This little guide is an introduction to the 13 money lessons that will bring you peace, prosperity, and a brand new outlook on money. I have learned these lessons my life as a single mom. Being financially responsible for my children basically forced me to learn these lessons because I did not want to be a welfare mom statistic.
The tips in this booklet range from ways to control your financial life to a plethora of savings strategies for your big and small dreams.
Managing money as a single mom (or anyone) can be challenging when the income source is deficient. The secrets discussed here will show you how to use what you have, heal from your disappointments, and learn how to magnetize more money.
Let’s dive in!
1. Controlled Spending = More Freedom
To turbo charge your financial life begin by developing a spending plan to avoid overspending. If the word budget conjures up feelings of restriction and lack; call it a spending plan.
Understand that when you develop a spending plan you feel more in control and it’s easier to stop overspending.
The first thing to do is think about and list everything you need, and then assign a dollar amount to each item.
Review your past spending trends to get an accurate look of how much you spend for bills, food, clothing, car/ transportation, and entertainment.
Review your bank account online for a ready source for seeing where your money goes.
2. Give a Kid a Dime He’s Happy for a Day Teach Him About a Dollar He’s Set for Life (Kids & Money)
Teach your kids how to create and maintain a budget. Because the older they get the more money they will want.
Kids should know how the money is spent so that they can be more sensitive to money limitations.
When kids know approximately how much money is coming in and how much has to go out to maintain a life they will be more sensitive to your role as provider.
Knowledge about financial obligations might encourage kids to find ways to earn money on their own.
3. Hedge off Disaster or Head to Vacation (Rainy Day Funds)
Have a savings plan to prepare for emergencies? It is hard to predict when an emergency will happen that requires a large chunk of cash.
Putting away money for a rainy day is very empowering (I’m speaking to myself here).
If you have money saved, that is specifically for these times, your stress level will go way down.
A stash of cash can relieve feelings of desperation and resorting to uncharacteristic behaviors.
Most financial gurus recommend that you have $1k-3k in savings. If you can manage to save at least $500 that is better than nothing.
Open up a separate account for your rainy day fund. Use your tax refund, raises, or other windfall of cash to fund this account.
4. Get Smart About Child Support
Get child support payments direct deposited if possible. There is nothing worse than waiting for a check to arrive in the mail from your ex.
If you are getting support through the state, you should have the direct deposit option.
If you have an agreement with your ex, insist on having the funds automatically transferred to your account. The money will be taken out automatically so you won’t have to worry about getting the funds on time.
If you are not getting child support, please find a way to get it. For more information, read the e-book, Stop Whining and Start Winning Child Support.
5. Keep More of Your Money in Banking Transactions
Join a Credit Union to avoid outrageous bank fees. Your money will earn interest over time.
If you are eligible to join, you can easily become a member by completing a membership application, depositing and maintaining the minimum par value of a share (generally ranging from $5 to $25), and paying a one-time membership fee if the credit union charges such a fee.
As a member, you will have the right to vote at the credit union’s annual membership meeting for the credit union’s board of directors and its other officials. All of the officials are comprised of members, like yourself, from its field of membership. (MyCreditUnion.gov)
Banks are notorious for nickel and diming people to death. There is a fee for everything from checks to account balances below a certain amount. A credit union may be available through your employer, your state, or your school. Find a credit union near you.
An alternative is an insurance-run financial institution like USAA or PenFed. These types of banks
6. Knowledge is Power for Purchases (Research, Research)
Research products or services online for quality and price before purchasing. Before you go out and buy a product or hire someone to do a job for you please, please check online.
When you research prices and quality of service you can same much time, effort and possible frustration.
Get the inside scoop on the quality of a product and can get a good idea about how much it will cost. You can never go wrong with good research.
7. The Art of Making Extra Money from Your Expertise
You can find a way to make extra money from your skills and talents. I talk about this on my blog and now I am talking about it again.
Have multiple streams of income; it is almost a sin if you don’t.
Your extra income doesn’t have to be consistent at first but enough to give you extra money for the special thing you want to do or have.
Do something you are passionate about or just be able to see what people need/want and fill it.
Check out Rich Single Momma for side hustle ideas.
Take a class on starting a business through the local Chamber of Commerce or SCORE. You don’t have to have an MBA to run a business but you can take a class.
8. Master Your Mindset About Money as You Think So Your Will Money Be
Change your thinking about money. For many people, especially single moms, money has many negative connotations. You don’t have it, there is not enough of it, and you don’t know where the next batch is coming from. We have a tendency to think that it is out of reach so we struggle with it.
Money is simply a tool to get the things we need and want. Of course not having it and thinking about your lack will not make it come to you any faster.
When you change your thinking about money, see its true purpose, and realize it’s abundance, you will have more of it.
Remember that there is more money available for you. Whenever I have to pay a bill, write a check, or spend money I keep that thought in mind. I will have more, not because I am doing anything special but because I just know that it will come again.
Let the money go to receive more. Think of it as a Money Cycle. Sometimes we get so caught up in holding on to money with such tight fists that we fail to realize that, “a closed hand cannot receive more”.
9. Creative Ways to Get Anything You Want with Little to No Money
There are ways to get anything you want out of life with little to no money. All it takes a bit of outside the box thinking and a little creativity. Read on to find out how to get more out of life with less money.
Discover other ways to get what you really want (money may not be the bottom line). With money constantly on the brain we forget that it is not what we really want.
The true needs are:
- A roof over our heads
- food to eat
- clothes to wear
- a problem solved
If you can look past money and see the true need or want, it’s easier to release the tension and negative thoughts about money and your situation.
Open your creative eyes and you find ways to get what you need without being burdened by the “not enough money” syndrome.
