A while ago I did an informal survey to find out the top stressors for single moms. Money was at the top of the list.

It’s no wonder because, let’s face it, most single moms do not make enough to meet all the bills, clothe, feed, and entertain the household.

In that survey 89% of respondents said they don’t have enough money. They also said the child support they receive is not enough to even purchase milk.

So, if your purse or checking account is a little light these days, you’ll want to take steps to reduce your financial hardship and relieve your stress.

There’s nothing more stressful than feeling like you can’t make ends meet.  Here are some tips to help alleviate your stress.

1.  Be realistic about your problem.  Many people use avoidance to manage their money.  Sometimes it’s scary to see what the real deal about our accounts. Have you ever had those days when you needed to buy groceries and was scared the card was going to be declined because there was not enough money in your account.

The problem with this is that you continue to have the same problems over and over.  Every time you have to pay a bill, you end up feeling the same stress over and over.  While you may have moments of freedom from care, deep down you’ll always be worried about money.

2.  Track your spending.  Part of getting real about your situation is to track how much money you spend.  When you really see how much you have going out, you’re bound to find some places where you can make different choices that are more financially sound. Check out online financial tools like Mint.com and SmartPig.com to track your expenses. Another way is to review your online bank account daily or at least 3-4 times per week.

3.  Trim expenses.  Look for as many ways to trim expenses as possible.  For some people that means letting go of their early morning coffee shop trip.  For others it may mean to eliminate cable service.  There are many luxuries we tend to think of as necessities.  You need to get rid of any expenditures that are luxuries when you really can’t afford them. While you are trimming your expenses look for alternatives like making your own coffee at home or subscribing to a cheap DVD service.

4.  Focus on free activities.  If you look around, you’re bound to find things you can do in your community that are free or very inexpensive.  This is a great way to save money on entertainment while still being able to relax and enjoy down time. Check your local newspaper online for activities or subscribe to local blogs that report on local happenings.

5.  Look for ways to increase income.  Sometimes just making a little more money can relieve your budget a lot.  Try working seasonal, part-time, or temporary jobs to bring in a little extra money.  Internet marketing also provides a way to work from home with flexible hours. Do a survey of your skills and begin offering them to make extra money. Tell your friends and families about your service.

6.  Focus on the family.  Life can be even more stressful when parents feel like they’re the only ones with the responsibility to deal with family finances.  While you don’t need to burden your children with financial fears, you do need to teach them how to manage money.  Let them be part of household financial decisions.

7.  Improve job skills.  When you need more income in your household, it may be time to improve your job skills.  Workshops and certifications can help you to land a better, higher-paying job. There are many free and low cost online places to learn new or upgrade your skills. Check out Lynda.com for a low cost online learning solution.

8.  Live within your means. Many people live in homes that are too expensive with car payments they really can’t afford.  It may be time for you to downsize to a less expensive lifestyle in order to save yourself financially.

9.  Focus on your health.  When finances are stressful, other areas of your life tend to go along.  In times of financial stress continue to eat healthy foods and get regular exercise.  This will help to reduce stress and keep you healthy.

10.  Improve relaxation.  If your mind is busy with the stress of financial problems, it helps to take a few moments each day to get centered.  Meditation for just a few minutes each day can help you to feel better.  You can also try stretching your body to release tension.

It’s easy to be stressed about money. Hopefully you found a few tips above to begin changing this in your life.

I admit I still feel stressed sometimes about money. It can be habit forming, but it’s important for my health and peace of mind to find other ways to cope.

To recap: How to Beat Financial Stress for Single Moms

How do you handle financial stress? Which tip speaks to you?