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Money Saving Tips For Single Parents

Updated on May 5, 2010
"A parent's love is whole no matter how many times divided"~Robert Brault
"A parent's love is whole no matter how many times divided"~Robert Brault

Helpful tip: Whenever you are out shopping,and are paying with cash,only use paper bills. Regularly clean the loose change out of your purse,and store it in a container with a lid. This way,if you run short on cash at some point,you will have change that you can cash in as needed. Change adds up very quickly!

Money saving tips for the single parent

Just getting by as a single parent can be a very trying experience.

Did you know?

  1. There are 14 million single parent families in America right now?
  2. 21 million children are living in a home being raised by only one parent?
  3. 83.1 percent are raised by single mothers?
  4. 16.9 percent are raised by single fathers?

Just looking over these statistics can give you a clear idea of how many people out there are raising a family with only themselves to depend on. And these numbers are rising.So what do you do if you find yourself facing life as a single parent? Read on.

The number one,and most important thing to remember is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Many families go through the very same thing that you are going through. It isn't anywhere close to being easy,and it will have many ups and Downs. But,if you allow yourself to think positively,and stay focused,you can make it!

One thing that helps many people is to have family and friends that are supportive. Besides your physical friends,you can also make friends on forums and discussion groups online that are focused on single parenting. You can share your stories,or read stories from others,or ask for advice when you find yourself faced with a problem. This can really make you feel better,because you can read some of the things others are going through,and maybe even offer your own thoughts on the topic.

Another thing that is very important,is how you handle your finances. You might have a high paying job,but if you don't handle the cash flow in a smart way,then it wont matter how much money you're making each month. This is a large issue in single parent families,because you have to rely on just one income.It can be a huge slap in the face when a households cash flow changes so suddenly,and it can be drastic. Sit down and figure out how much you're making,and the amount you need to cover bills,car payments,etc. If you find that you will be needing to pay out more money than you have coming in,find places where you can cut back. Little things can make a huge difference in where your money is going.

Some examples include:

Cable:Get rid of the high definition cable,or all those extra channels you don't watch. You wont miss them for more than a minute,and your wallet will thank you in the end.

Cell phone/home phone:Consider using ONLY a cell phone. Why pay for both,when they are basically the same thing? The big difference here is that you can take the cell phone with you wherever you go. So keep the cell phone. Browse around for the best plan to fit your needs. Remember that if this is going to be your only phone,you will likely be using a lot of minutes. Look for the cheapest unlimited calling plan. Cricket has a cheap plan with unlimited calling,and is just fine for the average cell phone user.

"If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart"
"If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart"

Helpful tip: Save money on gas by walking when you are only going short distances. You will not use as much fuel each week,and you will be getting exercise too. What a bonus!

Food:This is where it can get tricky. Food takes a very large chunk of your money each month. If there is a Save-A-Lot grocery store near you,you should go in and take a look. You really can save an amazing amount of money each month by shopping there. Their canned food prices can't be beat. They are VERY low priced,so go in and stock up on your canned soups and vegetables. They sell mostly off brands,but honestly.....your taste buds will never know the difference. Also,be mindful of what the larger grocery chains have on sale that week. Sometimes there are very good deals to be found,and if you look,one grocery store might be offering a lower price than the other. Get out your coupons,and your local sales papers,and compare. You can save a lot of money with this method,although it does take time and a bit of organizing.

Home heating costs:Turn that heat back! So many people abuse the fact that we can warm our houses with the turn of a switch. Just remember,every time you turn it up,money is leaving your pocket. One good idea would be to invest in a programmable thermostat. You can set it to automatically turn down to a comfortable level at night,or when nobody is home. If you would rather not go that route,just remember that it is winter. You should dress like it is winter,even when you are at home. A comfy sweater will keep you warm,and therefore save you money on your heating costs. It is also a good idea to turn it down (way down) when nobody is going to be home. Keep in mind how cold it is outside that day,because you don't want to turn it so low that your pipes might freeze! If you have one room that seems to be especially drafty during the winter,and your house is heated with natural gas,consider using an electric heater in that room. It will keep you from turning the heat up just to warm that room,while the rest of the house is hot. Also,you can buy plastic film insulation for any drafty windows. These are basically like shrink wrap,but made for weatherization purposes. So don't just grab a roll of shrink wrap! Because there are some differences between the two. The sheets are not expensive,and will save you some of that hard earned cash.

Electricity/water costs:This is common sense. Turn the lights off in rooms that you are not using. Do not leave appliances and other household items running when not in use. Only load the washer/dryer when you have a full load. Don't take a 60 minute shower,and don't fill the bath tub to its full capacity. Turn the water off while your brushing your teeth. Teach your children to turn off the lights also. It wont make a bit of a difference in your bills if you are shutting off lights,and the kids just turn them back on. If you use window air conditioners,you generally want them to be positioned in an area that is shaded from the sun. This makes them not have to work as hard. When buying new appliances,consider energy efficient models.

Clothing:Don't be scared to go to discount/outlet stores. You may find that some of the clothing for sale in these stores have factory defects. However,MANY of these defects are not noticeable,and you wont be able to see anything wrong with it. Do keep your eyes open,because some of the defects are not something you would want to wear,or have your children wear. Most of these stores have name brand clothing,at tremendous savings that you wont find anywhere else,and the selection is generally very good. If you are really in a tight spot,there is always Goodwill. Yes,they are used clothes. But if you don't have the money,then you don't have it. You and your children need clothing no matter how broke you are.

Health and beauty/household items:Shop at the dollar store whenever possible. A dollar store will offer a lot of these items for much cheaper than a grocery store would. Even better is a true dollar store,where everything in it is a dollar. You can buy oral hygiene products,aspirin,deodorant,hair products/hair ties,air fresheners,cleaning products.....all for a dollar! If you have never been inside a true dollar store,now is the time to go. You will be amazed at what they can sell for a buck. They even sell some food products,and toys. This is great,because we all know children always want something at the store. They can choose whatever they want in a dollar store,because it is all a dollar! This is quite exciting for a child to be able to pick anything they want,and you can feel good doing it.

Last but not least,DO NOT BUY BIG TICKET ITEMS THAT YOU CAN NOT AFFORD. It is hard switching from a lifestyle of buying what you want,when you want,to a lifestyle of penny pinching. But our ancestors survived on much less than we have now.You can too.

I hope that these ideas will help in some way. It can be difficult supporting a family on one income,but people everywhere are doing it every day. All it takes is a little bit of thinking and determination on your part.

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