Bartering with Family/Friends
Barter with others including moms, small businesses, your health providers, etc.
Bartering was the first form of exchanging goods for services.
The basic idea is to give something to get something. You may have something that others need or want. It may be a product, service, or personal item.
Others may have what you want so you come to an agreement to exchange things or time instead of money.
The barter system is a temporary way to get what you need when money is flowing in slower than you want.
Join a Barter Club
There are bartering clubs all over the world. I belong to a club called TradeBank, and organized bartering club. I get what I need from members of the club using trade dollars. The value of a trade dollar is just like a real dollar.
You earn trade dollars by performing a service or delivering a product. Your trade account grows and give you more trade power. You can get medical, dental, contractor, retail, and other services. The Tradebank network is currently in cities across the US.
Here is a list of other barter clubs:
Join or Organize a Swap Meet/ Trade/ Exchange Group
Look for local swap meets with a regular schedule. You can connect with other women who have clothes, shoes, kids’ items, baby equipment, etc. that they want to swap with you. If you do not find one in your area you can start your own with ladies in your neighborhood, church, or community center. You can find out about swap meets on Facebook, Craigslist, and other community newspaper or classified ad sites.
Check out Freecycle Groups
People are always giving away free stuff in these groups. They’d rather give away stuff they don’t need to people who can really use it and appreciate it. There are hundreds around the country so you should be able to find one in your area. I’ve seen (and given away) furniture, equipment, clothing, and so much more. Here is the Freecycle link to check it out and find one in your city.
10. Truth About Being Need-y vs. Want-y
Learn to separate your wants and needs
Sometimes it is hard to separate our needs from our wants. Air, water, food, and shelter are really the only things we need to survive. Okay we need clothes too, but the basics are few. The rest of the stuff is optional.
Plan your purchases
- When you see that you need (or want) a new thing it is very important to plan the purchase.
- Write down what you need/want, do the research, save the money, and then make the purchase.
- Make the wanted item a reward for doing certain challenging tasks that you may be procrastinating about.
11. The Giving and Gratitude Cycle is Huge for Prosperity
Your attitude about money plays a big role in how prosperous you become (and remain).
There is a saying, “the more you give, the more you get”. I’d like to add my own twist to it; “the attitude of your giving determines the altitude of your getting”.
The more grateful or thankful about the money in your life the more you will get. The more grateful for the things you have in your life the more you have. The more grateful for the people who help you the more people want to help you.
The same goes with the way you give. Give more (with gratitude) and you get more.
The interesting thing is you will rarely receive from the same place you gave. In other words, you will most likely not get anything from the homeless man on the street or the person you give a bag of clothes. You will get from a completely different source and often you will get back double what you gave.
Here are a few ways to practice giving with gratitude to increase your prosperity:
- Pay your bills with a grateful heart. The services you receive in exchange for your money are essential for living.
- Be grateful because you have the benefit of using the services provided by the city, phone company, car finance company, and on and on.
- Allow the changed perspective to change your attitude about paying bills. You could be in a homeless shelter, unemployed, or living with your parents
- Lights, water, a car, gasoline, food, and many other necessary services are reasons to be grateful. Paying the bills is a blessing so pay with a happy heart!
12. Get Obsessive-Compulsive About Saving
Get creative with your savings techniques. Piggy bank, change jar, online interest bearing account, PayPal, or mattresses. All of these items and location are places to save your money.
Where Will You Save?
It really isn’t about where you save it but how you save it. Here are a few ideas to get your saving juices flowing:
- Savings can come out in addition to tithe or other charitable donations.
- Savings may come out before taxes on the payroll into a 401K account.
- Still others save all their loose change and deposit it when it overflows the container they are using.
The key to the savings method you decide to use, is to be consistent.
Saving $5 or $10 per pay period or per month is better than saving nothing at all.
Keeping it safe from your prying hands may be a challenge but when you commit to saving, and you have a purpose behind it, you will leave it alone.
The Big Savings “Why”
Decide why you are saving your money, find a picture to keep prominently on your bathroom mirror, and start saving.
Tape a picture to the fridge, go to online and look at the features, and plan how you are going to use item you want.
Save or invest your windfall (tax returns, student loan refunds, stimulus checks, monetary gifts).
Windfall Savings Method
The tax season is prime time for a money windfall especially for single moms. The child tax credit and earned income credit is the reason we get a fat tax refund.
Commit to saving at least half of your refund. Use the other half to pay down debt or may annual purchases such as car registration, insurance, or other yearly expense.
When you get that stimulus check put that in the pot too, along with your student loan refund, and that birthday gift money.
If you play the lottery, put your winnings in there too! 😉
13. Embrace True Independence and Make Awesome Financial Decisions
Too often we are focused on the loneliness of single motherhood so we can’t see the blessing it is to be independent. If you can see past the negative you will discover that your independence is a ticket to an amazing financial life. Change your mindset so you can change your life. Here are seven perspective shifts you can make to embrace your financial independence:
- Relish the thought of not having to answer to anyone for your financial decisions. As a single mom you have such autonomy.
- Every purchase you make for the benefit of you and your kids is worry free.
- To save or spend; get in debt or get out of debt is all up to you.
- There is no one to question you or blame you if there is no money in the bank and you don’t have to fight with anyone about balancing the checkbook or taking money out without letting you know.
- Money is one of the major reasons for divorce so there is something to be said about separate accounts and a house account.
- Resolve any money issue you have and get settled before embarking on a new relationship.
- Just promise me that you will check out his financial history and habits first before committing to a long-term relationship or marriage with him.
Now that you know these 13 powerful money lessons, pass them on to your kids so they will have the best financial start in life. You are their best teacher not because of what you say but because of what you do.
Which of these lessons will you apply to your life first?