How Single Parents Can Save Money

The average cost of raising a child up to 18 years of age in the United States is over $233,000, so it is no wonder even single parents with full-time jobs find it a challenge to make ends meet.

There is no getting around it, being a single parent is financially difficult. However, there are several ways single parents can save money and look forward to a brighter financial future.

If you are a single parent, it is important you understand how to create an effective budget and identify where you can save money. Some of the areas where you can focus on saving money include spending less on services and products or increasing your total earnings to create a larger budget. More information on how you can effectively save money as a single parent is covered below.

Do Not Pay Your Bills Late

If you are struggling to make ends meet, you may find yourself putting off paying a bill when it is due. If you end up paying the bill late, you often have to pay additional fees. If you end up constantly paying most of your bills late, those extra charges quickly add up. To avoid these late fees, it is important to create an effective system to help you pay your bills on time. It can be difficult to schedule bill payments to coincide with your payday, but the more you figure out an effective system to use, the easier it is to get your bills paid by the due date.

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There are several ways you can create a system to pay your bills on time. These include:

  • Paying bills online before the due date, so the bank has time to process and send the amount.
  • Setting up automatic payments for rent or mortgage payments.
  • Setting up automatic payments for credit cards in order to pay the minimum balance.
  • Adding a little extra to your credit card balance when you can.
  • Looking at different payment programs offered by banks and companies.
  • Creating a separate account for bills.

Cut Back on Spending

If you are finding it difficult to pay your bills, you need to start cutting back on other costs. After all, for the welfare of you and your children, paying bills for expenses like rent and amenities is vital. Think about how you can reduce your spending elsewhere. This might mean living a more minimalist lifestyle and giving up little luxuries. If you are to pay for your basic necessities, you have to sacrifice some of your usual purchases.

Living in a minimalist way means having to think about every single purchase before you buy. You may think a couple dollars for a coffee or ten bucks for a sweater is not much, but such purchases quickly add up. Before you buy anything, ask yourself if it is something you really need. If you can do without it, then simply do not purchase it.

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Another way of living minimally is giving up a luxury item you are accustomed to. It is easy to not think of things like cable television as a luxury, but it is certainly not a necessity. If you cannot pay your amenities bills and your rent because you have a subscription to something like cable television, consider giving it up. You may find a whole new lease on life by giving up such things too, as you and your children could end up spending more valuable one-on-one time together.

Keep Yourself Informed About Costs

Make sure you carefully look through the exact charges when examining your cell phone, credit card and bank statements. It can be easy to not take the time looking through statements, but it is possible there is a charge for something you do not know about, such as an additional fee for a service you do not want. It is also possible there is a mistake on your statement. You do not want to pay for a phone call you never made, so check all details on your statement to avoid paying things you are being incorrectly charged for.

There are also fees specific to certain banks and companies. These specific business fees include one or more of the following:

  • Cashpoint fees
  • Interest fees
  • Late fees
  • Annual credit card fees
  • Debit card fees
  • Branch fees

It is  important to shop around to find establishments either charging lower fees or no fees at all. You may be surprised at just how different the fees are for different companies, and this is one of the most effective and easiest ways to cut down on spending.

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Another way of keeping yourself informed about costs is to shop around when purchasing products from retailers. Whether you are buying a teapot, a television or a train ticket, different companies offer the same product for higher and lower prices. It is worth spending your time comparing prices in order to get the best deal. Similarly, if you plan your budget in advance you have time to plan your shopping trips better. Otherwise, you may end up purchasing more expensive items simply because you do not want to travel across town to another store.

Increase Your Income

Single parents typically have full schedules. You are likely to be working as much as you can on top of looking after the kids. With such a packed schedule it may seem difficult to implement an increase in your income without praying for a raise from your boss. However, there are many side hustles you can do online to dramatically improve your financial situation.

Another way of increasing your income is to look for another job. If your current position means you are barely making ends meet, why not switch jobs? You may think it is difficult to find the time to look for a new career, on top of working full-time and looking after your children single-handedly. However, the sooner you find a better paying job, the sooner your life-balance improves, and the more money you have to treat you and your children.

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