7 Financial Tips for Surviving as a Single Mom in 2020
This post is all about finances for single moms. You’ll learn how to survive financially as a single mom.
When I left my ex, I had barely anything to my name. He had had complete control over our finances and provided our entire income. This was, of course, a huge mistake that I will never make again, but that’s another post for another day!
Anyways…I ended up having to move back home to live with my mom, but it was really crucial for setting myself up. I spent the next year creating a profitable passive income business, saving money, and building up my then nonexistent credit. I’m really proud of all I accomplished in that year.
I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have that type of family support. But if you do, I highly suggest putting aside any pride and doing it for the financial wellbeing of your family.
This article contains all of the financial lessons I learned during that time and since then.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link. Please see my disclosure for more details.
Why is it So Hard to Make Ends Meet as a Single Mom?
Before we get into the tips, I want to explain why so many single mothers are struggling financially.
As single moms, we’re required to play both the role of the traditional husband & wife. We have to bring home the bacon & care for the children. With only 24 hours in a day, plus factoring in the high cost of childcare, this is an almost impossible feat for moms without a secondary education or pre-existing high-paying job.
Most often, women who end up being single mothers didn’t get the opportunity to pursue their careers before having children. Or maybe they chose to be stay-at-home mom, putting their personal endeavors on the backburner for their children and the success of their partners. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom, but the reality is that it can leave women in a vulnerable financial position.
There are a lot of resources out there, but some are more difficult than others to acquire. Unfortunately, with the number of single parents and low-income households in America, waiting lists are common. The current pandemic surely hasn’t helped the situation either.
In general, we have to take responsibility for our financial futures. I’d love to help end the cycle of broke single moms, so keep reading for my best tips to be a financially successful single mother.
7 Best Money Tips for Single Mothers
Tip #1: Live Simply & Cut Expenses
This tip is geared more towards those moms who are at the beginning of their single mother journey, but is still something to keep in mind for all.
If you’re divorced, widowed, or were at least sharing expenses with your ex, you may have become comfortable with a certain lifestyle that you’ll no longer be able to afford. It can be incredibly difficult figuring how to essentially “downgrade” your life.
You may need to rent an apartment that isn’t nearly as nice as you’re used to or find another single mom to be a roommate. Unless you get to keep your furnishings, you may have to hit up a consignment shop or thrift store to fill your place. Aldi’s might be your new go-to grocery store and Whole Foods will only be for special occasions.
Frugal living is the key here.
Keep in mind that the little things add up. Take a look at stuff like your monthly subscriptions, how much you’re eating out, and any other unnecessary extras (nails, waxing, Starbucks, etc.) Cut whatever expenses you possibly can!
But no worries, Mama! You will get back to the lifestyle you deserve, and this time, it will all be because of you! How empowering is that?
If you’re in need of quick cash and/or decluttering, I highly recommend selling stuff you no longer use on Mercari. It’s a great way to offload stuff & earn some extra money. To date, I’ve earned $1,297 selling my old stuff. You can sign up for Mercari using my referral link & get $20 when you sell your first $100.
BONUS TIP: Use a savings browser extension to save money on almost all of your online purchases. Every little bit helps!
Tip #2: Utilize Help & Resources for Single Moms
There are resources available specifically for single mothers or anyone who may be struggling financially. From government programs & grants to childcare vouchers.
If you’re in an especially desperate place, have no shame in utilizing the help that our country & nonprofit programs offer. They are created for people like you and me so that we don’t have to suffer alone.
I know it’s easy to feel embarrassed or ashamed, because we’re constantly hearing people on social media talk shit about anyone who uses public assistance. Unless those people are paying your bills and offering your family free meals, their opinions truly don’t matter. And the help is just for now. If you follow my other tips, you won’t always need it!
I plan on putting together a list of the best resources (and most reliable!) financial resources for single moms, but for now, start your search with this website.
Tip #3: Accept Child Support
I am sick & tired of hearing men condemning child support, but I’m even more sick & tired of hearing single moms echoing the same.
There is nothing wrong with accepting money from the person who helped create your child. This is part of taking responsibility, just like you, as the mother, has to do every single day.
I get that many women feel that you shouldn’t rely on child support, because the father could stop paying at any time. That’s definitely a valid point. And we should all keep working on our finances so that we don’t have to be dependent on child support one day. (The reality is 44% of custodial parents are receiving their child support in full.)
However, child support was created for the purpose of supporting. your. child. And if you’re struggling to do that, take the damn money.
In my opinion (you can disagree with me), you’re actually doing your child a disservice if you’re rejecting money that could help to create a better life for them.
