When you’re a single mom and solely in charge of managing the family budget, it pays to be frugal – literally. Whether you’re supporting just one child or several children with your paycheck, you need to take extra steps to ensure your budget is in great shape.
You also need to make sure you’re setting aside enough each month for your family’s future. Saving money on groceries, car repairs, and day-to-day expenses can help you stay afloat financially, and prevent serious financial problems ahead.
Here are some essential money-saving tips for single moms:
1. Examine your monthly expenses closely.
Are there any extra expenses you can cut out for a few months? From downsizing your cable package to eliminating movie nights at the theater, there are a few ways to save even $10 to $20 per week. Remember that these small savings can really add up over the course of the year. You can put the money saved directly into a savings account or set up an emergency fund.
2. Search for cheaper housing.
If your rent or mortgage make up over half of your monthly expenses, I may be time to move to a more affordable place. Live within your means by reducing your monthly living expenses. Find more affordable housing in your area, and reach out to friends or relatives for tips on properties in the area.
3. Cut back on transportation costs.
Save on gas by walking, carpooling or using public transportation when you can. Choosing inexpensive forms of transportation can make it easier to save just a little more each month. Walking or riding a bike regularly can also keep you in great shape!
4. Use coupons when shopping.
Take the time to clip coupons and seek out deals at your local grocery store to save on food costs. Look for opportunities to “double up” on coupons and search for in-store coupons on your favorite items and brands. A little planning can help you shave off some of that grocery bill and keep your budget in check.
5. Cook at home more often.
Even though you might have a hectic schedule juggling work and taking care of the kids, cooking meals at home can help you save a significant amount of money each month – and also keep your family healthier. Avoid eating out unless it’s for a special occasion, and plan your meals for the week so that you can prepare everything in one or two days.
Cooking everything at once and freezing meals can reduce costs on each meal. This approach can also give you a chance to feed your family more nutritious food on a regular basis.
6. Look for free activities in your area.
Instead of going to the theater, renting movies or spending a lot of money on computer games, take the kids out to enjoy some free entertainment and activities in the community. Head to a local festivals, make a trip to the farmer’s market, and take advantage of free admission at area museums to keep kids entertained and enjoy some quality time together.