Parenting is one of the most rewarding and hardest jobs on the planet. However, when you are a single mom it is even more demanding as you have to raise your kids in the right way and make ends meet. Single mothers have to go through numerous struggles in their day-to-day lives especially when it comes to finances. This guide will help you to learn how struggling single moms can make ends meet.
Why Are Single Moms Struggling To Make Ends Meet?
Being a single mother is a difficult job. Every mother wants to give the best life to their children. However, living as a solo mother makes it thousand times more difficult to provide for a child and raise them single-handedly. As per the latest data around 31% of households are headed by single moms and they’re living below the poverty line while 24% of the households suffer from food insecurity. Single-mother families are in a vulnerable position in terms of financial aspects. They suffer from housing instability, food insecurity, poverty, unemployment, mental health problems, and criticism from society for being a bad parent. Many single mothers have to leave their higher entrepreneurial dreams or educational goals midway through multiple jobs to provide for their families and children.
Can Single Moms Survive Financially?
Low-income single mothers who are struggling financially can survive and provide the best life for their children by following the right parenting tips, strategies, and budgeting methods. Although money cannot purchase happiness it is still an integral part of our lives. Single mothers who take a temporary break from education or work and have no support system have to lead a challenging financial life. You may be eligible to receive child benefits or alimony however it is not always adequate to cover all the mandatory expenses and needs. To survive financially single moms need to change their financial behavior, start cutting unnecessary expenses and practice strict budgeting. They can avail of financial programs that can help them with housing, food, clothing, rent and utility assistance, child care, transportation help, and many other things. Avoid taking loans that come with costly interest rates as it can negatively impact your budget. Loans should be the last resort for you if you are unable to cover your needs even after budgeting and locating help. If you’re already in financial problems then obtaining emergency or payday loans can make your economic situation worse. So stick to your financial goals and do not hesitate to seek help.
Tips For Single Mothers To Make Ends Meet
It is no secret that raising children in the United States is expensive. Single mothers on one source of income have to raise their children and fulfill all obligations on their own. In case you are struggling to cover your financial expenses as a single mom then the following advice and tips will help you in the long way.
1. Make A Budget
Single moms struggling to make ends meet should make a comprehensive and strict budget which will be a valuable tool for them and help them in financial matters. You need to take your time and effort and work on exactly how much you are earning in the month and how much expenditure you are incurring. If your expenses are exceeding your income then you need to investigate the expenses which you can cut or how to bring extra money on the side if you have the right resources and time. You can make use of helpful guidelines that are available online and will help you to make a strict budget. In case you are unsure about how to go further then it is a worthwhile decision to consider appointing a financial advisor.
Make smart choices when it comes to determining your income and household expenses. Even money that you put away for future savings or gasoline needs to be factored in. When you write your expenses and compare them with your income you get organized and get a clear idea about how to manage your finances in a better way without increasing your debt. Saving money will perhaps be the last thing to cross a single mother’s mind if they are presently battling to make ends meet. But this is a critical and significant step to take as a solo mom. You need to build up a nest egg to get peace of mind that you are making a fund to cover any emergency where you might have to curtail an unexpected and hefty cost. Single mothers who have an emergency to cover and do not have any savings can avail of payday loans. Payday loans are short-term loans that have low rates of interest compared to personal loans and can be obtained quickly within the same day of applying and also do not come with much fuss. However, ensure to check all the terms and conditions of payday loans before applying. They might come with high fees and can cost you a lot in the long run.
3. Shop Smarter
Single mothers can save hundreds of dollars every month by optimizing their approach to shopping. For instance, you can plan your meals a week ahead before visiting the store and learn exactly what you need without buying unnecessary ingredients which will go to waste. It is an excellent idea to search for discounts or coupons online and plan your future meals based on the ingredients which can help you in saving money. Single moms who are struggling should avoid making impulsive decisions when it comes to grocery shopping and always go to the retail store with a list of comprehensive grocery items.
