Being a single parent requires twice the attention, twice the effort, twice the sacrifice and, truth be told, twice the money. Raising one or more children on your own isn’t easy and if financial shortcomings arise, then you need to start making lists and prioritise. But don’t give up hope just yet. Challenging as it may be, taking care of the house and children with a single salary is not impossible. Your job can become easier if you learn to put things into perspective and make wise, sustainable choices. These tips are a good starting point if you want to know what can be compromised and what shouldn’t.
High energy bills – a struggle for single parents everywhere
Coping with bills is stressful enough for a family with two parents, so it goes without saying that once you remain the single provider, bills become an even bigger problem. Sometimes, the amount of money you have to pay every month is so unreasonable that by your following salary you hardly have any money left for toys and school supplies. In this situation, you have to be wise and do something that benefits you in the long run, because borrowing money is hardly sustainable. A major home improvement project will help you save money in the future, even if it requires an initial investment. Instead of borrowing money to get by every month, you could apply for a loan and use it to insulate your house. You will see a major difference from the very first month and you will no longer have to struggle with energy bills. High quality insulation prevents heat transfer; if heat no longer escapes through the small cracks in your walls, windows, doors, basement and attic, the house will be warmer, even without turning your heating appliances on. According the experts from Great Northern Insulation, this reduces energy bills by up to 6o%, so that you can make other purchases as well. Insulation also reduces humidity, mould and mildew, creating a safer place for your children.
In the same category as insulation are energy saving windows, solar panels and LED lighting. All of these pay for themselves in a matter of months, allowing you to escape the stress of high energy bills.
Planning is key when you live on a budget and you should try to avoid impulse purchases as much as possible. At the beginning of each month, organise your budget based on priorities. Set aside a small sum for fun purchases such as toys or cinema tickets and try not to exceed it. Also, whenever possible, add a few dollars to an emergency fund. If something unexpected arises, you’ll thank yourself for preparing in advance and you won’t have to compromise on basic necessities. If you don’t like using pen and paper, then you can check out these simple budget planning apps for your phone.
Did you ever think that all the things you keep around the house are worth some cash? Gather the kids, look for things that you no longer need and in one sunny Saturday you could make enough money to buy a new kitchen table! It’s the perfect opportunity to clean up the house and find a new home for things you don’t use anymore! If you prefer the online alternative, then you can sell all these items on Craigslist, Etsy, or eBay.
In sensitive financial situations, a good parent knows that it’s time to compromise and say no to small luxuries that were once necessities. If you find it hard to get by, ask yourself if you really need the latest iPhone, that surround sound system and three shopping cards. Letting go of unnecessary luxury items and investing in what really matters is one of the best ways to save money.