“How do single moms afford to live?”
This is a question that most new single moms ask. When you go from a two income family or a situation where your significant other was the breadwinner, the new single life is tough.
The internet is floating around with answers like “budget” and “don’t use credit cards.” While those answers aren’t bad, they really aren’t practical either.
My guess is that if you’re asking how you, as a single mother, can afford to live, then you’ve already stretched your budget to the max .Your situation is beyond living paycheck to paycheck.
If you feel like you’re walking in circles here is some practical information that can help you get your financial life back in order.
Apply for Government Assistance
I know that many of you have already ruled out applying for government assistance. But if you’re not able to make ends meet you need to do it!!
Forget about what others think or say. Sure there are many people who abuse the system but there are far, far more who actually benefit from getting government assistance.
Here’s exactly what you should apply for:
Food Stamps- Food stamps come in the form of a debit card. It is a discreet card that you simply swipe and then enter your pin number. You are given a monthly allowance that will automatically load on a certain day every month.
Daycare – There are programs that pay all or part of daycare expenses for low income earners or those who are attending college.
Medicaid – If you are considered low income you may qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is simply an insurance plan provided by the government. You do not pay anything for the medical coverage and there are no deductibles.
Even if you do not qualify yourself, your children without health insurance are likely to qualify for Medicaid.
Also, if you’re unable to pay your rent each month you might want to apply for Section 8 Housing.
Section 8 Housing – Section 8 housing is a government program that helps low income renters pay their rent. The amount of rent that you would have to pay would be based off of your income.
If you’re worried about what people with think of you if you receive government assistance, don’t let them know. These programs are all very discreet and you don’t have to announce to the world that you’re getting help.
Just know that everyone needs help from time to time. You’re not alone.
- Housing Help for Single Moms – Government Assistance
- Housing Help for Single Moms – Home Buyer’s Programs
- Housing Help for Single Moms – Private Assistance
Pay for the Necessities First
Housing, utilities, and food should be your number one financial priority.
You need to keep food in your children’s stomach and a roof over their head. You should not pay for anything else until you have these expenses covered for the month.
If you can’t pay for these by yourself then apply for government assistance.
NOW Create a Budget
Now you can make your budget. Once you know exactly what type of assistance you qualify for and how much your main expenses are eating up, you can play with what’s left over.
I’d recommend that you save a portion of whatever is leftover in your budget for an emergency fund. You never know what life is going to throw your way, so be prepared.
Decide how much money you want to save and split the rest into budget categories. If you have debt you’ll need to make that a priority as well. For more info on paying off debt you can check out How and Why You Should Get Out of Debt.
Here are some possible budget categories:
- debt repayment
- financial goals (buy a car, down payment for a house, etc.)
- gifts (Christmas and Birthdays for your kids)
Look for Creative Ways to Save Money
The one thing that is going to make or break you financially is your outlook on life. Do you want to make lemonade out of lemons or do you want to give life a sour face?
There are many single moms, myself included, who try to look for the good in things. Doing this will dramatically help your situation.
Here are some suggestions:
Look for Cheap but Fun Entertainment
- 10 Entertainment Ideas Under $10
- Fun Things for Kids to Do – No TV Required
- 5 Easy Ways to Keep Preschoolers Entertained on the Cheap
Stretch Your Grocery Budget
Cut Expenses the Smart Way
- Use Amazon Prime ($99/year) or NetFlix ($7.99/month) instead of cable TV
- Switch to a Cheaper Phone (Republic Wireless unlimitied for $20/month or a cheap family plan cell phone)
- Downgrade You Living Situation
- Find a Roommate
- Shop at Thrift Stores/Consignment Shops (I like ThredUp – get a $10 credit by opening an account through this link.)
Be a problem solver and keep your head up. Some creativity matched with a positive attitude will take you a long way!
Focus on Making More Money
In the beginning one of your main focuses will be cutting costs and stretching your frugality to the limits – but that’s not how you want your whole life to be.
To really remove the stress from your situation you have to pair cutting costs with earning more money. Remember, when you cut costs you’re limited – you can only go without so much. When it comes to earning more money there are no limitations. Put a lot of your energy toward finding a better paying job, earning side income, or starting a side business.
Here are some ideas for you:
Go Back to College – While I don’t necessarily believe you have to have a college degree to be successful – it certainly won’t hurt. You can apply for scholarships, financial aid, and also receive free daycare if you do decide to further your education. You can also look for smart ways to save money while at university.
Start a Side Business- If you’re more of an entrepreneurial spirit like I am starting a side business might be the right fit for you. You can take anything that you’re good at it and turn it into a service. Here’s a list of more than 85 Work From Home Jobs for Moms.
Ask for a Raise – If you’ve proven yourself to your boss don’t be afraid to ask for a raise. Don’t be demanding, simply point out all the great things you’ve done for the company and state that you feel deserving of a raise. The worst you’ll be told is “no.”
Switch Jobs – Leverage you skillset. If you’ve been working a job that has taught you a certain skillset think of other businesses who pay more that will find value in what you know. For instance, I worked as a bookkeeper for 7 years. I liked the job but there were no pay raises so I went and applied for a job with a financial services firm. I was trying to get in good with the accountant but the head of insurance really liked me and hired me on the spot. I then took my knowledge of insurance and started writing for insurance based websites for even more money.
