Whether you have recently split with your partner, or you are facing a surprise pregnancy that you’re unprepared for, you may be concerned about whether you can survive on your own as a single parent. When there is only one income in the household, financial worries can start to pile up. Even two-parent households often struggle with their finances, but it does not have to be impossible. There are several tips you can follow to make it easier to raise your child independently.
Look for Ways to Increase Your Earnings
If you have a low income already, the easiest way to make things more manageable is to increase that income. You could get a second job, but this could make it even harder to balance work and family demands. Childcare gets more expensive when you need them to take care of your kids more each week. Look for ways to increase your current salary.
If you have been at the same job for some time, you might be able to get a raise at your next annual review. Today, employees have even more leverage because companies have been struggling to fill roles. If you are not able to get a raise at your current position, you may still be able to find another job that pays better. Plus, other companies might offer better benefits or more flexibility in your working schedule than what you currently have.
Because of the increased demand from employees for remote positions, more companies are offering hybrid or fully remote schedules. If your job is flexible enough, you might be able to get a side hustle to further increase your income. A side hustle can be scaled up or down as much as you need it, and it’s a great way to put your extra time to use. You could look to freelancing, transcription, writing, website testing, or market research. Stringing together several micro side hustles can help you piece together a more reliable income stream than if you were to depend on only one hustle.
If you have debt from credit cards or student loans, you may find it is getting more expensive to meet your repayment obligations. If you have more than one loan, debt consolidation could be a viable option for you, which means you will only be making one monthly repayment. If you have student loans, consider refinancing. This simply means you take out a new one to pay back the old loan. When you refinance student loans, you could get more favorable repayment terms.
Make Time to Take Care of Yourself
It’s easy to get busy as a single mom because you don’t have another parent to take on the time-consuming tasks for you, and you are also the sole income earner in the home. Juggling finances, home, and work can be hard while you are also meeting your child’s needs. It’s easy to put self-care on the back burner because you become so focused on external things.
However, it’s important to take care of yourself so you can take care of your child. Make sure you are getting your own yearly checkups, eating well, and exercising. Set aside a few minutes each day where you can do something you enjoy. That might include reading a book, listening to a podcast, working on a creative project, or taking a nap. If you don’t take care of yourself, you are more likely to experience burnout.
Set Goals and Check in Regularly
Don’t forget to pay attention to your future. It’s easy to focus only on paying your bills for this month without any thought for future goals. Even though these are important things to consider, you should also consider your overall goals. Know what you want to accomplish and how to get there. Set short-term goals to allow you to pay for birthday or holiday gifts. Short-term goals may also include going on a vacation later in the year. Long-term goals may include the ability to support your kids’ educational goals or the ability to retire at a certain time in your life. Consider setting up a college or retirement fund now and making regular contributions, even if they are relatively small.
Look for an Affordable Housing Solution
It can be difficult to pay for your living expenses if you find housing to be expensive. Many times, housing takes up a significant portion of a budget, so spend some time comparing the most affordable, safe options in your area. You may find you need to compromise on some features, such as moving to a smaller space or not having as many amenities as you would like.
On the other hand, you may find that moving further from the city center allows you to obtain a space with more room that still saves you money. Just make sure that you compare the cost of traveling to the city, especially if you work there. Depending on your income and situation, you might qualify for housing assistance for low-income families. Taking part in a housing program could get you subsidized housing, where you won’t have to pay market rates for a place.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help
Getting help is one of the most important things to do as a single mother. While you may want to do everything without anyone else’s help, you may find that getting help allows you to work a better job that allows you to pay your bills. Accept help from family and friends and consider keeping a list of things or tasks you need to be done. That way, if someone offers to help, you will have something to share with them.
Consider joining support groups, where you can connect with single moms. Look for programs in your area that would help you out. If you are struggling to feed your children, the WIC program allows single mothers to get nourishing food for their children. You may qualify for food stamps, which can help you obtain what you need