Real Budgeting For The Single Mom

 

So you’ve probably seen hundreds of websites all dedicated to helping you budget your money. All them come with easy printable and fill in the blank forms.  The problem is you don’t actually stick with using it. Until NOW!!

I’m going to make this very simple for you to follow through and customize.

You have to make the time to sit down and add up all of your bills, then expenses and wala! Done. Right? Wrong…

Now you should be able to manage your money, but that’s so much harder than people will admit. Budgeting is really hard. And even harder for the single mom. In between saving and necessities, you probably don’t have much left to manage.

Let’s get you where you want to be

First things first, check your credit. Anyone can get one free each year from either Experian, Transunion, or Equifax, There are companies that you could pay to get more features, but it’s not a necessity. You’ll want to look for any discrepancies or accounts that might show late payments or past due balances and clear those up to increase your credit rating.

Second, take note of all your income to include child support or income from your babysitting side gig. Use this! Single Mom Budget Worksheet

Third, add up every expense from the previous month to include your Starbucks and kids lunch money. This will give you a more accurate picture of what you are working with for real. When you see what you bring in and what goes out, you might be surprised, which is exactly how it was for me.

Then, go over any premium services you have such as hbo packages with your cable provider or gym memberships you rarely use.  Best thing to do is to eliminate them until you can get in control of your money or negotiate a lower rate. Often times, promotional rates expire and people forget to cancel before that date so they are charged full price for a service they probably would have never gotten if it wasn’t free or very cheap.

Next, list any credit cards or loans and their interest rates. You can use this to determine where you will save the most by paying them off. Interest rates on department store cards can be 25% or more and you’ll be aware of what you’re shelling out each month.

Finally, consider increasing your income. It sounds hard, but I’ve included five ways a single mom can do it. Adding an extra $500 month that you can use to pay down debt or build an emergency fund is very critical for the single mom. We will always have something, a fundraiser, school pictures, growth spurts, and it’s so much better to be prepared than scrambling to come up with a quick fix.

Where to start!?!

Tracking your money and knowing what is going on with it will empower you to do something about it. You can’t save what you don’t have and you have to be knowledgeable in order to save.

Ultimately, you want a long term solution to your financial circumstances and the only way this will happen is if you make some changes. Some of you might only have to do a few minor things and that’s great, you’re ahead of the game! Then there’s rest of us that have maxed out credit cards and are living pay check to pay check, we have to make some drastic changes.

-Write out your financial goals and think 1-2 years from now.

-Then go over everything you earn and spend.

-Decide if you should change careers or obtain advanced training to increase your value in the job market.

The Problem

Everyone knows women mature faster than men and are essentially better at managing and multitasking. Women have run corporations and households and been quite successful. So if they are smart and competitive, what’s the problem? The problem is you’re hiding all of of those brains and skills. You play it safe and trust me I understand, but in business you have to be bold and positively driven by fear. What that means is although you might be afraid to take the lead on a new project at work, you should let that motivate you to shine!

How are you going to get ahead if no one knows your talents? Historically, women have a tendency to earn less then men. That has nothing to do with them not being phenomenal at what they do, but simply because they do not know how to get what they want. Women will hesitate to ask for a raise or promotion where men, on the other hand, will openly discuss salary before taking a position and they will also negotiate their terms.

Start this now!

Position yourself so you spend less than you make. It will be a task that you have to carefully and thoughtfully plan out. Simply wanting to start saving isn’t going to cut it. Being willing to sacrifice now will help you see a return later on.

One of the most important things I’ve learned is that you just have to start where you are. You may be thinking that it requires a lot to get things going, but it doesn’t have to. When you change your habits concerning money and understand that it really can be done, you’re on the right track.

Maybe you have a skill set that you can use to generate income. You might be great at writing resumes or planning events. Everyone is good at something and you can surely turn a profit in your spare time with the determination to succeed.

What have you got to lose?

Disclaimer: do not quit your day job on a whim. Use what you already have and make it work for you!

No matter where you are, there’s someone willing to pay you to do something they don’t want to do or have time to do. Think beyond what you are currently doing and I bet you have some killer ideas that you’ve been scared to start. Every one of us, at some point put those things on hold because we were waiting for our situation to change or for the kids to get in school.

“It’s an excuse and it won’t help you reach your financial goals”

Those negative voices in your head that tell you no one will buy my product or pay for my services are wrong. 100% wrong! For every thought of doubt you tell yourself, there’s someone else out there stepping out and facing their fear of failure while you wait for a better time. There’s no way to get time back so stop wasting it talking yourself out of getting started!

Had you started budgeting or improving your skill set a year ago, where would you be today?

Kick start your budgeting and planning

Of course, we are not going to get it all perfect the first time around. There will be road blocks and obstacles, but that isn’t to stop you. All of those things will make you stronger and smarter. They will help you grow and work out the kinks. Here is a simple spreadsheet that you can use to get a handle on your finances. Use this as a starting point and update it frequently. I recommend that you revisit it at every pay period. Single Mom Budget Worksheet

Want to make an extra $500?

So for starters, let me tell you that $500 might not seem like a lot for most people, but for a single mom it really is. For example, if an unexpected medical bill comes up or your car breaks down, you are going to need to pay for it quickly. When you don’t already have a nice sized savings account it can really put a strain on your pocketbook.

  1. Garage sale- these cost you roughly $5.00 for a permit if your city requires one. The rest of the cost is in your time. Advertise it on craigslist or Facebook. Put your items in the driveway and sell to the highest bidder. You may not even realize how many items you don’t need or use.
  1. Facebook Marketplace- now you might have to make pickup or drop off arrangements many times, but it’s an effective way to unload your items. Make sure your ad clearly details any damages and use clear pictures. It’s easy to use and you don’t  have to pay for it.
  1. Drive for Uber or Lyft- this one has some drawbacks in that you have to have an updated model vehicle and pass a criminal history and driving history check.
  1. Be a tutor- a lot of moms ask me to do this for their kids. Not because I’m super smart, but because I have the patience to help kids figure it out. You can charge $20 for one hour and with a couple of students you will earn the extra income. You can spread the word through your kids and their teacher or other parent friends.
  1. Pet sitting- this one is a matter of preferences and not for everyone. You can use a popular online site called Rover. You join and list your available accommodations and people hire you in your area. They do get a cut of what you make so keep that in mind. Or you can advertise on craigslist in your city. A lot of pet owners leave for the holidays so, if you are free,  grab a few bucks!

Budget, Understand Credit, Increase Income

There are several others that are not on here such as airbnb. It is a great program, but as a single mom this may not be for you. My point is to show you options. You don’t have to feel discouraged because someone else failed way before you did and made it through.

If you have the gift of doing hair or makeup go for it! Put yourself out there. The main thing is to get started. Single moms are smart and resourceful when it comes to their kids, but they often forget about themselves. Every time an idea comes into your mind just write it down. It will be stored on paper and in your subconscious. When an opportunity presents itself it will come back to you. Then you have to act on it.

Budgeting and increasing income go hand in hand. You have some tips and steps to help you get started today. Think about all the dreams and goals you had as a little girl and see if anything resonates now. There’s a great chance that it will and you can get that extra push!

Feel free to comment and share your ideas.

 

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