Becoming a parent is easily one of the most profoundly rewarding things a woman can do in her life. And, living every day as your child’s mom is your deepest honor, one you would never trade. Yet, while being a mom is deeply rewarding, being the single head of the household can create chaos on your finances, time, career prospects, bringing financial challenges that households with two incomes often don’t deal with.
According to Census Bureau data, about 90% of children lived in households with both their parents in 1960. But this started to change by the mid-1990s when the number had fallen below 70% and remained similar until 2017. And, let us tell you some data to show why single moms struggle so much about their finances. Data from the National Women’s Law Center shows that in 2017, the median income of married couples was worth $85,300 whereas, among single moms, it was worth just $35,400. So, single parenting can be a real financial boondoggle.
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Don’t make professional decisions “as a single mom”
First things first, if you want to overcome your financial struggles as a single mom, you may have to take this “status” out of your mind when making any decision regarding your career.
The large majority of single moms raise their children with very little or absolutely no financial help from their children’s fathers. According to Pew, the average amount of money for child support received is worth $300 per month. In other words, single moms out there have a major responsibility when it comes to earning income. So, if you want to cover the lack of financial support from your child’s father, you need to go big when it comes to your career.
Sure, statistically, single moms are poor. But you don’t want to be poor, you want to have enough financial resources to provide your child with everything they need. So, go for that raise, even if it means some extra hard work, take the risk to starts your own business, ask for that promotion, or even consider changing your job if you think that will help you advance in your career.
Point is that being a single mom should not stop you from advancing in your career. So, take that risk because statistically, risk over the long-term pays off.
Develop and embrace a budget
If you have been struggling with your finances and can barely make ends meet for some time now, maybe it is time to get real about your budget and what you can or can’t afford. Since there is just one earner in your family, you need to adapt to your current financial status until you will be able to improve it.
Whether single motherhood found you through a divorce, an unplanned pregnancy, by choice or widowhood, it can’t be easy to raise your kid on your own. You may find yourself envying those two-parent families that seem to have it all and think that being a single parent was the most insane financial decision you’ve ever made. Yet, the sooner you embrace your new lifestyle, the sooner you start making real changes that will help you deal easier with your situation.
So, if you can’t afford your current lifestyle, you need to decide right now to change your spending. You don’t have to feel pressured to replicate your nuclear-family neighbors’ lives. You need to build your own lifestyle, on your own terms and within your own means.
Now, before you decide where to cut down some costs from, create your budget including your income, spending, savings and, pretty much, any relevant detail about how you manage finances. Next, analyze your budget and see what expenses you can eliminate or what you can change about them to pay less than you did until now.
For example, if you eat out a lot, you surely know that this isn’t a financially-healthy habit because you spend a lot of extra money. Instead, buy your own groceries and cook at home to cut down on food costs.
Set up a savings account
Like it or not, we should all be saving in the long-term in order to be prepared for the unexpected or to afford our future goals. As a single mother, you worry about your child’s future costs such as education, for example. So, saving from childhood is a good strategy to be able to financially support your child when college time arrives.
Moreover, you may never know when the unexpected will happen and you need to be financially prepared to deal with it. Yet, as a single mom, already struggling with finances, it can be really difficult to save money. So, if the unplanned happens and you find yourself in difficulty of paying for it, you can find a way to get money fast. For example, you can get a highway car title loan to get quick cash in hand.
Get a side gig
It’s 2020 and the side gig economy is simply thriving these days. It only takes to identify what you are good at and use those skills to get an extra income. For example, the freelancing industry is gaining momentum these days and there are so many job opportunities that you can choose from.
You basically can earn money for doing what you are good at outside of your regular job. For example, if you are good at teaching, you can offer classes to the kids in your surroundings. Or, if you are a creative person and love crafting things, you can do this in your free time and sell them. There is plenty of options, just find one that suits your skills and use it to improve your financial status.
Create a support system
Let’s be honest, we all are, sometimes, too proud to ask for help when we need it. However, your pride may be making things more difficult for your child as well. So, forget about having to prove to your peers that you can do it on your own and ask for help when you find yourself in a tight situation. Your friends and family members will be more than happy to help you when you need their support. All you have to do is to reach out to them.