14 Mar Financial tips for single parents
Making ends meet can be difficult enough for two-parent families, but for single-parent families it can be even harder. With a few small steps you can be on the path to financial security.
For many single-parent families, the struggle-cycle is a constant reality. Often they face unique hurdles that most people are totally unaware of; usually the biggest one is trying to make ends meet.
If you are a single parent and are not sure where to start, here are a few steps to help get things under control:
Talk to Centrelink
It’s important that you investigate your eligibility for parenting payments, tax benefits, child care rebates, etc. Benefits are constantly being altered so make sure you are prepared for any planned changes ahead of time.
Protect your family
Look at insurance options for protecting you and your income. As the only source of income, how would your family survive if you couldn’t provide for them? Life insurance, disability or trauma insurance all offer peace of mind. While you’re at it, think about reviewing your estate plan – is your will current?
Identify needs from wants
Needs are essentials: housing, food, health, etc; while wants are non-essentials like entertainment, eating out, etc. When tempted with a want, ask yourself, “do I really need this?” Identifying a genuine need from a desire for something can be the difference between staying on budget or not.
Eating well is possible on a tight budget. Fresh fruit and vegetables are GST-free and cheap compared with takeaway meals. Slow-cookers make the most of affordable cuts of meat; consider whether you should invest in one. Have fun researching websites offering recipes and clever ideas for using leftovers.
Many people mistakenly believe that financial advice is only for the wealthy. A financial adviser can help get you on track by:
- planning a budget,
- consolidating debts,
- setting up a savings plan (even small amounts add up!),
- identifying your insurance needs,
- planning your estate.
A shoe-string budget doesn’t mean sacrificing your family’s fun, health or security, neither does it mean you have to do without. Small changes can make a big difference.
If you are a single parent, ask us for some guidance. You don’t have to do everything by yourself.
This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information.