Unless you have two jobs, work several hours or have a substantial income, being a single parent can hit the wallet hard sometimes. Depending on how many children you have, there are some weeks that you might find all of your money tossed away to things that they need, such as clothes, shoes and other essentials. There are a few ways that you can create a budget as a single parent while still being able to give your children the things that they need and want.
Create A Budget
The first thing that you have to do is make a budget that you can work with. List all of the income that you receive on a regular basis, such as any government assistance, employment income and child support. If you should be receiving child support but have yet to see anything come of it, consult with a legal specialist to discuss your options. A New Ulm family law attorney says disputes over things like spousal support can have a serious impact on your family’s future. This is why it’s important to ensure you have the financial support you need. If there is a former spouse in the picture, whether they share custody or not, you should be able to count on their financial support for your child’s needs.
Once you know how much money you have to work with each month, it will be easier to determine how much you can spend. List all of the expenses that you have in the order that they need to be paid. Your priorities should probably include the house payment, car payment and utilities. Once all of your bills are paid, then you can start saving for the extras that the kids need.
Save Food For Last
This might sound odd, but this strategy can help you save money. Budget an amount for food each week that will allow you to get the items that you need to prepare healthy foods at home instead of going out to eat. You can get a few snacks, but once you pay all of the essential bills for the month, you might find that if you don’t have the extra money to spend on a lot of junk food, your kids will eat healthier.
Get The Kids To Help
If your children understand how much money you have to spend each month in order for them to have a place to live, then they will probably ask for less money for the things that they don’t need. Get your children to help clip coupons or help with a yard sale to earn a little extra money. You don’t have to go into a lot of detail, but it’s important that they understand how tight finances are from time to time.
The Special Events
If you know that there is a special event that needs to be paid for, such as a field trip or a holiday, start saving money out a little each week so that you don’t have to come up with all of the money at one time. It’s much easier to set back a few dollars for a birthday gift instead of trying to find an extra $100 when it’s not there. You can also get a credit card with a minimal limit on it for these special occasions.
Being a single parent can be hard at times. The finances might not always be there to do the big things in life that you want for your children, but with a little budgeting, your family can have all of the things that it needs. Set back money for emergencies, and make sure you are working from a budget that is doable instead of farfetched.