Solo parenting is hard enough. Having kids is a responsibility that should never be taken lightly, no matter the economy’s state. But when you factor in a public health crisis and the worst recession in a century, it presents even more challenges and difficulties that not many parents were prepared for.
But there are a lot of strategies and moves single parents can make to be able to navigate this difficult time. Not all solo parents’ situation is the same because single-parent households have different financial and child support situations. Still, healthy financial principles remain the same no matter the global economy’s state and whether a provider is single. Here are some financial tips solo parents can adopt to survive this 2020.
Keep your communication lines open with your ex-partner
Unless your ex-partner poses a danger to you and your children’s safety, and if the separation was civil, keep your communication lines open with them so that you can plan your children’s financial future together. If you’ve already decided on child support, then keep each other accountable and updated. If child maintenance is not something you have discussed yet, then open up the conversation to them so that they also have a good grasp of you and your children’s current financial situation.
Determine your monthly living expenses, and stick to your budget
Whether you’ve been a single parent for a long time or just adjusting to a new life without a partner, you will do well to look over your monthly living expenses and checking to see what expenses you can reduce or eliminate. As circumstances change, our budgets will also benefit from being checked and updated regularly. Of course, there are big monthly expenses that you can’t do away with, like your food and grocery allowance, mortgage, car payments, and independent senior living expenses for your loved ones, and monthly utilities, but everything else can be re-evaluated.
Teach your children some cost-cutting practices
It’s never too late to teach your children how to be more responsible about their energy and water consumption. Here are some ways you can teach them to cut costs on utilities:
- Turning off the lights and radiators in rooms and areas they’re not using
- Turning off the computer or laptop when they’re done with online classes
- Teaching them how to air-dry clothes
- Encouraging them to take short showers instead of baths
- Reminding them to wear warm sweaters when it’s cold instead of turning up the heater
- Teaching them to turn off the water while brushing their teeth and only to turn it on when it’s time to gargle
If you want your children to grow up conscious about climate justice and frugal with their lifestyles, you need to encourage them to start habits they can keep doing as they grow up. It’s good for your wallet and the environment.
Find ways to increase your income
Solo parenting requires a lot of creativity and resilience, especially in the area of finances. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to earn more. Some examples include:
- Driving for Lyft or Uber
- Selling some of your secondhand items that can still find a new home—items like clothes, shoes, gadgets, and others
- Taking paid surveys online
- Starting a small side business out of your skills, like an online bakeshop or a jewelry store
- Using websites like Fiverr and Upwork to help you find freelance work
- Conducting a webinar, especially if you have skills that not a lot of people have
- Looking into available government support, like tuition assistance and other financial aid
Set financial goals and objectives
Just because you’re solo now, it doesn’t mean you can no longer dream big for your family. Consider if there are other ways you can start now to increase your income in the long run. Here are some questions to consider:
- Do you need to go back to school?
- Do you need to look for a higher paying job?
- Do you need to move into a rental to reduce your overall expenses?
- If you have more than one car, do you need to let go of one?
Don’t just think about the short-term; think about what steps you can take now to create a better financial future for your kids.
Roll with the Punches
At the end of the day, a lot of solo parenting boils down to adapting to adverse circumstances. So keep your eye on the prize: Securing your children’s future, and be smart about your financial moves. Your children will thank you for it one day.