Life is never easy for single parents, and it throws even more challenges in the way of single moms. It can be quite difficult for single moms to balance home and work. What makes things even complicated is to keep a budget in check. Sometimes, cutting spending is not that easy, but it is not impossible to learn how to stay in control of your money.
Do Not Spend Money on Daycare
A large portion of your income will go towards childcare expenses because the service may cost you up to $700 every month. The problem is that you just cannot dump your little ones on the side of the street while you go to work, but you can always look for a friend or another family member to lend a helping hand in this situation. Alternatively, you can avoid going out and find a work-from-home job. This way, you can earn money without having to spend hundreds of dollars on childcare.
Go Grocery Shopping Alone
When you have a budget to take care of, you should ensure that you do not let your kids join you while shopping. Grocery shopping and kids just do not mix. Take them with you and you will see that cart fill up in no time. They will see stuff and would push you to get it for them. So many times, moms buy things just to keep kids happy and this can leave a dent in your budget. This also causes distraction that keeps you from finding some of the best offers. You may have a strategy in mind but you will forget it all with kids throwing tantrums and asking you to buy everything they see. You will always be better off shopping alone – stick to this rule, always!
Go Shopping with a Plan
Even when you do not take kids out on shopping, you should still work out a plan first. Spend some time identifying your real needs. As a single mother, you need to understand the importance of separating needs from wants. When you are trying to save money, you have to avoid spending money on getting things you ‘want’. Knowing what you really need and what you can do without will keep you from falling into a spending trap and help you build up your bank account in the process.
Carry Cash Instead of Cards
Credit cards are a big no-no, especially when you are trying to save some money to start an emergency fund. Carry cash with you and pay on the spot. Some stores do offer a small discount when you pay them with cash instead of swiping cards. The discount may not be huge but it will make a difference when you count your savings at the end of the year. Not using credit card is also good because it saves you from dealing with those exorbitant interest rates. Paying with a card sometimes makes you feel as if you are buying things free. It will be difference when you pay with cash and you would want to buy less to save money.
Learn to Scale Back
Sit back and think about some strategies to scale back. You may be paying money just to get unlimited cell phone minutes that you seldom use. Sometimes, you have a giant cable plan with hundreds of channel that you never watch. There is no need to have such expenses. Cutting your cable connection may not be the best idea, but you can certainly look for a more economical plan with fewer channels. Similarly, you can scale back by turning off unused lights, turning down the thermostat, and using your appliances with care. These little moves will help you save more.
Eat at Home
Eating out may sound enticing, but single moms need to resist the temptation to improve their savings. Eating out is usually a lot more costly than cooking your food at home. Even a fast-food menu can robe you of money when you feed both yourself and your kids. You can find several delicious recipes over the internet to keep your kids interested in what you prepare. When you have a job, consider cooking once and make it last a week. If you decide to cook daily, be sure to keep your pantry stocked. This allows you to cook food with little hassle. Keeping a well-stocked pantry will make it easier to cook meals and save you from picking up last-minute fast food, groceries, or meals.
Buy Used Stuff
Not only can you save a good amount of money by buying used stuff, you can actually earn money by selling unused stuff in your home. You can get some money by reselling your kids stuff. It could be anything from old books to toys and clothes. Thankfully, selling this stuff does not have to be difficult because of many online shops such as eBay, Amazon, or Swap.com. You can go to the same stores and find more to buy gently used clothing for adults and kids at discounted prices. You can also consider using Craigslist.org to find some impressive deals on used items.
Buy Sale Items in Bulk
Never underestimate the savings you get by making use of grocery store coupons. Grab all the coupons you can find and use them sensibly. Also, try to be an intelligent shopper. You really do not need to pay a lot of money to buy grocery items that go on sale for half price every couple of week. One great idea is to buy sale items in bulk – you will end up saving a lot of money simply by buying twice as much as you need from sales. Just do not waste your money on something you do not need in large quantities.
