Single parents need to work to generate the income necessary to make ends meet and give their kids the best start in life, but this can be really hard to accomplish. If you’re a single parent who works full time and you’re struggling with how to budget your income properly to cover all of your expenses, continue reading for a few tips that should help.
Set a Budget and Stick to It
Setting a budget is imperative if you want to have a strategy that will work. After all, you won’t know how much you can spend if you don’t crunch some numbers first.
Start by calculating all of the expenses you incur every month, from your rent, to your usual grocery bill, cable and cell phone bills, and other fixed expenses. Then calculate how much money you earn from your job.
Some people like setting aside money for a major expense, such as their rent, right at the beginning of the month when they receive the first paycheck. This gives them the peace of mind of knowing that the money is there in savings waiting for them. Then they divide the rest of the money that they’ll be making so that it will cover the rest of their expenses. Any money left over should be placed into a savings account.
In addition to creating a spending plan and sticking to it, you can make it even easier to make ends meet by clipping coupons, searching for deals online, and opting into rewards programs that give you discounts for making purchases.
Consider Buying Your Food Last
If you find yourself overspending at the grocery store, consider paying all of your other bills first every week before finding out how much money is left over for groceries. Then search for coupons for food and other necessities online and in your local newspapers so you can spend your money wisely at the supermarket.
Look into Government Assistance Programs
If you’re struggling to pay all of your bills, you should look into the many government assistance programs that are available. You may be surprised by the many programs that you qualify for and that can help dramatically reduce your bills each month.
For example, those who earn a low income can get free phones from the government, along with cell phone plans. And there are also programs available, such as Medicaid, that can help you give your family the health insurance they need to see the doctor and get medications.
Only Use Your Credit Card for Major Purchases or Emergencies
Your credit card could make it easier to lose track of just how much money you’re spending every week and every month. If that is the case, reserve credit card use for major expenses and emergencies only.
There are some credit cards, though, that offer great rewards programs, including cash back and discounts, so if you know how to use your credit card responsibly and you know that you’ll be able to pay the bill in full each time, you can certainly use credit more often and get the cash back every month.
These are just a few helpful budgeting strategies that you can use if you’re a single parent who works, but remember that you need to figure out what works best for you to get the best results.