When you’re the head of the household, looking after children with no partner to help you, it can seem as though getting control of your budget is impossible. After all, a lot of parents have trouble making ends meet with two incomes, so it’s no surprise if you’re struggling with just one monthly salary. The good news is that there are ways for single parents to start managing their money and preparing themselves for a brighter future.
If you’ve been looking for a way to get more financial freedom lately, then we’ve got some quick tips that you can take with you, and even teach to your kids when they get a little older.
While budgets are valuable financial tools for people in any family situation, they’re particularly useful for single parents who need to track where every penny ends up. If you’re newly single, and you’re getting used to a single income for the first time, then you’re bound to have a lot of changes to deal with. Remember, no matter how stressful your budget seems at first, don’t panic.
Start by simply taking an objective look at how much money you have coming into your household, and how much you have going out; then you can begin to look for ways to make your incoming total bigger than your outgoing.
As a single parent, you’ve got a lot on your mind. The chances are that you spend so much time rushing between your work life, looking after the house, and caring for your children that you think you don’t have time to compare prices online or look for the best deals on your purchases. However, you’d be surprised how easy it is to be more frugal these days if you know how to get some help.
Go online and check out the plugins and downloads you can get for your browser that automatically tell you when you can earn cash back on a purchase or get a cheaper price elsewhere. These tools could quickly save you a lot of cash in the long-term. While you’re at it, remember to download voucher code apps for your smartphone too.
Although your kids might not be old enough to help you with things like budget planning and managing expenses quite yet, that doesn’t mean that they can’t become a part of the money-saving experience. For instance, when you go out shopping for groceries, make a game of looking for the items with the cheapest possible price tag.
Let your kids know that if you can save a certain amount on your shop, you’ll reward them with a (cheap) treat like a candy bar when you get to the till. This is a great way to get everyone excited about saving money together. You’ll also be teaching your children some useful habits for the future too!
As a single parent, you might feel as though you’re handling a lot of responsibility on your own, but you don’t necessarily have to do without any kind of help. There are some sources of income support available for single parents, including income-based tax credits which can be applied for each of your children. Make sure that you learn as much as you can about these credits, as they can sometimes be a lot more valuable to you in the long-run than standard tax deductions.
While tax deductions reduce the amount of taxable income you show to the IRS, credits reduce the dollar level of the tax that you’ll owe each year. This means that credits can get you a lot of relief. Additionally, remember that child support isn’t taxable, although only one parent will be able to claim a child as a dependent on their taxes.
Finally, as a single parent, you know that your child’s future rests on your shoulders, and that can be a lot of pressure to deal with. It helps to start planning as early as possible and putting away a small amount of savings every month. Even 5% of your income placed into a savings account each month can be enough to give your child some extra help when it comes to starting college.
However, remember that you should give yourself a break when it comes to the amount of money that you have to save. Some parents end up thinking “What’s the point” when they see how little they have to save. Just remember that every little bit helps – even if it just means that you can pay for some of your kids’ books later in life.