As a single parent, you are fully responsible for all of the financial issues and decisions that occur in your household. Because of this, you want to make sure that you are always going everything right. There are multiple tips from finance experts, such as Don Gayhardt, that may be helpful to aid in ensuring that your money is well-managed so that you and your kids are able to live comfortably.
Look for Budget-Cutting Options
There are almost always things you can do to reduce your monthly bills. Start looking at them and see if you can go to a smaller cellphone package, get better insurance rates or even eliminate certain expenses. Then, take what you save and put it into an account for unexpected financial issues.
Be Leery of Loyalty Coupons and Cards
Saving some extra cash is always a great thing, but even if you have coupons and loyalty cards, if you do not need the item they are associated with, this forces you to spend money you should not be shelling out. When you listen to the advice of experts, such as Don Gayhardt, they often put emphasis on only spending when you actually need to.
So, when you receive promotions from stores in the mail, look them over and see if the offerings are items that you need at this moment. If you do not require them now or in the near future, toss the discounts and focus on creating a list of the stuff that your household actually needs at this time.
Keep Good Financial Records
You have to know how much money you have available to best manage it and this requires maintaining accurate and updated records. If you have a bank account, and you definitely should, this can help you to see where you are spending, when, how much and on what. However, if you have several accounts, such as credit cards, and you also sometimes use cash, this can make it all hard to track.
Get a spreadsheet if you prefer digital tracking, or you might choose to go old school and just write it all down. What is important is that you take a few minutes each week to evaluate your records, update them and know what your expenses are.
Get a Bank Account
One of the current tends in personal finance among single moms is not using a traditional bank account. Instead, they are opting to utilize alternatives that are often pricier, costing them money that could be better put to use elsewhere in the household. For example, one of the substitutes that is becoming popular is a prepaid debit card. While these mostly function like those you get from your bank, they often have heftier fee structures.
It is better to take advantage of a checking and savings account from a bank or similar establishment, such as a credit union, for multiple reasons. First and foremost, there are often free options that charge no fees. When these are present, they are typically minimal and might only be charged if your balance dips below a specific number. With accounts from a reputable financial institution, your cash is also safer and FDIC insured.
Work to Eliminate Debt
Debt can make it hard to take care of business, so it is imperative that you are actively working to take care of it. Gather the paperwork associated with what you owe and start working on a plan to pay it off. Even if your budget is tight, there are often ways to pay off anything bills that have been sitting. Remember that every dollar you put towards your debt is a dollar less you have to pay in the future.
Have Emergency Savings
Vehicles break down, children get sick and household items eventually have to be replaced. You do not want to have to rely on payday loans and credit cards to tackle emergencies when they occur. The general recommendation is to stash enough money to be able to cover your normal living expenses for six months. This might seem like a daunting task, but if you start to save now, this is a goal that you can accomplish over the course of one to three years, on average.
Having emergency money gives you some peace of mind and it makes those unanticipated events much less traumatic. It is a good idea to use a separate savings account for this so that you can reduce the temptation to use it for non-emergency situations.
It is a good idea to take a little time each month to sit down and evaluate your financial situation. This makes it possible to catch any potential issues before they have the chance to develop into something much larger and harder to tackle. You might also think about talking to a personal finance professional if any of the money matters you are facing are proving hard to handle on your own.
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