One of the most important issues that face single moms every day is our finances. Money….How do make more? Keep more? and teach our children he value of! Here are 10 simple strategies to support you and your children to become financially healthier and smarter.
1. Open a bank account
May seem like a no brainer, but lots of single moms are using alternative methods to handle their financial lives. Bank accounts not only allow for checking and savings they are bank are gateways for you to access other financial products to fulfill your financial needs. Most importantly, qualifying for a loan. So, open a bank account if you don’t already have one or start using an existing one again.
2. Pay yourself first
You are a single mom. You have no one else to fall back on if things go haywire. So pay yourself first. Determine how much you need for your living expenses, how much you want to put in savings and then what remains can be used for discretionary items or saved in a wishlist bank. (A wishlist bank is used for those things your children want, but don’t need – it’s like a treat jar!)
3. Avoid business affinity cards
They seem as though they’re going to save you money but at the same time they require you to spend more as well.
4. Insurance – up
Again, you are the sole support for you and your kids you must be secure. Having a life insurance policy at least until your youngest child is 25 is prudent. Also consider a long term care plan or annuity. Everyone’s situation is unique so it’s smart to discuss the best plan for you with a financial advisor.
5. Automate your savings and set savings goals
Many banks offer savings or e-savings accounts. Start slow and build your savings bucket with smaller weekly auto-deposit contributions rather than making one large monthly payment.
6. Start saving for college now
College is not an option for your children. Everyone needs a degree and educational expenses are consistently on the rise. If you are living in the US, you have the option to invest in 529 savings plans, but do check state-related conditions. Costs and conditions vary from state to state. Saving through a Roth IRA is another option for you.
7. Know your tuition options
In addition to having a college account for your kids, explore scholarship opportunities. Whatever your child is passionate about there’s a good chance there is a scholarship for that. One of the best resources to explore is scholarshipowl.com. This service automates and simplifies the sign-up process connecting your kids with lots of potential scholarship opportunities. (Did you know there are 3.5 million scholarships available for the taking every year. Lots of them get little or no applicants) Here’s your chance to grab some of that free gold!
I also suggest you to meet with a college counselor or advisor early, when your child is in 9th or 10th grade early. If you are fortunate enough to be in a solid financial situation they can help you navigate the college financial paperwork to qualify for school scholarships and loans you might otherwise not be able to get.
8. Teach your kids about earning
It’s not always best practices to hand your kids everything they want. Teach them how to be self-sufficient by earning their own money. They can do odd jobs in the ‘hood or babysit for neighbors. Or turn their daily chores into paid opportunities. Their is a valuable quid pro quo and lesson in pay to play.
9. Review your net wealth and financial position quarterly
Focus on how much and where you are spending the bulk of your money. Track the changes in your financial portfolio (i.e. stocks, bonds, investments). Always stand confidently knowing where you are in terms of your net wealth and where you’re projected to be for at least 10 to 15 years.
10. Have confidence in your money plan
Starting early and becoming aware of balancing your and your kids’ financial needs is the key to achieving the financial discipline and success you desire. A small amount of time invested in observing your own attitudes and behaviors regarding spending money can set up a solid financial future for you and your family.