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3 Tips for Setting a Budget as a Single Mom

Unless you make a six-figure income, it can be almost impossible to make ends meet. There are living expenses that must be met, including rent, utilities, food, clothing and other items necessary to your family’s day-to-day life. From schoolbooks to Band-Aids, everything comes at a cost and, unfortunately, there are times when costs outweigh your income. So, what can you do? Well, it isn’t going to be easy, and anyone who promises you it will be is lying to you! However, you can make life a whole lot easier if you learn the key to setting a budget as a single mom. Here are 3 tips to get you started.

1.  Prioritize Living Expenses

One mistake many people make when setting a budget is to add all those little ‘extras’ in before ensuring they can meet all their living expenses. It is essential that you list those bills which must be paid regularly such as rent/mortgage, utilities, food, medical, insurance and so forth. It would be nice to have an “entertainment” budget, but that should never take precedence over the things you need to sustain life. Don’t forget to include babysitting services if your kids are little!

2. Calculate Net Income

Too many people get this one wrong! The list their salary in terms of gross income but that isn’t even close to their take-home (net) pay. After taxes, insurance and other deductions, a paycheck can be 20% less than the gross amount. Always calculate your income based on what you take home, or you will never make your budget work because you’ll be listing money you don’t have.

3. Rainy Day Funds

One item you should try to add to your budget is a regular amount to set aside in an emergency fund. It might be as little as $10 a pay period, but it’s something to fall back on when the well runs dry. Call it a rainy-day fund or whatever you like. Just try to set something aside and leave it there! Only take it out for real emergencies. Alternatively, you might want to make note of those places where you can get a quick loan for emergencies. Make sure you can repay it in full by the next pay period, or you will just go deeper into debt. Sites like LoanPigUSA explain the kinds of short-term loans available. They’ll walk you through the process and each step of the way you are advised, “click here to continue.” Just remember to choose carefully and only borrow what you know you can repay comfortably.

While it would be optimal to have a bit left over after meeting all your bills, sometimes that just isn’t the case. Some months, your electric will be higher than usual, and other months, like during flu season, your medical bills may be greater than normal. It always pays to set aside savings or have a go-to lender to help fill in the gaps during those times when your income is insufficient. Being prepared and budgeting your expenses is the first step toward being a great single mom. Sticking to that budget is another matter, but that’s a subject for another day.


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