Google+ Authentic Parenting: Budgeting For a Single Mom: Can It Be a Reality?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Budgeting For a Single Mom: Can It Be a Reality?

Written by Alia Haley

Being a single parent with a single income makes for a very difficult budgeting experience and can be quite trying. Keeping aside the thought of making it through the month, you also need to be prepared for unforeseen contingencies like college fees, health care or unexpected purchases. It is only a very rare individual who can handle and budget all these on a single income. However, with a few pointers anyone can learn how the money is being spent and to balance the budget.

1. Noting down expenses

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You can do this on the computer or just note down in a book the various expenses of the day, no matter how trivial. Note down every single penny and it does not matter under what category the money falls. You can do this exercise for about a week and then you can start categorizing the expenses in a way that makes sense to you. Mix and match categories to reflect your actual thinking about expenses otherwise it will not work. Carry on with this exercise and when you have a month’s expense data, look over the expenditures for the entire month. At this point, you would have paid the mortgage, rent and credit card bills and these should be included in the expense list. For the fixed expenditures, there is nothing you can do as they stand fixed.

2. Categorizing percentage wise
This is when you try to find a good combination for your essential expenses which can be apportioned out for various needs. You can use the 30-15-15 combination. This means 30 per cent for your rent, utilities, mortgage and maintenance, 15 per cent for food and 15 per cent on fuel, insurance, maintenance and car payments. This leaves you with 40 per cent to take care of medical, debt repayment, clothing, entertainment and miscellaneous. The last can be used as some kind of savings if it is not utilized.

3. Detecting the expenses
After this, if you find that you are paying more than 30 per cent for housing expenses, then you drastically need to take steps to cover this. You can take in boarders, ask assistance from the housing programs or move in with family. If your expenses on food is more than 15 per cent, then you need to curb this by changing your family’s food habits which means cutting back on junk food.

4. Saving the money
You are completely average if your expenses measure to the percentage combination. Now you can start cutting down on expenses that you really do not need and rather save the money for a better cause. You can always find a computerized budgeting tool to assist in your daily record if you are computer savvy. This way, you can check all your expenses at one time instead of having to compare notes and rack your brains at where you stand at the moment.
There is always a point where one has to cut back expenses and this can be achieved by enlisting the help of your children, by making them understand that the family budget can only take this much. There may be some complaints in the beginning but once they understand the importance of cutting down expenses, it should be fairly comfortable for everyone.

About the author:
Alia Haley is an avid blogger who is herself very family oriented. She frequently comes out with unique and interesting topics like Health food, children relationship, teenage fads and tips for dealing effectively with young age. These days she is busy in writing an article on cancer prevention.


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