By Lily Hayes of TheBabyLands.com
Yes, we have all heard this: single moms tend to be poorer than married mommies out there. But, should this be the case? I’d love to answer this with a resounding NO! Being a single mom is no fairy-tale, but you can achieve that comfortable life you have always dreamed of for yourself and for your children.
Truth be told, personal finance management is inevitably one of the most challenging aspects of being a parent, whether you are single or married. Not surprisingly, families that are headed by a single parent have the highest poverty rate in all demographic groups. In the US alone, about 60% of these families are below the poverty line. With these statistics in mind, it is imperative for us single moms to go the extra mile and become wiser than ever when it comes to money and resources in general.
When I speak of resources, I do not only refer to MONEY alone. In order to become a wise spender, you need to also know how to make use of your TIME as well. Knowing how to use these two will enable you to rear your children, take care of yourself more, and become a better person overall. So, allow me to share what I have learned so far when it comes to dealing with money and resources matters as I strive to cultivate a financially sound future for my entire family.
Here are my top 5 money secrets.
1. Invest in yourself career-wise.
Believe it or not, being a single mom should not hinder your becoming a successful career woman. In order to achieve this, find something that you enjoy or love, and use it as a basis for your own career. For instance, as writing is my passion, I have used to it to fuel my career as a freelance writer. Build your own professional life around what matters to you most, either through self-employment or with any company that allows both flexi-time and telecommuting.
Any profession that cuts down the commute or travel time or that enables you to be productive at home is always the best choice for single moms. Freelancing, running an online shop, or working part-time in the corporate world and establishing multiple streams of passive income are your choices. You can also learn a new skill without leaving your home by signing up for those free courses online. With the ubiquity of the Internet and the massive resources you can find online, you will find yourself inundated with opportunities.
2. Never be afraid to find ways to cut corners.
This is probably a daily struggle for many, but I love to think of it as a challenge rather than a problem. This challenge has also honed my skills in hunting down quality items that are affordable as well. For instance, being a thrift store shopper helps a lot. It has become a go-to place when I need a change in furniture or any of those big-ticket items.
Couponing is also one of the most overlooked ways to save a few bucks when heading down to the grocery shops. There are now apps and printable coupons you can clip from magazines that would enable you to get discounts or freebies. If you are pregnant, scheduling or knowing when to start purchasing stuff for your babies would also enable you to avoid overspending. Another key is to also prepare some of the food yourself rather than purchasing it directly from stores. This includes baby food, peanut butter, and marmalade.
3. Try outsourcing as well.
Okay, you may be thinking that hiring a cleaning service or sending out your own laundry would be too costly and may not be exactly a good idea. This was a misconception for me too until I tried them and was pleased with the amount of time I saved. The less time you spend on chores means the more time you can spend on taking care of your children and also building your career.
4. Have a budget-friendly fun time with your kids.
Yes, you can have fun time with your kids without breaking the bank. You can start by having simple birthday parties instead of lavish ones. The Internet is full of budget plans and examples of how you can pull off an incredible, fun birthday party without going overboard with the budget.
Another way is to check the free activities in your city or community. Free festivals, parades, museums, and play places are just a few examples. Traveling is also possible as long as you can plan seriously. With all the budget airlines and travel agencies around, you can find one package that would not burn a hole in your pocket. Remember that these leisure activities are immensely helpful in the social development of your children. You also need a stress-free time with them.
5. Get serious about budgeting and time management.
Consistency is a must. When saving, budgeting, and managing your time well, you should remain committed to doing them. Every single mom needs a plan and a budget. Even in making purchasing decisions as simple as buying your kid’s toothbrush, you need to consider whether the brand is worth every penny you spend on it. It is highly advised that single moms should at least set aside 10-15% of their income for an emergency fund.
Using technology is likewise another way to save money. You can use budgeting apps to help you stay on track with your finances. These apps could also instantly remind you if your finances are about to be in the red.
Achieving financial freedom is POSSIBLE even if you are a single mom. Being wise and being keen on planning are two of the best ways to achieve this. Also, keep in mind that you, too, are allowed to dream big for yourself and for your family even with very little resources. After all, single moms are tantamount to modern-day heroines who are capable of achieving anything and everything for the sake of their children. Agree?
I am Lily Hayes, a writer and teacher by profession who firmly believes that motherhood is the fulfilling experience we can ever have in this world and founder of TheBabyLands.com. I have spent years being an expert in what I do. I love my job immensely because I love to share and create things that will have a big impact on people. In fact, I have already written various e-books about self-development and parenting. Follow me on Twitter @TheBabyLandsCom