When a couple decides to separate or divorce, or a spouse dies unexpectedly, single moms have to worry not only about the emotional wellbeing of their children, but often about the family's financial wellbeing, too. In fact, statistics show that divorced women can lose up to half of their income, so it is very important for single moms to have a financial plan.
Make a budget. Divide a piece of paper in two columns. On one side write down all your fixed expenses such as rent or mortgage, insurance, weekly groceries, transportation, phone, Internet, etc.
Then for one week write down all your flexible expenses, which are all non-essential expenses and spur of the moment purchases, including the latte at your favorite coffee place, entertainment, etcetera. Write the totals on the other column on your paper.
Once you have these two lists, you can decide where you can cut your expenses. Maybe take your lunch to work or cut down on the lattes.
Harness your teens' earning power to empower them financially. If they are old enough to babysit, wash the neighbor's car or mow lawns, or tutor a younger child, teens (or even tweens) can earn some extra money. Let them keep some for their own spending money, and have them contribute a portion to the family's savings. Set a collective goal to save for a vacation or a video game console the whole family can enjoy.
Allocate a little money for family fun. Even if all you can afford is a weekly trip to the ice cream shop and a walk at the park, make it a regular, family tradition. Spending the time together while enjoying something that feels like a treat is really what matters.
I know many single moms who didn't have enough money and struggled every day. Most have raised responsible adults who went on to graduate from college and are now earning a living. They all tell me that the most important thing is to make your children feel that you are all in this together, and will always be there for each other.
To learn more about making a financial plan or other financial education topics, visit the US Treasury Department's financial education page at mymoney.org. And if you're struggling with debt, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) can help you create an affordable payment plan.
Yamila Constantino is a pioneer of financial education for Latinos. She is a member of the National Financial Educators Council Advisory Board and a winner of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce At the Table award for women entrepreneurs.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.