Tips for a single mom: How to budget and save your money

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Being a single mom is tough - you have to look after your child's well-being, your career and finances, all the while trying to stay sane. Read this for financial tips.

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Single parents are amazing multitaskers: Juggling a kid, finances, and a career is tough even with a partner, but you do what you have to do to be the best parent you can be. As many parents - single or otherwise - will say: having a child changes your outlook on things and makes you reevaluate your priorities.

Among those priorities is making sure that your child is provided for and making sure you always have enough. We talked to Manila-based entrepreneur, musical buff, and single mom Nica about how she worked around budgeting and saving.

Budgeting and saving are unique processes

“Single parents―I don’t want to discount single dads―have unique needs. That’s the first thing you need to understand,” she said. The challenges of parenting differ between single-parent incomes and dual-parent incomes. While there are plenty of ways to budget one’s funds and ensure that they have enough for everything, the budgeting and saving process is unique to every parent and his or her income.

Some may choose to go fully digital, using apps on their phone or tables on their computers; others will go the old school route and do books.

On saving

single mom

Image for illustration purposes only.

“I used Excel,” Nica shares, “I liked being able to see it and plan around what I had. It was a challenge in the sense mostly that I would peek at it every so often and think: ‘how do I save more?’”

She goes on to say that learning to save is a habit that one needs to form, that even the small amounts will add up to something substantial once it’s become a habit to tuck away cash from a paycheck. Having a goal in mind is especially helpful, given that you’ll know what you’re putting your money towards.

“My first goal was to ensure that my daughter had her future secured, even in the beginning, so when I had enough, I invested in bonds. After that, I put some of my savings into other investments, and a business I run with my siblings.” She stresses that having goals will focus on how you save and eventually build funds for whatever you might need. Once a goal has been achieved, you move on to the next one, and you learn to compartmentalize each of your saving goals.

There’s also a need to have a savings fund to dip into for emergencies, she says. She also places importance on having your kids declared as dependents on your healthcare, and that includes PhilHealth, as it cuts back on costs.

She says that this is especially important when there are certain chronic factors in play. You never know when you might have to make a trip to the emergency room because your child is having an asthma attack, or if they contract any other sicknesses. “It helps to be prepared.”

Better Parenting Money Mom