How Do I Do It? Financially?
As a single mother, I’m not sure when people say “How do you do it?” if they mean emotionally, physically, or financially, so I’ve decided to turn this question into a series.
Financially speaking, this is how I do it.
Buy Used & Sell Used
The majority of things we buy are used. If I have exhausted all options and can’t find something used, then I will buy it new. The key to this is knowing what things cost and refusing to pay more. If I know that I can buy something for $5, then I won’t pay $10 for that item. Additionally, I save all of the kids’ outgrown clothes and sell them at a consignment store.
Make a Menu and Stick to it
Before you grocery shop, see what you have on hand and what you can make a meal out of. Then, make a menu including the items you have available. You don’t have to have tacos on Tuesday if you would rather have that roast you had planned for Thursday. Feel free to switch days and meals around, but stick to what you planned. The less you are in the grocery store, the less you will spend on impulse buys. It also helps to know what days you should prepare easy meals for. If you know it is going to be a busy day, then you don’t want to plan a labor intensive meal which could cause you to end up in the drive-thru ultimately spending more money.
While I do sometimes dream of extravagant vacations and taking my kids out of state to do fun things, I don’t feel like they are lacking in the entertainment area. As a family, we attend free festivals, see dollar movies, and skate on the cheap-skate days. Most places like zoos and museums offer reduced admission during non-peak hours or seasons. Take advantage of these offers. We have gone to the zoo on $1 day a few times, or used can food as admission into some museums.
If you know you have a service to offer, see what bartering can get you. Maybe you can watch your neighbor’s kids twice a month in exchange for them cutting your grass. Or maybe you don’t have a garden but have chickens that lay eggs. If you have a creative talent, offer that as a barter. Never pay for something that you could get with a barter.
Sell Your Talent
If you are good at something, there is no reason you shouldn’t be making money for it. If you know how to play an instrument, consider giving lessons a couple days a week. Know how to paint? Sell some of your artwork. Don’t beat yourself up thinking your talent isn’t valuable. More people than you may realize will find value in your talent.
My kids are just like any other YouTube watching, game playing kid out there. As soon as they see a YouTuber playing a new game, they want it. A little patience pays off though. Don’t purchase the game (or whatever it may be) right away. Instead, wait a few months and the price will drastically drop or they will lose interest in it. Just think about it, how many times have you bought something your kids wanted, only to find it abandoned a few weeks later? Your kids may not have the newest thing, but they will be okay.
What are some of your budget tips to help single moms (and those on a single income) do it financially?