Essentially, there are only two ways to save for a big purchase: earn more or spend less. As a single parent, you may feel like those options just aren't possible, given the current demands on your time and finances. However, you really can save money when you put your mind to it and make it a regular habit. Here are ten ways to save money toward an upcoming expense:
1. Put money into your savings account each and every month.If you're trying to save up for a big purchase, the first thing you need to do is set up a savings account through your regular bank. Then, ask them to withdraw money each month from your checking account and deposit it into your savings account. Having them do this automatically for you will help you save money simply by not having it in your checking account to spend.
2. Work overtime.If you have the option to work additional hours, consider building enough overtime into your schedule to cover the item you want to purchase. Just remember to also consider the potential expense of additional child care while you're working.
eBay. Keep in mind, too, that the U.S. Postal Service will deliver Priority Mail boxes right to your house free of charge. You can then buy your postage online, print it out, and have your postal worker pick the package up right at your front door. This takes a lot of the "hassle" out of the idea of selling items online.
Pricegrabber.com to compare prices on electronics and more. In addition, see if you can't purchase the item you're looking for through an auction site, such as eBay.com.
7. Separate needs and wants.Sometimes we have to reevaluate our expectations and purchase a less-expensive option that may not have all the "bells and whistles" we were looking for. To help you separate what you need from what you want, take a sheet of paper and divide it into two columns. On the left, write down the features this big purchase must include. Then, on the right, write down the features that you'd like to have. Then compare the results to the options that are in your price range.
8. Wait longer.Sometimes you just have to wait a while longer before making your big purchase. For example, if you'd like a larger TV, and you're able to set aside $40 per month toward a new one, saving for an extra six months would give you an additional $240 to spend. In addition, if you're expecting a generous tax return in the next twelve months, waiting for it is another painless way to save for a big purchase.
9. Avoid using credit.Using credit cards to purchase items you can't really afford to buy is like paying an extra 18-20%. Even if you think you're "saving money" by getting the item on sale, it ends up costing you more when you purchase on credit without having the ability to pay off the account balance at the end of the month.
Coabode can help you find other single moms in your area who are also interested in sharing housing expenses.