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10 Personal Finance Tips As A Single Mom

by Stanloski

Introduction

Personal finance is a must-do whether you’re working toward financial independence or are currently trying to avoid bankruptcy. money management can be tough when you’re raising kids alone. When you are single, it’s important to keep your finances in order, so you can provide the best life possible for your children and yourself. These 10 tips will help you do just that!

1) Have a Bank Account
When you’re a single mom, it can be easy to let bills go unpaid and have debt pile up. It may feel like you have no choice, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Having a dedicated bank account where money for household expenses goes automatically each month is key when you’re on your own and working hard to pay all your bills. If you don’t already have one, make creating an account a priority for yourself; then, each month after paying all your other bills (including rent or mortgage), deposit whatever money is left into that account for use in keeping your family afloat financially.

2) Know What Your Money Is Doing
Before you start changing your spending habits, it’s important to understand what’s currently going on with your finances. How much do you make? Where does that money go? How many accounts do you have and how much money is in each of them? This process can be done manually, or there are a number of personal finance software applications that can walk you through it. And once you have all of your data collected, know where you want to spend less (and earn more). Consider eliminating any non-essential costs that aren’t contributing positively to your life.

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3) Use Online Banking Services
Tracking your spending and saving habits is a vital part of getting a handle on your personal finances. That’s why you need to get yourself set up with online banking, which allows you to monitor every dollar that comes in and out of your bank account. One key tool: an automated savings account that funnels money into a savings plan without you having to lift a finger, whether it’s to pay bills or help boost your emergency fund. Automating these tasks makes it easy for single moms, who are often busy caring for children and running errands all day, to keep track of their finances and create—and maintain—an emergency fund for emergencies like car repairs or job loss.

4) Set Up and Stick to a Budget
The first step to navigating your finances as a single mom is establishing a budget. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be realistic, detailed and something you can stick to. Make sure you account for recurring expenses, like rent or mortgage payments and utilities (which also serve as an easy reminder that they need to get paid). Don’t forget about food, entertainment (like movies and concerts), clothing and gifts for your kids. Then work out how much money is left over each month for savings—because saving should definitely be on your list of priorities. Budgeting isn’t always easy but it doesn’t mean you need to feel like there are things you can never buy again either.

5) Track Your Spending
Spending money is easier than earning it. Tracking your expenses will help you feel more in control of your budget and allow you to make better decisions with your hard-earned dollars. If you use a smartphone, apps like Mint and Spendee will help you track your spending quickly and easily. You can also enter all of your transactions manually into a spreadsheet or text document if that’s easier for you. The goal is to have all of your monthly expenses on one list so that when you get paid (or pay bills), you can see how much money is available in real time. When there are no surprises, it’s much easier to make good decisions about how to spend wisely every month.

6) Be Realistic About Where You Can Save Money
If you’re just starting to save money, I recommend focusing on those areas where you can cut out wasteful spending. Look for ways to trim your budget that won’t reduce your quality of life too much; for example, don’t necessarily ditch cable if you watch it infrequently and only subscribe to what you know you’ll watch. Instead, try cutting back on subscription services like streaming video or music sites. If doing so helps your finances in a meaningful way, it might make sense to do a little extra work watching TV or listening to music (or whatever else) in order to get these savings—you should be living within your means either way.

7) Consider Monthly Maintenance Costs
When thinking about how much money you need to put away each month, don’t forget about basic costs such as rent, utility bills and transportation costs. If you live in an apartment building that requires a monthly parking fee, budget for that fee. If your job requires you to travel every now and then for work purposes, budget for those plane tickets or hotel stays. These regular expenses can really add up over time. When planning your financial future, it is important to account for these monthly fees so you know just how much extra income will be needed to make ends meet each month.

8) Keep an Emergency Fund
While you may be hesitant to keep extra cash on hand in case of an emergency, it’s important that you don’t incur any additional debt while trying to get back on your feet. One way single moms can avoid incurring further debt is by having a small emergency fund (maybe around $500) at all times. Any time there’s a large purchase or expensive event coming up—like Christmas, for example—you can use your reserve funds to cover these purchases instead of using credit cards or loans. This keeps you from digging yourself deeper into debt as well as allowing you to maintain financial independence and privacy.

9) Stay Ahead of Credit Card Debt
Credit card debt is a huge problem for many Americans. The average household with credit card debt owes more than $15,000 in credit card bills, and more than 40 percent of those people don’t even pay off their entire balance each month. Given that U.S. families owe $1 trillion in credit card debt—that’s about $4,800 per person—it’s clear that too many Americans are carrying a heavy burden from their plastic. When you’re struggling to make ends meet as a single mom, it’s hard enough to plan for your immediate future; when you’re also trying to figure out how to get rid of credit card debt you’ll need plenty of planning power to stay on top of it all.

10) Find Ways to Save Money on the Go
Stay on top of your personal finance to ensure you’re not spending too much, but don’t get so hung up on numbers that you miss out on life. The goal is financial freedom—not necessarily being a penny pincher. Spending money wisely does not mean depriving yourself of everything and anything; it means strategically saving for what matters most. Now is a great time to think about ways you can save some cash without completely changing your lifestyle. In fact, many of these tips will help you simplify your life while having fun in the process! Go ahead, make some room in your budget by cutting back on excessive shopping trips and mindless entertainment expenses. You’ll be able to have more fun with less!

Conclusion

Managing your personal finance as a single parent could be a tedious activity but with the right tips and guides, it is definitely a worthwhile and doable thing.  Having control over your own personal finance gives you a lot of control over your life and you shouldn’t give this up for anything.

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