Being a single parent requires patience, grit, a support system, attention, and affection. Facing difficulties is all part of life. But when you go through a never-ending cycle of problems, you feel overwhelmed and can’t see hope anymore. During these difficult situations, you need to figure out how to survive financially and emotionally as a single mom at the earliest possible time.
Single motherhood can bring some unique challenges, including poverty, loneliness, and messed-up kids. The good news is that proper planning and hard work can lead you to build an awesome life, find love again, and raise happy kids.
Here are some practical financial tips for single mothers you can follow to nail down your budget and build resilience in the face of hard times on your parenting journey.
How to Survive Financially as a Single Mom
According to Emma Johnson, author of The Kickass Single Mom, there are three key principles you can follow to survive financially as a single mom.
- Live within your means along with build your savings and increase your emergency fund
- Focus on earning more money.
- Take control of your time and energy to create abundance in every part of your life.
Here is how you can apply these principles in your everyday life to become a successful single mom financially.
1. Look for Ways to Save Money
Financial know-how is extremely important especially when you are a single mom on a budget. The first thing you need to do is keep track of where your money is going each month. Then create a monthly budget. For help getting started, get the “Boxclever Press Budget Planner” and “The Money Saving Mom's Budget” book. You can get the audible version of the book free on Amazon Audible.
It does take some time and patience, but getting into this habit will help you learn how to save money as a single mom.
Assess whether your current income covers your expenses. If it does, great!
If it doesn’t, you need to find another income source. Which leads you to point #2.
2. Look for Ways to Make Money
Don’t just focus on saving money. Focus on earning more, growing money, and thriving. Look for a side hustle that suits you. You can even earn extra money working from home and online. Here are some legit money-making ideas that will help you survive financially as a single mom.
Sell Handmade Items on Etsy: Etsy is a great marketplace for selling handmade items. If you have a creative side, try making your own products and sell on Etsy. Leverage social media platforms like Facebook and Pinterest to promote your products.
Online Gigs: If you have a marketable skill, you could get paid by taking online freelance gigs. Go to Upwork, the world’s largest online workplace, and create a profile based on your skills. If you are accepted, you will find hundreds of job categories to apply to. If you can create a good reputation early, you don’t have to look back anymore.
Food Delivery Gigs: You can also take some side hustles, which are pretty flexible and can be done in your own time. You can work part-time for food delivery companies like –
They let you sign on and off whenever you want. Even if you can only afford a few hours a day, it’s no problem. Additionally, you’re almost guaranteed to make good money.
Generate Passive Income: There are many passive income ideas out there. A great way to make passive income is to create your own blog and grow an audience. The beauty is that you can put as little or as much work in as you can spare in terms of time. Every minute that you spend on your blog, writing about a topic that interests you, is a minute well spent.
Participate in Paid Survey: If you have a smartphone and internet connection, you could be earning easy money from online surveys. Swagbucks is a fantastic way to earn real money by doing certain tasks: surveys, watching videos, referring friends, shopping online through their portal, buying gift cards from them! You can also try survey sites like SurveyJunkie or Survey on the Go. However, I wouldn’t recommend these sites, as you can’t expect to earn much from these sites.
3. Become Frugal
We have already talked about saving money. Here are some steps you can follow to become frugal and create a winning single mom budget.
Toys and Games Shopping: You don’t have to buy wild and one-of-a-kind toys to make your child happy. There are many fun and inexpensive toys that your kids will love. Learn what toys your child loves most, then browse through different discounts and resale shops to buy high-quality toys and games at discounted prices. Always try to buy toys and games that spark creativity and imagination.
You could also take a budget-friendly road trip with your kids to a local attraction or the children’s museum.
Grocery Shopping: When you are a single mom with little kids, you don’t have the luxury of money. Try not to buy groceries from Malls. Unless you are a busy working mom, you also don’t need AmazonFresh membership to get foods at your doorstep (Although you can save $25 on your first order with free delivery).
Here are some steps you can follow to save money on food:
- Limit fast-food budget and replace it with healthy homemade items.
- Try to buy generic food, instead of branded foods.
- Buy items in bulk, but don’t buy perishable items in bulk.
- Shop at your local discount grocers and dollar stores for groceries and household items like cleaning products, toilet paper, and garbage bags.
- Use coupons to purchase grocery items at a saving.
