As a single parent you have unique financial needs, compared to families with two earners. While it can be more challenging to find the money for vacation, and to find the money for your child’s education, savings, etc., it’s certainly not impossible. Check out the 7 Strategies for Single Parents as recommended by Bankrate, or review our favorite four below.
1. Start with a road map
The first step is to have a plan – and this requires communication with your child’s other parent. The experts recommend working hard for an even-keeled type of communication. Keep the hostility and even nonverbal cues out of it – especially when the children are around. Keep your eye on cultivating a business-like relationship with your ex, and decide which expenses you’ll be responsible for, what they’ll be responsible for, and which will be shared.
2. Control your costs – but have fun, too!
It’s likely that you’re going to have to make some financial sacrifices, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to give everything up. Create a spending plan that keeps you accountable so you’re sure your money is going right where you want it to. Keep an eye on sales, use coupons, and buy generic products when you can. Look for two-for-one nights at local restaurants, or find nights where children eat free. Take advantage of free books at the public library. All of these savings can add up to a lovely Disney vacation for your family!
3. Re-evaluate all your financial documents
Your children must be provided for in case something happens to you and/or your former spouse. The most affordable way to take care of this is life insurance. Check and make sure your policy is up to date, as is the policy of your former spouse. You should also be clear on who the beneficiaries are on yours and your ex-spouse’s policy. Does the money go to your child(ren) in a trust, or to the remaining parent with the understanding that it’s to be used to take care of the kids?
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it
The old saying, “it takes a village to raise a child” is no joke! The reality is that when there’s only one parent in the household, it’s easy for them to get pulled in every direction, which results in high-stress situations – and can eventually lead to poor health. It’s common for newly single parents to want to do it all and be afraid to reach out for help. The reality is that pride can’t get in the way of doing what needs to be done. If you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out to your support network, whether it includes friends, family, or co-workers.