Parenting is one of the toughest challenges for a couple. But, being a single parent is a gargantuan challenge in itself. It doesn’t have to be that way! Most women put financial literacy on the back burner until they get thrown into a situation unexpectedly. Financial independence is the key to iron out the little hurdles that come your way.
Mothers are nurturers and providers of all the basic sustenance of growth and development to their children’s. Single mothers have to take on an added responsibility of financial security for themselves and their children.
Following these simple tried and tested methods that are already being followed by millions of single mothers, world-over will get you the leverage on your financial independence and security.
Balance your income and expenses
A wise way to manage your finances is balancing your expenses with your income. Manage your income prudently. Keep a record of your expenses and balance them against your income. Be sure to refrain from over-spending. Budget your expenses and set aside some as savings or investment. Several programs are available – like Microsoft Money, Mint.com, Quicken etc to help you monitor manage your expenses, which is a great start.
Pay your debts and bills on time
Your lenders would love it if you defaulted. Not paying your bills on time could result in a penalty or late payment fee. Staying on top of your payments will ensure you don’t bleed money as a defaulter. You can also try paying a little towards your loans and mortgages or going for a debt consolidation. This will significantly bring down the principal amount payable which in turn can bring down your mortgage and years of loan repayment.
Be a savvy shopper
Penny saved is a penny earned. Shop around for the best prices online. Compare and look for online deals and discounts. Take pride in becoming more frugal. Never pay full price. Buying toys or children’s furniture at thrift stores will cost a fraction of the cost of brand-new items at the departmental stores.
Avoid using your credit card. Use cash or your debit card which will give you a clear picture of your expenses and balances at the end of the month. Don’t go shopping to placate your disappointment. If you see something you need to buy, consider taking a day or two before you indulge. This way it can give you an opportunity to mull over and determine if is an absolute must.
Enroll in tax saving plans
Put aside a small part of your earning as your retirement fund. Certain contributions like the 401K plan or government bonds are exempt from tax liability. Not only do you earn in the form of tax savings, but you will also let your conservative investment grow to give you assured returns.
Don’t let go the tax benefits you can avail
Governments offer several tax rebates to low-income families. Be educated about your tax credits. Be smart about keeping your mortgages low, but availing tax rebates on interest paid. The US government offers tax credits for childcare costs up to $1000 per child, up to the age of 17. Take the credits and reinvest them wisely.
Start investing in small investment schemes
Small Invest Plan is a systematic saving plan which invests a fixed sum periodically in low-risk funds. The best part is its power of compounding. It is a great way to put aside a sum of money for the children’s college fund or as a retirement plan. Small invest schemes can be started with humble and affordable investment plans. They are flexible, and the amount can be deducted directly from the bank. Once the term expires you may choose to continue or withdraw the lump sum. Saving is a discipline that must be inculcated.
Earn money taking paid online surveys
Businesses are always looking for honest opinions about their product and services. They pay in cash or gift coupons for surveys taken. Register today and start earning. Traveling to work back and forth can be time-consuming and can chew quite a chunk of your expense. Online paid surveys can be taken from home without any time constraints, working-hour restrictions and at your own terms. You can choose to work at any time of the day based on your convenience.
Set a financial goal
Keep a target income and work towards it. Try reducing your monthly expenses by either going for more sensible options or cutting your expenses by making a few lifestyle changes like renting a cheaper home. Consider splitting expenses with another single parent family. Be resourceful.
Consider moving to a better paying job
Where there is a will there is a way. Reconsider your needs and worth. More often than usual, do people get complacent in their current jobs. They gain newer and better skills but continue to work for the same pay scale. Reevaluate yourself. Talk to your management about your accomplishments and your financial needs. If that does not work, consider moving to a place that pays better.
Add to your bank balance by considering earning online in your spare time.
Homemakers and part-times have ample opportunities to make money online. It is a great way to earn a little extra for those unexpected family exigencies.
The key to sustenance is planning ahead. Budgeting and saving are the two sides of the same coin. A strong social network with family and friends will help you cope with emotional turmoil. Your savings will give your peace of mind.