Clothes Shopping: Shopping for kid’s clothing is not an easy task, as you have to struggle a lot. There is always an issue of size and comfort as well as price.
Try not to buy brand new clothes for kids, as they grow too quickly. Buying used clothes at thrift stores or second-hand stores is a smart way to slash your spending. You can buy nearly new clothes on eBay for next to nothing.
Many retailers often run sales and promotions that can save you big. Wait for sales and promotional offers from retailers you like. You might come across some big deals during the holiday seasons like Thanksgiving and Christmas!
4. Take Advantage of Federal Programs
If you are a single mother with little to no income, there is financial support for single mothers provided by the government. These grants and supports can be a lifeline for a single mom struggling financially.
Government Assistance for Unemployed Single Mothers:
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a temporary assistance program run by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). The program offers cash benefits for children whose parents or caretakers have little to no income and financial assets.
SNAP or Food Stamps program is a nutrition program administered by The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Unlike the TANF program, SNAP doesn’t offer cash benefits. SNAP benefits are loaded onto an EBT card every month and can be used to purchase food at participating stores and certain other establishments to purchase food.
There is also the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP. The program covers the cost of small repairs to heating or cooling bills of very low-come families.
All of these are federally funded programs, but each state has its own requirements, so visit your state’s website to find out more about the qualification requirements.
5. Find a Mentor
Find a mentor who can teach you how to survive financially as a single mom. A great mentor can help you increase your chances of success. You can also take online courses to master a specific skill or to open your mind to different business ideas.
Starting your own small business to survive financially is no small undertaking. If you need inspiration, check out the interview of successful single mom “Tiffany Elizabeth” below. Tiffany had a baby on the way when she decided to join the Amazing Selling Machine (ASM). After going through the course, she started selling on Amazon. She now makes $75k/month on Amazon FBA while transforming her life in the process!
What to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed as a Single Mom
When you are struggling to survive financially as a single mom, it takes a toll on your mental and emotional health. The emotional consequences can make you feel overwhelmed as a single mom. Here are some tips you can follow to get your mind around.
1. Remember Your Comebacks
When times are tough, we often think of others who have it worse. While that may help you feel better, you will even get a bigger resilience boost by reviewing your past triumphs. Look back and say, “I’ve gone through many ups and downs in the past. This is not the worst thing I have ever faced or will ever face. I know I can deal with it.”
You must believe in yourself in the face of self-doubt. See these challenges as part of a journey, and it consists of every little trial and triumph combine. The resilience you develop will result in making you a great mom.
2. Practice Optimism
No matter how hard things get, try to maintain a positive outlook. The positive outlook that usually comes with optimism is a key part of building resilience.
When you are dealing with the most difficult thing ever, just keep saying to yourself: “This Too Shall Pass.” These little things can change the way you think and how you act.
3. Don’t Personalize It
We often blame ourselves for our shortcomings and ruminate over the things we should have done differently. While going through major parenting challenges, at some point, it feels as if it will never end. To bolster your resilience, remind yourself that it’s not all your fault and the hopelessness will subside with time.
Don’t think of yourself as a victim – instead, focus your time and energy on changing the things that they have control over. Being a resilient mom means that life moves on and you have a choice to move on to bigger and better things.
4. Support Others
Research shows that people are more resilient when they have strong support networks to help them cope with a crisis. But you can get an even greater emotional resilience boost by giving support to others.
Part of resilience is taking responsibility for your life, and creating a purposeful and meaningful life. It doesn’t have to be a big mission — it could be your family or your community. These activities will boost the inner strength that can push you through all sorts of adversity.
5. Develop a Growth Mindset
Often as a mother, it’s not easy to stick with a routine. Instead of being resentful, you need to realize that you have to grow and evolve continuously, just as the kids do. The key is to make room for more flexibility every day.
6. Take Regular Stress Breaks
Small things are done consistently often make a huge difference to your everyday resilience. Consistency is at the heart of resilience and being consistent in your everyday behaviors helps you remain calm during adversity.
Take a time break as an opportunity to strengthen your resilience muscle. For example, if you feel overwhelmed, taking consistent daily walks, spending five minutes to meditate, or having lunch some “me time” are ways to give your mind and body a break from stress.
So as you face obstacles and challenges, as we all do, choose to move forward, find solutions, and make the best of what life has to offer. Always try to come up with new ways to survive financially and check your stress on a regular basis. After all, happy mothers are more mentally prepared to nurture happiness in children.