This guide will take the mystery out of how to budget your money. It will also uncover the scary budget monster under your bed. It's hard enough to stretch a dollar; it's even more harder budget for the future. That fact holds true not just for single parents, but for everyone. It is much harder for single parents. In many cases, one income is doing the job of two incomes. It's very important that you keep your child's future at the center of your plans.
We already know that they are at the center of your heart. That's why it's critical to think about their financial future. Are you struggling as a single parent
with a low income? If so, you’re exactly the person this article was written for! We are digging deep to show you the best ways in budgeting for single parents. You are used to digging deeply into your pockets and still coming up short. We want to help you take what you find in your pockets and use it wisely.
Let's Put The Spotlight on the Solution!
Efficient budgeting for single parents can be just the game changer you and your family have been looking for. Check out this CNBC article to see where you stand. This is a state-by-state guide to see how much you need yearly to maintain a household, as a single parent. You may be amazed at what you are able to do with a dollar. You may make half of the amount listed for your state. Though these numbers were before the current inflation we are facing, it gives you a good idea of where you stand. Knowing where you stand is the first step in budgeting for single parents.
This Guide Can Help You Stop The Trend of Financial Insecurity For Your Family!
Finances can be scary, and there are many reasons why people are financially insecure. Your reason may be completely different from your neighbors, but you both understand the impact of financial insecurity.
Not knowing about what's in your wallet often leads to confusion and strife. No one is made of money. Budgeting for single parents can help you understand your finances. Once you have a better understanding, you'll be able to spend more wisely.
Where Do I Begin?
Being responsible begins right now! Just like other items that require "Adulting", many people put budgeting on the back burner. Unfortunately, single parents as well as parents who reside together, will tell you that budgeting is for the birds! Let's face it sitting down and taking a full account of your financial situation is what is required for budgeting. Don't put it off for later, take care of it right now.
First Things First
According to balancemoney.com , the first thing to do is:
- Figure out how much you owe
The article entitled "Money Management 101 For Single Parents Going It Alone", gives you a 9-step method to learn how to budget your money. This was interesting because they approach budgeting starting with your debt. That is new. It's like, "Let's get all of the bad out before we start to work on the good". This is what has been keeping you up at night. DEBT. Hit that big scary monster over the head with the mirror of the truth. When you know how much you owe, you can really start to take it down. Make that monster less scary. Don't hide from it - face it.
Single parents, when it comes to finances, that is the best way to stay in balance. In fact, this particular article does not lay out a simple line by line breakdown of where your money should go until the fifth point! But let's not rush ahead! Here is your crash course in budgeting for single parents.
Figure out how much you owe (get organized), you'll need a calculator, ALL your bills, a binder or loose leaf notebook, a pen or pencil, your checkbook or your online bank statement of accounts. The author of this article suggests that you pay anything that comes due in the next seven days
Put bills that you can't pay in the next seven days or by their due date, aside. For those bills you're going to call the creditor, utility, or whoever you owe the money to and arrange payment.
Make a chart of your debts in keeping with this approach of tackling the bad first. Balancemoney.com has a "paying down my debts" chart that you can print for free. No matter how you decide to create your debt chart, you should include a columned list for:
- The name of the debt
- The total balance left to be paid on the debt
- The percentage rate you are paying on the debt
- Leave the fourth column of your debt chart blank for future use ...to track payments
2. Eliminate any joint debt that still exists with your ex. Here is an example of where unique situations come into play. Special concerns with budgeting for single parents include holding on to your ex by continuing to be in their wallet. By the same token, they may be trying to hold onto you by remaining in your wallet. Your divorce decree states that one of you has to pay off a joint credit card. You must follow it, but if they are not paying, let the court know. If your ex's name is on your utility bill, the writer suggests that you disconnect the service and then reconnect in your name only. We know this may be difficult, especially if you have a low income. However, it's better to be safe than sorry. Your spouse may incur future debt or fees that you may be left holding the bag for. Completely separate.
3. Finding extra money to start paying off your debt. According to the experts, you can find extra money in places like:
Your grocery spending. Try cutting out excess takeout orders. Try using store-brand items instead of more expensive name-brand groceries. The quality is usually just as good.
- Cell phone and phone-related bills. EASY Wireless can help you with this one. Cell phone bills are through the roof. Now that cell phones have become a necessity for both of you and your children, companies take advantage of them. Low-income individuals qualify for some government-related benefits when it comes to their cell phones. Read more about EASY Wireless below. Other ways to save on cell phones are to consolidate. Maybe your three-year-old really doesn't need their own phone at preschool!
- Insurance premiums are another way to cut down. Speak with a professional about how you can utilize a major carrier instead of the local mom and pop agent. You'll be surprised at how much you can save.
- Entertainment related expenses such as satellite services or cable can be eliminated. Taking the time to research your streaming services and offerings from cable television can maximize savings.
The experts say that many single parents make the big money mistake of trying to give their children more material items because one parent is not in the household. This is a huge mistake that many single parents fall into. Be mindful of this. Learn the lesson. Don't create a materialistic individual. Paying attention to quality time is more substantial, than a lot of useless toys and junk that will be outgrown anyway. Your child will never outgrow your love and attention.
4. Now you're ready to pay down or pay off your debt. Again, this is going to be unique for everyone. Whatever extra money you've been able to find – use it to pay off your debt. If it's $20, if it's $200 – use it to pay off your debt. Any financial gift you receive from friends or family for birthdays or other special events – use to pay off your debt. The experts encourage you to pay off the debt with the highest interest rates first. That's gonna save you more money that you can use to pay off other debts. They also suggest the following:
- Whenever possible, pay more than the minimum payment on your debt
- Remember to continue paying the minimum payment on any other debts
5. BUDGET! These experts are using tough love. Now and only now are you able to sit down and write out a budget. They feel that getting rid of debt is so important. That's a huge scary monster that has been taken from under your bed. Following this plan gives you intimate contact with your debt. Previously, you probably just avoided it. You may have a stack of envelopes, like most people, piled high with things you just don't want to know about. You've finally opened the envelope. Now it's time to get to work on budgeting. Budgeting for single parents can be tricky, but you can do it.
