Today, I attended the graduation party of my twin boys. Looking at them with their graduation gowns and hats on, I felt so proud. When their names were being called out, I went down the memory lane when I had my newborn twin boys in my arms.
I was very happy to see their tiny, innocent faces. At the same time, I was scared of how will I bring up my three kids while being a single parent.
Being a single parent means you’re serving as a homemaker and a breadwinner at the same time. This can be a very exhausting and grueling job. You’re not only concerned about taking care of your children but you also have to manage the finances strategically.
To stretch my hard-earned dollars and make the most of them, I learned about managing finances as a single mom. I read tons of tips and talked to other single moms who were facing the same troubles. Finally, I was able to figure out the solutions to my problems.
If you are also a single mom and you’re struggling financially, then I will advise you to learn these tips which will not only assist you to manage your finances but will also help you to save some dough.
I kept a black book
This black book helped me keep a record of all my expenses. I wrote down all the monthly payments and expenses there. I made sure to keep the expenses less than my monthly income.
Also, I made sure to trace every dollar I spent. That way, I could figure out where I spent unnecessarily. It also allows me to refrain from such unnecessary expenses.
I made the most of sales
I made the most of the sales when I go grocery shopping. If you are planning to do the same, you have to be very particular about the items you choose to purchase from the sale section.
For example, I purchase items in bulks that have long expiry dates such as cereals and frozen products. I purchase less organic products which can expire soon. For clothing, I purchase one or two sizes bigger clothing that can come handy next year and so on and so forth.
I never let go of saving coupons
This has made my life 100 times easier. I can buy items on discount without a sale. Saving coupons can be used to avail discounted rates from articles to services.
I always make sure to get my saving coupons before I go shopping to get discounted rates. When I am shopping online, I enter a promotional code to avail discount and offers such as free shipping.
It was just last year when I shopped using coupons from Merchant 1948 for my kids’ shoes. I have used coupons everywhere from grocery shopping to shoe shopping and even for plumbing services.
I saved receipts
This might sound weird.
I keep receipts to maintain my monthly record. This helps me to track where my hard-earned dollars went. Sometimes, receipts make you can realize you have paid the wrong bills or items.
It usually happens in grocery stores. Often, the contents in the lines are mistakenly added to your cart. The receipt will help you to find if you have paid for something that was not in your shopping list.
Receipts can also save you in case of a wrong bill. It has happened to me quite a few times and receipts were my savior.
I always paid the bills first
No matter how hard I found it, I always paid the bills first when I received my paycheck. So, my advice to you is to always pay all your bills whether it is for rent, utility bills, fees or credit card debts.
The more you shrug it off and delay it, the more it is likely to pile up, making it more difficult for you to pay. Consequently, the overdue bills add up along with extra charges, which is just a waste of money.
I kept one debt at a time
I never paid for more than one debt at a time. There was a time when I had to pay for my new car’s installments, my twins’ college fee, and loan for my daughter’s small startup.
I focused on paying for one debt at a time. My advice to you people is the same.
Do not try paying all the debts together. If you do, you’ll end up giving away a major chunk of your salary.
I compartmentalized my expenses
We all know that every month, we get carried away with expenses other than utility bills, groceries, and transport. By the end of the month, we realized we have no savings left.
What I did and still do is I categorize all my expenses and allot a fixed sum to each category. This way, I end up spending only the allotted amount and avoid any additional expenses.
When you have three kids around the same age, you’ll never know where your money is going. Keeping the investment separate for each category facilitated me a lot.
I lived in a low-priced house
The best thing, in my opinion, that I did was to rent a low-priced apartment. While it was not in the middle of the city, it was spacious enough for my kids to get around.
Getting a house that has a low rent is wiser than living in the middle of the city where you find everything nearer. My priority was my kids’ convenience and I was lucky enough to get it in my cheap yet perfect apartment.
Thrift shops were my best friends
Children grow in the blink of an eye.
All the clothes I used to get for my children, they outgrew them in no time. It seems a waste of money to spend so much on clothes that will be worn in one season only, so my go-to place was thrift stores. These stores have a wide range of clothing, shoes and other accessories. Plus, all these items are available at the fraction of their price.
After my children have worn these clothes one season, I return them back to these stores or give away in charity.
I relied on homemade food
My kids cannot go without pizza and burger with loads of fries and it is very hard to say no to them. So, even if I was tired after work, I used to cook at home and refrained my kids from eating out.
Having homemade food is, in my opinion, the best way to save money on food and that’s what I did. You can cook in batches which can last for two to three days.
That way, you won’t have to cook every day. You can have ready-made lunch for the next day, too. Keep your take-outs to a minimum and soon you will see a surge in your savings.
I sold all the excess
There will be countless items in your house that are not in use anymore and are just sitting in your closet for no use. Grab them all and sell them.
Doing that won’t just help you declutter your house, but you’ll be able to earn money from it, too.
I know being a single parent is an uphill struggle every day. You are continuously grinding and striving to make the most of it. Managing finances is not an easy task to do.
However, with these tips, I was able to cope with my financial struggles and even succeeded to save some dough. Start with tips that are easy for you to follow and with time, you will surely be able to carry out all of them.