Being a single parent is a tough gig. In addition to being the person solely responsible for the day-to-day running of your entire household, you are also on your own for all the financial stresses and strains that come up on a daily basis. And we all know how quickly those financial stresses can add up!
This Father’s Day, iCASH wanted to throw a little appreciation and recognition to all the single dads out there going it alone. Check out these top tips for budgeting as a single father.
And, if ever you find yourself in an urgent financial situation, iCASH is available for single parents 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, with borrowing options where you can apply for a loan and get approved in minutes.
#1: Budget! Budget! Budget!
We know we sound like a broken record when it comes to making a proper family budget, but it is single-handedly (no pun intended!) one of the best ways to get your spending on track. A proper budget means looking and analyzing where your money is going, choosing where to spend and where to cut back, and making sure that you stay on top of your accounts.
When working on your budget, make sure to include the “extras” that come along with kids. Expenses such as kids clothes (they grow so quickly!), school supplies (yikes!), and dental and medical expenses can all add up quite quickly but are easily manageable when included in an easy-to-follow budget.
#2: Check for government benefits
Here in Canada, we are extremely fortunate to have great benefits and social programs. From tax incentives, provincial and federal government benefits, and a myriad of assistance programs, it can sometimes get confusing trying to navigate which benefits you are entitled to as a single parent. But taking the time to figure out what credits and which deductions you are entitled to can be extremely valuable.
If you are looking for some assistance figuring out which credits and programs are right for you, check out the iCASH Single Parents Benefit Learning page dedicated exclusively to pointing single parents in the right direction.
#3: Find FREE activities
Keeping children occupied is probably the second topmost stress for a single parent (finances, of course, claiming the top stress spot!). With the skyrocketing costs of just about every kid-friendly activity, this can be a very expensive endeavour.
Everything from going to the movies, to eating out, to even simple activities such as mini-putt, it seems like prices are just climbing higher and higher.
But bonding with your children doesn’t have to cost much, if anything. With just a little bit of research and ingenuity, you can usually find tons of activities in your area that are both kid-friendly and free!
For example: Often, at different times throughout the year, museums in major cities have “free” family weekends. Another great option, as an alternative to going to the movies, is to simply buy some candy and popcorn and have a “picnic” style movie marathon right in your own living room. In warmer weather, taking a drive to the lake or a park is a fun way to spend an afternoon.
Entertaining the little ones doesn’t have to cost much and it is always such a rewarding way to spend the day!
#4: Prioritize second-hand
Children outgrow things sooooo quickly! They outgrow their clothes, they outgrow games and toys, they outgrow their sports and activity equipment. Trying to keep up with what still fits and what doesn’t is exhausting! Not to mention expensive!
One of the best ways to reduce these costs is to look into different second-hand options. For example, there are usually several local parental groups on social media that are dedicated to swapping and exchanging children’s items with other like-minded parents. Or perhaps you can ask around your friend groups for other parents that are looking to get rid of things or swap items instead of throwing them away. Thrift shops and second-hand stores also usually have entire sections dedicated to children's toys, clothes and sports equipment. Some second-hand stores are even exclusively dedicated to kids’ things.
Given that children usually only use or wear things for one season, possibly two, it makes sense to reduce the costs by finding these items for a fraction of the cost whenever possible!
#5: Increase your income
If you have finalized your monthly spending and cut expenses wherever you could but your budget is still tight, it’s time to look into increasing your income. We know that is easier said than done, but with a few simple tips and tricks, it is definitely doable.
If you have been at your current job for a while and are great at what you do (if you do say so yourself!), then perhaps the timing is perfect to ask for a raise. Adding an amount to your weekly or bi-weekly paycheck, even a small one, can make a big difference in your budget.
Another easy way to make some additional income is to grab a quick side hustle. Perhaps your hobby can be turned into a little side business. Or maybe you have a little bit of time on your hands to pick up a side job. For more details and some great additional tips and tricks to finding a side hustle, check out this blog on Side Hustles That Just About Anyone Can Do!
Being a single parent isn't always easy and can be quite financially difficult at times. We hope these top tips help ease that financial burden a little.
Of course, iCASH is always available should you require a little helping hand. Our loan process is entirely confidential, can be completed from the comfort of your home (while the little ones are sleeping!), and is available 24/7. Check out the details at iCASH.ca!