How to Save Money as a Single Parent

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Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post, however, all opinions are strictly mine.

Raising a child alone is not an easy thing. Often, even as a couple, parents can feel overwhelmed by the day-to-day. Adding financial stress will only make this feeling worse, and make you short tempered, and stressed. Not the example we ever want to set for our kids! Here are a few tips that I’ve developed to help me save money over the years.

  1. Pay cash!

Debit and credit cards can make life easier, but they also make it a lot harder to keep track of what you’ve spent. When you use cash, you are sure to never sure to go over your budget. If you don’t have it, you can’t spend it! Right? It also helps your kids to understand the concept of money, and that a bank account doesn’t have an infinite supply.

  1. Make an appointment with your bank

No one likes going to the bank, however you can get a lot accomplished in one visit. By opening a savings account (TFSA, RRSP or RESP), you are sure that your money isn’t going to unnecessary items (more on how to avoid impulse shopping).

Even a small amount every month will make a difference in the long run. The earlier you start, the more your money will grow.

  1. Renegotiate your contracts

Both cable and cellphone companies understand the value of a customer. Calling and simply expressing an interest in changing suppliers can lead to discounts. While you’re at it, look at cancelling a few of those extra TV channels. Your time is better spent doing anything other than flipping through looking for something to watch. And if you’re really brave, cut the cord! For around $30 you can get a good quality antenna that will give you access to over a dozen HD channels.

  1. Make a budget, and stick to it and save.

First things first, make a plan. There are plenty of tools available to help organize your finances. The Government of Canada has a handy tool that helps you track your spending and identify opportunities to save.

Next is the sticking to it. That’s the hard part, in my humble opinion. These tips help me stay on track:

  • Daily monitoring: review your spending every day. It takes 2-3 minutes to review and can help keep you on track for the week.
  • Make a meal plan and only buy the groceries that you need for the week.  (And don’t go hungry to the store.)
  • Keep your bills. At the end of the week, review your purchases, and see if anything falls on the “did I really need this”
  • Pay cash: as I mentioned before, it’s a great way to make sure you don’t go over budget.

With these practical tips, you can learn to run your finances, and not let them run you. If only I could make that happen with my kid too!

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