Managing finances as a single parent can be difficult. Single parents are faced all at once with the tasks of adjusting to one income, creating and maintaining a budget and planning for their financial future. As a result, single parents may often feel overwhelmed when it comes to managing their finances. There are several tips that you can follow to create a financial plan to help you and your family be financially successful.
Tips for Financial Success:
• Create a budget that works for you. Developing a monthly plan for your money is important. Make a list of all sources of income as well as your monthly expenses. Be certain to include an expense category for emergencies to work toward building an emergency fund.
• Ask for help. Asking for help can be hard. However, sometimes it is the best thing that you can do for you and your family. Many communities offer resources geared toward single parents that can help you figure out how you may best manage your finances and time. Friends and family are also great resources.
• Pay your bills on time. While it may seem like common sense, becoming a single parent requires that you be on top of everything, including bills. Paying your bills on time will guarantee that you keep your credit score in good standing and avoid late fees. Automatic payments set up through your banking institution are a great option for single parents.
• Keep extra costs under control. One of the hardest changes for single parents to make is cutting back on extra costs. It is important that you explain to your children that the new family budget may mean that you are unable to participate in some activities that you were once able to. A weekly family night at the movie theater may not be possible. However, you can be creative and bring family movie night to your house.
• Protect your children. Making sure that you and your family are insured can have a huge impact on your financial security. Health insurance helps insure that an unexpected injury or illness will not ruin your finances while life insurance will help financially protect your children in the event of your death.
• Protect yourself. Parents often focus on saving for their children’s future. However, what is important is saving for your future financial goals and retirement. A financial advisor can guide you in the right direction, explaining the many different options with you.
For more information, contact the Whitley County Cooperative Extension Service at 549-1430; e-mail DL_CES_WHITLEY@EMAIL.UKY.EDU; or visit the office located in Cumberland Regional Mall, Suite 34, 965 S. Highway 25W, Williamsburg.
Source: Jennifer L. Hunter, Extension Specialist for Family Financial Management, University of Kentucky; College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
Kristyn Jackson, LMFT, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Family Sciences