We have 1440 minutes in a day.
That is 864,000 seconds each day.
As a single mom, we’ve never got enough time to balance everything.
Indeed, we try to balance our child-rearing, finances, career and our own self-being. We need to juggle these well while staying sane or else everything will fall apart.
I would be lying if I say that being a single mom is a walk in the park. Being a mom is a job worth saluting to. And being a single mom needs more trick under the sleeves, especially financial hacks.
In this article, you will discover financial tips to save money even through the simple things.
How to Save Money as Single Moms
- Enlist family help
Finding a “Yaya” is not simple, plus you have to pay the monthly fee. Before you go looking for a “Yaya” why not ask your family for help first. Grandparents usually adore their grandchildren.
If it is possible and your parents or siblings are willing, they can take care of your kids while you are at work. Being alone as a parent is never easy and it will never be. You need people who you can trust to look after your kids. However, never forget to show your appreciation by giving your share on the bills, bringing home pasalubong, and saying "thank you."
- Teach your kids that fun doesn’t have to be expensive
Going to malls usually, mean eating in fast foods or restaurants. Then imagine if you go past the Toy Kingdom or Toys R Us. It’s a financial disaster if you don’t plan to spend much for a family bonding.
Why not take your kids to the park such as the Quezon City Memorial Park, La Mesa Watershed, or the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center. Bring your lunch and snacks to have a picnic and you will be surprised how your kids will love it.
There are a lot of slides and swings where children can spend the day on. Rent a bike, enjoy the shades of the trees and scenic views at the heart of the metro.
- Stick to your shopping list
List your menu for a week or two. This way, you can plan your grocery list in a more efficient way. Follow your list and buy only what’s in it. It is also best to buy in bulk rather than in “tingi-tingi” to save more cash.
Most of the times, it is hard to stick to your shopping list if you bring along your kids. Most kids tend to see things they want and will ask you to buy it for them. It is also heartbreaking to say “no.” And sometimes this leads to tantrums you don't want strangers to see.
If you are not planning to buy a treat for your children, it is best to leave them at home with a trusted adult.
- Create a budget plan
Not an exciting suggestion? Of course, if you want to save up money, you need to track your expenses no matter how tedious it is at first. You might get surprised on your spending behavior.
Refer to receipts and bills. List down all of your expenditure. You may use a spreadsheet such as the Microsoft Excel, but personally, I still like using the good old fashioned pen and paper.
Take the pen and paper wherever you go and whisk it out every time you spend on something. You may also do this with your smartphone. It depends on your preferences.
After creating the list of expenses, you can easily compare it to your income. Separate the items you listed in two different lists, the needs and wants. Then you can easily see where to cut your expenses. Prioritize the basic needs and savings, but never forget to treat yourself with little stuff such as a foot spa once a month.
You can control your spending with self-discipline, but do not deprive yourself of some fun.
- Teach your kids to save
Start by making your kids know the reality of your financial situation. Every one of us wants to give everything our children wants. This is when you have to practice holding back. Splurging your kids is not the only way to make them feel loved.
Teaching them how to save up is a skill which they can take until they grow up. Of course, teaching them about money saving has to be age appropriate. Start with piggy banks. My one-year-old daughter has a green piggy bank which she “feeds” each day. Every time she finds a coin, she goes straight to the coin bank.
- Open savings account for your kids
This has never crossed my mind until a close friend suggested it. As single moms, we worry much about our kids’ future. Saving up part of your salary for them is best put in banks because they are secured, has interest and even give various benefits.
Before you open a bank account, check which one offers the best benefits for you. Some banks offer free education trust benefit while others give insurance benefits. Take note that some banks only offer savings account for kids at least seven (7) years old while others can open an account for babies too.
You think you’ll need more money for this? Most banks just require P500 for you to open a bank account for your child. Once you have opened your child’s savings account, you can start saving any amount each month. Around P500 a month is a good start.
Personally, I think this is hitting two birds with one stone. I get to save money for my daughter in a secured place and now I have insurance benefits.
- Register your child as your dependent
Seeing your tax on your payslip is never fun. As a parent, you can claim tax deductions or exemptions. If you haven’t done it yet, make sure to register your kids as your dependents.
In 2016, I went to BIR to register my daughter as my dependent, but the BIR office staff told me that my company can do it online for me. Before you head down to your RDO, ask your HR if they can do it for you to save yourself from the hassle.
Also, do not forget to include your kids in your PhilHealth too. We all know how health care can be expensive. You can save up if your child is registered as your dependent. You can do this either online or personally in PhilHealth satellite offices found in malls.
- Pay your bills on time
Got credit cards? Have bills to pay? Make sure that you pay them on time to avoid penalty charges. Take care of your credit report as it may be the key to lower interest rates should you get a home loan or car loan in the future. The credit report is your history of past credits or loans, including your credit cards.
Never take your water and electric bills lightly. Keep track of their due dates to avoid late payment fees. If you’ve got a savings account, you can enroll your utility bills online so your bank can pay your bills for you.
- Consider a sideline job
Being a single parent, the finances are all on your shoulders alone. You can set up an online shop, a small sari-sari store, or an online teaching job. If you work in an office, you can sell sandwiches, leche flans, salads or snacks. My co-worker who is also a single mom had put up a box full of various snacks at the corner of the office. And as I see it, it is doing well. She said it gives her extra money for her children's' needs.
And as I see it, it is doing well. She said it gives her more money for her kids' needs. You see, a micro business can indeed help pay the bills.
Consider your skills and time management abilities to know which sideline can best fit you. This solution is not a “one-size-fits-all.” What works for another single mom might not work for you. Having multiple income sources will help you save more and secure your future finances.
- Join a support group
Sounds out of place for a list of money-saving tips? Handling finances alone as a single mom can be very stressful, and you will need constant encouragement from those who understand what you are going through. There are a couple of moms' groups as well as financial literacy pages on social media.
These groups post a lot of other tips about money matters from a simple home remedy to knowing which investments can suit you best. The good part is they give these tips from their own experiences.
There are times when saving up seems too hard. Isn’t it just easy to just give up? But reading the experiences of other single moms and how they are able to succeed can boost your moral and renew your determination.
There are more money saving tips which we learn along the way. Sometimes we learn from our own experience, and sometimes we learn from other single moms we are getting close to.
It is no secret that our lives as a single parent are not easy. We have to work to earn money, balance the income for the needs of everyone, and stay sane with a few hours’ sleep and a long list of house chores.
At the end of the day, seeing our kids smile and being in their warm hugs melts away the tiredness. And the feeling that they are financially secured in the future takes away much of the anxiety we usually have.