How to budget like a single ‘boss’ mom
If you’re a single mom, you deserve a round of applause — o tshwere thipa ka bogaleng! Being a single mother is challenging, especially when it comes to finances. Raising kids costs money — A LOT OF IT. That's why you need a ‘single mom budget’. It’s critical that you manage your money as best you can to stay out of debt and grow your savings too. These tips can help you make the most of your money every month:
- Review your finances
When creating a budget, you need to consider your total income and your total expenses. If you’ve got a 9-to-5 job, your bank statement will paint the best income-vs-expenses picture for you. Look for all the streams of income you receive each month like government grants for the kids, child maintenance, side-hustle income, etc. Add all these up to get to your total monthly income.
The next step is to look at how you’re spending that money each month. In this list, you may include water and electricity, food, rent, transport, school fees, debt payments and entertainment. If you are saving money, include savings on your list too. The total you get from tallying up your expenses will then be subtracted from your total income.
Ideally, you should have money left over. This is money you could use to boost your savings or use to pay off your debt more quickly, especially if you're still dealing with student loans, a car loan or credit card balances. If you don't have anything left over, or even worse, you're in the negative, you'll need to fine-tune your single mom budget by reducing your expenses.
- Drawing up your budget
Once you have reviewed your income and expenses and have a better picture of your financial standing, you can start to create your budget. To start, you can use the 50-30-20 rule to budgeting. Alternatively, simply decide which expenses are most important and allocate money there first.
Once you have your budget drawn up, you’ll get an even clearer picture of how much money you have to spare towards education savings, emergency savings, clothes, etc.
- Track your spending
A budget is only as effective as your commitment to sticking to it. For your budget to work, you have to make sure that you know how much money leaves your bank account, and when. African Bank offers a mobile banking app that lets you see your balances, make transactions and more, 24/7. (Read more about it here)
If you need to, you can then adjust how much you’re spending on certain items to make your money go further.
- Make saving a priority
Having a savings plan is important for any single parent. You’re relying on your income alone, so it makes sense to have a back-up plan for expenses such as school fees, medical emergencies, school trips etc. If you don’t already have an education savings plan for your kid/s, try to save even just a little each month. This will go a long way in ensuring that you can afford to invest in your child’s education without getting into debt
Being a parent can be tough, especially if you’re doing it all on your own and relying only on your income. Some budgeting and financial planning, however, will help you make ends meet and enjoy being the super mom you are.