Being a single mom is treated like the worst job in the world, when in fact, you can get all the best parts of parenting without having to share attention. However, it does come with some negative elements, mostly connected to money. If you’re a single mother struggling to make ends meet or simple a mother wanting to be a better provider than she already is, here are a few financial tips for budgeting:
Pay off debt
Debt is the worst thing that can happen to your budget—it’s a money pit that just keeps on taking and taking. So do your best to pay off your debts and start your savings with a clean slate. If you have debt coming in from many sides, you can take out a private loan to pay off those different debts, and just focus all your money on paying off your private loan. It’s much easier to pay for one interest than ten.
Check if you can get assistance
No matter how hard you work and how stable your finances are, it’s still very hard to be a single parent with one source of income. Therefore, don’t be scared to check your options when it comes to assistance for single parents. There are many government support programs like Women, Infants and Children, school lunch programs, summer food services, child care programs, Medicare and Medicaid, etc. There are also grants and scholarships that can help you pay for your kids’ education. When your budget is spread thin, these programs can offer tremendous relief.
Be careful with insurance
If you’re planning to take out a personal loan, car loan or get a new credit card, make sure to be smart when signing things. Why? Well, in places like Australia, many people have been sold unwanted consumer credit insurance that costs them thousands of dollars and gives nothing in return. Before signing papers, consult with a lawyer or someone experienced, and maybe even check your old loans. If you notice that you’ve been sold consumer credit insurance in the past, you might be able to reclaim CC add-on insurance and get your money back. This can help you save money in the long run and even put some money back into your pocket.
Know your tax benefits
Being a single parent can make you eligible for certain tax benefits. For instance, in the States, if you file your taxes under “head of household” instead of “single”, you can get better deductions. You can also try to qualify for Child Tax Credit or Earned Income Tax Credit. Check with your lawyer or financial advisor and make sure to follow the rules because you don’t want to get in trouble with the IRS or your country’s equivalent of this institution.
Take the risk at work
Did you know that the average cost of child support in the USA is $430 per month? Minimal child support in Australia is just over $1,500 per year, meaning single mothers have to work hard to provide their kids with a comfortable childhood. So don’t be scared to work hard whenever you can. Go for that raise at work, apply for professional improvement seminars and see about that partnership. Sure, you might be required to work more and spend less time with kids, but being poor will affect them much more in the long run. After you come home from work and the kids finish school, you can spend quality time together, cuddle and have family evenings.
As you can see, being a single mother can be exhausting, but if you use all the help you can get, your family can thrive on your budget. Don’t hesitate to apply for help, use all the assistance you can get and work hard—it will pay off once you see all the amazing things you can afford for your family.