I’m a big fan of online courses to help and increase skillset when applicable. Here are a few free starter courses you can check out:
- Bookkeeper Business Launch – Start Your Own Virtual Bookkeeping Business
- Kickstart Your Virtual Assistant Career
- 7 Day Blog Biz Challenge – Setup a Blog and Learn How to Make Money
- Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career
There are also others ways to make easy money on the side. Just remember, if it’s easy it’s not going to pay too much.
Here are some online programs that can help you earn a little pocket change. (I actually use both of these and put my earnings toward my Christmas budget.)
Swagbucks – This is a search engine, just like Google or Yahoo, only you get randomly awarded “swagbucks” through seach. You can trade in your Swagbucks for gift cards or prizes. I always go for $5 Amazon gift card which only takes 450 Swagbucks to reach.
They also have surveys, daily polls, and special offers that you can participate in to earn more Swagbucks.
Inbox dollars – Inbox Dollars also pays you to read emails, take surveys, and complete special offers. I always use the reading emails feature, which pays .02 per email. It is extremely simple and only takes about 10 seconds to earn your .02. Your account has to reach $30 before you can request a check.
You can currently get a $5 bonus for signing up.
Take Surveys – Through that link you’ll find more than 15 companies that you can take surveys with as well as information on focus groups.
I have extensively talked about earning extra income on this blog. I’ve tried to highlight some of my best posts on my “Extra Income” page. You can look at it for even more ideas.
Keep a Positive Outlook on Life
Your outlook will determine your outcome.
If you sit around and play victim to your circumstances you’re not going to get far. However, if you decide that you’re going to make it and live a happy life then you’ll do just that.
You’ll have your fair share of tough moments, but in the end it’s all up to you on how you respond to these tough moments. You can rise to the occasion or break under the stress.
Be proactive, not reactive.
If you’re a single parent or have been a single parent, what’s the best thing you did to improve your financial situation?
I love this post, Alexa. The misconception that people who are on welfare are frauds or bad people simply needs to stop. Some working family are getting some form of government assistant. It is important to put your pride aside as a single mom and take care of your family. As a former single mom I can tell you that you have to start somewhere and with positive attitude and goals you will make it. When I worked I could tell you that many families will go hungry because they were too proud to apply for assistants or ask for food. As of right now the amount of money given to food stamps had decrease so budgeting is very important.
It seems like a few bad apples ruin it for everyone. One of my biggest pet peeves is people putting labels on those who receive government assistance. Not everyone abuses the system – those are just the only people who are talked about. People rarely talk about what good receiving assistance can do. But it can really be life changing for the people who need it.
I agree 100% with you!
I’m 41 and lost my job ..I am a single mom that has been in my profession for 25 years…now I’m afraid I’m.gonna lose my home…my car..ect….not once have ever drawn unemployment till now…but its not enough to live on…not sure what to do
I feel helpless regarding my single daughter. She is in constant need. I am at retirement and cant just dish out help. I don’t know how to support her anymore.
I’m a single working mom who has a college degree and a good legitimate career…..and my kids still qualify for Medicaid, thank God! I have 3 kids and no child support and my one descent income becomes poverty level when considered for 4 ppl. Don’t be ashamed to get help. I’m sure not, my ex is a total deadbeat and I just can’t get to a high enough income no matter how many hours I work to provide everything, but we are happy. That’s what matters!
I’m a single mom of 2 boys, ages 8 and 1. When I was pregnant with out second son the father of my kids became a herion addict. We had 2 credit cards and I’ve not been able to pay on them since he’s left. I feel like I’m stuck and don’t know how to get this big burden off my shoulders. I have a good job, and cannot qualify for any government assistance in Indiana. Can anyone help lead me in the right direction.
I feel your struggle. I just found out I’m pregnant and I barely make enough to support myself but I just barely make to much to qualify for any programs. No clue what to do
Apply for rental and utilities assistance, that can help, different non profit organizations like salvation army offer this svc to families in need once a year or every 12 months; also some churches can help with the same or with gift cards and food pantries
This is abt the article. Im on disability and welfare and my baby daddy just stopped paying his child support after 2 yrs.he is sueing me for full custody which will only happen if hell freezes over BC he is a drug addict and his brother is a sex offender and lives w him.but his daddy is rich anyway I get all of the help from the government and food banks and im left with nothing I won’t move into public housing BC I know ppl who live there and there are shootings all the time and drug deals,rapes and break INS all the time.so I would like to tell other people that that is the last option if u can’t afford anything.
I remember sitting in the welfare office and wanting to scream, “I don’t belong here” but the truth was I did. I had always worked but at 6 months pregnant with a ‘father’ who had changed his mind, no one would hire me. They didn’t want to pay for my maternity leave. I had no choice. With the assistance I received my child had a roof over her head and food. As a welfare recipient I was able to access classes on resume writing and how to start my own business, all gov’t funded. Thanks to a few years of assistance I now have a good job, pay taxes, own a home and have savings for retirement and my child’s university. Don’t think of it as a handout. The government invested a small amount in me and in return I pay taxes to help support someone else in my situation.
