As a single mother it is sometimes difficult to manage finances on one income but with effort and resourcefulness, it is possible. Start by gathering documentation of all sources of income then create your monthly budget. Write down a list of necessary monthly expenses and the amount you pay for each one. Then look at your miscellaneous expenses and see if there are things you can trim from the budget.
Set up an emergency fund
This is important because emergencies happen and you want to be prepared for them. Contribute part of your check each pay period to the fund and if your teens work, have them contribute to the fund. Having an emergency fund reduces the need for payday loans or a second job.
Don't get hooked on credit cards
It is OK to have one or two credit cards to help you build credit, but don't rely too heavily on them. When you max out a credit card and struggle to pay the balance on it, your credit history and score suffers. As a result, you will have a hard time getting a loan for a home, business or education. Buy what you can afford and save up for certain items you want.
Learn to say no to the kids at times
You will indulge your kids' desires throughout their lives but there are times when they have to learn the difference between needs and wants. When children are spoiled, they develop an entitlement mentality that will be hard to get rid of as they become adults. For example, if your daughter already has a cell phone but now wants a sound system, tell her that you cannot afford the sound system now but you can buy her a portable radio.
Find new sources of income
The side hustle is popular these days and it is because more people are seeking additional ways to earn income in light of the growing lack of confidence in traditional jobs stemming from widespread layoffs and reduction of work hours. Some good sources of side income include babysitting on weekends, freelance writing and selling items online.
Get some DIY skills
You can keep more money with DIY skills. If you are tired of spending so much money at the salon, learn to do basic but stylish hairstyles at home with online video tutorials. Buy cookbooks and learn to create simple and healthy dishes. Take sewing classes or attend home improvement classes at the hardware store with the kids.
Seek child support assistance
It is the father's responsibility to provide the material needs for his child but unfortunately many fathers choose not to do this. You have the law on your side because you can have a child support order placed on the father and he would have to pay up or possibly face jail time and other penalties.
With these strategies you can thrive financially as a single mother. Assistance from loved ones and social service agencies can also help you long term.