a discount food store. Take a look at your streaming services. Do you need all of those? Can you cut cable? Look for places that you spend money unnecessarily.
- Automate payments if possible – Some companies will give you a discount if you have a payment automatically withdrawn from your account. You can usually set the payment date to coincide with your paycheck schedule.
- Don’t use your credit cards – This is why you have an emergency fund set up.
Use Coupons and BOGOs
Coupons are a great way to save you money at the store. Most stores now offer online coupons that you can download right to your phone. You can also print coupons online.
TIP: Pick up a Sunday paper and look for your local store’s coupon flyer. Clip coupons for products that you already buy. Do not buy something just because you have a coupon. If you wouldn’t normally purchase this item, you are not saving any money.
Most grocery stores have money-saving cards that you swipe at checkout. These usually give you money off of certain items. You can also look for BOGO deals (buy-one-get-one-free) on items you normally purchase. That is when you can stock up on these items because you are getting the items for half price.
Purchase Life Insurance
Though death is not a comfortable thing to think about, it’s important to ensure that your family will be taken care of if something happens to you.
Life insurance can be purchased very inexpensively, often for under $20/month. It’s a tough conversation to have and there are some hoops to jump through—like medical examinations— but it can mean peace of mind for you and your family, knowing that your children would be okay financially if you were no longer around to take care of them.
Get an Extra Job
Though it may seem like you have all that you can handle when you are already working full time, it may be possible for you to find odd end or part-time jobs at beingfrugal.net that don’t take up a lot of your free time to supplement your income.
You can earn extra money by babysitting, dog walking, and house cleaning. Now, more than ever, people are using shopping and riding-share services more than ever. You can sign up to be a driver or a personal shopper and earn extra money to build your emergency fund and pay off debt.
Although being a single parent can be tough, learning how to get by financially is important. By setting up an emergency fund, creating a budget, and using coupons, you will be well on your way to financial success.
Signing up for life insurance will also put your mind at ease, knowing your family is protected from financial burden. Also, taking on extra jobs will help ease financial stress.
Being a single parent can be hard, but you can learn to save for the future and live within your means through budgeting and careful financial planning.