10 Single Mom Secrets to Making Your Money Count

Ten years of being a single mom and I struggled with finances. Big time. One bankruptcy and nearly $100,000 of total debt. Sound familiar, friend? Because I’m not good at keeping secrets and because I don’t want you to struggle for as long as I did, I put together this list.

My top 10 secrets that helped me stay content and press on to get out of debt and stay there. I hope you are able to use a few of these, if not all.

1.Start With Gratitude

• Find something to be thankful for. Anything.
Guilty spending is such a financial and emotional waste. Spending money to compete with an ex-spouse, neighbor or friends is the wrong motivation to spend money.
• Don’t allow guilt to hold your dollar hostage. You can’t get that dollar back without spending more of your time and energy and often times the cost of gas or shipping to return it. Emotions can cost us more. The best gift you can give your kids is gratitude instead of debt.

2. Plan Ahead

• Make a list of what you need and commit to the list. I know this is asking a lot of a busy mom who is wearing so many hats. The only way to avoid impulse buys is to plan ahead.
• Don’t buy more than you need.

3. Buy in Season and in Bulk

• Buying fruits and veggies in season will save you. Buy them in bulk and freeze what you don’t eat not only will you save, you will get to eat these yummy foods throughout the year.
• Stores like Whole Food’s, Sprouts, WinCo and Foods Co sell in bulk. This can save you by purchasing only the amount you need.

4. Share the Cost

• Places like Costco and Sam’s club can provide great savings. Do you have friends and family that have a card and would share with you? Split items
like laundry soap, milk, eggs, butter etc. You have to compare on some of these but it can save you.

5. Be Creative & Resourceful

• Buy groceries online
• Save money and time and have FUN by starting a “Freezer Club” with friends. There are LOT’S of free online resources to help you do this.
• Don’t be afraid to beg the cost down. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!
• Scavenger your own house, we often forget what we have around our own home.
• What can you purchase and not pay retail? Don’t have buyers remorse and go home broke. There are LOT’S of ways to not pay full retail. Barter and trade: What can you do for someone that will cost you little to nothing and you will get a return on? Facebook buy/sell or trade groups, Ebay, Craigslist, local trade sites and even a FREE site called Freestuff.com. You don’t have to have brand new or name brand everything. Once you get the item you are looking for you can always upcycle and make it prettier than it is!

6. Refuse Debt and Create a Monthly Budget

EveryDollar app is hands down the easiest app to help create a budget. Download and set goal to have your budget done by the 25th of EVERY month. At least that gives you 5 days to get it done by the first of the month. This is KEY to your financial success!
• Dave Ramsey, Dave Ramsey, Dave Ramsey! Buy his used book Financial Peace or get it from the library.
• Begin the journey to becoming debt free and change your family forever. Your dollar can go a lot farther if it is not going towards paying interest rates on credit cards. Instead be in control of your emotions, your home, and your dollar and make sure it goes toward keeping your lights on, keeping food in your kids mouth and clothes on their bodies. I know this is DIFFICULT. I have failed at it and I have succeeded in it. Doing this will take four things: 1) discipline 2) time management and 3) cutting up your credit cards/closing the accounts 4) thinking creatively/outside the box.
• Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean you need to. We don’t have to live that way. This is not about self-denial this is about teaching your kids what life is all about. Make debt inaccessible to you. You don’t have access to debt because you have removed it from you. Make debt non-accessible.

7. Consider Price Matching

• Shop around and know the market value of something. Make this a “job” in the house and put one of the children on it.
• For example: I know the price of tires and I know I can get them for a certain amount and even when on sale it rarely, if ever, goes lower than
this. ***As a single mom, I got a brand new set of tires for $100 on Craigslist. Yes. You read that right! $100 BIG buck-a-roonies! These tires took me through another 2 years and 50K miles.
• Walmart does a “hands down” price match. All you do is show the add.

8. Live Simply

• I am sure, if you are anything like me and want to make your every dollar count, you may already be doing without so much. If you haven’t already,
begin to create a list of items you can do without. Paper towels? Napkins? Glass containers instead of ziplock. Re-useable bags instead of baggies?
Consolidate cleaners for bathroom and kitchen. Home made items? Doing this can save in the long run and have an impact on your monthly budget. Simplify your life

9. Identify Outsourcing Opportunities

• Hire Your Kids: put them to work! Cut veggies,
clean house, wash car, yard work, organize pantry drawers, etc.
• Kids want to play soccer or softball? Create a sports sign up sheet with what they need to do in order for you to sign them up.
• Hire middle-aged or teens to do work around the house for less
• Order Groceries online sometimes it is for free
• Be creative with outsourcing. What is taking up most of your time and see if you can cut it in half and still save money.

10. Recycle and Reuse

• Hammy down clothes for kids, Shop Thrift Stores, Used Cars, Recycle Gift Bags, Ribbons, I recycled ALL my plastic baggies or gallon bags. What about grocery bags for trash bags? Maybe not all month but if you run out don’t rush out to get trash bags use bags you may have around the house and hold out another week or two if you can.

Alright – there ya go! What do you think? What did I miss? What are you doing or did you do as a single mom that could help others in making their money count?

One last thing, if you want a printable version of this you can find it on my website at cassierajewich.com.

Happy Savings!

Cassie