Four Budgeting Tips For Single Moms
We've all had those days, weeks, or months of struggle. Not exhaustion struggle or the overwhelm, but financial. Times when we spend just about all day biting our lip and crunching the numbers, wondering how in the hell are we going to feed our family in the days to come.
Whenever I go through this, I nickname myself "Struggle Bae". As single moms, we all may have periods when we're riding the struggle bus and we are left to just figure it out. So if you are a mom getting by without supplemental income (child support) this post is for you. Here are four ways to live on a single mom budget.
Okay, so this year I've made achieving financial stability one of my main goals and I have to say that it is not going so well. So had to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with myself and my checking accounts. Let's just say we are not seeing eye-to-eye. It's not bad, but it's certainly not great.
So I've been cutting things from my regular monthly expenses, buying multiple Sunday papers for the coupons, skipping coffee at my favorite spot and the like. As single moms. we take our finances very seriously ( at least I hope you do). In this post, I'm going to tell you how to you need become a penny pinchin', set it-forget it and coupon usin' mama. We have enough stress in our lives, let's get a handle on one of our major stressors, our finances.
Cut Your Cable Bill and Start Streaming
When I lived with an aunt for a while after becoming a single mom as a way to take a step back and get back on my feet, one of the ways I contributed was by paying the cable bill. Our cable bill was a whopping $200. Now that's a bit ridiculous if you ask me, so I knew once I moved back out on my own, I would not be paying that shit.
Fast forward to the present, I only pay $29.99 for Internet by way of Xfinity better known as Comcast. Cut the cable and start streaming. Can you and your little ones survive daily without their favorites toons? Yes! Their favorites are all on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube Kids and FREE apps like PBS Kids. I've been living this way for a year and a half, my kids don't know the difference.
What I Pay and What You Could Be Paying:
- Internet: $19.99
- Modem Rental: $10.00
- Hulu: $5.99
- Netflix: $7.99 (FREE for me by using a family members profile)
Total Charges: $35.98
Total Paid Yearly: $431.76
Skip The Coffee Line and Invest In A Keurig
Ever since becoming a mom of three I have become the java queen. There is not a day that goes by that I don't have a cup of coffee. Don't get me wrong, I seriously tried going a day or two without it and I just couldn't do it. If you're a coffee lover like me and have to tame multiple kids like me, I'm sure you understand.
Unfortunately, coffee love is quite expensive once the dollars and change add up over 15 to 30 days (or however long in between you go over your expenses) or debit swiping. Girl, there is definitely a better way. Last Christmas I asked for a Keurig ( and made sure to ask on Black Friday lol) and it was a game changer. Not only can I have coffee whenever I want without leaving my home, I'm saving $1.59 every day. It might be hard to think about having to part with your favorites, but guess what they have all the varieties in your local supermarket. Starbucks, Swiss Miss, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald's, you name it, it's there. Make the switch!
Coupons, Coupons, Coupons
I friggin LOVE coupons. I literally get a high whenever I hand my coupons over to the cashier and watch my total dwindle down. Sheesh, that's when you know you'er adulting when you get excited about coupons. Anyway, coupons have totally saved my behind in a couple of cases. There was a time when only had $8 for a pack of pull-ups that cost $9.94 or something like that, then my $3 Kroger coupon saves the day. Or getting FREE milk or oatmeal.
Fun Fact about coupons. U.S. Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) marketers reportedly issued coupons valued at $470 billion for products used daily. Only $4.6 billion coupons were redeemed. Coupons valued at $465 billion went unused. Shoppers who use CPG coupons are saving an average of $30 a week or $1560 a year to $50 a week or $2600 a year, depending on their level of coupon usage.
If coupons aren't your thing, it's about time you make it. Be sure to write out your grocery list, check what's on sale at your local grocery store this week, download, tear and cut out all the coupons you will use for your trip. It only takes about 10 minutes, maybe less. Coupons are a single mom sanity saver when you are not getting food stamps
Save Money From Your Guilty Pleasures
Use Qapital for saving money towards your goals. For those who are not familiar with the app, it's used for goals setting like traveling, buying a house, or hobbies. It's perfect for people like me who have trouble saving money. You can also enable push notifications on your phone to be updated of your progress without signing into the app.
Using Qapital is great because you can set up ways to save that are most beneficial and not have to rely on memory or willpower. Another cool thing about Qapital is that once your checking account goes beneath a certain amount, it stop taking money for savings to prevent overdrafts.
Have I convinced you yet? Great! Here's the step-by-step:
- Set up your account, and all personal information (excluding ssn of course)
- Add one or two checking accounts (no prepaid cards or accounts)
- Choose a Goal (What do you want Most?)
- Name your goal and how much you will need
- If you are the only person achieving this goal, click "Set my goal".
- After your members are added, you can now click set my goal and add a rule.
- Choose rules that keep you accountable: Guilty Pleasure Rule
So, for every purchase you make at your chosen guilty pleasure, you will save your chosen amount. For example, for every cappuccino you buy at Starbucks, you'll save $10.
Eliminate stressors by prioritizing your most important expenses. Remember only spend money on things you truly need; I can not express this enough. Stick to the things that you absolutely need to survive and make the change in lifestyle. Using coupons is not a scarlet letter, you should not feel ashamed for using them.
Get in the habit of keeping a daily expense dairy to keep track of your everyday spending. Also, start doing either a bi-weekly or monthly update to stay on top of your finances Going all out on Starbucks or whatever may not seem like a big deal, but keep in mind expenses do add up. If you're a caffeine lover like me, keep the Keurig in mind.