1. Parenting

Unfortunately, it doesn't take much for a single parent family living paycheck to paycheck to slip into the danger zone. For some, it starts with an unexpected expense, like a car repair or a series of medical bills. For others, it's when the child support payments they had counted on begin to drop off that they find themselves suddenly unable to get by.

For many, the root cause is something either out of their control, or completely unexpected.

And the tough reality is that the only way you can prepare yourself for such an event is to put a little bit of money aside each month until you've built up an emergency savings fund that you can tap into when the need arises.

The question, though, is how do you do that and still stay current on all of your existing bills and responsibilities? Well, there are two ways to go about it: earn more or spend less.

At first glance, earning more may sound impossible, especially if you're already working full time. But what if you took on something part-time, on the weekends, that you could do alongside your kids, such as pet sitting or babysitting for another single parent whose work schedule is different from yours?

When it comes to taking on something like this, that will take up even more of your time and energy, it helps to look not just at the goal itself (earning more money), but also at how it would make you feel. For example, if you were able to put away $1,000 toward an emergency savings fund, little by little, how would that make you feel the next time you faced an unexpected expense? Empowered? In control? Capable?

Envisioning that outcome might turn out be even more motivating to you, personally, than the fear of not being able to get by.

Related: Part Time Jobs for Single Parents | Money Management Basics

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January 18, 2009 at 8:24 am
(1) Amy Sue Nathan says:

I’m wondering if you are a single parent.

January 18, 2009 at 2:44 pm
(2) singleparents says:

Hi Amy Sue,
I’ve always been up front about the fact that I’m married. What I share here comes from my expertise as a coach to single moms, in particular, and a passion for helping single parents recognize their strengths.

Nice work over at Examiner, by the way!

May 31, 2011 at 5:50 pm
(3) Rachel says:

I do not understand how you can say to earn more money if your a single parent and have to look after your child nearly 24/7 anyway and the job you have isn’t funding enough, especially now with everywhere paying less and expecting you to do more work. Its not going to be possible.
As for spending less thats not going to happen either if all your money you get is going on bills as it is, then how can you spend less, its not like you can make your children eat less or wear less clothes because then your seen as a bad parent. I just dont understand how any of this can be possible.
Write bk, thanks. Rachel

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