When you were married, you probably lived on two incomes. Or maybe you were a stay-at-home parent. Whatever the case, income is something you need to think about in a divorce, especially if there are children involved.
If you don’t have a job, now’s the time to get one. Whether or not you have child custody, you’ll have to pay for your children’s day-to-day expenses or pay child support.
If you are the custodial parent, relying on the other parent to pay child support is not enough. That won’t cover all your expenses. So how can you successfully meet your kids’ financial needs on primarily one income? Here are some tips to help.
This can be hard as a single parent, as you’ll be torn between providing your children’s wants vs. their needs. Track your spending thoroughly for several months. Buy only what you need. Keep track of fixed expenses vs. variable ones. Find ways to cut costs and make sure your children are aware that they can’t have everything they want. Look for income-based programs in your area. You may be able to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps), which can help you buy food for your children.
If you don’t have good credit or any credit at all, now’s the time to build it. Good credit can help you get car loans and personal loans, which can help you cover expenses. Find ways to pay off credit card debt, as paying it off will greatly improve your score.
Find ways to earn extra cash to pay for expenses. Sell unused items, start a business, take on a freelance job — the possibilities are endless. There are many companies hiring people for work-at-home jobs at the moment. If you are working at a job that you’ve been at for a while, maybe it’s time to ask for a raise.
Once you pay off debt and get your credit on the right track, it’s time to start saving up. It’s a good idea to have money saved up for emergency expenses as well as medical expenses and a college education down the line. There’s no rule of thumb; every penny counts. Start small — just a few dollars a week — and increase with each raise or chunk of money you receive. It all adds up.
Living as a single parent on one income can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. There are things you can do to stretch your paychecks as far as possible while ensuring that your children’s needs are met.
The Columbia divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can help you find resources to budget and get you on the path to financial security. Schedule a consultation today by filling out the online form or calling (410) 774-5987. We have two offices to serve you.
7310 Ritchie Highway, Suite 910
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
30 Corporate Center
10440 Little Patuxent Parkway,
Columbia, MD 21044