That is the way to look at it! It’s not a handout – it’s an investment in you. Assistance should be used as a tool to better your life. After I had my first daughter my husband was unexpectedly laid off from his job and we received food stamps for a few months. It was a huge help. Receiving assistance can really help those who need it to improve their lives.
In some cases government assistance isn’t offered though. I make $70 to much PER YEAR to quilify for daycare assistance in NM. Also, if you don’t have an open child support case you basically cannot get any assistance. My daughter’s father chose not to ever see her or be a part of her life. While I was pregnant I discovered what a truely terrifying person he is, so I won’t risk him being around her to open a child support case for assistance.
It is definitely unfortunate when you barely miss the cut off line and I know that can happen quite a bit to people who truly need the help.
What classes did they offer you for starting your own business?
Yes I would love to know
That is so awesome . I am 49 single mom making 25 a year . And don’t qualify for anything. I pay 15 a month for a one bedroom. I really don’t know how to get ahead. And get on my feet. Nice to hear that there is hope…. I just don’t know where to start. Thank god I only have one child. God bless
Another thing is not only the stigma that is applied to government assistance. But once on it it’s hard to improve because the minute you do you could lose benefits. I think that’s why people get stuck on it a lot.
That is a very, very good point. Because there is that fine line between doing better financially with government assistance verses working for minimum wage and getting your benefits greatly reduced or taken completely away from you. There are some cases where people definitely come out better getting assistance than working low paying jobs.
I think it’s important that you go in with a plan though. Try and save every dollar possible while on assistance and work toward getting a higher paying job. That way when you do lose your benefits you’ll have a little money to tide you over until more money starts coming in.
I definitely see your point though.
I agree. I have 2 bachelor’s degree and had a great job, yet never could afford to move out of my parents house with my daughter due to expenses to income ratio. I finally attempted to when my daughter was 6 because I just couldn’t stand living as a child under my parents roof when I was 36. It quickly spiraled into a disaster unfortunately and it’s going on ten years stuck in a government system. My college education does not equal work experience and my self esteem has been thoroughly degraded after being treated and trained into submission by a povert level life style. Yes, the “system” gave me what I needed to barely survive, which is better than nothing, but don’t be fooled one still pays a price. Not pessimistic, just a realist.
This is the sad but honest truth.
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says
Even if I were married or coupled, I don’t know that I would feel comfortable having children until I knew I could afford to take care of them on my own. Though at this rate, I’m never going to be able to 😉
I think most single moms never pictured themselves in this position. Nobody gets married thinking they’re going to get divorced – but it happens and then you have to find a way to deal with the aftermath. Many single moms were once in a good financial position but then due to death of spouse, divorce, or a significant other who all of a sudden walks out on them, positions change. You never know what life will throw at you.
I don’t think its about having children when your finances aren’t in line. It’s about taking care of your family after something unfortunate happens.
Claribel Maysonet says
That is so true ! You never know what life brings to you because I was married for 12 years and my ex decided to say he never loved me and found someone else on line and we have two wonderful kids children one 12 and 13 . I wanted to make it work ,but he didn’t. so ,I am financially struggling and only recieveing $60 a month for child support. I think that’s too little for two kids that eat a whole lot and need clothing intertainment etc. God help all the mothers who are going threw financial struggles. Help us be strong and courageous and let us not be ashame to get help. I know it will get better
aimee cohen says
What a naive comment. I wonder if you got pregnant unexpectedly, if you would suddenly be less judgmental? Or if you got married, had a child and your husband left you. You don’t know people’s situations and are no one to make snap judgments. Your comment shows immaturity, and lack of empathy and awareness.
I thought the same thing. Naive. Sometimes these things don’t even occur to you until you have experienced them, I guess. I never would have seen myself in this position when I first got married! Here’s one you can’t prepare for: children who have special needs. Who ever imagines that will happen? It is very hard on a marriage, and it can be difficult financially. Often a mother cannot hold a full time job AND care for her special needs child, so she takes one for the team and gives up her hard earned career. I had a master’s degree, a high paying career, owned my own home and vehicle, a 401k …. I was nearly 30. How much more prepared can you be? My husband cheated on me, started doing drugs… I had known him since I was 12!! You think you know someone….ANYONE can be thrown off track. ANYONE. No matter how prepared you think you are, shit will happen that you never dreamed of…I never judge anyone, anymore. I think people do the best they can with the tools they have. Life is very unpredictable.
Great post, Alexa! There are benefits and things that will help but it takes a long time to learn how to access them. For example: in my area, there is help with heating bills. But, you have to make an apt is Sept. You go to a meeting in October. You can get up to two months bills paid if you qualify. The program is out of money in December. If you run in to trouble during the coldest months, you are out of luck! ; (
It can definitely take a long time to learn how to access them. My town has heating program similar to what you described but its not in the place where you can get other types of benefits. So, it’s definitely best to talk to a caseworker and ask around so that you know what becomes available to you.
