The Ultimate Guide to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck for Single Moms
Living paycheck to paycheck as a single mom is brutal AF! Seriously. You work 40 hours a week, possibly more just so your family can get by without having to ask your children's father or family for help. Or knowing he'll probably lose his shit if you even ask him for a dime.
Whatever your reason for your money woes, it's time to begin the journey to put an end to this madness. You need financial security. You need the reassurance that you'll be able to make ends meet or have enough gas to get to and from work.
The journey begins with your money education. Maybe you weren't afforded a proper lesson from your parents or maybe they sucked at managing money too. Whatever the reason, you can't begin a journey to stop living paycheck to paycheck without understanding your money.
Sure you can keep reading endless list that tells you how to live frugally or what services or bills to cut. That's all fine and dandy but darling, it doesn't quite get to the root of your problem.
Look you and I may not know each other personally, but I do consider us friends. And I love helping my friends kick ass at being a single mom. To rebrand what it means to be a single mom, and that starts with your mind then your wallet.
The stigma that we NEED child support to raise our children is wrong (not that it's a problem, do you, babe). But in order to rebrand the single mom, we need to change our money mindset. Here are some tips that are going to help you stop living paycheck to paycheck.
Shift Your Money Mindset
Not so fun facts, the median income for single mothers is $35,400 and only a third of us are receiving child support. So if you've barely been able to get by on an average salary it's highly possible that you've grown accustomed to a scarcity mindset in your relationship to money. With a scarcity mindset, you'll always focus on never having enough.
And believe it or not, no matter what you've read, your journey with living paycheck to paycheck begins with changing your mindset. You NEED to shift your mindset from scarcity to abundance.
Now, I'm no stranger to the, "I'll never be able to afford that" saying. I think I've said this to myself when I wanted to buy a car, and before I began the home buying process. Money blocks can shape the mental tape we have about money. What you think affects how you feel which then shapes the actions you take and eventually, the results you get.
If you think you can never afford to buy that gas savvy car or family home, you'll never work harder for it, save, or change your financial situation because it's out of reach. Examining your mindset lets you see how you're sabotaging yourself.
Taking a Look at the Big Picture
Do you know exactly where every single cent of your money is going? Do you sit down every month and comb through your bank statements. Not the apps, but your actual statement?
Well if you're not you certainly need to. Let me tell you about my dumb ass mistake. See I LOVE to read and when I'm pressed for time I like to use Audio Books. That way I can sync my phone to the Bluetooth in the car and listen on my morning and evening commute or while I'm "working".
So I started a trial for Audible which is through Amazon. I completely spaced out that this app had an expiration date set to charge my debit card linked to my Amazon account. Long story short these f*ckers got me twice for $14.99 two months in a row and I didn't pick up on it until I scanned my purchases on the app. It was when I got the actual statement I had a WTF! moment.
Comb through at least your last three months of bank statements, section your purchases off into the appropriate categories to look at the big picture of what you're actually spending a month. Here is where you'll get your WTF moment too. You'll see all your bad spending habits, where you're probably paying too much on a bill, where you're probably spending too much on groceries and you need to start utilizing coupons, or cutting monthly subscriptions you long forgot about.
Stop Bad Spending Habits
So when you were growing up did your parent or parents ever sit you down for the talk? Not that talk you freak! But the other one. Your introduction to money talk. Well, this is one of the reasons why you're living paycheck to paycheck. You're probably spending money you don't have and you're not saving because you never learned how to allocate your money.
Your financial health requires responsible spending habits. I personally like Nerd Wallets 50/30/20 rule. NerdWallet suggests spending 50% of your income on necessities and 30% on wants, allocating the remaining 20% to savings. Wants could also be used for pocket money. Money to hold you over until your next pay period.
This is where your monthly budget will fall into place. To get a bigger picture of what this could look like for you here's Nerd Wallets budget calculator. Which serves as a guide for allocating your money.
Find Ways to Save
Now having a savings account is great and all, but that's not exactly what I meant. Though it can be applied here too, we'll get to that in a bit. I'm talking about trimming the fat so to speak on your current expenses. Lately, I've been using Trim and to tell you the truth, I'm a bit in love (no affiliate here).
You set up accounts from your current providers and Trim negotiates on your behalf for a lower monthly payment. Neat huh? Stop mindlessly paying these companies your hard earned money. Start keeping more of it.
Back to ways to save on the regular though. Start meal planning and ditch your kids' favorite drive-thrus. I know you crave the sanity of the quickness of it, but you are killing your chances of leaving this paycheck to paycheck shit behind. Have the little monsters help you out in the kitchen, thus putting their seal of approval on a meal they'll love because they "created" it. For more tips on saving check out this post here.
The Half Payment Method
One very important and probably obvious reason you're living paycheck to paycheck is that you're not balancing your payments. You're probably throwing all your money away to your utilities and other expenses with one check. Then your mortgage or rent with the other, leaving you a painful sum of $300 at best.
Now I'm sure you've tried a lot of budgeting methods and those may have flopped. Either from lack of discipline or it just didn't quite fit your needs. One method that is probably not used by the majority is the Half Payment Method. This is where you'll take take your regular, recurring payments and divide them in half.
Each payday, you set aside the necessary money out of each check so that you have the full payment available when it is due. However, I will say this, though it is not suggested by many finance gurus and I am by no way saying that I am one. I just know what's been working for me.
If you have impulse buying issues or you know something will come up where you feel may spend this money. Go ahead and pay the half when you have it, then pay the other half on your next pay period.
The road to financial stability is not a fast or easy one. However with the right mindset and with some money education, you’ll be all right. Stop half assing the way you handle your money. I encourage you to educate yourself. Do more than sift through the internet for the quick and easy.
Head on over to Amazon or your neighborhood bookstore and buy a few finance books. Before you’ll know it living paycheck to paycheck will be a thing of the past!
I'm Daisha Renee; single mama, foodie, and lover of yoga. Here on the blog, I love providing powerful solutions for overwhelmed single moms who struggle with balancing all the components of single motherhood. I would for you to come hang out with me in my Facebook Group. I can't wait to virtually meet you!