Being a single parent is something that comes with a lot of unique challenges to face – particularly when it comes to managing your finances.
As wonderful as raising children can be, it’s not something that generally comes cheap. While two parents often mean two incomes to help make ends meet – as a single parent you’re trying to handle everything on your own – it’s no wonder that you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed.
The good news is that a great budget can be a lifesaver, and it doesn’t take a lot of work to throw one together. If you’re wondering how you’re going to manage all the hurdles of single parent-hood, start with this simple budgeting advice.
Start with a Very Basic Budget
One of the biggest mistakes that new budgeters make is assuming that their budgets need to be incredibly complicated. The truth is that the simpler your system is to start with, the better off you’ll be. Don’t put too much confusion on your plate straight away. Start with a very basic budget that outlines non-negotiable expenses like your food shop and your utility expenses, and work from there.
Once you know what you “have” to spend money on, set aside some other cash for things like savings, emergency expenses, and so on, then see what you have left. If the answer is “nothing,” start searching through your bank account statements for opportunities to save.
Look for Credit Cards with Cashback Rewards
Some people insist that the best way to spend money is to never use a credit card. Using just cash does make it easier to see where the money is leaving your account. However, it’s safe to say that credit cards have their benefits sometimes too.
For instance, there are certain cards out there that can give you rewards when you spend on certain things. If you make sure that you pay these cards off on time, then you can earn everything from free petrol to cashback.
Don’t be Afraid of Loans
If you need a little extra financial help to purchase something significant for you and your kids, then you might need to turn to a loan for help. There’s nothing wrong with this, as people take out loans every day! The key to success is making sure that you get the right deal.
Spend some time online checking the comparison websites that are available to show you what you can get out of your loan options. This way, you’re less likely to over-spend on interest for a loan that doesn’t give you a very good deal.
Buy Used and Save the Difference
This is just good budgeting advice for anyone – regardless of whether you’re a single parent or not. There are so many things that you can buy used, from cars and toys to furniture. Make sure that you look at the used options before you decide that you have to buy brand-new.
Even if you can afford to buy new, it may still be a good idea to take the used route instead. This way, you’ll have extra cash that you can put into your savings account or emergency fund at the end of the day.
Make Room for Savings
Speaking of placing extra money in your savings account – no matter how tough things look, you should always be searching for ways to put money aside for the future. Even if you’re just saving the extra pennies that you get when you pay for the shopping and get your change – every little bit helps.
The more you save for the future, the less likely it is that you’ll be completely caught off guard when an unexpected expense comes to knock you off your feet. Ideally, your aim should be to fill your emergency fund before you start saving for things like a new kitchen, a bigger house deposit, or a family vacation.
Say No More Often
Any parent can struggle when it comes to saying no to their kids – but it’s particularly tough when you’re a single parent. It’s difficult to give your children everything when you’re just one person, so it’s tempting to try and make things up to them by giving them the toys and treats that they want when they ask for them. However, you need to remember that you can’t just say “yes” to everything your children want.
The occasional treat is fine if your budget allows it, but don’t be afraid to say no to your kids when you need to, as well. Ultimately, they’ll understand in the long term.