45 Budgeting tips for single parents
Rajesh Kumar, MBA, Staff Contributor
Single parents and co-parents face financial challenges that regular two-parent households do not due to the loss of income from a second person and the added expenses involved in raising a child alone or as a co-parent. Some common financial difficulties for include paying for child care, dealing with divorce costs, saving for college, and attempting to build savings without two incomes.
One strategy for co-parents is to reduce costs and increase their ability to save is to search for discounts and take advantage of resources, such as school meals, health care assistance, childcare assistance, and low-cost housing. They can also seek out assistance from family and friends, and look into assistance programs such as food stamps, energy assistance programs, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Additionally, budgeting is essential to help ensure all expenses are covered while still allowing some money to be put aside for savings. Prioritizing spending and creating a budget can also help single parents better manage their finances and reduce their financial burden. Finally, single parents should take the time to plan for their future, since this can help them better stabilize their finances and ensure they have enough money put aside for retirement or unexpected costs.
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.