Explain the Importance of Money to Your Kids
Educating your kids about personal finance is important not only for you to save some money but also for your kids in more ways you can imagine. Involve kids in your discussions and tell them the importance of saving money. Talk about the economy, stocks and other money-related stuff to stimulate their interest. One great idea is to give them an allowance and tell them to use it wisely. Tell them that they can save money and buy something they want. This financial education will help your kids manage their financial life better when they grow up. And of course, this will help moms save on impulse buys.
Wait for Off-Season Discounts
Single moms can save a lot of money by not missing out on any discount deals. One great idea is to wait for off-season discounts and take full advantage of these discounts once they do become available. It is all about timing your shopping right. Sometimes, you can find such impressive late season or off-season deals that are difficult to beat even in a second-hand shop. You can subscribe for online sites where they share stores offering impressive deals. This is one great way of keeping your eye out for impressive prices.
Utilize Grants and Scholarships
Thankfully, you can find many federal grants and scholarships that you can use to save some money. Whether you want help with childcare or you want to further your studies, you can find grants and scholarships to suit your needs. Interestingly, you do not just have government grants. If you are the primary financial supporter for your dependant, you can apply here for Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity and get financial support of up to $10,000. Similarly, single moms with minors can win a scholarship from the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation and win a scholarship of up to $3,000. Just perform some search online and you will find a number of good scholarship programs in your area to find financial support for your family.
Find Side Jobs
One way to improve your savings is to increase your income and that is when you can opt for a work-from-home job to supplement your income. Doing a side job makes a great sense for single moms because it not just helps them bring in extra income but it also allow them to save money. Since you would be staying at home, you would no longer need to spend money on commuting. Childcare expenses will come down as well.
With access to a computer, you can opt for many online jobs. Do you know how to design amazing websites? You can always work as a graphic/website designer and earn good money. Similarly, you can use your skills as a writer and find online writing gigs to supplement your income. Becoming a freelance writer allows you to choose from a variety of writing jobs, including article writing, book writing, blog writing, etc., and lets you take care of your kids without having to rely on someone else. If you live in a beautiful area with many tourist attractions, you can always help organize tours for campers, hikers, fishermen, scouts, and photographers. They will get to enjoy the area better and you will get money.
You can also start a side business if you think you can manage it. If you have a car, you can use it to start a shuttle service and help elderly people get to shopping or doctor appointments. With knowledge about music, you can be an instructor and start your own classes. You can opt for a specific place or you can choose to deliver lessons at home. You can always start small and once you get a hang of it, you can actually build your business and make it more productive over time.
What it implies is that by increasing your income, you will not have to worry too much about saving pennies. You can manage things better and give your kids a better future. So, think about what skills you already have and how to use the internet to advertise those skills and earn money.
Quick Money Saving Tips for Moms
The above-mentioned suggestions will definitely help you take control of your financial life and make it easier for you to save money on a regular basis. However, here are some more money saving tips that will make a whole lot of difference and make it easier to win your financial freedom.
- Stop wasting money on commercial detergent and find ways to make homemade laundry detergent for less.
- Use your creative side and learn to recycle for less.
- Never stop saving even if it is just a penny – just pick it up!
- Make use of coupons as much as possible.
- Avoid prepared juice and opt for frozen juice.
- Get rid of your debt and pay more than the minimum due.
- Make use of eBay and save upwards of 80% on stuff.
- Be an intelligent user and save on your energy bill.
- Buy textbooks for you or kids at discounted rate.
- Pay your bills using the internet to enjoy whatever discounts available.
- Save on energy bills by utilizing solar energy.
- Try a weekly planning service and plan menu ahead of time.
- Do not overlook the importance of utilizing Labor Day sales.
- Start walking and save on gas.
- Keep track of your money and know where you have spent all the money last month.
- Do not fall prey to enticing credit card offers.
While you should never stop thinking about how to save money, you should also ensure that your moves do not make your kids think that they cannot have any fun. Tell them that fun does not cost money. Sometimes, it is as simple and inexpensive as spending time in the park 5 minutes from your house. Moreover, you can have a reading marathon, write stories together, go on a hike, paint together, play board games, go to a museum, ride bikes, play hide-and-seek, garden together, tell stories, and even have a pillow fight to have a great time without having to worry about spending money. So, do not stop yourself from saving money but do not make your life tougher by making it stressful for your little ones.