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Making Ends Meet as a Single Parent

Annie Allen, Certified Divorce and Life Transition Coach®

Raising kids is hard! And expensive. It can be difficult enough to make ends meet when you have two incomes to rely on, all the more so when you are raising a child on your own as you face the possibility or reality of divorce.

Parenting is one of the hardest yet most fulfilling jobs in the world—single or not. Are you wondering how to make ends meet when you are a single mother? This is a question that many single moms want to know because in rough economic times it can be difficult to survive. Single dads too on some level, but most single moms don't have the same level of access to support or resources as their male counterparts. That’s just a fact. So, if you are a single mom who is worried about her finances, let's take a look at some tips to help ensure you keep your chin up so you can keep your head above the water.

Here are some ways to make it work:

1. Learn how to budget & do it. No more excuses. The anticipation of it is worse than the reality.

2. Be very discretionary with your discretionary spending. Needs, not wants, for right now.

3. Set up automatic savings to be deducted from each check so you can save without “feeling” it quite as much.

4. Look for affordable housing. Apply for Section 8 if need be. This isn’t permanent. It’s a steppingstone.

5. Seek financial assistance from single mother programs.

6. Shop smart.

7. Get childcare help.

8. Utilize federal programs as a bridge.

Lastly, take stock of your situation and know your worth.

Once you’ve gotten through the rough patch and have steadied on your feet, it’s time to more deeply evaluate yourself and your situation, financially and otherwise. Has it been a while since you received a pay raise at the office? Maybe it has become evident that you are earning less than others in your field? Know your worth and be prepared to ask for more money if the data says you deserve it. Gather evidence to back you up when you approach your boss, such as a list of your accomplishments, skills, and industry salary standards, and speak to him or her with confidence and conviction. Ladies, men do this all the time… and it works. You can tool. If your boss claims that it is not financially viable to grant you a raise at the moment, request a promotion instead. Even if you are not earning extra now, a higher position could make it easier for you to find a better paying job in the future, and now is a good time to nail them down on when that will be.

Keep your head up! You are doing an incredible job. Tune in to Episode 77 of the show to hear a much more in-depth conversation about making ends meet as a single parent. You’ll be encouraged and probably find a next step or two for yourself!

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