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Learn to Stretch your Income without Financial Support from your Family

Single parenting is tough enough without worrying about your finances, too. But the fact is that it’s a lot harder to stretch one income when you’re taking care of the needs of your children and yourself. You may have considered asking your parents or other family members for a loan or other financial assistance, or maybe you’re living with them while you pay off some bills and get back on your feet. Whatever the case, there’s plenty you can do to make your dollars go further and live without your family’s financial support.

Resources for Single Parents

Your family may be the first place you turn when you need some extra cash. But often, people who seek help from their parents, siblings, or other relatives are deep in debt and need more than a quick fix. If you find yourself asking for money time and time again, or you simply don’t want to burden your family with your financial troubles, learn about other resources for single parents who need monetary assistance.

Where you go to get help really depends on your individual financial situation. Options include:

  • Government assistance:Based on your income (include alimony and child support payments) and other financial factors, you may qualify for federal and/or state aid to help you cover expenses for you and your children. Visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services web site for more information on grants and help with housing, food, and other essential goods and services.
  • Grants and scholarships:Single parents are likely to change careers if there’s a potential to increase their income, which makes providing for their family easier. To help you break into a new career field, it may be beneficial to go back to school for a degree or certification – and the government offers both grants and scholarships to those in need. Take a look at university or community college web sites to find out more about your financial aid options.
  • Bill consolidation loan:If you’re in debt over your head, you may be able to consolidate all your bills into a single, lower monthly payment through the help of a debt consolidation lender. You’ll want to do your research to find a trustworthy, reputable lender that offers multiple solutions to help you get out of debt. In addition, look for a lender that offers financial education, so that you can work on building up your savings account and learn smart money management skills while you’re paying down your debt.
  • Other debt relief options:A Debt Management Plan (DMP) offers you a way to pay off your debt by combining your bills into one payment. The company offering the DMP will negotiate directly with your creditors for lower interest rates, potentially saving you money every month. Another alternative, a Debt Settlement Plan (DSP) helps you pay down your debt through negotiated payoff amounts with your creditors.  Learn more about DMPs and DSPs.

If you don’t think you need this type of financial assistance, or you’re just not ready to seek help from a third party, consider tapping into the resources that are closest to you.

Getting Help from Your Ex

Not everyone has a good relationship with their ex-spouse or child’s mother or father. But if you’re fortunate enough to be on good terms with him or her, consider talking to your ex about your financial needs. Rather than always going through the court system, you may be able to work up a reasonable agreement to have your ex-partner help you a little more with child-related expenses, such as school, food, clothing, extra-curricular activities, and more.

Additionally, if you’re the recipient of alimony and/or child support payments, make sure you’re getting the full amount to which you’re entitled. If your ex-partner gets a raise at work, you may be eligible for an increase in your monthly payment amount.

Make Financial Management a Family Affair

Are your kids old enough to earn and understand what an allowance is? If so, then they’re old enough to help you with budgeting, saving, and paying for some of their needs and wants.

Share your monthly budget with your children so they can see where your money goes, and involve them in discussions to figure out how to trim expenses or save on everyday items. You may find you’ll reduce your expenses and teach your kids smart money management skills by making financial management a family activity.

To teach them about the value of working and money, have them pay for their car insurance or cell phone bill. Or if there’s a new video game or outfit they’ve been begging you to purchase, have them earn at least a portion of the price tag, and you can cover the rest. By teaching your kids at an early age that money really doesn’t grow on trees, they’ll be more likely to establish strong savings and spending habits and be less likely to end up in debt when they’re financially independent.

And there is an added bonus! The rest of your family will see the progress you’ve made in managing your own finances and ensuring a healthy financial future for your children.

Read more

When you’re ready to take the next step, try out CareOne’s money management tools. You’ll find budgeting resources, financial calculators, and more. Also, read, watch or listen to Success Stories from other consumers – some who are single parents – who learned how to stretch their resources and their income to conquer their debt.

  

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