Budgeting as a Single Parent

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

Parenting is a tough full-time job that doesn’t pay financially, and millions of Americans do it alone these days. This is a pressing issue for many survivors of domestic abuse who may be starting over and learning to manage a household solo. In addition to the difficult work of healing from the abuse itself, there is extra emotional and financial responsibility that comes with being a single parent. A budget can help families recovering from domestic abuse for a few reasons: in addition to helping track where money is being spent and planning for upcoming bills, it can free up emotional bandwidth by providing a safety net. When we’re worried about money, it takes up emotional energy that could be redirected toward fun family bonding times. Quality time is important for both the recovery of you and your children, and creating a budget can give you a solid picture of your finances so you can spend more time focusing on the people in your life.

How to Make a Budget

Although it may seem daunting, it’s possible to make a budget even if you’ve never made one before. You can use a piece of paper, an Excel spreadsheet, or one of many budgeting software options, if you’re computer savvy. First, you’ll want to calculate your monthly expenses. Add up your rent or mortgage, how much you spend on food, utilities such as gas, electricity, and water, and any other expenses. (Looking at receipts or bank statements can help.) Try to add in all factors so you can determine how much you spend on everything per month.

Next, figure out your income. Remember to add any child support or alimony payments into that total. Once you’ve determined the amounts coming in and out, you can take an honest look at your financial situation.

If your income is more than your expenses, you will have money left over for savings. If your income is less than your expenses, it’s may be helpful to look at where you might be able to cut back. Can you live without cable or eating out at work? Can you cut back on groceries somehow?

The number one reason domestic violence survivors stay in or return to abusive relationships is because they do not have the financial means to break free. If you’re experiencing domestic violence and need help budgeting or planning how to get out safely, contact Genesis Women’s Shelter 24-hours a day at 214.946.4357.

Guest blog written exclusively for Genesis Women’s Shelter by Jennifer Riley.

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