As of 2015, there were 1.62 million single-parent families throughout Canada. Whilst being a single parent can certainly have advantages, like total freedom to call the shots without a partner there to argue, successful budgeting can be extremely challenging at times – especially if there’s multiple kids to take care of.
If you’re struggling to successfully budget alongside the daily tasks of being a single parent, take a look at the simple money tips outlined below to transform how you approach your finances. Better still, you can start using these right away to improve how you budget, so you’re able to afford luxuries as well as necessities.
Take control of your entire budgeting strategy
If you were once in a relationship where your partner took charge of all your budgeting, suddenly going it alone can be very daunting.
It’s important to realize early-on that budgeting for an entire household involves much more than just rent and bills. Food and unexpected pay-outs (we’ve all experienced a sudden household breakage that needed urgent fixing!) need to be taken into account every month too.
Another key aspect of successful budgeting is getting your priorities right and being 100% realistic about what you can actually afford. Investing in a car is a prime example of this, as there are so many different models to choose from with the majority of modern homes requiring a car as a necessity.
If you know for sure you can afford an expensive top-of-the-range car, go for it. But if you can’t afford to splash out up to $100,000, like the majority of other single parents, something like the Chrysler 200 will be much more realistic option without compromising on performance, space, or safety features for your family.
Put your retirement savings above college funds
When you have kids, it’s likely that college will come up in conversation as they inevitably grow up. A huge 1.7 million students studied at Canadian universities in 2015, putting increased pressure on parents to financially prepare for this very early on.
For single parents relying on just one income alone this can be a real struggle. In fact, many appear to prioritize saving for college ahead of saving for their own retirement fund, which isn’t really the best approach to have.
If you’re in this situation and are worried about how to manage, try talking openly with your kids about college budgeting. Getting them involved will not only increase their appreciation of what you’re facing as a single parent, but will likely encourage them to help out.
Attending relevant classes to reduce degree prices, and doing their own research into potential scholarships and student loans available to them, are just a couple of ways your kids can help to increase the overall success of how you handle budgeting with college.
No one said being a single parent would be easy, especially when it comes to money. But by being smart, realistic and practical about your financial decisions, budgeting will become second-nature in no time!
Maya West is a single Mom doing her best to raise healthy, happy and responsible little people! She writes about parenting topics, particularly sharing her single parenting perspective, in her articles.