When I left my abusive ex, you better believe that the last thing I wanted to do was sit in a court room with him and see his face, but I did it for my son.
And in reality, it’s the least he could do considering I take on the daily physical, emotional, and financial burden of raising a child on my own.
Tip #4: Create a Realistic Budget & Stick to it
Uncontrolled spending is a major problem. It leads to debt, and not only that but a lot of unnecessary stress! Sticking to a budget is especially important if you’re looking to get out of debt, build savings, and live comfortably.
Here’s what you should include in your budget each month:
- Debt Repayment/Credit Cards
- Eating out
Now making the budget…easy. Sticking to it…that’s a whole other story.
I don’t know about you, but I often find myself getting into the habit of ordering Door Dash when I’m feeling too lazy to cook. (Please tell me I’m not alone here!) This ends up being detrimental to my budget and leaving me with little money left over for the stuff I actually need.
It’s important to cultivate self-control when it comes to your spending habits. Think about it: You can save upwards of $10-$20 a meal, just by eating at home.
BTW: If you’re struggling to find cheap & easy meals for your family, download my FREE single mama monthly meal plan. (coming soon!)
Tip #5: Find a Work From Home Job / Business
A huge financial toll on most single moms is childcare. If you’re on a low to middle income, it can feel almost pointless working outside of the home since the majority of your paycheck is going towards daycare. (Shout out to you lucky moms who have free childcare!)
Something to look into is getting a job working from home, so that you can forego the cost of childcare. Obviously, you will be limited by jobs that don’t require your full attention at all times, but luckily, there are plenty of flexible remote jobs nowadays.
Here are some websites that list legitimate work from home jobs:
If you’re open to it, you could be a nanny or have an in-home daycare. This is the perfect gig for a single mom. You get to be with your kids all day so no paying for childcare and make money at the same time! Of course, you would need to be a kid person or this might end up being miserable.
If you’re entrepreneurial, another option is to start your own business. You can earn an amazing living with an online business. Plus you’re not limited to your education or experience like in a traditional career.
On top of being able to help other single moms, that’s one of the reasons that I’ve created this blog. It’s another passive income stream to add to my monthly income.
If you’re interested in learning how to start a blog & make money from it, this is the course that taught me everything I know.
Here are a few other online business ideas:
- Etsy shop
- Life or Business Coach
Just keep in mind that an online business will not make money overnight and it will take commitment!
Tip #6: Create a Savings Plan
The typical advice that you’ll hear most financial advisors give out is to put 10% of each paycheck directly into savings. But this would have to mean that you’re not living paycheck to paycheck and from the statistics I’ve seen, that’s unrealistic advice for most Americans.
The best thing you can do as a single mom looking to save is to determine what it is that you’re saving for. Whether it be a new car, a down-payment for a home, or the kids’ braces, write down how much you’ll need & when. That’s your savings plan.
Then put away as much as you can whenever you can! Refer back to the other tips on budgeting and cutting expenses, to see if you can find any wiggle room. Even putting $10 away here and there adds up, and if you’re truly dedicated to reaching your goal, look into finding an extra income stream.
Some, like myself, may find it helpful to have a savings account that’s completely separate from their checking. This way, it’s more difficult to take money from it. And it’s not in your face all the time. I try to pretend that I don’t even have that money!
I have my savings in a high-interest account through Wealthfront.
Tip #7: Invest in Things that will Grow your Future Wealth
I know that the last thing you want is to be stuck trying to figure out how to financially survive years down the road. That’s why it’s so important to get started now on preparing for your future.
Figure out what it is you desire and invest the money, or take out loans if you have to, to build a financially comfortable future. This may mean going to college, getting certification in a skill, taking an online course, or starting your own business.
It can be scary investing money when you have a tight budget. I want you to know that it’s okay to spend money when it could mean a better future for you and your children.
A huge lesson I’ve learned from being an online entrepreneur is that typically the main difference between those who are successful and those who are not is one thing: commitment.
So if you invest into your goals, do what you need to do, and stay committed, it will pay pay off.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Finances for Single Moms
Take the time to figure out where you currently stand financially and where you want to be.
- Start by setting goals.
- Create a savings plans and budget that you’ll stick to.
- Accept help where you need to.
- Find ways to increase your income (better education, new job, online business, side hustles, etc.)
Lastly, when money is tight and things feel scary, trust in the universe, god, or whoever, that you will be taken care of and the right opportunities will present themselves to protect your family.
Do you have any financial tips you’d like to share with other single moms? Leave them in the comments below!