How to Survive financially as a single mom can seem really tough at first. But you can learn how to thrive on just one income while still being the best parent you can to your kids.
How Do Single Moms Survive Financially?
The fear of surviving financially as a single mom is probably what kept me in a really bad marriage longer than it should have. I couldn’t leave because there was no way that I could be a single mom and still pay my bills, let alone give my child the life I wanted her to have.
There are so many stigmas attached to being a single mom.
Single moms are always poor. Single moms have to work 3 jobs to make ends meet.
Add in the fact that I moved to a new state when I was pregnant and found myself becoming a newly single mom in a place where I had no family, no friends, and no help whatsoever.
I was doomed.
But when the marriage became something I needed to move on from, I found myself becoming a single mom with a 6-week old newborn.
My daughter is 10 now. I’ve paid off all my debt (except for those pesky student loans, those will be around forever!), I own a home and a nice car. I have savings and a good-sized retirement account. And we travel a lot.
I’m not rich by any means, but we live a pretty good life. Not just a good life for a single mom, but a good life for anyone.
I had my fair share of struggling financially as a single mom, but I made a decision early on to not let that title defeat me.
And I want to share my tips with you! So you can raise your kids and live comfortably. And learn how to thrive, not just survive!
Follow more of my money-saving tips HERE!
Get Your Finances in Order
The first thing you need to do is to LEARN about your finances. There are so many women who let their spouses take care of all the bills and when it comes time to be on their own, they have no idea what to do.
So the best place to start when you become a single mom is to sit down and learn what a budget is, how to create one, and how to pay your bills.
Learn To Love Being a Single Mom
While being a single mom will come with many challenges, there can be a lot of advantages too! Over the years, I learned how to not be afraid of my circumstances and how to EMBRACE them.
Being in control of my own finances means I have a lot of freedom. I get the chance to decide what I’m going to pay and what I’m going to buy.
My ex and I used to argue over the movie channels on our DirectTV bill. He insisted on having HBO and Showtime but I found that expense unnecessary and too expensive for our budget.
But not that I am in control of my own finances, I get to make that decision. And I don’t need to listen to anyone else’s opinion anymore. It’s actually quite freeing!
So before we begin this process of getting you on the right financial track as a single mom, learn how to enjoy it!
Realize it brings you freedom, power, and knowledge. And each one of those things will make you a stronger person.
How I Thrive Financially As A Single Mom
Here are some of the things I do as a single mom to ensure my family’s financial success. And tips that have made me financially secure over the years!
Make The Most Of Every Dollar
Start looking at every dollar you have as a chance to make a smart money decision. It may be time to look at your monthly bills and see where you can make some cuts.
It’s also time to start researching how you can live more frugally. Living frugally is something many people are trying to achieve just to live debt-free. But frugal living can be a great way to live more comfortably with what you do have.
Take Advantage of The Money you Already Make
When I say this, I’m specifically talking about your 401K and taxes.
If you have an employer that matches your 401k savings, always put in up to the amount they match. It’s free money! And as a single person, you’ll need that money for retirement.
If you can contribute more, then do so. If you can’t, try increasing by small amounts each year. Every January, raise your contributions by 1% or even a half percent. You won’t notice such a small amount coming out of your paycheck, but you will notice it adding up in your retirement account.
And did you know you can use your 401K to use as a down payment on a new home?
When it comes to your taxes, have them take out as much as you can afford. think of it as an automatic savings account when you get a big tax return at the end of the year.
Even though it’s tempting to get bigger paychecks, most people have a hard time delegating a certain amount of money to go to their savings. When it goes to taxes, it’s taken from me and I don’t get a choice to touch it until February when I file my taxes.
But let me tell you… when I get my tax return every February, it’s always enough to get ahead on some bills, put some in savings, and use the rest towards a summer vacation.
I look at it as a bonus every year. And wouldn’t it be nice to get a big fat bonus every year?
Own a Home
Owning a home seems like a faraway dream for so many people, so they don’t even consider it.
But owning a home can be the single most important key to your financial future.
What I did: when my daughter was 8 months old, I bought a home. It was outdated and cheap. But it had space for us and I was investing in something. After 3 years of owning that house, I sold it and made a profit of $35,000.
I used that money to buy a nicer house, in a better area.
After 5 years of owning that house, I sold it and made a profit of $80,000. I did all this before my daughter turned 10 years old. If I keep on this path, I could have a completely paid-off home by the time she goes to college.
Or I could have been renting that whole time and right now I would have nothing.
There are SO many ways you afford a home (or even a condo if you don’t want the maintenance!) Talk to a mortgage lender (not a bank!) and find out if there are programs for single moms, or how you can come up with a downpayment (like using your 401k).
Not sure you can afford the size house you need? Buy a smaller, more affordable home and RENT IT OUT. Rent out the home you bought, and rent a place more affordable for your family.
You don’t need to live in a home to get the benefits. You just need to OWN a place!
Have a Side Business Or Second Job
Side hustles are the newest way to earn an income! And with technology and social media, the options are limitless.
Love Pinterest? You could earn money from home by being a Virtual Assistant.
Do me a favor… go to Pinterest right now and type in “work from home” and just watch the endless posts about job options you can make money working from home, often with your own phone.
What I did: I got my Real Estate License. It took me 6 weeks (while also working full time and being a single mom) and $500 to become a Realtor. A lot easier and cheaper than any college degree!
I don’t sell Real Estate full time. I only help friends and family buy or sell their homes. Which means I often only do about 1-2 transactions a year. Which makes it very easy to fit into my busy single-mom schedule.
But each transaction can equal anything from $5,000 – $10,000 in commission. and that’s money I don’t budget for.
I’ve paid off a ton of debt with those commissions. Getting my real estate license was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I also started this blog and that brings in a steady income every month. I’m typing this right now in my pajamas on a Sunday, while my daughter and puppy hang out on the couch next to me.
Cut Back On Daycare Expenses
Daycare is ridiculously expensive! What saved me from paying more in daycare than my mortgage was finding someone to watch my daughter in their home.
Using an in-home daycare provider will save you TONS of money. Not to mention allow you more freedom.
I know it can be scary, leaving your child with someone in their home. But most in-home providers have background checks and are CPR certified.
Finding an in-home daycare provider saved me. And more than just money. She became like an Aunt to my daughter. And my daughter loved her. she never charged me for days I didn’t bring her, and never charged me fees for picking her up late.
And since she was in her home, she could watch her as early in the morning as I needed, or even as late as I needed. I even was able to drop her off a few Saturdays when I needed a babysitter.
She was a lifesaver. And I paid her less than half what I would have paid the local daycare center to watch my daughter.
Listen to the Experts
Do your research and listen to those who have become financially successful themselves.
There are thousands of stories of single moms and single-income families who have found ways to pay off all their debt and life a comfortable life.
Sometimes, it’s not about being a single mom. It’s about being financially smart. So get that single-mom mentality out of your head!
I’ve seen double-income families who make a great amount of money drown in debt. And I’ve seen many single moms flourish. The key to success is educating yourself on the money.
How to Survive Financially As a Single Mom
Being a single mom can be scary. But it doesn’t need to be.
You can be successful and give your kids a great life. It’s all up to you and the only thing holding you back is a self-defeating attitude.
Remember, YOU have the power to make your own decisions now. You won’t have to deal with anyone’s else bad financial decisions or crazy spending habits.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. So if you want to give your kids a good life… you can do it!
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