15 Best Budgeting Tips For Single Moms To Maximize Income And Savings

Maltida Jacques
March 30, 2024
15 Best Budgeting Tips For Single Moms To Maximize Income And Savings
15 Best Budgeting Tips For Single Moms To Maximize Income And Savings

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Being a single mom in the U.S. comes with its own set of challenges.

In fact, 80% of all single parents are single moms, and more than half of them are millennials.

That’s a lot to handle when you consider that there are 15.6 million children living in single-mother households.

Financially, it can be tough. Single moms typically have a 35.6% smaller median income compared to single fathers.

And shockingly, only 45.9% of single parents receive full child support.

Childcare costs alone can eat up 35% of a single-parent’s income.

But we’re here to help. We’ve put together 15 simple budgeting ideas to make life a bit easier for single moms.

Our goal is to help you take control of your finances, reduce stress, and create a brighter future for you and your family.

With these tips, you can learn how to save money, stretch your budget, and achieve your financial goals while enjoying a fulfilling life.

So, let’s dive in and discover how you can thrive as a single mom on a budget.

We’re here for you every step of the way.

Why Is Budgeting Important For A Single Mom?

Budgeting is essential for anyone looking to manage their finances effectively, but it’s necessary for single moms.

As a single mom, you are solely responsible for providing for your family, which means you need to control your finances.

Budgeting helps you understand your income, expenses, and financial goals and lets you plan and prioritize your spending accordingly.

By budgeting, you can identify areas where you can cut costs, save money, and make smart financial decisions.

This can help you reduce stress, build financial stability, and achieve your long-term goals, such as paying off debt, saving for your children’s education, or purchasing a home.

Additionally, budgeting can help you teach your children valuable financial lessons and set a good example for them to follow.

Budgeting is a crucial tool for single moms looking to take control of their finances and build a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Calling all single moms to level up their financial game!

Start building a solid financial foundation for you and your children with this Single Mom Budgeting printable.

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How To Budget As A Single Mom?

Here you will find the 15 best tips for creating an effective single mom budget.

1. Craft A Budget

To effectively budget as a single mom in the United States, start by identifying all your sources of income, including your salary, child support, and any government assistance you may qualify for, such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).

Then, list your expenses, separating them into fixed costs like rent or mortgage, utilities, and insurance, as well as variable expenses like groceries, transportation, and entertainment.

You can use online budgeting tools Cleo and Personal Capital which is now called Empower which can take care of your spending and income and hence help you to create a budget and manage your personal finance better.

2. Save For Emergency Needs

This is why budgeting is #1.

Regardless of how much you earn or spend, you never know when your kids will need something you weren’t expecting.

You never know when you’ll be sick or injured and lose your income while recovering.

And on that note, ensure you stay up to date with health insurance for you and the kids.

Along with this it is vital that you build an emergency fund to take care of unpredictable situations.

Every month put a small amount of money into an emergency fund.

3. Keep Records Of Income And Expenses

Maintain a detailed record of all your financial transactions using budgeting software or mobile apps like PocketSmith or Quicken.

These tools can provide valuable insights into your spending habits.

4. Automation

In the stress of taking care of children, of working inside and outside of the house, it is very much possible that it becomes difficult to pay the bills on time.

Thus, it could help if you could automate your payments.

This will help you to save on the penalty fees.

You can either use apps or tools like Stellarfi to help you pay on time along with building your credit.

5. Cut Back On Expenses

Explore coupon websites and apps like Rakuten Rewards, or Coupons.com to find discounts and deals when shopping for groceries or making online purchases.

Consider thrifty options like thrift stores, garage sales, or websites such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist  for purchasing second hand items at a lower cost.

Further, cutting back expenses also means not to spend on things that can be expensive and unrequired.

You can try to cook more than eating out, or switching to a cheaper cell package for all the phones in the household.

Negotiate bills with service providers and investigate opportunities to reduce expenses, such as bundling cable and internet services to save money.

If you think you are not an expert in negotiating the bills, you can take help from apps like Bill Trim.

They will help you save money by cutting down your bills by some bucks for you. 

Another way to cut down your expenses is to stop spending more required money on leisure activities.

For Example: Instead of having a subscription for three different streaming platforms every month you can try and take one subscription every month to save some hard earned dollars.

6. Use Budgeting Apps

You can consider using some budgeting apps like Cleo.

It is a chatbot, but the one that assists you in your personal finance.

You can let this app take care of your spending and even help you to save more by spending less through quizzes, limits and setting goals.

Cleo makes budgeting fun and personal finance assistance easy.

Alternatively, Empower offers tools for budgeting and investment tracking, providing a comprehensive overview of your financial health.

You can also try Quicken or PocketSmith for budgeting your money better and help you stick to your single mom budget longer.

7. Prioritize Purchases

Keep in mind that essential expenses like rent or mortgage payments, groceries, and healthcare should take precedence when allocating your budget.

The 50/30/20 budget rule can serve as a helpful guideline, with 50% of your income dedicated to needs, 30% to wants, and 20% to savings and debt repayment.

8. Pick Up Extra Jobs

Explore part-time job opportunities or gig work through platforms like Lyft or TaskRabbit, or consider freelancing in your area of expertise via websites such as Fiverr or Freelancer.

If you have a permanent job that you have been working at for quite some time and believe you could be paid more for your skills, you ask for a raise.

You can also start side hustle like dog walking, tutoring, babysitting on weekends and holidays for extra money.

9. Monetize Unnecessary Items

Generate extra income by selling items you no longer need on platforms like Etsy, eBay, or Poshmark.

You can hold a garage sale and get quite good money for the items that might seem waste to you.

You can also rent out certain items like your room upstairs or basement area for more income.

10. Tax Breaks

You must keep an eye out for all the tax benefits that you could be eligible to avail since you are single parent.

You even have a perk when it comes to tax credit.

Tax credit is usually cut from the total amount that you owe in taxes but the exemption would mean that the amount is subtracted from the income before taxes.

Further there are some other tax benefits for single parents.

  • Head Of Household

When you file the taxes as head of household instead of single, you might get higher standard deduction if you fulfill the requirements.

Further, you can get child tax credit. This is claimable only if you have the custody of the child and if you share the custody with your other parent only one would be eligible.

If you are a single working parent but your income level is low you could qualify for earned income tax credit.

Moreover, there is a child and dependent care credit that can be claimed if as a single parent you have been giving money for childcare when you either work or are looking for work.

But again only one parent can claim it in one year. So if you have full custody it could really work.

11. Build A Strong Support System

Start leveraging current relationships – friends, family, neighbors– to take some of the weight off your shoulders.

Since you don’t have an “other half,” try to find solace and support in people who strive to support you.

Take the kids to granny’s, ask your neighbor to watch the kids, and seek out single-mom support groups.

12. Take Care Of Your Mental Health

Your mental health is essential.

Take time off, hang out, go to yoga class, meditate or pray, make time for your hobbies – do whatever you can to avoid single mom burnout.

Most of all, accept the praise and support of others. You’re doing a great job! 

13. Stay Debt-Free 

Avoid debt as much as you can! Once you start accruing debts, it can be hard to get ahead again.

If you already have debt, prioritize paying it off or negotiating it.

You must create a debt repayment plan. This plan should be followed by its crook.

The plan should be such that you are able to pay off debt quickly and also stay out of debt for a long time.

And if you actually want to budget your finances up it is extremely important that you do not use credit cards for everyday expenses.

This will only increase your debt and not help in saving more.

14. Free Fun

In all the hustle bustle of saving and budgeting don’t forget to have fun and spend time with your children. And nobody says that fun has to be paid or expensive.

You can look out for free fun ways to spend time with your kids.

You can explore parks, libraries or even some museums that are pocket friendly.

15. Invest Your Money

To make sure that you are financially secure not in the present but also in the future it is necessary to invest.

You can start investing by putting in short term investments like CDs or High Yield Savings Account.

And once you become confident you can go for long term investments like Stocks or Mutual Funds.

Investing in real estate is another factor that you must look into after you have gained some experience in investing.

You can even try to flip a house after some time if you feel confident enough and have enough money to get more income.

Investing also helps you to plan for your retirement which is again as crucial as getting your kids to college.

Related Blog: 15 Well Paying Careers For Single Moms


In today’s world, being a single mom can be challenging, especially when managing finances.

However, with these 15 amazing budget ideas, single moms can take control of their finances and improve their financial situation.

These budgeting ideas are simple, easy to follow, and effective in reducing expenses and increasing savings.

By being smart with money and making conscious choices about spending, single moms can lead a comfortable life while staying within their budget.

So, try these budgeting ideas and see the positive impact they can have on your financial situation!


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