Single moms are always looking for ways to increase savings – at least I am! This is because most times, we are the ones who have to balance work and family life like no other.
Since single moms are usually on a tight budget, things can get difficult when trying to manage finances. Here are several budget busters that you need to avoid if you want to maintain savings and live comfortably as a single mom.
Avoid These Common Budget Busters and Increase Your Savings
If you're struggling to pay the bills, increasing your savings may seem nearly impossible – but it isn't! We all start somewhere, and your savings is built up one dollar at a time, just like everyone else's is. Even if you're a single mom or a one-income family, you can build up an emergency savings account.
While we will be talking about budget busters in this post, be sure to check out this list of side hustles that many single moms have used to get caught up – and ahead – financially.
Late Fees and Credit Card Interest
Do not be late with your credit card bill, or you will have to pay a hefty fee. The money you pay for the late fees could be used to build your savings, payoff debt, or invest.
If you are having trouble managing your account, then it is time to get help. You can ask the credit card company for an extension on when they will bill you next month, or try and find another way of getting money in early enough so that you do not incur late fees again!
If you continue to use your credit card even though it is maxed out or over the limit, this will lead to high interest rates and over the limit fees. This can equate to thousands of dollars in debt. Instead, try using cash for everything instead of cards as it reduces temptation when making impulse purchases.
Overspending is a common budget buster. This is especially true during the holidays, so try to stick to a list and be mindful of your spending. One way to do this is to create a budget and track your spending daily, even the $1 charge for the parking meter. Those small transactions add up.
If you are invited out with co-workers, family, or friends and the outing was not in your budget for the month, get comfortable with declining and don't let FOMO overpower your decision. You probably didn't miss out on much anyway.
Try cooking at home more often as this can save you a ton of money in the long run. If you do need to eat out, look for deals and coupons online, through Groupon, on the restaurants app, or in the newspaper.
So you don't feel like your are missing out on going to restaurants, you can still go out – just limit it to once or twice a month. If you go out to eat every night, then this can be a budget buster even if your funds aren't extremely limited.
If you are not using a subscription or membership, cancel it because these costs add up over time and can affect your savings. When should you cancel? If you have not used the membership in 3 months there is no sense of holding on to it.
By monitoring your bank and credit card statement regularly these memberships and subscriptions will not go unnoticed. Every month will be a reminder that you are paying so something that you are not using. Always make sure that what you pay for is worth its value!
Splurging on Luxuries
We all should reward ourself with the luxuries we enjoy, but if it's not within your means and in your budget, it's time to put a halt to splurging. Instead of buying a new dress or expensive shoes, apply that money to one of your debts or savings account. You'll probably forget about the item you were eyeing in a few days anyway.
If you don't resist the urge or really need that item, create a sinking fund to save money for that item. A little bit of money put away each week or month toward to purchase is a perfect way to stick to your budget and still have the things you want.
The luxuries apply to your children, too! Most moms want their children to have the best of everything, especially if they had to go without somethings as kids. Your kids will be okay without most expensive shoes, the latest video games, or the best shin guards or leotards.
Teaching your kids about moderation and planning for these purchases can teach them money management skills that will last a lifetime. They will begin to value these luxuries when they know it's something they can work towards buying.
Assuming Your Bills Will Be Lower
Some variable expenses can be a lot more than expected which can completely throw off your budget. It's best practice to consider inflation, and assume your grocery, gas, and utility bills will be more than usual. Round up to the next $10 or even the next $50.
Make sure that you always have money in savings just in case something unexpected happens, such as a utility bill double its usual amount. No savings yet? That's okay, we all start somewhere!
Start today by making better spending choices with your savings goal in mind. Consider starting a side hustle to increase your income, too.
Avoid Extra Shopping Trips
Instead of going to the mall, do your shopping online. This can also help you find deals on the items that you like with web browser tools like Capital One Shopping, Honey, and Bing Rebates. These tools will look for coupon codes and offer rebates for shopping to certain retailors.
Take a responsible friend or child with you when you go shopping for things you require. You will be less inclined to acquire goods that you do not need.
Make a list before going shopping and just buy the items on it. If you're grocery shopping, don't visit when hungry! Yes, I know it may seem strange, but if you're hungry you're more likely to grab a lot of items that aren't on your list. Plus, you can eat healthy on a budget if you follow a few tips!
You can avoid these budget busters and increase your savings by following the few simple steps we outlined in this post. From how to save money on late fees and avoiding credit card interest, to eating out and cancelling unused memberships, these tips will help you get started on the path towards getting your bills paid and your savings built up.