Being a single mom can be difficult, to say the least. Not only do you have to keep your household afloat all by yourself, but taking care of children at any age can be mentally consuming and financially overwhelming.
Of course, as a mom your number one goal is to provide the best life possible for your children because above all they mean the world to you and you love them more than you could possibly say in words. Getting financial independence, as a single mom, is doable when you take charge of your situation with confidence. Let’s explore the steps to take so you can make sure your future finances will be something you can handle with direction and skill, after a divorce, when you can’t rely on spousal support payments or child support. These tips are also for those that have chosen with bravery to become a parent all on their own without a partner.
Create a Monthly Budget
In order to know exactly how much money you need to bring in every month, it’s vital to create a monthly budget. This will show you on paper what your expenses are month-to-month including your rent or mortgage payments, food, transportation, insurance, and utilities costs, debt payments, and other miscellaneous expenses.
You may even have daycare or a private school education to pay for that should also be taken into account when creating your monthly budget. Factor in all of your expenses so you know exactly how much money needs to be spent each month for you to live comfortably with your children’s needs taken care of.
Set Savings Goals
You want to start setting some savings goals for things like emergency expenses, if you get laid off or are without a job for some reason for an extended period of time. Usually, we recommend setting three to six month goal of savings to cover living expenses, food, and other bills.
There is also the matter of college for your children to consider. Even if your children are a decade or more away from college, starting a 529 plan with the government can help encourage saving for their future academic endeavors.2 Anyone can contribute to that account for your children, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends. The more people who care about you and your child’s future the better, especially as a single mom. Remember it takes a village!
Develop Discipline About Money
If you are coming out of a marriage, your spending habits might need to be adjusted. Developing discipline about frugal money matters is a skill that can be practiced and learned with a little gumption. Only buy the things you want with cash most of the time. Try not to rely on credit cards to get you through or buy extra things you and your children may not actually need.
Teaching your little ones about wise spending practices and savings are another terrific part of your job as a single mom. They’ll thank you for those life lessons dealing with money later on in life when you show them how well you can live on a dime. The difference between “needs” and “wants” can even be explained to very young children. Get them used to being conscientious and thoughtful with money. It’s a great lesson to show them by practicing it yourself too.
Setting financial goals for your future as a single mom doesn't have to be difficult. By properly budgeting and saving for things like home ownership, college expenses, and even how to factor in that dream vacation to Disney World with your kids, you'll be one step closer to regaining financial independence as a single mom. If you want a more specific idea on the average cost of raising a child until the age of 18, you can use this handy calculator by the USDA.1 It takes into account being a single parent, where you live, and your annual income.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.