Guide to Living on a Budget
Many single parents have to live on a budget. Get into a healthy habit of planning so you can manage your money in a realistic way, and learn some money-saving skills that will help in the future.
Being organised is a real plus. Checking your balance on a regular basis will help you to be one step ahead. Start by making a note of everything you spend and what you are spending it on; chances are you'll be splashing the cash on all kinds of stuff you hadn't expected. Everybody's different, but you may find that you are spending more than you think on some things.
List priority items
Next, make a list of all the priority items you need to pay for every month, such as your rent/mortgage and utility bills. After this you can look at what you have to spend on things such as food, entertainment and socialising. Remember to be realistic about the amount for this; don't force yourself to live like a hermit or skimp on the groceries. Don't forget about the bills that only come once a year.
A good tip is to add ten percent to your total outgoings. This will allow for unexpected extras such as birthdays, children’s shoes, or car repairs and help smooth over the shock of any nasty surprises. To help you calculate your spending budget look at our article on Useful Calculators which lists a whole range of calculator tools, from a Money Stretcher Calculator, a Budget Calculator to a Cycle to Work calculator.
Doesn't add up
If the final amount you need to spend in an average month is more than you have coming in, have a look at your calculations and see if you can make any adjustments to your spending habits. If you're lucky enough to have money left over you can open a savings account to save up for bigger items. If you can set up Internet Banking, it's easy to move money from account to account.