Financial Management 101

Many single parents report that the biggest stressor they have is making their financial ends meet. This can be especially challenging in families with only one income. Up to 50% of single parents do not receive the child support they are awarded by the court, which furthers their financial woes.

Here are some simple tips to help you stay within your budget:

Avoid using credit cards whenever possible. Unless you intend to pay off your credit card each month you can quickly find yourself loaded down in finance charges. I recently made a huge mistake and neglected to pay my credit card by the due date. My payment arrived two days late. Not only did they tack on a $30 late fee, but also they boosted my APR up five points. Now my card that I happily got with a low payback rate, which I only used for emergencies, has a large payback rate. So long credit card!

Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Simply live within your means. If that means thrift store shopping for now rather than at the upscale mall then make that temporal sacrifice. Things will not always be the same, and someday soon, you may be able to splurge to buy the things you really want in addition to the things you need.

Don’t buy on impulse. Make out a list when going shopping-even grocery shopping. Do your very best to not deviate from that list. When going out shopping with the girls, bring only as much cash as you are willing to spend. Resist the urge to bring out the credit card or checkbook to make a purchase you know you cannot afford.

Save. This ties in with impulse buying. It is ok to save for something you really want. Avoid fulfilling your immediate desires and delay gratification until you can pay for your desired object in cash. There is a great sense of accomplishment when you save for something over months or years and are finally able to make that special purchase.

Ask for help. This might be very difficult for people to do, but sometimes it might be necessary to ask a relative, friend or an organization to help you out financially-especially when unexpected expenses occur. There is no shame in asking for help.

Other related articles:
Single Parents and Financial Pitfalls to Watch Out For

Stretch Your Paycheck