Clothes, toys, food, money for school trips… just a few of the many things that kids need, and then you have to think about keeping the roof over their head and yours.
That’s a real worry for a single parent and, as the cost of living seems to rise, making the money go further and further gets harder and harder.
But it can be done! Here are a few suggestions on how:
Create a monthly budget
First of all, you have to know exactly what you’re spending, so make a list of all your expenses. Then, when you know where all your hard-earned dollars are going, calculate a monthly budget that includes your essential bills, the nice-to-haves, and a little leftover for savings. If you find it hard to keep on top of what you’re spending, download a budget-tracking app to your phone and log everything as you go along.
One area people often forget about is their utilities. This includes household essentials such as water, electricity, broadband, and phone. When money is tight, one of the first places you should look at is your monthly bills, especially if you’ve been with your supplier for a while.
For instance, it’s likely you can get cheaper broadband than what you pay for now without much hassle. According to Cable.co.uk, there are a few things to think about when it comes to finding cheaper broadband. How much data you need for your family; how much it costs to set up; and how long you’ll be tied-in to a contract.
Thankfully it’s pretty easy to find a provider that doesn’t charge set up fees, but all of them will charge a fee if you end the contract early. So think carefully about the length of the contract in case your circumstances change.
Buy non-branded goods
Big-name brands may dazzle us with elegant packaging and snazzy marketing, but often, a supermarket’s own brand is just as good as the familiar names.
In fact, some big-name brands actually produce supermarket own-brand foods in the same factory.
A lot of people hardly notice the difference, if at all, so give the supermarket’s own brand a try and knock a few dollars off your grocery bills.
Give up at least one luxury item
Go back to your list of expenses and take a long, hard look at it.
You can be sure one expense on the list is just a luxury, not a necessity, and you’ve just gotten used to having it.
It could be a Netflix subscription, a gym membership, or even just a regular outing for coffee.
So why not cancel Netflix and purchase movies from an on-demand service? Or quit the gym and exercise at home or outdoors for free? Learn how to make Dalgona coffee, that viral caffeinated treat that’s even better than a store-bought latte.
Don’t forget, you don’t always have to spend money to have fun.
You don’t know when you’re going to get a lucky break and come into some money, but stop living life as it that’s going to happen.
It might never come your way, so start practicing a little discipline. Make a list and take only the cash you’ll need when shopping for food or clothes. If you find yourself tempted by an impulse buy, try waiting for 24-hours to see if you still really want it. More often than not you won’t. Leave your credit card at home and only use it when you really need it.
Once you start making the cutbacks and implementing a strategy, don’t forget to review your finances each week to see how things are going. Check any upcoming bills or other expenses and what you’ve spent, so that you can stay within your budget as much as possible.