Living on just one income isn’t easy when you have kids to feed, clothe, and provide for financially without any help. But though it may seem difficult at times, it isn’t impossible. In fact, many women all over the world raise their children alone, and they do it well. Interestingly enough, the way that they are able to stay afloat has to do with their ability to manage money carefully and effectively. So whether you are a new single mother wondering how you are going to make it or a seasoned one who is looking for ways to stretch a dollar, these budgeting tips may just be exactly what you need to help provide for your children.
Creating a Budget
A budget is a list that tells you exactly where your money is going to be spent each month. It should include all of your bills and other expenses. Small allowances must even be made for hygiene products and other miscellaneous items. To make a budget, write out every expense that you can think of and when it is due. The first month of budgeting might be a little more difficult because there may be items that you didn’t account for initially. But write them down as you go to make the next month’s list more accurate. It is crucial that every penny be allocated correctly, so record all of your financial transactions too.
Cut Your Costs
After you look through your budget, you might notice that you have more expenses than you do income. Because having a little money put back is crucial for emergencies, this excess spending has to be cut back so that you can start saving money. Go through the list to see ways that you can possibly reduce your monthly costs. Perhaps, you could cancel the satellite service and reduce eating out to just once a week. Or you could start packing your children’s lunches instead of buying them.
Never wait until the last minute to consider an upcoming expense. Set money aside for it as soon as you possibly can. This might require allocating just a few dollars out of each paycheck for it until you have enough, but this is better than having to skip paying the phone bill because your children need money for school pictures. To help save up for the expense, write the name of it on an envelope along with how much is due. Contribute to the envelope until you have the total amount that you need. Then, immediately get a money order with it, and have it ready for when it is time to pay the bill.
While it might seem silly to think about saving money while you live on a shoestring budget, it is absolutely necessary to do this. The trick is to think about the contribution to your savings account as a bill, but instead of paying a debtor, you pay yourself. Each month you add a set amount to the savings account on a specific day like clockwork. That way it becomes a habit. Just be sure to come up with an amount that you can reasonably afford, and stick with it.