I went from living the married life, having help not only with my two daughters but also financially, to living the single life.
And even though I’ve made it through for the better, saying it was an easy transition would be a complete lie.
I’ve always wondered how single mothers made it. Not only as parents but also financially. What I learned is that it’s a long road with many challenges.
Here’s how I’ve been able to financially survive as a single mother.
I Was Realistic About Our Living Situation
When I first moved out of my ex-husband’s house in 2012 I didn’t have many options. So my daughters, ages two and three at the time, and I packed up our stuff and moved into the extra bedroom at my Dad’s house.
Sharing a bedroom with two toddlers and trying to be a parent under such tight headquarters was probably the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced.
My girls and I shared an air mattress thrown on the floor of the small bedroom for more than three months.
I knew I needed to find a place to live but money was a huge concern.
I decided to work with what I had and took out a $10,000 loan, purchased a trailer, and put it on an extra lot my Dad had.
The payments were only $226 a month on a four year term. Even though I never envisioned myself living in a trailer I am so glad I made this decision.
I Worked Two Jobs
Most single mothers can vouch that money is a huge stressor. I knew what I was up against as a single mother and luckily I’ve always been a very ambitious person.
I worked two jobs for several months – one as a bookkeeper for a small department store and the other as an insurance agent.
I knew that I couldn’t keep this up long term so I started working on an online freelance business on the side. I eventually grew my freelance business big enough that I was able to quit one day job and then eventually both.
I’m now lucky enough to be able to set my own hours and earn a living doing work that I enjoy.
I Saved Like Crazy
I’ve always had a strange obsession with personal finance.
While I worked both jobs I kept my expenses low and threw every last dollar into savings. Over the past couple of years I’ve been able to build my emergency fund up to over six thousand dollars.
Now I don’t have to worry about a big expense breaking me. I’ll be able to cover most of the things that come my way.
I Made Sacrifices
I’ve been realistic about my situation. I keep my expenses low, hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.
I’m now completely debt free, have a career I love, and enough savings to tide me over in the event of an emergency. By being proactive instead of reactive I truly believe I’ve set me and my daughters up for success.
To all you newly single mothers I know how it hard it can be. In that first year of single motherhood you’ll be thrown curve ball after curve ball. But if you’re willing to make the sacrifices you need to make you can build a wonderful life for you and your children.
Just hang in there. It’ll get better.