Being a single parent can result in financial struggles since there is only one source of income. Regardless of whether your salary is high or low, single parents must find a way to save money. Not just for emergencies, but also for their future – aka retirement. With that in mind, it is all too easy to say “I can’t afford to save any money!” While I understand your pain, being a single parent has earned us some grit and with that comes a no excuses mentality. This means that while you may be strapped for cash, you must either increase your income through a side hustle, or cut your expenses, in order to make saving a priority.
Try the following six steps to super charge your savings today!
- Pay for everything with cash.
Paying with cash is an easy way to spend less. If you don’t have a debit or credit card with you, you can only pay for “stuff” with what you have. If the total exceeds your cash on hand, items have a way of making themselves back to shelves. This is a great way to boost your savings since you won’t tap into it to make purchases if you only use cash. One added bonus of a cash-only lifestyle is that you can collect all of your change and save in a piggy bank to treat yourself once its full. I actually do this myself and plan to use my coin savings for a much needed massage.
2. Use sinking funds.
Sinking funds are savings accounts used to save money for recurring expenses. Think insurance payments (if you prepay), holidays, vacations, birthdays, car repair, home repair, etc. I like to send a few dollars from each check to different accounts so that I’ll know what’s available. If you’re asking if you create a separate account for each fund, my answer is yes. Many banks will allow it and it helps make budgeting easier. Learn more about saving with sinking funds here.
3. Create an allocation system to plan how to divide large sums of money.
“If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” Single parents have a pretty good idea of when they will be blessed with extra cash – tax season, the extra pay-check you receive each year if you’re on bi-weekly pay, etc. Having a plan for how to allocate those funds helps ensure you don’t waste it all and put some aside in savings. Its OK to say you’ll spend some, but make sure that you save most of it, and if you haven’t gotten out of debt already, use it to pay off those pesky credit cards. Developing a plan makes sure you don’t walk around in misery wondering where all the money went.
4. Start having fun for free.
In order to keep cash in savings, you must learn to have fun for free. There are several websites in major cities that provide daily and monthly listings of places to eat and events to attend for free. Many use the extension “fun for kids” and your city’s nickname. Check search engines to see if there is a chapter in your area. If not, do some searching yourself. See what days museums offer free visits. Have picnics with your kids. Check-out local nature trails and beaches (if you’re nearby), and spend time outdoors. By entertaining for free, your savings stay intact and earn interest. That’s a win-win for everyone!
5. Use apps to set savings goals and track your progress.
I absolutely love apps that allow you to track your spending and set savings goals. Many allow you to attach a savings account to a specific goal and will give you regular updates on your progress. If you’re like me and love to set SMART goals, using an app is a great way to get motivated and stay determined to super charge your savings. This tip can be used for both short-term and long-term goals, whatever you desire. So download an app and get it set up to start saving today!
6. Practice gratitude to enjoy what you have.
If you are happy with what you have, then you won’t want for more. Practicing gratitude allows you to be content. That doesn’t mean that you settle for less, it means that you save money because you are not on the comparison bandwagon to impress anyone. Being thankful for what you have super charges your savings since you’ll find more joy watching your bank account grow than shopping for more to keep up with the Joneses. This is the most valuable, super-charged advice of all time.
Using these tips is sure to put a satisfying boost in your savings. Saving is essential for any single parent since the demands of being the head of household can sometimes be overwhelming. With a little planning and a lot of determination, super charging your savings can be done!
So what are your tips for boosting savings? Share in the comments below. Also, join our Facebook community at SingleParent$aves to get even more involved with fellow savers like you.
Happy saving, live well!