In our area, there’s the heating program, but also a separate program that helps people (to a lesser degree) whose homes run off of all electric. It’s in a different office, too, from what I understand.
I’m SO happy you wrote this. Those programs are there to help when bad things happen. And for a lot of people, if you don’t get on them, you’ll never get out of that rut. When kids are involved, getting on them is really a responsible thing to do, whatever your pride or prejudices against being on the system are.
Brian @ Luke1428 says
I’m not a single parent so can’t comment on the difficulty of raising kids by yourself. All I know is it’s a challenge for my wife and I to do it together so I can’t imagine what it’s like only being able to rely on yourself. I think your comment about not playing the victim mentality is key. I’ve seen single parents do that and it’s not a pretty sight. Quite frankly, it’s not pretty when any of us do that, single or not.
DC @ Young Adult Money says
This is a really great post Alexa, dare I call it a “resource”? Seriously you have so much good info here with relevant links I think it’s the perfect ‘how to’ guide for single parents. I’m not a single parent but I am definitely impressed by all the single parents out there. I have a hard time imagining raising kids and making it all work time and income-wise, but obviously others are doing it and some are doing it on their own, so it’s doable.
Finally, an honest post about being honest about doing what has to be done in order to survive. The last time I checked, most people have been paying taxes so that we can access these services. I get so sick and tired of people disparaging other people for placing pride aside and making sure that they have food and a roof over their heads. Until you’ve been hungry, scared, and no other resources you don’t know what you will do to take care yourself. I haven’t had to use Social Services, but, if the sh$t hit the fan. I would figure out every resource that I could use. I’ve been paying taxes for a hell of a lot years.
Exactly!! I have worked and paid taxes for years and years! I might also mention that the game changes entirely when you have children to take care of. It cannot be about you and your pride. Their needs have to come before your pride. Social services was meant to help people get back on their feet. If that is your goal, then you have nothing to be ashamed of! When you are working again, believe me, you will be paying taxes so that someone else can get back on their feet.
Alexa I’m so happy you were open about government assistance. There’s so much rhetoric out there about this topic, and mud slinging. It’s not right. Americans tend to speak out of both sides of their mouth. On the one hand, they worship at the altar of the stay at home mom, but then look down on the single mom who may utilize welfare to do the exact same thing.
There are many of us who needed to utilize government services for a very brief period because of life circumstances beyond our control – such as an abusive spouse or a divorce we didn’t choose to have happen. We need to withhold judgment.
Exactly. People judging others who receive assistance is my number one pet peeve in life. It’s also one of the reasons I deleted my Facebook account too. I just couldn’t hold my tongue when I saw people posting things that categorized everyone who received assistance as worthless. That’s not true. And until you have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes it’s just not right to judge.
ALEXA, YOU WROTE THAT THERE WOULD BE CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE FOR SINGLE MOM’S THAT ARE CURRENTLY GOING TO SCHOOL. I HAVE ASKED ABOUT THIS ASSISTANCE AT MY LOCAL OFFICE IN RHODE ISLAND AND WAS TOLD THAT I WOULD ONLY QUALIFY IF I WORKED AT LEAST 21 HOURS. WAS THAT FALSE INFORMATION THAT I HAVE BEEN GIVEN? THE CHILDCARE EXPENSES ARE THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FOR ME RIGHT AFTER PAYING MY RENT. I AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON MY B.S. AND NOT SURE FOR HOW MUCH LONGER I CAN CONTINUE ON WITHOUT RECEIVING ASSISTANCE FOR DAYCARE…. UNFORTUNATELY I TRY ED EVERYTHING ELSE WITHOUT SUCCESS SUCH AS WORKING MULTIPLE JOBS, GOING TO SCHOOL FULL TIME UNTIL I ENDED UP GETTING VERY SICK, IT WAS JUST NOT DOABLE IN MY SITUATION. IT SEEMS WITHOUT A BACHELOR DEGREE I WILL NOT GET BACK ON MY FEET, I SIMPLY CAN’T GET A BETTER PAYING JOB. THERFORE I DECIDED TO COMPLETE MY DEGREE BUT WITHOUT DAYCARE ASSISTANCE I HAVE TO STOP HALF WAY DOWN THE ROAD. I WOULD APPRECIATE ANY EXPLANATION THAT COULD POINT ME INTO THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
Hi Nadine. I live in Georgia and you have to be going to school full time or work for 21 hours. So if your going to a school that is not private then they should pay.
Marylou Lee says
I’m not from Georgia but I know here in Illinois, you must be working or volunteering 20 hrs a week or be a full time student to receive child care assistance. Also here in Illinois, they do not consider you a student if your classes are online.
Yes, the suggestion that you can get free child care while going to school is incorrect. In NY, you can get help with child care ONLY while your are earning a 2 year degree, not a 4 year or a masters. And in addition to attending school, you must work at least 21 hours a week. So if you do not have a support system or family to help you care for your child while you study and work, this is an incredibly difficult situation. And earning a 2 year degree ultimately is not a means to an end because you will still struggle to find a well paying job with a 2 year degree. This is how the welfare system has beem designed to keep people dependent.
