Although there are many challenges involved with being a single mother, perhaps none are as prominent (at least from the mother’s perspective) than the financial challenges. There are two things working against a single mother – first is the fact that a child is so expensive to raise from birth through to adulthood, and second is the fact that a mother only has her own income to rely on to successfully raise said child, rather than two incomes. And that is not even getting into the scenario in which a single mother is raising multiple children at the same time!
Because of these facts, a single mother needs to be extra careful with her finances, while at the same time not sacrificing the needs of their children in the process. To do this successfully, a single mother needs to be a master at budgeting. And the concept of budgeting actually has quite a few aspects that need to be considered.
The first aspect is simply keeping clear records of purchases and payments each and every month. If you know exactly what you are spending, and how much of your income you are cutting into, you can appropriately change your habits moving forward (such as not continuing to spend on frivolous items all the time) so that you do not run into trouble down the line with things such as massive credit card debt, or even the inability to pay for emergency expenses.
The second aspect is making a concerted effort to save money while still making your regular purchases. To do this, you need to rely on coupons when shopping for groceries, as well as sales for other purchases such as clothing. Some things in life (like food and clothing) are necessities, so although you can’t avoid paying for them outright, you can take advantage of coupons and sales to spend less on the same purchases, with those savings adding up over time so you have more to spend elsewhere.
The third aspect when it comes to budgeting, which is something that a lot of single mothers don’t think about, is managing your children’s expectations when it comes to purchases specifically for them. Kids often compare their houses and their toys to that of their friends at school, and so if you do not help to set their expectations on these matters, they can often feel like you do not care about them enough like other parents care for their kids. Make sure that they understand that money is tight and you are doing the best you can to give them the fulfilling childhood they deserve (which comes down to more than just toys, but food and clothing as well).
Budgeting is not a fun thing to do in general, but definitely a necessary thing to do for single mothers who may not have the financial stability of other two-parent households. Luckily though, it only takes a little bit of concerted effort to successfully budget and create a more financially stable lifestyle for you and your family.