Being a parent is challenging enough, so you can imagine how doubly hard it is for all those single parents out there. They must play dual roles and put on multiple hats so that they can fulfill the needs of their children. Apart from the basics of child-rearing, however, another challenge that single parents must take on is financial planning.
A two-parent household is at an obvious advantage. Two parents can help each other out with the budgeting. You can split expenses between the two of you and the pressure is just a little bit lighter.
For a single-parent household, however, the responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of one person. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, because as many other single parents have proven over the years, managing finances for a single-parent household is feasible and highly manageable. Here are some tips to better handle and manage the family finances if you’re a single parent.
1. Set a budget but leave some room for family fun.
The key to having a manageable budget is setting your priorities straight. Identify the non-negotiable, big-ticket items. These are regular expenses for necessities, such as diapers, groceries, tuition fees. Don't forget to take into account utilities, medical care, and other personal or household expenses.
Once you have a clear picture of the expenses you are likely to incur every month, it becomes easier for you to adjust your spending and savings accordingly. Just remember to set aside some for family fun, too. Apart from saving up for your kids' educational plans, allocate some funds for extra-curricular lessons they might want to take or sports they want to try.
2. Be keen on bookkeeping.
Complement your budget plan with good bookkeeping. Let's be honest. This task is tedious, but if you do it regularly and consistently (daily or weekly, it’s really up to you), it should get easier to update over time. Take note of your credit card bills, car loans, if there are any, mortgage payments, and outstanding debts.
By having everything accounted for, you can better anticipate the adjustments you’ll need to make in your budget if needed. It may be daunting at first, but you can also download easy-to-use financial management apps that can help you keep everything accounted for and organized. You should be able to get the hang of it enough with practice.
3. Get started on your insurance
Now that you have kids of your own and are taking care of them by yourself, it’s important to make sure that you get financial protection. An insurance plan can help you ease your worries about your and your children’s future. Look at your monthly income and see where you can make adjustments in your budget so you can allot some for monthly insurance premiums. If you do your budgeting and bookkeeping well, this should come easy for you.
There are plenty of available cost-friendly insurance plans out there today, such as FWD’s Set for Life. Simple insurance plans like this are good to have, especially for single parents, because it only requires a low minimum annual premium. The best part about it is that it’s also an investment of sorts, so in effect, you’re not only securing your future by saving, but also setting up to grow your funds. Eventually, you can further maximize your plan by getting add-ons or by topping up the premiums to your plan for even better protection and flexibility.