download (41)How to Save Money as a Single Parent


1. Set up a budget. Use your income to determine how much you can spend and save every week or month.

2. Avoid taking on additional debt. You will not save money by opening new lines of credit. Instead of getting new credit cards, work on paying off any debt you currently have.

3. Monitor your current spending. Evaluate what you spend on bills, child care, insurance, food, clothes and transportation.

4. Look for ways to cut back. For example, switch to a cable plan that costs less, or cancel your gym membership and start walking.

5. Save on child care expenses. Ask for help from relatives and friends before you spend money on babysitters.
-Look for low cost child care referrals from your church, school and neighbors. Keep all of your children in the same daycare center to take advantage of sibling discounts.
-Use county and municipal resources for child care, if any are available. You can also contact nonprofit organizations such as Child Care Aware for help in finding low cost child care.

6. Shop with lists. When you go out for groceries, cleaning supplies or other household items, write a list of what you need before you go.
-Clip coupons and compare prices. Aim to bring your grocery budget down as much as you can.

7. Buy discount clothing. You can spend less on clothes by accepting hand-me-downs from friends who have kids older than you.
-Shop at second hand stores for yourself and your kids, or take advantage of seasonal sales and clearance racks.
-Shop online. You can find good deals on sites such as eBay, Amazon and Craigslist.

8.  Join a library for books and movies. Instead of buying books and renting movies, get a membership at your local library, where you and your kids can borrow materials for free.

9. Cut back on meals out. Cook at home instead of eating in restaurants.
Savings Plans

1. Put aside any money you receive in child support or alimony. Unless you need those funds to meet your regular expenses, keep that money in a separate savings account.

2. Invest in retirement. Take advantage of any 401K or retirement plans your employer offers. This money will be taken out of your paycheck before you have a chance to miss it.

3. Invest in education plans, such as a 529 plan. Many states will allow you to set up an automatic college savings plan for your children for as little as $25 per month. Making this investment now will give your kids a head start when they are ready for college.

4. Start an emergency fund. Take all of the money you save on the spending changes you make, and put it in an emergency fund. This savings will help you in times of need, for example if you lose your job or you are faced with a large unexpected expense.

5. Take advantage of all your tax breaks. As a single parent, you should qualify for deductions on child care and other expenses. If your income is on the low side, you can also qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
-Talk to a tax advisor, or consult the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You can access their site at

Teaching Your Children to Save

1. Talk to your kids about the reality of your financial situation. Explain that you have a specific amount of money to live on every month so they understand how they will be impacted. This is especially important if your situation as a single parent is new or sudden.

2. Set expectations. Let your kids know that they will be expected to help out. around the house. Even the little ones can be responsible for making their own beds or putting away their toys.
-Address the allowance issue. Some kids might expect a weekly allowance, especially if they received one when you were a 2 parent family. Discuss your expectations that everyone pitches in without payment. Or, offer a small allowance for really outstanding work.

3. Help your kids distinguish between “needs” and “wants.” Teach them how to prioritize their activities and personal possessions.
-Start a “wish list.” Allow each child to write down things they want but do not need on a wish list, and use the list for birthday and holiday presents.