Jennifer guss says
I am a 42 year old single mother of three kids I
1 son 22 1son 16 and last a beautiful six year old daughter and I tried courts begging for any type of child support and started that when my first was 7and 2nd 1 besides realizing I’d be losing my job because I’ve worked steadily since I was 12 and was working two times at the time of court while the father did nothing he managed to get at least four to six union jobs which he quit each one telling me I’d be selfish to leave one of my two jobs which was seven days a week meanwhile he I was fbeyond mind blown when my woman judge basically told him to try to send me “get this”$20.00 a month for two boys and every time I didn’t get a joke of 20 I was to take off work n complain losing money,days,and for something I won’t get never mind I asked he not get visits until he could get off drugs, however this unprofessional judge felt if he shows up to get them “normal”as she said then I must b
Hand them over even when I asked what if he gets em straight,pulls around corner as he does shoot up amongst many things but I was not even granted that ,my case has been in the system since back then n never have had any help of any kind I decided to tell this so called father u know you have two sons I’ve done all I humanly can but I can’t lose my job over a measly 20bucks so I said to forget court u give me what you feel your kids are worth and bout20 yrs later a big fat 0 and he’s still a big fat loser,nowiv been in a horrible accident long story short needed help from DSS that I’ve paid taxes my whole life for yet they screw it up I get nada n spoked to start again,I’m losing it, who can help me because nobody ever has,
I am a single mom of a beautiful five year old boy. I have been raising him on my own his whole life and have been a recipient of government assistance. When I started on assistance, they helped pay a large portion of what I could not, but as I continued to better myself, my job and career, the assistance slowly dissipated. It was not suddenly taken away and it certainly did not leave me empty handed. For example, my portion of my daycare costs at first was 50 dollars, as i got raises throughout the years, my portion slowly went up to 75, 112, 145, 190, 217, 275, and now is 294 dollars. It’s not like it went form 50 to 294 overnight so I cant afford it, it was progressive just like my income. It was the same with food stamps. They did not just take them away completely, they progressively decreased the amount I was receiving, when I was making more money. In all honesty, government assistance taught me how to budget properly by helping me wean off of their assistance. I encourage ANYONE in need to apply for food stamps or WIC because honestly it was one of the best things I ever did.
Thank you so much for sharing Anna. It’s great to hear firsthand that benefits aren’t just completely taken away as you start to do better financially. And I agree receiving assistance is a great way to learn budgeting. I know when my family received food stamps we knew we had a set amount of money to spend on food each month and stuck with that.
Best of luck to you!!
Allison Burke says
Alexa, I just found your blog and wow I really love it! Thanks for keeping it real girl! I get so tired of some of the popular blogs out there that seem so perfect and superficial – OMG It was so refreshing to find yours – which talks about real issues in people’s lives in this day and age with the economy as it is. I get tired of seeing articles on how to pick the best nail polish color (lol – bad example but you know what i mean). Thanks – i am a new follower 🙂
Allison Burke says
Oh and i also deleted my FB account about one year ago bc I felt like most everyone i was “friends” with were 1. fale and 2. judgmental. I feel much better being off FB i must admit!
Yes, me too. I thought there would be FB withdrawals but I don’t miss it one single bit!
Thank you so much Allison. I really appreciate it!! One of my missions is to try and take away some of the shame people go through when they do have to receive government assistance. There should be no shame to it. I appreciate your comment!
Alexa, you are ‘God sent’. You can not imagine what l am going through right now. But really, this article is helpful. It has increased my confidence to face my future. I have a baby boy- 17months. I and my ex just got separated few days ago. I will be relocating to baltimore in Maryland. I wish you could help me with supports that are available in Baltimore; that l could use to start this new life with my baby.
Sarah @ SarahTitus.com says
Not everyone takes advantage of welfare, this is true, and people on government assistance get a bad wrap many times, but not all single moms are on welfare either. Case in point, me. 🙂
I love this article , I am a young 24 year mom became a single mother at the age 20 . I think this should be seen and read by so many young moms. Because I lost count on how many times I need help and didn’t know where to even start that I would just play”vitcim” and feel sad. Thank God I have learn so much from my bad experiences that I know how to survive as a single mom.
Jonathan Craig says
Excellent post, you are a rockstar! Keep it up!
Jessica smith says
I read the post above about BEING a single mom. What preparation should I be doing (on the DL, of course) if I think, “how much longer can the fighting go on?” I want to be prepared to take care of my son and myself if I decide I can’t take it anymore?? Please, help…
Hi Jessica. Sorry to hear that you’re going through a bad time. This article is a great resource to reference especially when trying to adapt to being a single mom. My advice would be to secure employment for yourself and go back to school if you need to. Build up a support system of friends and family to help you when you need it and start slashing your expenses and make saving a priority. Increasing your income and savings will help give you freedom and power to thrive as a single mom. Good luck!
I prepared for like 4 yrs but it worked!! I had a little secrect savings and went back to school for my nursing degree. I had to get assistance for a year or two and it really helped me out. No way I could have done it without government assistance. But I did what I was supposed to do and I loved it when I called my case worker to tell her I got a job and no longer needed a case. It was the BEST feeling!!! My ex would always give me crap how I was a low life for being on welfare but he certainly wasn’t providing health insurance or food. So we do what we had to do for our babies!
