In 2016, according to the US Census Bureau, there were approximately 12 million single parents in this country, the majority of them being a single mom rasing her children. 83% of single parents are mothers, and more than 30% of all single parents receive some form of public assistance.
Child support payments and state funded health insurance is helping to close the gap between lower incomes and the amount of money it actually takes to make ends meet on a monthly basis. Single parents often struggle with providing the basic necessities for their children, and are most likely living paycheck to paycheck. A majority of single parents often do not have any savings to speak of and are in debt to credit card lenders.
Here are 8 ways a single parent can save money:
1. Buy a Used Car. Buying a used car with a cheaper payment can help free up cash flow every month. While I always recommend never having car loans in the first place, lowering your monthly payments may still help ease your financial burden in the short term. This can save you $50 to $200 a month.
2. Use Coupons. Buy when items are on sale, and buy those items with coupons. This can save you anywhere between $50 and $300 per month, depending on your househould's size. There are documented stories (with receipt pictures) where shoppers had a total bill of more than $200 and ended up paying less than $20 by using coupons and buying items when they were on sale. (Cheap self-promotion: go visit my Savings & Coupons section to get started right now.)
3. Buy Store Brands. If you do not have a good sale or coupon for an item, buy the store brand. Household items, clothing, prescriptions, toiletries, dry goods, canned goods, paper products, and more are always available in a generic bottle or package. This will save you an average of $50 per month.
4. Buy Washable Clothes. Make sure any clothing you buy does not require dry cleaning. By not paying for the cleanings each month, and not driving your car to get to the dry cleaners either, you can save between $50 to $150 a month.
5. Do Your Own Hair And Nails. This will save you between $80 and $150 a month.
6. Buy Regular Gas. Unless the owner's manual suggests a specific "grade" of gas, 87 octane is just fine. Find the cheapest gas station in your neighborhood to purchase from on a regular basis. Sign up for their loyalty program if they have one as well. The loyalty cards often help you save even more money. This will save you $.05 to $.20 per gallon.
7. Shop at Discount Stores. Buy household items in bulk when they are on sale. Paper towels, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies never really go bad. Stock up on dry staples as well, such as rice, beans, and instant potatoes. Discount stores such as Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, usually have the best prices around. Make sure to use your coupons as well! This will save you between $20 and $50 per month.
8. Eliminate Unnecessary Expenses. Cancel your cable package, change cell phone providers, find less expensive Internet service, or shop around for the cheapest plans available. This can save you between $50 and $150 per month.