The never-ending struggles of a valiant single mother are something that the United States of America is very much aware of. According to the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau, out of about 12 million single parent families with children under the age of 18, more than 80% are headed by single mothers. Let’s not try to glorify the single parenthood and sugar coat the reality- being a single mother is a rocky road. The never-ending scuffle with finances and the child’s tantrums suck the life out of you.
Enough with the negative outlook towards being a single mom- think of the silver lining to the dreary clouds; you’re free of 180lbs of the unnecessary weight of your ex-spouse, which leaves a lot of time for your children and more importantly, yourself. We have all heard people say “There’s no way back to normal once you’re a single mother”, come to think of it, there is no commandment in the scripture that declares that a single mother cannot be successful. In fact, this is the best scenario to hop on the center stage and take control of the wheel- to live a rich life financially as a single mom.
Live Earn like there’s no tomorrow!
Your primary goal at the moment has to be to put food on the table. The initial days of mental trauma and an unbalanced bank balance can result in something bigger than an emotional breakdown. If you really want to be a successful single mother, give a hundred percent commitment to your job; if you don’t have one, start looking for it. In times of crisis, no money is too low. Find a job which matches your educational qualification, put up your resume on Fiverr and SkillShare. Starting from the ground up sounds like a laborious task, but once you start earning enough the only way to go is the way up. Try to strike a balance between expenditures and earnings. Remember, the more you earn, the better it is for you and your family.
2. Believe in your Financial Independence
If you’re going through a divorce, relying on the child support or alimony completely or even partially is the worst mistake you can make. We are talking about achieving a rich lifestyle here, and no matter how much is the money you’re getting from this, it can go away in a jiffy. Do you really want to be a successful single mother? Be financially independent and earn for yourself. As for the money received from alimony or child support, keep it safe in an emergency fund, or at least try not to spend it all at once. You have to be determined enough to use the money you earned by yourself.
3. Shop for your needs, NOT for your wants
Legend has it that it takes hard work to earn money, but it takes a smart person to save it. Make a list before you go shopping at the local Walmart or Best Buy, make a detailed list of all the items that have immediate utility and are top of the pecking order. Departmental stores have extensive visual merchandising techniques to encourage impulse buying, but don’t you forget your ultimate goal of a rich lifestyle; saving yourself from unnecessary spending will make this a reality.
4. Struggling? Use the double edged sword of credit
This might sound disastrous to an outsider, but if you’re stuck in a critical situation where you have little or no money and a lot of important things to do, get yourself a line of credit. UpStart and Payoff are maestros in granting easy personal loans with a very flexible payback period. But remember, if you’re getting a fresh inflow of money, utilize it with utter prudence. You took a big risk of paying back more than what you got, it better be worth the hassle.
5. Take care of your health- you don’t have a choice
Let’s just think of it this way- You are the Captain of the ship, and the Quartermaster, and the First Mate…well you know what I’m saying; You’re the ‘Man of the house’ and you cannot call in sick. If you want to be a successful single mother, keep yourself fit and be healthy for the sake of your family. Go for regular checkups to the doctor and keep your weight in check. Take a morning walk with the little ones and breathe some fresh air.
6. Free time? Complete surveys and earn money!
Remember the promise of a rich lifestyle that you made to yourself? Well, in the initial stages, you have to manage the time at home to earn a few extra bucks. Pick up your laptop or your Smartphone, log on to the likes of Survey Junkie and Swagbucks and earn money just by filling out surveys. The best part is that it’s easy and legitimate earnings are just a few clicks away.
7. TRIM out your superfluous expenses
Remember subscribing to NetFlix for a single show and leaving it in thin air and that gym membership which was a result of New Year’s resolution? Well the money is still going there and you aren’t using it, so use Trim to stop the recurring expenses. Trim is your personal finance advisor which only needs your bank account access in order to track the recurring expenses and hunt them down at your discretion. If you’re too busy to go to the bank and cancel them, just Trim it out with a text message.
8. Escape the Debt Trap
“For men may come and men may go, but I go on forever”- Alfred Lord Tennyson was probably talking about debt in here. Your dream of a rich lifestyle as a single mom won’t turn into reality unless the cloud of debt fades away. To strategize a foolproof plan to save money and pay off debt together, you need not be an accountant. Money Tips provides your free credit consultation on how to let off your debt and also drafts accurate credit reports for you. Now you have a plan to pay off your debt, make sure that you stick to it.
9. Dream Big…
Take a pen and paper, and note down the things that you need to do in the next twelve months. It can be a plan to refurnish the house or to build a tree house for the kids. Basically, these plans should work towards a better quality of life than what you have right now. Try to leave a surplus in your budget and buy your little ones their favorite toys if you can. Bringing things back to financial normalcy is an important step to a rich lifestyle.
10. …Now Dream Bigger
Being a successful single mom doesn’t stop once you have enough to send your kids to school and buy them what they want. Be prudent and plan out your retirement and your kids’ college fund. Set up an emergency fund and keep working in it, just in case there’s a detour on the road. That rich lifestyle you dreamed of is for you as well as your kids.
Being a single mom is not an advanced level of difficulty. In fact, it is a beautiful tale of a Wonder Woman who carries her family amidst the emotional torment and financial crisis. Stay focused on your ultimate goal, take good care of your family and not only will you come through, but you will be a visionary in the eyes of this world.