How To Budget As A Single Mom – Samantha Hyde knows what patience means. Over the past four years, the 49-year-old has steadily converted a one-bedroom bungalow into a two-story home, which he shares with daughters Ava, 13, and Maud, 10. As a single mother on a very tight budget, she had to rely on a clear vision and a series of smart, cost-saving decisions, but the result was a unique and incredibly forward-thinking design.
For two years, Hyde used the bungalow room as his bedroom, while the girls shared the enclosed dining room. But as he grew up, Hyde knew he needed more space for everything. “There wasn’t enough privacy for all of us – the layout was very awkward,” he said. Over the course of a year and a half, they added a half-story loft space to the top of the house, converting it into two bedrooms and a bathroom for the girls.
How To Budget As A Single Mom
Stairs to the attic space and the attic space are made entirely of oriented strand board (similar to the popular plywood, but made of wood chips and cheaper). To save extra money, Hyde did not plaster the floor, nor did she intend to, leaving the exposed OSB as the home’s only feature. The remaining open space of the expansion features 16-foot ceilings and skylights that flood the dining area with natural light.
Budgeting Hacks For Single Parents
When Hyde bought the house, the living room walls were covered in dated floral wallpaper. She took it off layer by layer, took it to plastering the walls – and then she stopped. The original walls look textured and finished, and she doesn’t have to worry about drywall, paint, or wallpaper.
When it comes to plain white subway tiles for the bathroom or kitchen, there’s no real difference in quality between brands, meaning there’s no reason not to go for the most affordable option. As soon as you delve into different materials, such as colors, patterns or porcelain, the prices start to rise.
Don’t waste precious wall space (and your precious budget!) on kitchen cabinets. Set mason jars or IKEA jars of different sizes on a simple plate – not only will it keep your dry items handy, but it will also add a pop of color to your kitchen.
Hyde started with inexpensive IKEA cabinet fronts, then added a custom countertop. For just one cut of meat, he found a cheese board (traditionally used to age cheese) at a local deli. You can find one on eBay.
Budget Tips For The Single Mum
Hyde’s home is filled with art collected primarily from student art shows and gallery sales. “Unique pieces don’t have to cost thousands of dollars,” he says.
“Color creates drama and there’s little to add to it,” says Hyde, who painted her bedroom walls a deep ink blue and lifted the color to the ceiling for added impact and depth. Then, instead of spending money on wall decor, she added more color by painting her wardrobe chaser green. “It really brings out all the intensity of the blue,” Hyde said.
I really don’t like the stereotypes that say most single moms are low income and struggling to make ends meet. As a former single mother, this seemed very depressing.
I Suffered Single Mom Guilt For Years, One Day Changed It All’
Being a single mother is tough. You are the only breadwinner in the family. In addition, you have to support your children and support your family. This burden of responsibility often results in some single mothers not earning enough to reach their potential.
But if you’re a single mom on a low or middle income, you can still pay off your debt and be successful.
I started budgeting in 2014 when I was tired of bankruptcy and avoiding financial problems. I used to tell myself that I never made enough money to budget. I thought budgeting was a scary experience and I knew I wouldn’t succeed.
After using escape methods to no avail, I finally decided to try budgeting as a last resort. What I learned was life-changing.
How Can A Single Mom Afford To Live On Her Own
I’ve learned that budgeting isn’t about limiting how you live, it’s about planning how to avoid what you want in life. I realized that my budget is not the enemy, it is actually a tool that helps me plan my expenses and take the stress out of money.
As a single mom, budgeting not only helps me get through each day, but it also helps me grow and pay off my debt. Below I’m sharing my first single mom budget when I first started my debt-paying journey. I only make about $32,000 a year and I still manage to live on less than I earn, save money and pay off debt. I can give generously to help pay my sister’s phone bill.
Rent: $315 – perks of living in a small town find.
Fuel: $230 – This fee is more expensive than gas. Because of my commute, I work 40-50 minutes from home and spend about $70 a week on gas.
Top 10 Gifts For Single Moms On Budget
Household/Toiletries: $35 – Includes toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, etc. Since I have a Sam’s Club membership, I stock up a lot and shop at the dollar store whenever possible. Also, I occasionally give coupons, but never excessively, because I don’t want it to take up too much of my time.
Eat Out: $30 – Yes, it’s a very low price, but it gives me the freedom to eat takeout with friends for a month if I want to.
Credit Card: $100 – I’m building my credit so I have a CC and try to spend no more than $100 a month on miscellaneous purchases. I set this limit because it seemed like a reasonable amount so that I could pay off the balance in full each month and build up my credit.
Clothes: $30 – Some months I didn’t spend much because I already had enough clothes. Other times we shop at thrift stores and resale stores.
My Single Mom Budget
Entertainment: $50 – Usually I find free activities and entertainment for me and my son, but it’s nice to have less money, I like doing things like going to the movies, bowling or going to a festival.
Daycare: $151 – At the time, I received a grant from the state to help pay for my son’s daycare, so that was my monthly copay.
Phone: $10 – I have a service called Republic Wireless and they have cheap smartphone plans starting at $10 a month
Sister’s Phone: $50 – I was happy to help pay my teenage sister’s monthly phone bill, and looking back I am very proud that I was able to do this despite my low income.
Single Mom Who Paid Off $34k Of Debt Empowers Other Single Moms To Face Their Debts
Auto Bill/Student Loan/Savings (Minimum): $700 – At that time, my monthly student loan minimum was $150 and my car loan minimum payment was $233. As you can see I still have money left, so for extra car costs and some savings.
These are my basic costs. Sometimes I get bonuses at work that increase my income, but this is not a guarantee. If I have some extra money, it usually goes to savings or debt. That way I can protect myself if I make a spending mistake or run into unexpected expenses. Also, health insurance is not covered because my low income makes me and my son eligible for Medicaid. When I was no longer qualified, I started using Liberty HealthShare, a Christian health sharing ministry.
When trying to live within my means, I always recommend people focus on the top 3-5 biggest lenders. It usually involves accommodation, transportation and food. Childcare and insurance are other expenses that take up a large portion of your budget.
For my situation, I’m sure I could find a simple but safe affordable apartment. Renting this low can save you a lot of money. I also usually cook at home and take lunch to work every day. While I’m working on this budget, I’m eligible for Medicaid, so I don’t have to worry about medical bills. However, when I stopped qualifying, I switched to Liberty HealthShare for a while.
Free Printable Budget Worksheets To Be Boss Of Your Money
Since I have to travel, I can’t reduce my fuel costs. However, I focused on paying
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