8 Money-saving Tips for Single Parents

I’ve heard a lot of feedback in the last several months from single moms. Moms who struggle to pay off debt without a spouse’s income. Moms who can’t send a husband to the grocery store. Moms with no time to clip coupons while they’re working hard to be everything for their kids.

And, I want to help. So, for insight into money saving strategies for the single parent household, I reached out to those who’ve been there, including the most amazing single mom I know — my best friend, Julie. (That’s her with the princess!) She says, mostly, any money saving ideas will benefit both single and married parents. It’s all about cutting costs, no matter what your living situation or budget may be.

But, there are some strategies that work well for single parent households:

  • Budget Realistically 1 of 8
    Budget Realistically
    If child support is spotty, create a regular budget plan with your own income. When/If the extra money arrives, you can put it towards paying down debt, saving for something big or adding in a few extras you normally have to say no to.
    Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Ask About Discounts 2 of 8
    Ask About Discounts
    "Don't be afraid to tell retailers you're a single mom," says David Greenberg of Parliament Tutors. The tutoring company offer a discount for single parents. Others may offer a discount for cash payments or other budget tricks. But, you have to ask!
    Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Take Advantage of Kid Specials 3 of 8
    Take Advantage of Kid Specials
    Kids eat free at dozens of restaurants every week. Museums and other attractions may offer free or discounted admission with a paid adult. If you're the only one who costs money, this could offer low cost opportunities for family fun.
    Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Learn Simple Home Repairs 4 of 8
    Learn Simple Home Repairs
    Avoid the high cost of a handyman by learning a few simple skills for DIY home repairs. Home improvement stores even offer workshops on weekends, to learn a few necessary how-tos.
    Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Investment Cooking 5 of 8
    Investment Cooking
    This is the idea that you spend time on one meal that you can serve multiple ways throughout the week. You may cook a whole chicken one day, then serve soup, sandwiches and salad all week. With only one adult to feed, you'll have plenty of leftovers to work with.
    Read more at Inexpensively
  • Share the Load 6 of 8
    Share the Load
    If you can connect with another single mom, it could mean huge savings for your time and budget. Carpooling will cut your gas expenses. Sitter swapping will allow free time without the added costs. Joanne Gouaux from Penelope Poet even suggests finding another single mom as a roommate. You can share the costs of housing and utilities as well as domestic responsibilities.
    Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Share Entrees 7 of 8
    Share Entrees
    Julie shares entrees with her daughter, to save money on dining. Restaurant portions are far too large for just one person anyway, so it's a great way to avoid waste while you lower your bill.
    Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Barter Your Talents 8 of 8
    Barter Your Talents
    I made this cake for Julie's daughter on her birthday. It's one of the things I can offer that she needs. In exchange, she watches my kids on date night, deposits my checks at the bank, and stores my things in her garage. Since she's my best friend, it's not a strict one for one. But, you can find ways to swap services you can offer for those you need, through Facebook and other communities.

Of course, whether single or married, parenting is hard — and expensive! Budgeting and saving money will be important for everyone. It’s about using available resources, cutting out expenses you don’t really need, and finding the discounts & coupons that fit into your lifestyle.

What’s your best tip for single parents?

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