Financial Advice for a New Single Mom

If you are a new single mom, you are probably a bit overwhelmed by everything at the moment. No matter how or why you became a single mom, the emotional strain alone is enough to leave you with sleepless nights. Most people don’t plan for their husbands or partners to become deadbeat dads or for their relationship to fall apart. Actually many women plan their pregnancies and assume that everything will go as planned. Sadly many fathers to be don’t even stick around until birth; others may give it a shot but flake on you within a year or two. Other times long term relationships and marriages may fail under the stress of personal growth, job stress and other things which can break down even a sturdy foundation.

 Whether the “single” situation happens right away or after your child is older there are still many things to adjust to including being the one person your child can count on to pay the bills and take care of him. Many times your emotional state has to take a back seat to being Super Mom and handling whatever comes up. For your own sanity, be sure to have some alone time when you can break down, throw your own pity party and cry if you need to.  The financial strain doesn’t help matters either. At least the financial strain is all about the numbers, and numbers can be dealt with and managed. You just need to be pro-active about it.

To begin with, if you feel like you are struggling, go apply for aid. There is no shame in getting assistance that is available, just as long as you consider it a temporary solution. Keep in mind that if you qualify for government assistance, you really do need it because the guidelines are fairly strict and meant to weed out people who do not actually need help. If you have never received assistance before the process is fairly invasive and even somewhat humiliating, but you must do what you have to do in order to provide for your child.  Go to the Division of Family and Children (yours may be called something different…Social Services, etc.) and fill out an application. Apply for every form of assistance they offer. They will not give you more than you qualify for, but it never hurts to see what you do qualify for. Be sure to ask about vouchers to help pay for child care. You will still get to choose your provider as long as they are certified to take state vouchers.

Now you need to take a look at your living situation. Is it affordable for you? Consider moving to a more affordable location or talking with friends about getting a roommate. You may even be able to find another single mom who is willing to trade babysitting with you so you can each work and not have to worry about sitter expenses. You might also contact the housing department to see about any subsidized housing in your area. Yes, this is a time for more change, it is a lot to take on and a lot to handle all by yourself, but you can do it! You can make smart financial choices and build a new life for you and your child. Don’t wait until the last minute when you are about to become homeless to take action.

Now it’s time to cut costs. Cancel some of your expenses that you don’t really need right now. Cable is not a necessity, but what you pay for it can go a long way toward filling up your gas tank. Minimizing your household expenses can make a big difference in how much money is left at the end of the month, and how stressed you are about paying each and every little bill.

Consider enrolling in college. This allows you to see some light at the end of the tunnel and may even be financially beneficial depending on the tuition and other expenses as compared to grants and scholarships you may qualify for. Not only is college a step you can take to improve your future but the financial aid may help you with child care and living expenses while you are a student.

You can also start looking for discounts. Single parents are often given discounts on items such as insurance, tuition, child care and even transportation. While you don’t want pity for your situation there is nothing wrong with making people aware of the fact that you are the sole provider for your child and that any savings you can find will be extremely helpful. Your car insurance may be reduced because you are a parent with no other driver in the house. If you enroll in college, this also may reduce your insurance and allow you to get discounts at some stores.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *