I live in a relatively small city in Texas. Our population is around 75,000. So, needless to say, I don’t have some high powered, well paying job. At least, I didn’t at the time that I was single. I make twice as much as I did then. And, we have two incomes. I struggled during my time as a single mom. The child support I received covered the cost of daycare, and my paycheck at the first of the month covered rent and a car payment. Where did I get the money for food? How did I pay my bills? I had to make decisions about which bills got paid on time, and which ones were late. I cried with the Customer Service Representatives about how I had no idea when I would be able to pay them!
I had to make some decisions about how I was going to handle my money. I didn’t start off very well, but I made it. I cut out a lot of things. So, here are some ideas of ways to handle you current situation.
1. If you are currently going through a divorce, try to work out a deal with your attorney that will allow you to hold payment until the case is final. Depending on your circumstances, the judge could order that all attorneys’ fees be split equally, or that your ex has to pay your fees.
2. Limit your bills as much as possible. If you currently have a home phone and a cell phone, get rid of the home phone if you can. You have your cell phone around all the time anyway, right?
3. Make lists for the grocery store and only get what is on the list. You may even decide to shop weekly, or every two to three days. You can really cut down on your costs if you shop more often. And, it is easier to budget if you don’t spend $200 at the grocery in on trip.
4. If your child is in daycare, talk to them and work out a payment plan that will work with your paycheck schedule. They will usually be willing to work with you if you just tell them the situation.
5. If you are really strapped for cash, cut off your home internet service. There are tons of places that offer free WiFi, now. And, if you live in an apartment, most of them have a Business Center where you can use the internet.
6. COUPONS! Use them! They can make a huge difference in your grocery bill, and often you can get them doubled. Even scour the Internet for coupons that you can use for products you buy often.
7. Shop in bulk. Discount warehouses stock huge boxes of cereals, soups, canned veggies, etc. So, if these are the types of things that you use, go for it. Just remember to adjust your budget accordingly.
8. Don’t eat out! The more you buy fast food, the less money you have in your budget. It is less expensive to cook at home and save the leftovers. Let eating out be a special treat for you and your children. Make a night of it. Eat out, then go home and play a board game. Kids love it and you are building memories.
These are just some simple ways to cut your spending. If you start here and find other ways to save, you will be really surprised at how easy and even fun it can be. Make it a challenge to see how much you can cut out in a month!