The experts suggest that you get a budgeting app. Later on in the guide we discuss some of the very best budgeting apps. Some of them have a fee involved. However, there is one budgeting app that is completely free. It's called Mint. The author of this particular 101 class recommends that you get Mint for your budgeting means.
Once you take a look at the website, you'll be able to click on an online budgeting calculator. The author created this with you in mind. It has specifics for budgeting for single parents. However, in general, your budget should look like this. Following this general guideline of percentages can help you get on track and stay on track: (will a link to Mint be included so that it’s not confused with Mint Mobile?)
- Housing – 30%
- Food – 12%
- Automobile – 14%
- Insurances – 5%
- Debt – 5%
- Entertainment – 7%
- Clothing – 6%
- Savings – 5%
- Medical/dental – 4%
- Miscellaneous – 7%
- Child care – 5%
- Investments – 5%
We've added some items to your budget that may be useful for single parents such as:
- Budgeting for your return to school
- Budgeting for your children's future education
6. Consider what financial goals you should achieve. Now that you know where you are, you can determine where you want to go. Maybe you should consider filing for child support. People have a lot of reasons for avoiding this.None of the reasons make sense. The fact is that you created a child with another human being and they should be financially responsible for that child. It is not a personal decision, it is not slander against the other parent. It is simple 1+1 = 2. As a single parent you need money, and more importantly, your child or children need money. You should file for child support.
- Is it time to consider getting a job that pays more?
- Maybe it's time to relocate to a more cost-effective residence.
- Have you considered going back to school to earn more money?
- Many single parents find that living with another single parent and sharing expenses and childcare is helpful.
Consider these options.
7. Let the chips start rolling in. This comprehensive introductory class for budgeting includes a fun part. Make more money. Just because you have a low income now does not mean you have to stay there. Yes, you can invest even if you receive government assistance. Changing generational financial situations can occur. This will show you and your child or children that you can do it. The future could always be brighter than the present.
Find out what your net worth is. There are programs on Mint.com, Microsoft Money, and Quicken that will help you calculate your net worth automatically. Cringe cringe – don't be afraid of this monster either. Knowing what you're worth on paper will give you the black-and-white visual that you need to possibly increase it. Stop guessing and find out what your net worth is.
Those savings were mentioned in your monthly budget. Here is another reminder to actually do it. Your savings account should be set up. The amount you choose should be maintained and nothing should stop you from saving.
8. Pinch your pennies harder! OK, you're almost at the end of this course. Keep going! Being very disciplined will help you stretch your dollars even further. That way you can save, that way you can pay off your debt even faster and show your children what you're doing! This is how you stop generational financial problems. Let them see how to budget a bank book. Let your children see the sacrifices that you're making for their future. Don't keep it a secret. Keeping it a secret will just create individuals who don't know how to budget their money.
Practicing discipline is key to maintaining the budget you have set. As a single parent, take a look at Freecycle. Some people give away things that you pay hundreds of dollars for.
9. Check in with yourself every week financially. Sit down and take a weekly assessment of what you need. Look at future spending needs as well. Balance your bank book. Make certain to pay your bills. During this financial check and you can write your grocery list as well.
Here Is Your Single Parent Power Booster
You Got This – literally – you and no one else. You may be alone, but you have the power! A marriage dies without compromise. Bank accounts crash without compromise. Many divorced couples will tell you that fiscal differences caused the end of their relationship. This is where you have the upper hand single parents.
You can plan your financial future without answering to anyone.
When you make the decision to do better by budgeting for yourself and your child/children, you don't have to worry about someone else messing it up. You can apply what you learn in this guide.
This fact does not belittle the struggles you face financially as a single parent. It's hard being the sole breadwinner.. We will not go into how varied and unique your financial situation is. As you know, your financial situation is as unique as you are.
If you are the sole planner, you don't have to cringe when your significant other has overdrawn the account. No embarrassing moments at the grocery check out when your debit card is declined. You and you alone are in charge of how your money is managed. Take this single parent booster shot and run with it all the way to the bank.
The Technology Of Budgeting
EASY Wireless must be in your budget. Saving money and doing the best you can to cut down on excesses includes your handheld friend. Take a look at their website to learn more about the cost-effective, high quality services they offer. Keep the technology right in the palm of your hand.
offers the benefits from the Affordable Connectivity Program. If you qualify for certain government-sponsored programs, you may also qualify for the ACP. Put EASY Wireless on your list, Not only can you receive a free SIM card to pop into your phone, you will have access to the internet. To see if you qualify fill out the box below.
Start Saving Today!
Once you have yourself set, install a budgeting app. It will help you maintain a clear account of your spending, savings and bills. Investopedia advises as follows regarding the Best Budgeting Apps:
- Best Overall Budgeting App - You Need A Budget (YNAB)
- Best Free Budgeting App - Mint
- Best Budgeting App For Cashflow - Simplified by Quicken
- Best Budgeting App For Over spenders - Pocket Guard
You've Uncovered All Of The Scary Monsters When It Comes To Your Budget
Go forth and prosper, single parent. 1+1=2. You've learned to take the emotion out of your finances. Rubbing two dollars together does not produce more. You are simply going to have to work at this. Seek financial or therapeutic counseling, if needed. Use this guide, to get the help and amazing plans offered by EASY Wireless and power forward. The lights are on now. Take control of your financial future for yourself and your children.