As a single mother, I know how hard it can be to balance a monthly budget. The kids hit me up for money here, there, and everywhere. I constantly feel like I am handing out a fiver to someone somewhere. I am always trying to figure out where my money goes, but can never figure it out, so I almost gave up on it until one day I was determined to make it happen – a budget.
I sat down and I balanced out my monthly budget and I am much happier now that I have a grasp on my finances. If you are looking for ways to budget as a single mother, take a look at the tips I am about to offer below. I am confident that you will find them helpful too.
1. Use an App to Track Your Expenses and Increase Revenue
One of the first things that I do every month is I use my handy dandy phone app to track my expenses and increase the revenue that I have in my bank account. This app allows me to input how much money I make per month, how much in bills I need to pay out, and how I allocate the rest of my money. I am able to see what exactly I do with my money and how much I am left with each month. Since I started using this app, I have saved a couple of hundred dollars from cutting random, unnecessary expenses.
2. Know Your Priorities
It sounds easy, right? It is not always as easy as it looks, and I have found myself struggling in this area too. I know some of my priorities are the mortgage, utilities, and food, but other priorities fall wayside because they slip my mind. I took the initiative and I created a budget that addresses and ranks my priorities on a totem pole. Since doing this, I have been able to save money for some of the extra expenses we needed to cover such as a new toilet and a new dishwasher.
3. Plan for the Future
You never know what the future holds in store for you or your children and as a single mom, I know that I need to focus on this more than ever since my children do not have a father figure to help out. I have established goals that allow me to save money in my retirement account and I also allocate some money to an education fund for my little one. This way, I know that education expenses are covered and so will they should I pass before I get to use my retirement account money.
4. Create a Safety Net
This is one of those that sounds easier than it is actually done and trust me, I know all about how difficult it is. Prior to the job I hold now, I literally lived paycheck to paycheck. There were some paychecks where I was left with only $5 or less for the entire week. It was scary and difficult, and I was hungry. However, I had to make it work. In these situations, I did not even have a dime to spare to put into an account for a safety net. So, I get it, I really do.
Now that I have a better job, I am able to put money away to provide myself and my child with a safety net in case anything does happen. While this safety net is not large by any means, it is enough to cover some of the expenses that could occur such as the car breaking down, a broken window, or an emergency toothache. I am glad to have this safety net there now because if something like that happened before, I don’t know what I would have done in those situations.
Take Your Time and Think
Before you can have a budget in place that works, you need to think about your budget along with your expenses and what your goals are. If you are saving up for a car, then your budget will look different than someone who needs to save money for private school or someone who wants to start an emergency fund.
No matter what, you can make it happen with a little work and planning. I know I was able to make it work and am glad I took the leap to figure it out.
Patty Moore is the mom and blogger at WorkingMotherLife.com. You can also follow Patty on Twitter @WorkMomLife!
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