That’s right! You gotta do what you gotta do for your babies. Congrats for doing it on your own. Sounds like you are doing amazing and should be so PROUD!!
helena hopewell says
It’s not easy I’m a single mom of an 8 yr old boy and 2 yr old twin girls. I divorced my ex when I was eight months pregnant with my girls. I was a stay at home mom for 6 yrs before i became single. Ive never been on assistance but i am now and will be until I can get a good job. Which is not going to be easy since i have no expierncein a lot of things, But thats not stopping me from trying, I so want to be able to provide for my little naughties:)
accessed the system hard and don’t feel guilty about it because we need it. I’m embarrassed, especially for my kids but I hope to turn things around before they understand much. Sometimes the weight of it all gets to me and I cry, not in front of them but it’s hard. My kids have some special needs right now that require more doctor visits and even occupational therapy.
My biggest hurdles are, childcare, housing and budgeting along with support. I finally found a number through one of the thousands of phone calls I make and they connected me to a woman from Goodwillwho said she could help me with all these things but I cannot get anyone to watch my kids. I don’t dare ask my mom as things are strained to the breaking point already.
They all think I’m a weak victim because I cry but I had the courage to leave an abusive marriage knowing it was going to be hard as heck to support my wonderful children on my own. I’m breaking the cycle or trying to but I’m stuck right now. It’s been six months and I still don’t have a place of our own! I’m scared and frustrated. Please, words of wisdom?
Somehow my first paragraph was cut but to sum it up, I was married 20 yrs and my husband and I never had the best marriage. I’m on disability for a REAL condition that causes a lot of pain. I get a check from SSDI for 1500 with benefits. My kids are covered through CHIP and it’s great.
Once we were basically on the street, my mom kindly let us move in. We do not get along. We have very different parenting ideas and outlooks. She’s very GOP, I’m not.
I’m stuck and scared and don’t know how to get out of yet another negative atmosphere.
what a great article. I love how you said from time to time everyone needs help. Yes. This is so true. Every single person has needs. Sometimes they are financial. Sometimes they are emotional. Everyone is needy, and it’s ok to ask for help when we need something.
I feel like I have tried all of these and nothing is working. I make too much to get most government assistance but I still live paycheck to paycheck and want to buy a house but can’t afford to fix my credit. I think my main issue is I have a hard time with not spending money during my lunch break as I do not like most sandwiches or leftovers.
Love this article!
hi im a single mom from south-africa got 5 children 4 of my children are taken away from me my twins were 6months old when they were taken 2day they dnt know me as their mother i see photos of them growing up on facebook.my other 2 boys were taken in 2010
Faith tumelo says
I am single mom 21years my baby is 8months going too 9 end of the month,im attnding school and i do get grant for my baby but its not enough i dnt know what or where to go sometimes when its tough for him if there are any part time jobs please help,my classes starts @ 2 o clock and goes out at 6 so any help please call me:
Hi, can you share what at home business you found, i am currently looking.
Yes me too.
This was a great read. I am a single mom and when I found myself single after three years of marriage I really didn’t want to get a ‘handout’ from the government. Thank God that they have these programs though. I would add on here WIC, I am still on WIC and each month they give out vouchers for the basic groceries; milk, cheese, bread, etc. It’s a wonderful program and helps me so much each month making ends meet.
I have beem living in survival mode since my daughter was 4 months old, when I became a single parent. I have a 4 year degree. Throughout the past 4 years I have struggled to keep my head above water. While working part time, I public assistance in the form of foodstamps and a child care subsidy to help cover a portion of daycare while O worked. But my income was not enough to cover rent and living expenses. When I returned to working full time, all assistance was cut off. Because my pre-taxed income was $200 over the eligibility guidelines, I lost the $300 a month that helped us eat and the $700 that helped me afford childcare. I increased my work hours so that I could afford to pay my $625 a month rent, but I ended up losing the benefit that helped me to pay for the $1,000/month child care expenses. This was so devastating to me. I had left an abusive relationship and fought so hard to get back on my feet. I needed to work, for my sanity and my self-esteem. And with all the guilt I carried about being a single parent and worrying about being enough for my daughter, the one thing that I felt SOOO good about was that I had enrolled my daughter in a child care program that was nurturing, supporting her developmental needs, and giving her structure and security while I went to work. I recently started a job as a probation officer. My rent is lower conpared to other apartments I have looked at. But it is still half of my income. I’m not sure how I will keep my head above water. The welfare system is structured in a way that makes it extremely difficult for people to get OUT of poverty. There is a trade off. Women have to be cautious about getting raises, increasing their work hours, or taking a promotion. Because the penalty for getting ahead even ny $100 a month could mean losing that $300 that allows you to feed your children or the $700 that allows you to afford quality child care. I have done a lot of advocacy and public speaking about the need to increase funding for child care subsidies and to increase the eligibility limits. Women need this, CHILDREN need this!! When I left an abusive relationship, the childcare subsidy saved my life. Please use your voices to advocate for single parents. It is so unfair to children when parents have to function in survival mode. And make no mistake, that shapes the communities we live in.
