How To Budget As A Single Parent - 4 Ways To Do It
Being a single parent means you are solely responsible for your family finances and as the sole provider, it also means that things can get expensive especially since you shoulder the financial burden alone and so it's necessary to properly plan out your finances so you can manage your expenses, take care of your children and still build wealth.
"You can manage your expenses, take care of your children and still build wealth."
Here are 4 ways to budget successfully as a single parent so you can avoid financial stress and have peace of mind.
1. Prioritize your expenses for yourself AND your children
When creating your budget, be sure to include not only your own expenses but also those of your children which is something many people forget to do. School activities, clothes, trips out, weekend activities etc are all things that should be budgeted for when it comes to your children. This way you know exactly how to plan out your income each month.
2. Build up your emergency fund to include your children
Your goal for your emergency fund should be to have 3 to 6 months of your basic living expenses (i.e. housing, food etc) put away in the event of a true emergency such as a job loss for example. It's also a good idea to include your child's basic expenses as part of the amount you save in your emergency account.
3. Find free, fun things to do
Kids activities and outings can cost a lot of money. From paying entry fees at amusement parks and zoo etc to buying foods and drinks, it can get really pricey. So why not take advantage of free activities to do with your kids? Many museums offer free first Saturdays, you can pack up a nice lunch and go on a picnic or come up with other fun yet free things to do with your kids - Pinterest has tons of ideas.
4. Put money aside to support long term goals for yourself and for your children
Be sure to include a line item in your budget that goes towards savings for your children. For instance saving for back to school shopping, future school trips, clubs and activities etc and more importantly savings for college. It's all about planning ahead by putting money aside. Don't forget to save money for your own long term goals such as retirement, owning a home, starting a business, traveling etc. No matter how little you are able to save, make it a goal to save something each month. Even the smallest amounts add up.
Are you a single parent? How do you save money with your kids? Trying to figure it out still? Try out these tips above! Like I mentioned, it's all about creating a solid budget and plan for your finances and not just for you but one that includes your children too.
Bola Sokunbi is the founder of Clever Girl Finance and she's passionate about helping women take control of their money so they can live life on their own terms