budget for single parents

Are you a single parent looking to get your finances under control? 

Budgeting can be hard for any parent, but it can be especially difficult for single parents. Luckily there are some budgeting strategies that you can employ as a single parent to help you with your finances. 

What do you need to know?

Check out this guide to discover how to create a budget for single parents.  

1. Develop A Budget 

Whether you’ve been on your own since day one or you recently split with your partner and you’re new to the game, one of the most important things to do for single parents is to develop a budget. 

Your budget should include all of the money that comes in and all of the money that goes out each month. While budgeting can seem complicated, it all comes down to one simple rule: Don’t spend more than you earn. 

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. However, once you break down exactly where you’re money is going each month, it’ll be easier to figure out areas where you can cut back. For example, if you find that your food budget is inflated, then it may be time to cut back on how much you eat out or switch to store-brand products. 

Chances are, there are a bunch of small purchases that you’re making each month that really add up. Daily trips to Starbucks, streaming subscriptions, shopping trips, and more can really put a dent in your budget. Just a few small cuts here and there can help you save more each month. 

2. Have a System 

Creating a budget is one thing. Sticking to that budget is an entirely different thing. 

A lot of single parents make the mistake of creating a strict budget and then forgetting about it in the months to come. To make sure you don’t forget about your budget, have a system in place for tracking it. 

Some people find that budgeting apps work best for them, while others prefer to handwrite all of their expenses. Whatever you decide, make sure you’re checking your finances on a routine basis to make sure you don’t fall behind. 

3. Get the Kids Involved 

Your kids are likely sucking up a large portion of your budget, and there’s no reason they can’t help you get it under control. As long as they’re old enough to understand, there’s no shame in explaining your household economic situation to your kids. 

However, you need to be careful about how you do it. You don’t want to frighten your children or place blame on anyone. In fact, there are even ways you can make budgeting fun for your kids. 

Here are some ways you can make budgeting fun for the whole family:

Scavenger Hunt 

One fun thing to do with your kids is a savings scavenger hunt. Start by making a list of shopping items with your family (such as grocery items or school supplies). Then, send everyone on a “hunt” to find each item at the lowest price by searching on the internet or through local ads. 

Grocery Store Challenge 

Chances are, grocery store trips are eating up a large portion of your budget. Trying to purchase each of your child’s favorite foods while maintaining a budget can feel nearly impossible. 

The grocery store challenge is a unique and fun way to teach your children the art of grocery shopping on a budget. With this game, your children can create sample menus and shopping lists around the amount of money you have for grocery shopping as well as your family size. Whoever gets all of their items within the allotted budget wins the game. 

Family Savings Contest 

If you’re cutting back on your spending because your spouse is no longer in the picture, then that can be a pretty sad incentive to get your kids to save money. But, if you’re cutting back on your spending because you want to plan a big family trip? Now that will get your kids excited!

Having a big, exciting goal to work towards will make your kids more excited to save. To get everyone in on the fun, you could do something as simple as putting out a savings jar that everyone can contribute to. Or, you could create a chart that maps out your savings progress. 

4. Plan for the Unexpected 

As the sole earner in the family, it’s also very important that you plan for the unexpected. Whether you lose your job, your kid needs braces, or your vehicle needs an expensive repair, you need to be ready for whatever financial surprise life throws at you. 

For this reason, it’s very important to have an emergency savings account set up that you contribute to regularly. Even if you only have $50 to spare each month, it can make a big difference when that financial emergency arises. 

5. Speak With a Financial Advisor 

As a single parent, it’s very important that you speak with a financial advisor. Many people think that financial advisors are only for people with excessive wealth. However, this is certainly not the case. 

A financial advisor is for anyone who needs help with their finances. Not only can a financial advisor help you with budgeting, but they can also help you plan for your future by helping you set up your retirement savings. 

6. Know Your Loan Options 

There may come a time when a financial emergency arises that you don’t have the money to pay for and you need to take out a loan. Instead of letting this situation cause you to panic, you should know about the different types of loan options available to you. 

One type of loan that you might want to consider is a cash loan. With a cash loan, you can typically get approved in a matter of minutes. To qualify, all you typically need is a stable job, a bank account, and a certain monthly income. 

Budget for Single Parents: Are You Ready to Budget? 

Now that you know how to budget for single parents, it’s time to put these tips into action. Pretty soon, you’ll be saving more and more money each month thanks to these budgeting strategies. 

If you’re a single parent in need of a loan in Canada, contact us today for help.