I feel as single mothers we really have to have savings. I know like many others I have had to take time off of work to take care of my son. As it happens I will be going to work late one day this month because my son has a dentist appointment. One way to ease the stress of living paycheck to paycheck is to have something to fall back on. I have gotten so good at saving I am surprising myself. Along this long and hard road I have learned a few do's and don’ts that have helped me save.
Do’s:Have the mindset that you want to save.
It is nearly impossible to save when you have not gotten your mind ready for it. I have tried and failed many times to save and it has just never happened. This time around I got honest with myself and said there were a few big ticket items I wanted to buy and I was not going to save until I got them. That honesty was hard but it helped me I bought what I wanted (I did not add to the list) and afterwards was able to get into the savings mindset.
Put the money in your savings as soon as you get it.
I pull money from my checking's account into my savings as soon as my check hits the bank. If it is not in my account I can’t spend it. “Out of sight out of mind” as I like to say.
Out of sight out of mind
Put the money somewhere you cannot easily get to it. For me this is a savings account it has a fee if I go over 6 transactions a month. I honestly do not want to pay so I do not touch my savings.
Think on it for 48 to 72 hours.
When making non-life changing plans like buying a new phone, bag, shoes that cost a lot of many think on it for at least 48 to 72 hours. I am a big fan of the more it cost the longer you think on it. Ask yourself do I really need this? Can I wait for the cost to go down?
See where you can cut cost (budget).
I have found a few unique ways to save money (I will be doing a post on this). One way I have done this is shopping for my grouces online without all the “sales” I am spending something like $150 less a month on food.
Do a yearly challenge.
I started a yearly challenge as another way to push myself into saving. I am not only doing this for Noah’s college fund, but also to save up for our first vacation. Right now I have saved a little over a about $200 (just with that challenge not including my other savings) seems like a little now but I know this is important so I am sticking it through.
Don’t get discouraged
Every little bit you save is important it does not have to be a lot, it could be 5 here and 5 there. Start where you can and don’t feel like you there are rules to savings.
Take big chunks of money and save.
I am a firm believe in doing three things when you get large lumps of money (like taxes): (1) save, (2) pay something (like a bill), (3) do/buy something fun.
Figure out how much you want to save.
I am still trying to figure out how much I want to save, but I think it is important not to want to hoard money. Also if you have debt after saving up a good amount start paying some debt off.
Don’ts:Don’t do no spend months.
I feel like these make you feel stressed, and as single parents they don’t work. I mean your child gets sick (this did happen to me) or they need something from school (also happened) and your no spend months is more like only spend money on your kid.
Do not cut your budget so tight you are not taking care of yourself.
Budgets are great, but remember to leave some wiggle room for fun and useless. My son and I eat out every Tuesday this is in the budget. Also as single mothers we have to leave room for self care (I will also do a post on this). Do not make things so tight all you do is work to save and spend money on others (like your children).
Do not feel guilty if you have to spend the money.
When you spend your savings on things like bills you feel it went to something. However, if you have to spend it on children's clothing because your child is in a new size in three months, it causes a bit of guilt. However, your saving is for situations unplanned and a child going from a 3t to a 5t in three months is HELLA expensive ( my son did this in the dead of winter).
Try and remember that saving money should not stress you out. Some months will be better than others, but you keep going and pushing forward. I hope these do's and don’ts help.
How do you save money? What tips would you give someone who does not have a lot of “extra” money so they can save?
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