As the head of the household, it is your responsibility to make sure that your child’s needs are met. In order to do this, you need to be extremely diligent when it comes to creating a budget that ensures a stable financial future. Plan ahead and work towards your goals each day.
Here are a few tried and tested budgeting tips from other solo moms who have shared their best tools to help you get there.
“Make a simple budget. Start by laying out a basic budget which includes just your basic spending you need to survive and live comfortably. You don’t have to put too much on your plate and feel pressured to overwork yourself.” – Ashima Patel*
“This sounds really cheap, but there are so many things you can buy in resale. From furniture to cars to many more. Buy used items as you see fit then save the difference to put it toward another category in your budget.” – Sravanthi Manirao
“Kids grow really fast in their young age. So, me and a few friends of mine have started a shared ‘clothes bank’. Each of us donate our children’s clothes when they grow out of them, and use from the available larger sizes that someone from our group has contributed. Some people may find this unhygienic, but we have strict quality rules to comply to, like the clothes have to be in good condition without any tear or damage and they have to be washed and disinfected before adding it to the box.” – Aishwarya Kulkarni
“For single moms looking to make extra money, there are so many convenient options available for you, that could also work around your kids’ schedules. Working online is the most flexible option as you can freelance, transcribe videos or test websites. Amazon Mechanical Turk is a great place to start from. I understand that the extra money fluctuates based on availability, but use it for flexible expenses like extracurricular activities for kids or a vacation while your salary covers your basic needs.” – Priyanka Mankikar*
“Check for ads, discounts and coupons before going shopping to save time and money. This can be for food, clothes, groceries or anything in between. Almost every major store has offers available at all times. Use it for your benefit. I have literally been doing this for the last 7 years and it is so efficient that I end up getting my groceries for almost 70% of the MRPs” – Pallavi Pardeshi
“One thing that has really helped me is using hard cash for spending, instead of cards. It has helped me regulate my expenditure and prevented me from overspending. I observed that having a debit card means I don’t consider how much I am spending and then I get more likely to overspend. But when I have cash in my hand, I have to stick to my budget as it is a physical amount that I can see reducing every time I spend.” – Dipali Mehra
“My mother and grandmother always used to hide money in their blouses, secret sari pocket and the dabbas in the kitchen. And they would take it out like magic during tough times. Turns out that is an excellent way to save for emergencies. There will be times where unexpected expenses will arise. So, I advise all to have an emergency fund with a certain amount ready to use during such times. And as a single mother supporting a household on a single income you may not have the flexibility in your budget to easily cover the extra need. This is where an emergency fund comes into place.” – Jasleen Kaur*
“Always check what you are being charged for. I regularly look at my bank statements, card summaries, cell phone bills and even the normal day to day receipts. There are so many fees that will shock you. And if you’re unsure about the charge, call the customer service to ask for more information.” – Raad Rahmani
“I have automated my savings account to automatically transfer a dedicated amount to a fixed deposit on 1st of every month. This way, I don’t have to stress out about how much I’m saving without even thinking about it.” – Tulika Bose*
“I have a 12-year-old daughter. On each of her birthdays, I buy a gold coin as an investment for her and make a fixed deposit with her name. It is very important that I do this under her name as I want her to have access to it if anything happens to me.” – Shilpa Nivendkar
“This is a basic life hack that applies to everyone, but should be used especially if you’re a single mother. Teach your kid to differentiate between necessity and luxury. I started doing this through food. I plan out each meal for everyday of the month. This way I can make sure they get the essential nutrients and make them understand that fancy food is a luxury. We have designated days on which we go out to eat like one day on each weekend and on birthdays and special days. My kids are big time foodies, so I used that to teach them the value of a basic concept that all of us should know.” – Janaki Charaipotra*
“Education, now-a-days, has turned into a tricky business. I would suggest that you should save solely for your child’s education between 2-15 years of their age. Save for other life goals like marriage and home after that. This will give you the accessibility and affordability to good educational institution, or anything of their choice.” – Saaniya Naik
*Names are changed to respect confidentiality