What’s harder than raising a child? Raising one by yourself. Saving money as a single parent can be difficult when you’re living off of just one income; however, it’s also extremely important. First, stop making excuses. Saying things like “I don’t make enough” or “I’ll do it later” will just end up holding you back from good fortune. Remember, the sooner you start saving, the more you can save. Easier said than done, right?
While savings can go towards future needs like a college fund or home purchase, it can also afford you financial security and reassurance—and that alone will let you sleep a whole lot easier at night.
i♥moms asked the pros for some clever money-saving tips that will help you face the unique challenges of being a single parent. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Start Saving With A Plan
Single moms often overlook long-term investments, such as retirement plans, because they’re overwhelmed by short-term needs like new tires, credit card debt, etc…But don’t fall into that trap. Savings should be your priority. Don’t try to save whatever is left at the end of the month. Decide how much you’re going to save, and stick to it! Consider this: If you can manage to save just $5O a month, that’s $600 a year. Over the course of 5 years, that’s $30,000! Imagine what you could do with that kind of money…
2. Keep A Reverse Budget
If your goal is to save say $200 a month, have the bank automatically take $100 out of each of your bimonthly paychecks and transfer it to an interest-earning savings account. This allows you to satisfy your priorities first—and use the rest of your money to live on.
3. Pay Next Month’s Bills
Getting behind in your bills can quickly snowball you into debt. Steer clear of nasty late fees and accruing interest by planning ahead. Make a list of all of your recurring fixed monthly bills (loans, utilities, mortgage, rent) and, at the start of the month write out a check to pay each one. Don’t send them in until they’re due, but still deduct them from your balance. This way, you’ll have a clear idea of how much money you have left to save and what you can afford to spend for the months.
4. Log Your Credit Cards
When you charge an item on your credit card, mark it down in your checkbook and delete the purchase from your balance (use an “A” for American Express instead of a check number). When you receive your statement, double-check that all of your charges coordinate with your log. Instead of charging things blindly, you’ll see the money subtracted right from your funds, and you’ll stop buying before the balance is zero.
5. Plan For The Unexpected
Once a month, review your finances from the previous month and look ahead to see if any unusual payments might be approaching—for example recurring bills that aren’t monthly like auto insurance or an approaching birthday gift. Work all of these expenses into your budget so nothing takes you by surprise.
If you have any expert mom saving tips, please share!