Practical Financial advice for the Divorced Dad. Learn the best financial tips for 2013 from SingleDad.com
One of the most challenging aspects of being a single parent is the financial strain that can be posed on your wallet. Kids, even tiny infants, can drain your bank account. From clothes to lunches, toys to school supplies, there’s nothing thrifty about raising little ones. Staying on top of your savings now will help guide your children financially. Here are some tips that you should do now that will provide benefits to your children down the road.
Entertain Without Breaking the Bank
Sometimes it seems like there is a break from classes every other week during the school year. During those summer months and three-day weekends when your kids are out of school, expenses can add up quickly. Daycare, trips to the movies, swimming lessons, vacations, days at the amusement park— these all take a toll on your pocket book. Many single dads are worried about going into debt during those various vacations, especially if they still have to work full-time and have to hire someone to stay with their kids during the day. Here are some cheap, or even free, ways to keep the kids happy through the year:
- Take advantage of community sponsored activities such as library reading programs, music in the park and theatrical productions.
- Use coupons for buy-one-get-one-free deals for everything from amusement park trips to ice cream cones.
- Have some good, old-fashion play dates with neighborhood kids. Yes, kids are still capable of playing without electronics or digital media.
- Break out some old boxes, paint, scissors and tape and let the kids create a fort, car or whatever else their imagination comes up with.
- Teach them to cook. While it might take a little longer to get meals on the table now, you’ll be rewarded in the future when they can give you the night off.
Credit cards should be used sparingly when it comes to entertainment purchases. Always use these as emergency options and pay off your balance at the end of the month. Sometimes using these cards is the only option, say for bigger purchases like laptops or bedroom furniture. Make sure your personal information is protected and consider an identity theft protection service, such as Lifelock. A company like this will guard your info for any suspicious activity against your credit and sensitive information.
Save For College
Sure, you may not be able to pay for every dime of his bachelor’s degree, but you can help get him off on the right foot by opening a college savings account for your child. Add to it every month, even if it’s only $25, and the deposits, plus interest, will add up over time. Your kids will be thankful for whatever amount you can give them as they head off to college. Every little bit counts, especially with rising college costs.
Having the appropriate amounts of life insurance and disability insurance are essential for parents, especially single parents. If you are the only parent caring for your child, talk to relatives or trusted friends about plans of what to do if something unfortunate happens. While a parent can’t be replaced, the peace of mind that comes from having money to raise the kids, without worrying about the loss of income, is priceless.
As you go about implementing these tips, communicate with your children about what you’re doing. This is especially helpful to older kids who may not understand why you’re making sacrifices now or why disability insurance premiums need to be paid before money can be saved for a trip to the beach. Teaching the importance of handling money correctly and saving what you can will pay off for your family.
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!”