45 Budgeting tips for single parents
Rajesh Kumar, MBA, Staff Contributor
Budgeting tips for a single and divorced parents
- Make a budget and stick to it. Knowing exactly where your money is going will help and be less stressful in the long run.
- Cut out unnecessary monthly subscriptions and memberships.
- Buy groceries in bulk. Buying in bulk can be cheaper in the long run without sacrificing quality and quantity.
- Shop around for the best prices when buying clothes and other necessities.
- Make meals at home instead of takeout. This is an excellent way to save money.
- Have a ‘no frills’ policy for yourself and your family. Don’t indulge in expensive luxuries.
- Create a ‘pay yourself first’ budget. Prioritise making contributions to your savings account before spending any of your money on other things.
- Utilise tax deductions and credits. Look into what deductions and credits you can take advantage of, to potentially reduce your taxes.
- Comparison shop and take advantage of special discounts or promotions whenever possible.
- Consider second-hand options instead of buying everything new.
- Put all of your extra income towards paying off debt.
- Put a portion of your salary into an emergency fund, so that you always have a cushion for an unexpected expense.
- Look into programs like WIC and SNAP, which provide food and nutrition assistance to eligible individuals and families.
- Research free or low-cost activities for you and your children in your local area.
- Think about how you can make money from home or side hustles.
- Take advantage of flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting and freelance gigs.
- Cut your spending on entertainment. Instead of going out, rent a movie online or stream from one of the free but legal websites.
- Consider whether you really need to be going on vacations or can instead opt for stay-cations.
- Try not to carry a credit card balance and pay off your bills on time.
- Look into ways to reduce your utility bills, including switching energy suppliers, using energy-saving light bulbs, and using energy efficient appliances.
- Cut out any insurances that are not needed.
- Find free childcare such as a babysitting exchange or relying on family and friends if possible.
- Make sure you’re tracking your expenditures.
- Make an effort to save little by little on a regular basis.
- Network and build relationships with other single parents for support, advice, and to benefit from bulk discounts on shared activities.
- Work with your co-parent to share your children's expenses.
- Work with a financial advisor to plan a budget
- Have regular budget meetings with your children and co-parent to discuss spending and saving goals.
- Develop a joint budgeting plan and establish shared financial goals you and your children agree on.
- Consider setting up separate accounts for each child to help them track their spending.
- Prioritize necessary expenses such as housing, utilities and food before other discretionary purchases.
- If you have teen children, establish guidelines to establish who is responsible for paying specific household bills.
- Set aside some money in a momentous savings account to cover any future emergencies.
- Establish an allowance for each child to cover any miscellaneous expenses not in the budget.
- Seek out free or inexpensive activities for the entire family and practice getting creative with meals or other entertainment activities.
- Shop around for cheaper alternate providers for utilities and other services.
- Take advantage of any employment benefits such as flexible spending accounts that can help offset certain costs.
- Cut back on eating out and instead look for healthier alternatives that cost less.
- Utilize coupons, shop sales, and find alternatives to subscription services that can help you save money.
- When considering purchases, look for an item's potential life-span when making a decision to buy.
- Negotiate all large purchases or services to secure the best deal possible.
- Make sure to plan ahead for yearly expenses such as vehicle registration, insurance, and school supplies.
- Start engaging in fun and productive money conversations with your children to help keep each other on track.
- Take time to assess your overall financial goals and adjust accordingly to refine your budget.
- Spend time with family and friends in meaningful ways without making it expensive.
Sample budget for a single parent
- Budget for Food: $400/month
- Budget for Utilities: $300/month
- Budget for Toys/Gifts for Kids: $100/month
- Budget for Childcare (if applicable): $1500/month
- Budget for entertainment/activities: $100/month
- Budget for Health Insurance: $500/month
- Budget for Medical or Dental Care: $200/month
- Budget for Clothes and School Supplies: $100/month
- Budget for Vacations/Trips: $250/month
- Other Expenses: $100/month (new furniture, repairs, etc.)
- Total monthly Budget: $3550/month
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This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.