Managing your money as a single parent can be tough, especially if you’re already overwhelmed by caring for your children and working.
To keep everything in order, you need to keep track of your money so that you can make the most of it.
From tracking your budget to sticking to your plan, these tips will help you better manage your finances as a single parent so that you can stay out of debt and save some extra cash.
1) Create a budget
Find a system that works for you and stick with it. Don’t beat yourself up if you have trouble sticking with it.
If your budgeting system doesn’t seem to be working, try something new. Spend time each week looking over the bills and expenses you need to pay.
To do this, make a list of all the things you spend money on in one month. Next, divide the list into categories like rent/mortgage, food, transportation etc. Then create your own budget based on what’s important to you.
You can also add savings goals or retirement accounts at this point. Include any fixed expenses (utilities, car insurance) that you know are going to come out of your account every month.
2) Automate your finances
When you’re single parenting, it can be difficult to stay on top of the finances. Find ways to automate your finances so you can spend less time worrying about money and more time enjoying being a single parent.
If you don’t know where to start, ask for help! There are plenty of resources available for anyone who is struggling financially – some things that may help are budgeting apps or programs like Mint or You Need A Budget, which will automatically keep track of all your spending.
Some people also find that they have luck with splitting up their bills with friends, family members, or other groups of people in order to get them paid on time.
Other people find relief in letting go and hiring someone else to take care of their financial worries, like a CPA or an accountant.
3) Avoid impulsive decisions
One way to avoid impulsive decisions is by setting financial goals for yourself. Setting goals can help you determine what are the most important things that you want in your life.
Do you want to own your own home? Do you want to send your kids to college? By setting goals, it will be easier for you to make smart financial decisions that will help you reach those goals.
For example, if one of your goals is to have enough money saved up for retirement when you’re older then you would need to start saving now and invest wisely.
If one of your goals is sending your children to college then you would need to set up an education fund and save money regularly each month.
4) Spend less than you earn
It can be tempting to want to spend your hard-earned money on fun things, but it’s important that you make sure you’re not spending more than you earn.
To do this, start by creating a budget and sticking with it.
You should set up accounts for all of your expenses, so that when they come up in the month, you know exactly how much money is available in each account.
If you need to buy something that isn’t included in your monthly allowance, wait until next month.
At the end of every year, check to see if you have any money left over and save it! There will likely be many years where you don’t have any leftover money, but these are called rainy days and they happen to everyone.
Make sure to use coupons when shopping because they will save you a lot of money – who doesn’t love free stuff?
And lastly, remember that no matter what happens during the day, always stop what you’re doing at some point in time just to take care of yourself because single parenting is tough work!
5) Don’t count on other people helping you out
As a single parent, you are the only one responsible for managing your finances and taking care of the family.
That said, don’t count on other people helping you out: don’t ask friends or family for money unless it’s an emergency, don’t borrow money without paying it back, etc.
There will be many days when you think that everything is going wrong.
One way to keep track of expenses is by using personal financial software, like Quicken or Mint (both are free).
You can also use paper and pen, which can be helpful if there is more than one person in charge of spending/managing money.
6) Get an emergency fund
Having money in the bank for emergencies can be difficult when you’re single, but it’s not impossible.
If you can’t afford to put aside an emergency fund on your own, ask for help from family or friends.
Consider setting up automatic transfers from your paycheck into an emergency fund account.
You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re always prepared for anything life throws your way.
When setting up automatic transfers, consider starting small and adding a little more each month until you reach your goal.
Make sure to also keep track of where the money is going and why – this will help you determine if adjustments need to be made so that your financial goals are met.
7) Get insurance for yourself and your children
Since you are the sole provider for your kids, it’s important that you take care of yourself financially.
That means being sure to have enough insurance coverage in place so that if something happens to you, your children will be taken care of and will be able to maintain the lifestyle they’re accustomed to.
You should also keep an eye on your retirement savings, since you’ll need these funds to help cover living expenses and college tuition.
One way single parents can stay on top of their finances is by setting up automated payments for recurring bills such as mortgage payments or car payments.
With an automated payment plan, even if a parent misses a payment deadline due to an emergency, the monthly cost still gets paid by going through an automatic withdrawal from his/her bank account at a designated time every month.