Thank you for your sharing your story Sara. I agree with you 100%!!!!
I’m a single mom of 4 kids…..I’m on the food assistance program, and I have medical thru the state as well, I’m so thankful that I’m able to get the help that I can. Plus I have amazing friends and family that help me and my children……I have no clue where we would be without the state assistants, wish the food assistance was more, feeding 3 boys with a hart appetites it tough…….but we will take what we can get…..plus some churches have a food pantry that can help too they are great!!! It’s tough out there for single parents!! Thank you for listen to a single mom of 4 ramble on!!!!
I’m a single mom of 13 yr old twins, my daughters wouldn’t even know their father if they accidently bumped into him walking down the street as he’s chosen to basically abandon them. Hasn’t seen them since they were 2 n tht relationship lasted for maybe 3 months b4 he left the state, not even quite sure as to where he is.. he is court ordered by child support thru DHHS to pay a whopping $31.00 a wk in child support for 2 kids.. totaling arnd $124.00/month.. that doesnt even cover their school lunches for the month! With myself making okay money.. just a little over the poverty line, eye do not qualify for any assistance, my kids got kicked off Medicaid due to the child support order, ordering thm to b placed under the fathers health insurance if he were to ever pick up a job offering it.. he refuses to give me the policy numbers or the insurance cards.. ignores my requests.. the state turns me down whn eye ask for help w/it, and his insurance turns me down even tho I am the sole provider bcuz eye am not the policy holder, he is. Eye don’t even hav enough money to get me thru the months.. Eye have garnishments in place frm a previous back surgery 2 yrs ago, student loans.. that did nothing but get me in debt as eye can’t finish as eye maxed out pell grants n financial aid, eye refuse to pull anymore loans out n build tht debt up.. it’s hard. N no one ever understands. And the older girls get the more expensive it gets, eye can’t even put my girls in the one thing thy enjoy the most which is dance cuz eye never qualify for any help.. n can not afford it, n really eye don’t even see half my check as it’s gone to garnishments, and my health insurance.. n taxes n whts left barely gets me by, some months eye find myself selling my stuff just to pay stuff or buy food.. n I’ve bn doing this for quite some time.. it just doesn’t get easier, ever. Harder if anything. There is no cathching a break.. also I’ve bn at my job for 10 years, and work OT almost every week and overnights, so eye work as much as eye can.. it’s literally impossible to live a comfortable, happy life whn all u do is worry yrself sick abt how yr gona pay this, or feed ur kids.. buy thm their lady products (which that right there for the 3 of us adds up quick).. every single day! Something in this world has got to change. It’s just sad that people have to live this way whn all we do is try our best.. u just literally canNOT live off one income in this world anymore w/children n the poverty line is ridic as well.. esp. whn there are those pple using the system, hav a man who works while living in the household, not working themselves n receiving full benefits n living the life. Eye see it everyday.. hav turned thm in so many times, and dhhs does absolutely nothing abt it… n thn there’s us that resort to sites like this to see how others do it n get by bcuz we are trying n not getting tht far at all… sad sad world we live in.
Continued- not to mention, eye don’t even qualify for food pantry’s. The welfare system hurts those that need it more thn it does any good.. it does not help people get out of poverty, your better off by not working at all, or for the smallest amount of hours tht u can while receiving max benefits, thn making that extra $100-$200 dollars a month in a paycheck n getting cut frm your $500 food stamps, $600 childcare benefit and your little to no-cost Medicaid benefit.. I’m not quite sure how welfare systems do not see this, and this is the reason as to y benefits get abused so much… smh.. (my letter “EYE” does not work, cuz eye can’t even afford a new phone, so in place of the “letter”, I’m using the word.. so please excuse my wording”…
[email protected] says
Hi Miche, Of course, each state is different, but here in Virginia there are multiple sources of free food from state and county pantries, to non profits like food for others, to churches in the area who work with the major supermarkets to gather food that is close to the “sell by” dates. I volunteer with a group who takes this food every Monday and Thursday to several subsidized housing neighborhoods in Northern VA for those who cannot drive to the warehouse to pick it up themselves. Anyway, my point is, I hope there aren’t any “stones” to be turned over that you maybe haven’t learned of yet. Ask around, make calls, use the internet search engines like google. Or tell me your state and I’ll see if I can find anything.
I have a 5 year old daughter whose father is completely absent, but continues to pay child support. Thanks to Texas law, it’s automatically taken out of his paycheck, so it’s not optional. Overall, I’ve been very fortunate. I’m a public school teacher, and I have insurance through my school district. I was always the breadwinner, so when I did finally divorce, the amount of child support was actually just as much as my ex contributed when we were married. I’m blessed to have a lot of support from my family who live nearby, and my parents let her sleep over at least one night a week. But the thing that hands down has made our lives possible is my profession. Even though there’s a ton of work involved (I teach HS English) I still get to spend time with her. And now that she’s in school I’m saving so much more money that I was originally putting into daycare.
Just to clarify, my ex only ended up contributing a few hundred dollars a month while we were married (after paying his existing debt and spending on things he felt he deserved).
