7 Steps to Economic Empowerment

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For many single parent families, the relationship with money is a love/hate relationship. We need it all the time, love it when we have it, and hate it when it%u2019s out of our reach.

The goal of Rich Single Momma is to empower single moms to live a balanced life starting with their money. Because money is usually on the top of the list of concerns this is naturally the best topic to cover during the first part of this New Year. But is it really about the money or something more?
The way I see it, it is about empowerment. For many the relationship with money is a love/hate relationship. We need it all the time, love it when we have it, and hate it when it’s out of our reach. To be empowered when it comes to money is to change our thoughts about it and come to an understanding that will benefit you. Here are seven tips for economic empowerment and a better relationship with money:

1. Change your thinking about money.
For many people, especially single moms, money has many negative connotations. You don’t have it, there is not enough of it, and you don’t know where the next batch is coming from. We have a tendency to think that it is out of reach all of the time and we struggle with it.

The truth about money is that it is simply a tool to get the things we need and want. Of course not having it and thinking about your lack will not make it come to you any faster. When you change your thinking about money, see its true purpose, and realize it’s abundance you will have more of it.

Whenever I have to pay a bill, write a check, or spend money I keep in mind that there is more where that came from. I will have more, not because I am doing anything special but because I just know that it will come again. Sometimes we get so caught up in holding on to it with such tight fists that we fail to realize that a closed hand cannot receive more.

2. Discover other ways to get what you really want because money may not really be the bottom line. There is a deeper need. With money constantly on the brain we forget that it is not what we really want. The true needs are a roof over our heads, food to eat, clothes to wear, or a problem solved. When you look past money and see the true need or want you release the tension and negative thoughts about money and your situation. Your creative eyes open and you find ways to get what you need without being burdened by the “not enough money” syndrome.

When I want a new outfit or school supplies for the kids I don’t always rush out to the store to make a purchase. I think about it for a while and try to find other ways to get what I want/need. I make lists so on my wants list I write down that I need a new outfit. Sometimes I don’t even do that, but I will just think about it and let it go.

This happened just before Christmas as I looked through my closet and anticipated the cold weather that settled in. I didn’t go out and buy new clothes but I just waited. For Christmas I got three new outfits from my mom. She was more than happy to buy them for me. A few days later my best friend called and told me to stop by when I came into town because she had some clothes to give me. She buys clothes and often will wear them once or not at all. She keeps her clothes up well so they always look new. Too bad we don’t wear the same size in shoes, but you get the point.

For school supplies I wait until there are school supply drives and sign my kids up for them. Unusually there are several around town so they can get supplies for the year. The point is that getting what you want is not always about spending money but about waiting for the right opportunity and trusting that God (or the Universe) will come through for you.

3. Barter with others including moms, small businesses, your health providers, etc.
Bartering was the first form of exchanging goods for services. The basic idea is to give something to get something. You may have something that others need or want. It may be a product, service, or personal item. Others may have what you want so you come to an agreement to exchange things or time instead of money.

An apple farmer may need eggs so he goes to the neighbor with chickens and offers a bushel of apples for two dozen eggs. Both people get what they need and no money is exchanged. So if you have a need and have some time, a project, or talent consider exchanging it with someone who has what you want. The barter system is a temporary way to get what you need when money is flowing in slower than you want.

4. Learn to separate your wants and needs.
I am yearning for an iPod Touch. I want that thing so badly that I have almost convinced myself that I need it. The reality is that I have a perfectly good 30gig iPod classic. Sure the iPod Touch is the latest in electronic gadgetry and it is so cool, but I really don’t need it. Sometimes it is hard to separate our needs from our wants. The reality is the only thing we need is air, water, food, and shelter. Okay we need clothes too, but the basics are few. The rest of the stuff is optional.

5. Pay your bills with a grateful heart.
The services you receive in exchange for your money are essential for living. I used to hate paying bills until I heard someone say that I should be grateful because I have the benefit of using the services provided by the city, phone company, car finance company, and on and on. When I thought about it from that perspective my attitude changed.

I could be in a homeless shelter, unemployed, or living with my parents (not that any of those circumstances are anything to be ashamed of). I have lights, water, a car, gasoline, food, and many other necessary services. So I am grateful for the bills and will gladly pay them.

6. Give some money away.
Trust me; you will get more back than you gave. The concept of tithing was first introduced by God. I know there are some who don’t believe or have a relationship with Him and that’s okay. He is where this whole tithing and charity donation thing started. The truth is it feels good to give, to contribute to a cause or greater good.

When we give away money with a cheerful and grateful heart it comes back, sometimes double or triple what you gave. Do you ever wonder why the wealthy give so much of their money away? It’s because they know the law of giving to get or reciprocity. I mentioned before that a closed fist cannot receive anything.

So when you hear a call for a donation, give it with as much love and gratefulness as you can muster. Then forget about it, go away with the feeling of joy. You don’t have to start out big, a couple of dollars to start with, but don’t stay in that range. Increase your giving and watch your bank account grow. If you don’t have money to give (right now) give away your time or that extra coat, book, or toy. Get in the habit of giving and watch it come back to you in triplicate.

7. Worry less about money and more about loving your life and your kids.
When bills and needs loom above your head it is hard to forget about money problems. If the rent or mortgage is late or the car note is about to be two months late the problem is very real and overwhelming. I have been there and the stress almost strangled me. After a while I had to ask myself the question, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” If the worst thing wasn’t losing my kids or my life then it would be okay.

This mental shift did wonders for my stress level. If my car was taken or I got kicked out of my home I would be okay just as long I had my kids and my health. I am a firm believer in starting over. Nothing is so insurmountable that simply beginning again is impossible. Learning to love my life, the way it is, with all it’s obstacles, problems and past issues is way better than stressing and complaining about things I cannot change (at the moment). My kids, your kids grow up only once and you deserve to be there (in body and mind) for the entire wild ride. They won’t remember the money problems but they will remember stargazing or eating ice cream on a hot summer day.

© 2008 Samantha Gregory

Richard JaramilloRichard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”

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Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com, a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children. RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents “Make Life Happen…Again!”