4. Get Childcare Help
One of the biggest financial issues for single moms which makes it difficult for them to make ends meet is spending money on childcare services. This is expensive to begin with if you cannot pay for the daycare costs. A lot of single mothers cannot go to work or continue their education without availing childcare. Fortunately, there are many states which come with childcare assistance programs and offer subsidies so that single moms can cover the cost of childcare and access affordable childcare services. You might have to spend some amount from your pocket, however, you can save a substantial amount of money by becoming eligible for the childcare assistance program.
5. Change Your Financial Habits
Financial planning is key to surviving initially as a single mom. Cutting off on unnecessary expenses will help you to avoid emotional spending. You need to calculate the amount of money that you are receiving every month and make a list of the expenses that you need to cover. This must include essential items such as utilities, rent, transportation, groceries, education, building an emergency fund, and so on. Single mothers should try the 50-30-20 rule which means that they need to put 50% of their income towards needs, 30% towards their wants, and 20% towards making savings. Review your spending habits and determine the areas where you need to change your habits. Try living within your means and avoid going into huge debt unless it is an emergency. Open up a bank account and avoid carrying a lot of cash to eliminate overspending. This will help you to improve your financial health.
6. Seek Out For Help
There isn’t any shame in seeking help and support as a single mother. When things are difficult you can avail help from your friends, family members, or close relatives. Whether it is government assistance programs, support from nonprofit organizations, or financial assistance from your friends and family, some people can help you to get back on your feet when you are unable to take care of your family. A lot of single mothers not only suffer from financial problems but also from mental health problems such as isolation, anxiety, depression, and so on. There are support groups and online communities that have been designed for single parents and you can reach out to them and get support from them.
7. Locate Affordable Housing
It is difficult for single mothers to find affordable housing at cheap prices as real estate properties and rents are constantly increasing with each passing day. Single mothers who are unable to cover their rent and utility payments can take assistance from a lot of sources. You can take advantage of federal programs such as the Temporary Assistance For Needy Families Program, HUD programs, and the low-income Home Energy Assistance program. These programs are designed for low-income families so that they can meet their monthly home cooling and heating bills. Such programs also cover the cost of small repairs to the cooling and heating system. Checking out federally funded programs is one of the best ways for single moms struggling financially as they offer free money and can help you to cover your monthly bills. If you are unable to afford a home then make sure that the rent that you are paying is affordable and in a safe environment for your children to grow and thrive.
8. Check Scholarships And Grants
When it comes to making ends meet as a single mom make sure you as well as your kids have social time and money left over at the end of the week and you’re in the best position to afford schooling. Applying for grants, student loans and scholarships will help you to afford college and provide a better life for yourself and your children. Education is the gateway to good employment and financial security in one’s life. Financially challenged single mothers can avail free help from the government, NGOs, and private entities to complete their education, get a good job and be financially independent. Single mothers who wish to go back to school and complete their education can avail of grants, affordable loans, and scholarship programs to cover their educational expenses. The grants and loans are determined by FAFSA and are awarded to low-income single-mom students with the utmost need.
9. Move To An Affordable Place
Finding an affordable neighborhood will help you in saving a lot of money and even afford other spheres of life. Single mothers can consider moving to a location that comes with low accommodation costs or where they can find a small house within their budget. For instance, you can move to the suburbs which are more affordable compared to the expensive United States citizens like Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Washington. You also need to take the cost of transportation and traveling time in mind when relocating to a new place. This is especially true for single mothers who want to study or get employment prospects in the city.
10. Get Life And Health Insurance
Getting insurance is a way to save money in the long run and also prevent financial problems in the worst scenarios. Having life insurance will give you the peace of mind that your family can survive financially in the event of your death. Health insurance on the other hand will cover the cost of emergency or preventive treatment for you and your children. Even though not every healthcare procedure can be covered under one plan, getting insurance will reduce the number of expenses that would have been spent from your pocket.
There are many ways to survive and succeed as a single mom even in the toughest of times. Single parenting is the hardest and most fulfilling job on earth but being less prepared will make your situation more difficult. If you’re wondering how you can survive financially as a solo mother then try to find a support system which is a key to success. With a strong support system and a realistic mindset, you can make your life easier. In this way, solo mothers can be in better control of their finances.