budgeting tips for single parents

Budgeting Tips For Single Parents

Single parents have a lot of responsibilities to manage on their own. This can be especially true when it comes to financial responsibility.

Trying to pay down debt, paying for groceries, and buying gas for your car can all feel overwhelming. That is why it’s so important to start budgeting!

When you create a monthly budget, you have a better handle on where money is coming in and going out. But where do you start? Let’s talk about budgeting tips for single parents and break this down.

Benefits Of Budgeting

A budget is a spending plan based on income and expenses. In other words, it’s an estimate of how much money you’ll make and spend over a certain period of time, such as a month or a year. 

Budgets do not determine a person’s current financial situation and it does not keep them in a financial situation that they are not satisfied with. It’s actually designed to do the opposite—to empower people by allowing them to manage their money wisely.

Investopedia says that “By tracking expenses and following a plan, a budget makes it easier to pay bills on time, build an emergency fund, and save for major expenses such as a car or home. Overall, a budget puts a person on a stronger financial footing for both the day-to-day and the long term.”

Budgeting Tips For Single Parents

Now that you know what budgeting is and the benefits of it, let’s get into it! Here are six budgeting tips for single parents.

#1: Prioritize Emergency Savings

To help you have peace of mind, it’s important to start building up an emergency fund. An easy place to start is to make a goal of saving $1,000 for emergencies only. Once you’re feeling more confident with your budget, and have paid down some debts, turn your $1,000 emergency fund into a three-to-six-month emergency fund.

But what can you spend your emergency funds on? Emergencies! Some examples would include things like unexpected medical bills, loss of income, car accident repairs, and storm damage to your home.

#2: Track Expenses Monthly

By tracking your expenses monthly, you can have a better understanding of the money coming into your account and the money going out. To do this, take an inventory of your spending and credit card accounts. Then monitor each of those accounts at least weekly so you can learn where your money is going! If you’re looking for a more automated process, there are plenty of free budgeting apps that you can connect your accounts to. These apps can easily tell you when money is coming in and when/where it’s going out.

#3: Get Rid Of Debt

Income is your biggest wealth-building tool. However, when all of your income is going towards credit card bills, student loans, etc., it can be hard to feel like you’re making any progress. Learning how to manage your bills, staying on top of your debt, and working towards paying it off can help you feel like you’re finally getting ahead.

#4: Plan For Long-Term Financial Goals

By setting long-term financial goals, you can improve your financials over time. Some examples of long-term financial goals are saving for your kid’s college education, paying for a vacation, purchasing a new car, and funding your retirement. It’s important to remember that these are long-term goals. Saving for these items won’t happen overnight! But by putting a little bit to the side each month, you can reach those goals and not have to worry about taking on large debt.

#5: Increase Your Income

While not everyone will be able to do this, it’s still important for everyone to consider how you could do this. Is there room for growth at your current job? Are you able to start looking for a new job that would increase your income? Have you thought about starting a side hustle to add to your current income?

At the end of the day, you should think about the best option that works with you, your family, and your lifestyle.

#6: Focus On Your Why

Our favorite budgeting tips for single parents is “focus on your why.” Why? Because this is the main motivation behind creating a budget!

Everyone’s “why” is going to be different. What are your goals in life? Maybe it’s to pay for your kids’ college completely, be able to give more generously, or to travel more.

Key Takeaway

Budgeting as a single parent isn’t easy. But by putting these tips in place, you can start to improve your situation and prepare yourselves for a better future. Lean into your “why” and start implementing these budgeting tips for single parents so that you can start to change your family tree. You’ve got this!