Raising a kid is hard. Raising a kid in the 21st century is even harder. Raising a kid on your own in the 21st century is harder still. The cost of living is getting higher and higher and the economy is actually working against you, doing its best to ensure that your income is never quite up to the task of keeping you financially flush.
Oh, and by the way if you’re a woman raising a child on your own (which is statistically more likely) things are harder still. You’re working in an environment where gender equality is a myth, casual misogyny, pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment are realities that women face far too often in the workplace and the gender pay gap is far from closed. In fact, the World Economic Forum predicts that it will take over 200 years to close completely.
Yet, despite the deck being stacked so heavily against you, you soldier on because you ;love your kids and you’re determine to raise them right, with love and compassion, come what may. You’re amazing! You’re basically Wonder Woman!
And you and your family deserve happiness and harmony. The good news is that they can be yours. It’s just that in an economy that’s actively working against you, you’ll have to work that little bit harder for them than your male and / or childless counterparts.
Here we’ll look at some ways in which single Moms can apply some smart money management strategies to help to keep their household finances under control and improve their quality of life. After all, money troubles can be a real strain on your mental health and adversely affect your ability to give your kids the upbringing they deserve. But the very qualities that make you a great parent, despite the difficulties will also see you steer your finances back into the black.
Don’t let bad credit push you into settling for bad financial products
If you’ve managed thus far on your own, it’s likely that you’ve needed a little help to do it. However, when we’re unable to rely on the financial support of our co-parents, our family or our friends we have no recourse but to rely on loans and credit cards.
They can seem so appealing with their low interest introductory rates and perfectly reasonable sounding repayments. However, these quotidian debts can quickly add up and as interest rates escalate, we can find ourselves in a black hole of debt that never seems to go away and decimates our credit rating.
But just because you have a less than perfect credit rating doesn’t mean that you should have to settle for low quality or exploitative financial products which could propel you towards financial ruin like payday loans. There are still decent loans out there for people in your circumstances, just check out this review of CashnetUSA for all you need to know. Moreover, even if your financial situation is grim, you can still take steps to spruce up your credit rating, such as…
Consolidate your debts
Taking out a loan to pay off a loan may sound counter intuitive to many but debt consolidation loans can be advantageous to single parents whose debts are not only making their finances harder to manage, they’re resulting in stress and upset, too.
A consolidation loan can help you to right your finances in a number of ways. Firstly, they can replace all of your existing debts with their different rates of interest and different times of the month in which they are deducted from your account. Instead of having several payments leave your bank account, each with its own rate of interest, you have only one payment with one rate of interest.
Plus, the chances are it will be a more favorable rate of interest than you’ve already been paying averaged out across your debts. Moreover, because your debts will be replaced by a single new debt, your credit score will look much brighter. On paper you’ll have paid off your debts and have only one remaining. So long as you keep up the repayments on this new debt your credit rating will eventually improve.
Always Be Budgeting
Seriously! It sounds cheesy, it’s something you’d think that nobody actually does, but your most powerful weapon in the battle for financial well-being is a well thought out budget. Many people think that budgeting is simply a matter of keeping down their monthly outgoings and while there’s certainly an element of that budgeting is nothing more than this…
Download a budget template (here are some good ones to get you started). Fill in all of your monthly outgoings. Work out what you have left over. Dedicate some of that to saving. Put a little of it aside for emergencies. Stick to the template rigidly and you’ll find that over time you become better at managing your finances.
The act of budgeting makes you much more cognizant of what’s coming out of your bank account and able to weather the rugged and unpredictable financial terrain that comes with being a single parent.
Don’t worry. Good financial management isn’t about treading water and just scraping by through life. It’s about having the money spare to make memories with your kids without the guilty financial hangover of racking up debts to pay for weekends away, vacations, days out, toys and treats.
Setting financial goals like paying for a vacation, treating yourself to some clothes that make you feel like the goddess you are or getting your kids something extra special just because you love them will help you to retain a clear focus on why you’re doing all of this in the first place.
Get a better savings account
Finally, it’s impossible to grow your money using the pitiful interest rates offered by most high street banks. If you’ve had the same savings account since you were a teenager and expect your bank to reward your loyalty… You’re wrong.
Banks are loyal only to themselves and they have significant overheads and huge salaries to pay. Online service providers, on the other hand have fewer overheads than high street banks and are able to offer you better rates of interest.