Steps That Will Lead You to Financial Security as a Single Parent
Being a single parent can be mentally draining as well as financially exhausting. It doesn’t mean that you have to be destined for the welfare line or a government recipient. It also doesn’t mean that you have to get free lunches for your children or live with your adult parents.
To truly be financially successful as a single parent, you have to first imagine yourself in a better financial situation. Convince yourself that you will be financially okay and that you will make financial decisions that will keep your head above waters on your already due bills.
1. Realistic Spending
Find out how much you are actually spending on everything. This includes both big and small purchases. There are plenty of free online tools that will allow you to plug in your monthly bill and minor purchases to keep track of the real amount you spend. You can’t get on the path of financial success if you overlook small purchases here and there.
2. Realistic Take Home
How much money is coming in your hands and through your account each month? If you are unsure on how to calculate the exact amount coming in, meet with a financial adviser or an accountant. If you are newly single parent, this is very important as sometimes it takes a while before you realize how easy it can be to spend outside of your means.
3. Pull Your Credit Score
Make sure you pull your three annual credit reports and compare the records. Make sure that all items on your credit history are accurate. If not make sure you contact the company who printed the report along with the agency who issued the account information to make sure that you are not a victim of security fraud. If everything is what you think it should be, begin taking steps to clean up your credit history to increase your score.
4. Set Short-Term, Long-Term, and Quality of Life Goals
Make sure that you are as thorough as possible. And keep in mind that it makes no sense to work additional hours to pay off on your short- and long-term goals if you never see your kids or have time to do things for yourself. Always remember that both short- and long-term goals are easily attainable with a little bit of hard work and focus.
5. Get Rid of Non-Essential Bills
I can almost guarantee that you are paying bills for services that you can do without. You can cut costs virtually everywhere from yard service to dry cleaning; you can alleviate those bills that are not necessities. Remember that you can always get them back over a length of time when you get financially where you want to be.
6. Come Up With Ways to Make Additional Money
Most people make money off of their hobbies. You can clean cars, mow lawns, start a babysitting service, or an ebay store to make some extra money. Talk to a friend or a financial mentor to see what options would best suit you. Maybe you can start your own business or even go back to school. No matter how hard it may seem, take a leap out on faith to see what you can do.
7. Don’t Be Hard On Yourself
Give yourself a break. Getting back on your feet as a single parent can sometime feel never ending. It can definitely be a long process full of a lot of setbacks. But once you get on track, you will look back and become empowered. You will begin to have a higher respect for yourself and the mess that you left behind.
Jessica Williams is Consolidated Credit’s Marketing Communications New Media Coordinator. As a member of the education team, Jessica focuses on helping consumers make better financial decisions while living debt-free. She has previously worked with Take Stock In Children, where she was a mentor and communications specialist, and SouthPromo.com, where she managed community relations, event planning, marketing, and public relations. Jessica attended both the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida where she received her B.S. in Interpersonal/Organizational Communications and Marketing. Connect with Jessica on Google+.