Single parent? Here’s how to get and stay financially savvy

15 AUGUST 2023

Without a partner, raising children can be emotionally, physically, and financially demanding.Father working at a desk with a baby on his lapSingle parents may feel like they'll never escape the cycle of living hand to mouth because of the amount of work they have to do to earn a living and care for their children. You may, however, find that better money management will alleviate some of your current financial woes and allow you to save for the future.

Here are some suggestions on how you can become a successful single parent on a limited budget.

Take stock of all your expenses

What are the costs that you have to pay on a regular basis? Where do you live, and how much do you pay for your rent, electricity, and transport? Consider if some of these costs may be decreased or removed entirely if they absorb most of your income and leave you with little money. You may be able to sell your home and move to a smaller place if your mortgage, taxes, and rate payments are too high. Leaving the comfort of your home with your children may be difficult, but the financial freedom you'll begin to experience is worth the sacrifice. That fancy car may also be worth trading in for a more fuel-efficient or used car. There may be ways to lower the costs of daycare if you require it while you are working. Parents who choose to stay at home with their children and simply need after-school care may be willing to help in exchange for your babysitting services. Talk to your employer about working more flexible hours or doing some of your work from home.

Once you have a grip on expenses, you can begin to save

Save on food

Set a set budget for your meals and stick to it. Whenever possible, buy in bulk and cook in bulk. Don't throw food out either. The best way to reduce food waste in your home is to either prepare less or make using up leftovers a joyful experience for your family. Instead of tossing food away, repurpose it. Then you may have them for another meal or even a quick lunch the next day. If you start teaching your kids at a young age to enjoy food and its value, they'll learn to cherish every meal they eat, even as adults.

Avoid quick and expensive debt

As a parent, you want to offer your child everything they could possibly want. However, if you're a single parent, you may feel bad about not being able to afford the latest sneakers. Most parents will use credit cards or loans to get their children things they can't afford. You should avoid taking on more debt if you are already having trouble making ends meet each month. You could end up in a spiral of debt if you make unnecessary purchases on credit. The use of credit to pay for necessities such as food and petrol is already a sign of a risky financial situation.

Secure a second income

This isn’t limited only to single parents. The current state of our economy is rendering one income not enough in any scenario. Consider creating a side business if you have a unique ability that you can lean on to earn extra money. Consider starting an online business or even selling stuff like beauty products. Something you can do after hours and on weekends.

Budget and get saving

Single parents should be aware of the value of budgeting. Simplify your admin by managing your finances through a single financial institution using a variety of accounts, such as a current account, credit card, and savings account.

If you keep a detailed record of your monthly spending, you'll be able to spot areas where you may cut costs. It's possible to save a lot of money by just substituting takeaways with homemade meals. Next, think about your long-term financial goals, such as saving for retirement and your kids' education. Individual retirement accounts may possibly be an option for you. If paying for your children's or your own education is a goal, consider a variety of tax-free savings accounts.