Financial Planning Steps From a Single Mom
Why You Should Consider My Financial Advice
I am not classified as a finance professional in any way, but you may be surprised about how much I have discovered about financial planning as a business major, business manager, and a single mom on a very tight budget. I have taken the time to learn details about saving money on my own. I read financial books, discover financial websites, and pay attention to the financial professionals. Here is a little about my story and why you should consider what I say.
I am a single mom of a 3 year old, and due to the death of my sister in October my disabled mom and I are now raising her three kids. Talking about a very tight budget, and some extreme financial planning.
In addition to this I have been going to school full time for the last three years majoring in business management. With this as my major I have taken several finance classes and one was specifically a personal finance class. Other classes included business finance, accounting, and payroll accounting.
With all of this I have learned to save money in many areas of my life and in business, and the biggest thing I have learned is that the planning process is the most important part to a successful financial plan. Even though I am struggling at times financially and emotionally, without a plan of action I would have already failed.
Budgeting is the key factor in succeeding with your financial planning. Sites such as Mint.com have a variety of things that will help you make your budget, and make it work for you. I personally have looked at numerous sites that help with budgets just to get tips on finances and reaching goals through financial planning.
The simplest way for me to make a budget is to add up all of your monthly fixed expenses, then add an estimate of all of your fluctuating expenses, and finally subtract both from your income. This will show you where you are standing each month.
The first Ebook in a line of financial books that I will be publishing
Creating a Savings
Another key factor in financial planning is saving money. For myself this has been difficult. As a single mom making less than $25000 a year, I have to find ways to save small amounts of money. You may be able to save the typical 10% that is recommended by a most financial planners, but I have not reached that point. These are things that I do to help me have some savings.
- Use a cash only system and put the change into jars at home. I have to say this has saved me quite a bit, approximately $300 in the last few months. No this method does not receive interest, but it is money I am able to save without feeling a tighter crunch on my budget.
- Set up a 401K contribution at your job. This method is working well for me so far. I signed up to put 1% from each paycheck into my 401K. I tried a larger amount, but had to consider the necessities in my life, and the few dollars less that I am contributing goes to my family. Even though it is only 1% I have contributed more than $1000 in the last year
- Start a savings at your bank that has keep the change. This is something like putting your change in a jar, and it works the same way. If you spend $5.50 at the local grocery store the bank rounds it to $6 and puts the extra .50 into your savings. I have been surprised at how much this adds up, just be sure you watch your balance on those weeks you are close to a zero balance on your account, you do not want to bounce your account trying to save money.
- When you receive extra money, put it away. I know we all want to buy extras when we receive our income tax return or a bonus from work, but it would help you quite a bit more if some of it is put into some kind of savings account or even a CD. If you are willing to make big purchases every time you receive extra money, remember that moment when you are broke a month later and have nothing to fall back on.
- Find something that will work with you that will help you start a savings plan. As a single mom of now four kids, I understand not having much to put away, but you will need it when things come up such as repairs to your vehicle or when something comes up and your kids need a few dollars for a school function.
- Remember that one savings plan does not work for everyone, find something that works for you and your family.
Are you a single parent?
Helpful Websites for Financial Planning
Visualize your Goals
As a single mom it is hard for me to save money because of so many expenses. To help myself and my family find motivation we use visualization as motivation. We find something that we want to save money for, right now it is a home, and we put up pictures to help us focus on that goal.
Make a list of goals that you want to reach with the money you save. No matter how small the goal is, put a picture up to help you stay focused. Use a board that will be used strictly as your visualization board. When you feel like you are going to stray from your plan, look at the board. I have found it better to keep this board where everyone that is working for this goal can see it.
Suze Orman is one financial adviser that I listen to.
Never Give Up!
Each of us will have different circumstances when it comes to our finances. Yes we need a savings, but things happen all the time which may have an affect on our savings. This is especially true when you are living paycheck to paycheck. Even if things happen that distracts you from your goal find a way to get back on track. Never give up on your financial goals.