Budgeting Hacks for Single Moms & Dads

Being a single parent is never an easy task. Often, it can feel like the weight of the world rests on your shoulders. The chores, the parenting, and the financial responsibilities of life all fall to you.

Finding a balance between work, life, and your children can be challenging. Add in the rising cost of goods, and it’s easy to see why single parents are often overwhelmed. However, there are some great tips and tricks to save money as a single parent. 

From auto insurance assistance for single moms or dads to budgeting folders, there are many ways you can make your dollar stretch further as the sole provider for your family. 

Take an In-Depth Look at Your Spending

Before you can start saving, you have to look into your spending. You’re likely spending money on many things you don’t even realize. Ending these expenditures can allow you more wiggle room in your budget each month.

With the ease of automatic payments, you likely have monthly expenses for things you hardly ever use. Streaming services, gym memberships, and apps on your phone are typically signed up for and then easily forgotten.

Since the payment comes out automatically, you likely haven’t even noticed the cost each month. Reviewing your bank statements and finding these expenses can help you cancel them and save money. 

Make a Priority List of Your Expenses

After you’ve removed any unnecessary expenses, take another look at your monthly bank statement. While what is left may not be considered unnecessary, some costs may be more important than others.

Expenses such as bills should be labeled as a top priority — mortgage or rent, water, gas, electric, groceries, and other important bills should be first on your list. Those are things that you must pay every month to continue living normally.

However, some other costs may be less critical, and it’s possible you can reduce them. Expenses like eating out, getting coffee, and buying new clothing are good in moderation. But if you’re prioritizing your budget, these kinds of expenditures should be moved to a much lower priority.

Cutting back on these purchases can help you open up your budget and allow you more money for expenses higher on your priority list. 

Create a Realistic Savings Goal to Achieve

If you’re hoping to save for something important, such as a new car or a vacation, setting a goal for yourself is a great way to achieve it. You can even make this process into a fun activity that includes your children.

Determine the amount of money you hope to save, but be sure to create a realistic goal. Setting the bar too high will make you feel like you’ll never reach the end and could lead you to give up entirely.

Once you’ve created your savings goal, involve your children in a fun project. You can create a board they can color in each time you increase your savings. Not only will this give your children a fun activity to look forward to, but it can also help them learn early about savings and budgeting. 

Save Money on Groceries with Meal Planning

Groceries are becoming a high expense in many households. The rising cost of goods can make it difficult for single parents to grocery shop while sticking to a budget.

Meal planning can be a daunting task. It can be challenging to plan a meal for each day of the week that satisfies you and your children. 

Although it can seem overwhelming, meal planning is an excellent way to stick to your budget and avoid overspending at the grocery store. You may also reduce food waste because you only buy ingredients you know you will use.

Planning your meals and snacks is also something you can get your kids involved in. They can help you determine what you will make at the start of each week. You can even create a board with your meal plans for each day and allow your kids to draw or decorate them for fun. Pair snacks with canned flavored water instead of juice for a healthier twist.  

Prioritize Experiences Over Gifts

You’re likely spending much of your budget on gifts if you have multiple children. Between various birthdays throughout the year and holidays, you might rack up a hefty bill on presents alone.

While giving your children gifts is terrific, consider showing them the value of experiences over material items. Rather than purchasing gifts for every holiday and birthday, offer your child options for an activity of their choosing. 

There are countless free or low-cost activities available for parents and children of all ages, such as playgrounds, conservatories, zoos, and museums. These types of experiences can not only be more friendly to your budget, but they can also help you create lasting memories with your children. 

Get Thrifty With Your Purchases

The cost of goods can be expensive, and it’s hard to save money when it comes time to buy items like new clothing or furniture. While it seems like purchasing these things is draining your wallet, there is a great way to save.

Opting to purchase items second-hand can be an incredible way to save a lot of money on big purchases. There are countless websites and stores that offer used items for sale at a massive discount. 

When buying these items, simply look for ones still in good condition. You can likely find some great pieces that seem almost brand new — all for a fraction of the price. All the money you’ll save can be put towards your other expenses or into your savings account. 

Staying on a Budget as a Single Parent

Being a single mom or dad can be challenging. It tends to seem like all responsibilities fall to you, including finances. Money is a common issue for many people. However, living on only one income can create bigger challenges for single parents. You must learn how to survive as a single parent.

While it can be overwhelming, there are great hacks to keep your budget under control and still enjoy as much time as you can with your children. Taking steps like tracking your spending, removing unnecessary expenses, setting a savings goal, meal planning, gifting experiences, and thrift shopping can help you save money and avoid overspending. 

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash