Don’t Lose A Penny!

Single mom budget

Amanda was not the Smartest Person I know. Amanda is my elder sister, and she is a single mother of two. She married her high school lover when she was 27, and they both left town for the city after their marriage. We grew up with our parents in a country house outside Michigan. The last time I saw Amanda before now was when she came to tell mom and dad she was leaving town with Danny. Danny was a good man; he was about the same age as Amanda.For reasons that are either beyond control or decisive decisions, so many women have found themselves taking more burdens than they are naturally meant to. As a single mother, sometimes involuntarily remember that you are alone in providing the funds for the regular and occasional expenses. Most likely, you will do this with no emotional support.

How to Survive Conveniently as a Single Mom?

Amanda came back one summer with two kids, Brian and Zara, along with what seems like a truckload of bags. She looked dejected and lifeless. Danny had died in a car crash and left her with two kids to cater for, Brian, who was three years at the time, and Zara, a year-old baby, and she had to adjust to her new reality quickly. City life was very expensive, so her decision to move back to town and get a moderate place of her own was reasonable. This was how Amanda became a single mother.

  1. Basically, as a single mum, you have to be highly flexible: You will shuffle in-between school drop-offs, pickups, go on dates, sometimes go on trips with your girlfriends and still be a high performer at work. You have to combine tasks and be effective at doing them.
  2. Budgeting for a single mom involves a lot of extra funds, planning, thinking, and ‘rethinking’: you are not permitted (so to say) to ‘buy things. You have to plan your purchases. You must have carefully thought it through.
  3. Save for emergency needs: Regardless of how much you earn or spend, do not forget to save for emergencies; you never know when you or the kids will need something (It’s most times all about the kids).
  4. Be up to date with your health insurance, both for you and the kids.
  5. Have a strong support system: leverage on people around you like friends, families, neighbors to ease yourself of some burden. Since you don’t have your other half, you should find solace and support in other people who strive to support you in ways that they could. Take the kids to granny’s sometimes, tell your neighbor to watch the kids while you go on dates.

More Ways to Survive as Single Mom

  1. Have multiple sources of income: As a single mum, you should have other means by which you make money, you don’t want to run out of cash and leave the monthly budget unattended, so you have to keep the earnings coming in, take a new gig, work extra hours.
  2. Your mental health is important: Take time off, hang out, go to yoga class, have time for meditation. Always ensure to boost your morals. You can only depend largely on yourself for moral support now; no one will do it for you.
  3. Be prudent with your spending.
  4. Be debt-free – If you can, stay off debt! Pay off incurred debt; you can reach out to your loan officer to discuss convenient ways to pay off your debts.

How to Budget as a Single Mom?

There are some things I learned from Amanda’s financial management, maybe she learned in the city. Amanda was not exactly a book-smart person, at least not when we were young and not now. However, how she got by with two hungry mouths was still a mirage to most people.

Amanda’s Way…

1. Craft a Budget:

The monthly budget will show you what is being spent, and it will also show you what is coming in, in terms of all your means of income. A personal budget will help you know what is being spent, on what items and the items taking most of your funds.

2. Keep Records of Income and ExpensesSingle Mom Budget

Amanda was prudent with spending, and she kept a record of it all. She studied the pattern of her monthly expenses by checking through at the end of the month. Your first goal with your budget should be to determine how much you spend. Look to your receipts, account statements, and monthly bills to put together a visual depiction of your spending patterns.

3. Cut Back on Expenses

Being a single mum with mouths to feed, she made sure she cuts back on many expenses, especially of things that are not needed. A trip to your favorite restaurants with your kids might cost well around $25; you can cut back on expenses by making a home meal, get your groceries at the store.

4. Use a Budgeting App

Use one of the automated digital budgeting apps to track your income and expenses (learn more about digital app budgeting from our previous post on best free budgeting apps).

5. Prioritizing Purchase

Amanda normally will carefully select what to purchase, and she had bought only items needed for a particular period and stick strictly to the amount budgeted.

6. Take up Extra Jobs

She occasionally takes up a painting job on the weekend with the service team at the Divine mercy church in the neighborhood. Amanda also volunteers to oversee the children’s park on weekends, where she is in charge of playdates arrangements.

7. Monetize Unnecessary Items

When Amanda realized she is running out of cash, she sometimes put up some of her old items for sales at the community off-sales, though not always at the best price. She didn’t need them anymore anyway.

8. Save Extra Funds

It is really important to have emergency funds; you never know when you need them, especially with the kids. Amanda knew her ways around savings; she had already saved up $1400 (about $117 a month) within a year of moving back to town. With all these, who said Amanda was not smart, she was, we did not know it.



""I don't look to jump over seven-foot bars; I look around for one-foot bars that I can step over.""

Warren Buffett

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