This blog was always a place for me to share my perspective on dating and relationships. I never touched on the financials of being a single mom. This, in spite of the fact, that I recovered from the financial devastation of a divorce while also recovering emotionally.
I now have my own business and am doing quite well when compared to my starting salary after I left my husband–a whopping $8.00 an hour. This is largely due to my hard work but also to smart management of money. Oh, and did I mention child support is not in the equation for Benjamin and I? We had some for a brief time years ago, but now it is intermittent at best.
While at BlogHer 2012 (read my BlogHer post here), I met Emma. She is another successful single mom who told me she was about to start a new blog about managing your finances as a single mom. Of course, I told her what a wonderful idea this was and we got to talking. We spent a few hours together at the hotel bar and I’m sure I’ll never forget her.
One thing about single motherhood that never ceases to amaze me–is you. All of you single moms who are truly kicking ass (emotionally and financially). For the emotional side of things, stay here. Dig through my archives, read them and weep and learn from my experiences. For the financial side of things, turn to Emma and her new blog.
Here’s a guest post she wrote just for Ms. Single Mama readers:
10 Financial Steps to a Rich Life as a Single Mom
It’s no one’s Plan A. But being a single mom does not mean you’re destined for the welfare line, free school lunches for your kids, or living in your parents’ basement.
The first step is to convince yourself that your new life will be one that is full, joyous and financially rich. For some people, it can take a long time to believe. Maybe you’ll have to fake it till you make it (as they say). But nothing is possible unless you can see the end goal.
Here are a few steps to get you going:
- Get a grip on how much you you’re spending. I’m a big fan of Mint.com, a free online tool where you plug in all your bank, credit card, brokerage and mortgage accounts to get a snapshot of all your finances.
- Get a grip on how much is coming in. Mint will help, but I recommend a visit to your accountant – your tax situation will be very different when compared to when you were married.
- Check on your credit score for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. I go into the reasons why in my post here http://www.wealthysinglemommy.com/part-1-screw-up-your-credit-screw-up-your-whole-life-and-your-childrens-lives/ .
- Set some short- and long-term goals financial goals. Short-term might be to pay off a credit card bill, build an emergency savings account, or make more than you spend. Long-term include buying a home, saving for your kids’ college, or investing for retirement.
- Set quality of life goals. There is no point in paying off a credit card bill if it means you work so much that you never see your kids or have time to exercise. Consider free time, quality time, the health and wellbeing of your family. Think about how your money and life can work together.
- Decide that you will make more money. Take a mentor out for lunch to learn about opportunities in your profession. Research going back to school. Consider starting your own business. Talk to your boss about telecommuting and other life-balance arrangements.
- Get rid of bills for stuff you don’t need: haven’t been to the gym in six months? Get real with yourself and cancel that bill. Look at your cell phone and cable statements – can you trim down your services?
- Go on a shopping diet. No more trips to the mall or Amazon.com to browse. Make a strict list before stepping foot in Target, and do no stray into the cosmetics departments for a “treat” – and I don’t care how great of a deal you find! By making each purchase a conscious one, you will feel empowered and confident about your money.
- Think about spending money in ways that will make you money: Pay for yard service, and use that time saved to build a business. Invest in a dishwasher and spend that extra time studying for a degree that will earn you more money. Send out your laundry and devote those hours to fun family time.
- Give yourself a break. Getting back on your feet after a divorce can be a long process full of setbacks. But this can also be one of the most exciting and empowering times of your life.
Emma blogs at WealthySingleMommy.com. She lives in Queens, N.Y. where she is a single mom to two hilarious preschoolers and works as a freelance business writer.
P.S. (From Me) – can I add a #11? Go thrift shopping. Read Ms. Single Mama’s thrift shopping tips here.