Guide To Surviving Financially As A Single Mum
Life is tough as a parent with all the responsibilities, worries and cares for the children, bills to pay and a whole lot of other issues. But being a single mum? This is challenging (spelt in capitals).
Being a single mum is not easy but that does not mean you should live your life in penury or have your kids confined to the welfare lines. You must have to find an alternative means of income to sustain you and the kid(s). The reason most people suffer as single mum is because they literally had the responsibility flung at them with little or no preparation.
Alright so you are a single mum now what? Instead of being laid back and bitter, pick yourself up and begin to device ways to earn an income or to earn more (if you are earning already). It is true that being a single mum is very tough but not giving your finances proper attention is a thousand times worse.
For your sake and that of your children, the following steps should be taken:
Accept Your Status and Independence: By status I mean you accepting the fact that you are a single mum and that may not change anytime soon. Yes it is true you may be receiving child support and or alimony but note this: that money may not always come. What if he stops giving it to you or leaves town or even dies? The responsibility will still fall back on you. All these are things you have no control of but surely you can control your earnings.
Which is where you must also accept your independence (financially and otherwise). The moment you have this mindset, you will not need to wait hands and foot for anybody.
Get A Hold Of Your Budget and Debts: It is very important to know how much you are earning, spending and your debts (if any). Nothing drains the pocket more than impulsive spending. A lot of women suffer from this and end up spending all their income on things not budgeted for.
You cannot afford to do this as a single mum. You have the kids and their needs to worry about plus yours and any other. To plan this, start by writing down what you earn every month, then list your needs in order of importance. After you are done solving the major ones, whatever is left should then be kept for unforeseen circumstances. This way, you can keep track of your earnings and spendings.
Another thing is to pay off your debts. Write them all down-then starting from the smallest, work your way up to the top. This will ensure you do not go broke completely while still having little at hand to see you through till the next pay.
Spend Money to Make Money: Single mums are usually statistically poor, but who says you have to be. Instead of waiting till your next pay check, how about investing your money in profitable ventures from which you can plough back into your resources.
You can pay for a skill acquisition or get a degree which you know will help you earn more once you have completed it. Do this as conscientiously as possible so that it will not be too strenuous on you.
Be Frugal: Yes I know many of us are not and no matter how much I preach about frugality , some will remain down right extravagant.
Let it always ring in your ears that you are a mum (a responsible one at that) therefore, you will never do anything that will put your children’s future in jeopardy. What does this mean for you? You can call it a “shopping diet” or what you may , just strap your belt and realise that:
No more trips to Shoprite, Ventura, Robans (even online stores are included)- assume that you are broke already and shopping is a hobby you cannot afford.
Draw up a plan and do not buy every fancy make up item or accessory you see on the shelf. Be disciplined and put first things first. Do not keep up with the Joneses. Appreciate the basic things of life that you have and keep working for even better.
Let Your Children In On The Current Situation: As little as they may be, never forget that kids are very sensitive and can relate well with literally any situation as long as you clearly explain it to them. So be open about the financial standing. Do not over indulge them otherwise, they will get used to it and become spoilt.
Calmly explain to them why they cannot have another toy train, a new pair of shoes, two dance classes or a vacation more than once a year.
They are sure to complain and cry but with time as they mature, they will begin to understand and adjust. This will help shape them into very responsible adults, capable of handling money.
They should also be made to know that happiness is equally possible within their budget. Just treat them whenever you can.
Be Grateful: A grateful heart is a sure path to success. Things may not be as great as when you were with your partner. You may also be tempted to compare yourself to all the social media couples you see on your Facebook and Instagram feeds and their fancy lives.
But here is what you should know: most of them are not happy in their marriages (they are only trying to keep up appearances), ditch the plastered smiles, most of them will divorce while some are already on the brink of it, others yet are embroiled in huge debts while trying to maintain their expensive lifestyle. So when next you want to complain, focus on the realities of your own life- all that you have lost and gained and so much more that you can do.
Get An Extra Source of Income: You do not have to sit back and wait to get paid twelve times every year when you can earn much more. Turn your hobby into a side hustle. For instance, if you like writing, how about writing for a blog, or copy writing for start-ups? Or you could consider starting up a little business.
The aim is to have an extra source of income to take care of little stuffs and run the day to day activities while waiting for the lump sum of cash monthly.
Plan Ahead: By planning, I mean taking care of your family in the future. You can start taking such steps by getting a life insurance which is affordable and easy to get.
Just get the one that is within your budget. This is the best investment you can make for your loved ones especially as a single mum. No one sets out exactly to plan for disaster but not planning for them is plain stupid. Think of your children’s future and the legacy you want to leave for them.
Do not Let Your “Single hood” Constrain You: Do you know why single mums are usually poor? It is because they already have that status conferred on them and feel they should live within its confines.
While it is good to think of and put your kids first, you have to ace your game for them to truly have that life you desire for them. Learn to make decisions as a professional and not as a single mum. Here is an instance:
Assume you were offered a promotion but you do not want to take it because it will require you traveling and you do not want to leave the kids. Great, but remember, these kids will still leave you one day to get a life for themselves. So what to do? Hire the services of a baby sitter or house keeper. You are doing this to give them the bright future you want and you owe no one any explanation.
Take a Break: You need to refuel and rejuvenate so every once in a while, take a break or permission from work and the kids to actually focus on your health and personal well-being. You should not overwork yourself. Get enough rest and sleep, exercise, treat yourself to a spa and a massage and you will definitely be better for it. You are doing a two man job and you should be proud of yourself.