The worries of a single mother can be different in so many ways. But there’s one problem that is faced by every parent — long-term financial wellness. According to surveys, around 70% of single moms find it challenging to meet monthly living expenses, regardless of their income brackets. For such a reason, it’s not surprising to see many of them consumed by financial stress.
Mothers struggling with their finances cannot purchase and provide essential care to their kids, from clothing to food. As a result, their children are left with not enough educational opportunities. The thing is, reducing the food budget and cutting unnecessary expenses are not always the best solutions. Let’s explore here some easy ways how you can reduce financial stress.
1. Recognize the warning signs
Before you can find ways to deal with financial stress, you need to acknowledge your feelings. Until then, you can’t determine the right solution for your problems. Warning signs of financial stress can be different for everyone. The most common signs include paying bills late, relying on credit cards, and losing sleep thinking about money problems.
If you’re actively avoiding taking care of your finances or you feel fear when opening bills, there’s a big chance you’re suffering from financial stress. Some causes of financial stress to watch out for include rising living expenses, low savings rates, unexpected emergencies, credit card debt, and lack of financial literacy.
2. Fake it ‘til you make it
This sounds nothing like concrete financial advice, but being optimistic can reduce your stress levels. To become more confident at managing your finances, you need to change your beliefs and expectations. Even a simple act of smiling can reduce your stress and lower your heart rate. Spend time with your kids and have fun together at home. Or, you can start creating a gratitude journal to help you better manage stressful money challenges. You might find it hard to stay positive when it comes to your finances. But avoiding your triggers and focusing on positive thoughts can help ease down your stress.
3. Create a financial life plan
In any money problem, a smart financial plan can be a big help. Many people neglect the importance of creating a basic plan that can help them achieve financial freedom. If you want to reduce your stress, you need to have a financial plan that involves your savings and debt management. Your goals should be manageable and achievable, and ensure you stay committed to them. If you fall back into your bad spending habits again, be flexible and adjust your approach. You can also create a simpler personal spending plan so you can easily keep track of your weekly and monthly expenses and income.
4. Obtain expert help
Financial stress can sometimes be hard to come by. That’s why finding experts who can help you would be a wise move. To start, you can talk to a financial planner who can help you pay off your debt, save for your kid’s education, and invest in your retirement. The next expert to get in touch with is a lawyer. You might not think of them as financial experts, but they can assist you with many things, from writing your will, buying a house, or creating an estate plan.
In particular, ensure to keep in touch with a car accident lawyer who can guide you in dealing with road accidents and medical expenses. A smart single mother knows how to keep themselves safe. After all, such an emergency can lead to financial stress. Other professionals who can help you with your finances include an accountant, insurance agent, investment advisor, debt counselor, and money coach.
5. Focus on child care
Lastly, prioritize child care. The reality is, child care takes up a huge chunk of your income, especially as a single mother. You can have a big relief on your budget if you can find ways to save money on child care. Check if your state offers financial assistance programs and the particular requirements you need to take care of. Some examples of these programs include child care subsidies and state-funded prekindergarten programs. There are also social services that can help low-income households in nutritional needs and emotional and mental development of the children.
Financial hardship is a usual problem for single-parent families. If you’re a single mother facing financial challenges and don’t have a strong support system, these tips can help. Start taking better control of your finances today and create a brighter future for you and your kids.