[email protected] says
LOL….5 year old daughter and he’s worried about what he deserves. Honestly I doubt he’s getting that.
I think this little girl is in good hands. : )
Obviously, you have never been in this position. At $24, 000 a year I made too much to qualify for anything more than healthcare and $250 in food stamps. At $40,000 a year, with a new job,I lost my health insurance but did get to keep my kids covered. My health insurance has a 2,000 deductable, so I can’t afford to go anywhere but urgent care. This is for a family or 4. I can barely pay for basics, rent, car(lots of repairs because its a junker), insurance and food. We never do anything for entertainment that costs money. And on this income my son who is now college age is going to have huge loan debt because I make too much to get enough financial aid. I have no way of saving for anything. Life sucks.
Single mom of 4, ages 18, 6, 4, 1. I do not qualify for ANY assistance. Child support requires their father to pay $300/ month. That’s it . Which he does not even pay. After school care and one ft daycare bby costs me $1,080.00/ MONTH. That’s actually pretty cheap. I make good money but not enough. I’m left negative at the end of the month along w the fact that my 18 yr old is practically raising them so I can work all the time. It is frustrating, however we are getting by. God has my back
But what if you dont qualify for any type of assistance. I just found out i was pregnant and the only thing that is hindering me from continuing is finances. I have a plan; if i keep this baby i will start working two jobs, i work full time already and will pick up a second job (which is difficult but i need to save money for when im on maternity leave) . So with that said, i make about 30000 a year yet i pay student loans. Unfortunately i was in the shitty part of our generation that didnt get free tuition and my parents did well but they didnt take into account that they had 4 kids… which would be very hard to pay for them to pay all of our college tuition. So i pay 600 a month on my student loans and rent where i live or where i may move for a one bedroom and or 2 bedroom ranges from 750 (which will be a real shitty apartment) to 1000. But that doesnt include any utilitities. And i live in NY where the winter is really bad. So i am estimating that i will spend 1200 on a roof and utilities then i have my loan payment of 600. Leaving me at a monthly payment of 1800 dollars. And i need to buy food for me and my kid, i am a really healthy eater now and i do know that i can cut back on this so i budgeted 100 a week for both of us. So if there are 4 weeks out of the month that is another 400 dollars. Lets bump it to 500 give or take. So now my expenses are at 2300. I currently have roughly 100 or less to spend on everything else. So i am not eligible for assistance because i make enough money but they do not take into account my student loans. So if i didnt have those i would be willing to keep this baby since id have 700 dollars extra a month. That and if im working full time my significant other’s child support will go to that so that is 200 dollars to that. But i think i would need to get a second job and then another half of my income from the second job would go to caring for my child. Im just all sorts of confused. Since the only thing keeping me from not having this baby is finances and jumping to far into this relationship with my boyfriend of seven months who hasnt even told me he loves me yet. I know he would pay child support. I just dont know how i can afford a child even with that. Im at a lost right now. He will support me in any way but unfortunately he could realistically run off whenever. He has a really good job too but i am not going to allow that to influence my decision because again he could leave me. I did not even throw in money for essentials like diapers, cleaning supplies, soap, etc…. i am 24 years old as well and have a good support system for either route i choose and do not have to buy much to start off with since my sister and nrother both just had kids. But idk if i can afford a child and have them live a comfortaboe life style. My boyfriend will have his debt paid off in two years… which he pays 12000 a year! And he will be completely ready at that point to have a child but its too much financially for both of us right now. At least thats what we both think. I just never thought id get pregnant witj my pcos unless i had medical intervention and also i just feel all funky about getting rid of it.
I am not a religious person so please no comments about abortion vs. Religion. Just honest comments to help organize my thoughts more.
I understand this is not a male bashing post but my gosh why am I discovering now how men can turn so nasty and cold while their women is pregnant with their child?? At a time when women are most vulnerable and need the most emotional and physical support, men decide that’s the best time to become Jag Offs? I don’t get it. It’s awful to be in this situation. I understand. And harder to be motivated to do what you have to do. But when your left with no other choice, being strong is the only choice you have.
Yes, sometimes you don’t know how strong you can be until you’re in a situation like this!
I tried going to college but didn’t have time to ride the bus and couldn’t afford the gas…
I went to college and became a nurse. I was blessed to have parents who helped by watching my son so that I could go. I did work 2 jobs while going to school and it was NOT easy. I was constantly exhausted but it was worth the sacrifice. I was able to receive PELL grants which paid for all of my schooling, tuition, books, everything and even had enough money left from the grants to help with gas to drive back and forth. I went to a community college as it was much cheaper than a university. Once I was in the nursing program I worked really hard to maintain high grades and so I also received some scholarships which greatly helped financially. I don’t know how I would have lived if I hadn’t have went to college. It’s 20 years later now, and that was the best decision I could have made. I would encourage any single parent who is able to take advantage of the grants and scholarships out there for people in our situation to get an education so that you have some marketable skills. You don’t need a big old 4 year college degree and massive student loan debt, there are lots of programs at the community college level that can lead you to a job/career that will support you and your kid(s). It is empowering to know that you can take care of your family yourself.