The new single parent budget


As I prepare my two sons for the upcoming school week each Sunday, they are well versed in the “Sunday routine” as they have affectionally named it. This routine not only includes packing their lunches, making my “needs list” for items needed from the grocery store, ironing clothes for the week, ensuring there are enough clean socks and undergarments , and their weekly haircuts. For anyone who has ever worked on a [rigid] budget, the most costly thing for a single mother is to drive to the barber shop and for what seems to take 10-15 minutes, can cost nearly $10.00 plus tip for a job well done. Multiply this by 52 weeks and then double it! That comes out to $1,248.00/year just for my two sons to maintain their hair as close to their head as possible. So with that figure branded in my mind, it is no wonder I have learned how to “cut” their hair. While facing these tough economic times, the money I save goes towards their emergency funds they will need during what I hope is their freshman year of college.

But the savings did not just stop there. Instead of sending my clothes to the cleaner each week with costs reaching nearly $50.00/week, I have opted to purchase a steamer. This steamer helps reduce time and costs for me; plus it is a breeze to operate and I can’t think of the last time I used my ironing board. In addition to the reduced price of cleaning my clothes, my boys can help shrink my Sunday Routine by steaming their clothes themselves!

BC or Before Children, splurging was anything under the sun that seemed like a great idea at the time. But AC or After Children, splurging is having an entire candy bar to myself. Just as I pack their lunch, I pack mine as well. Sunday dinner always taste better when your co-workers are wondering what the delightful smell is in the office and where can they get a plate from.

As we all wait and hope for the day with baited breath when we awaken and 1)the economy is restored to its glory; 2) when jobs fall from the sky like the changing leaves; 3) and the cost of gas does not look like my high school g.p.a.;  we have to continue to find ways to survive and maintain as many routines in our children’s daily lives. Until then, remember to look for ways to save each day and incorporate teachable moments with your child(ren) each day. Who knows, maybe one day our kids will be the ones exercising their budgeting muscles and we will be fortunate enough to buy what we want when we want!



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