Single Mom Money

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

One of the crappiest things (non-emotional) due to my divorce is now I have to run 1 household on 1 income versus 1 household on 2 incomes. That means I'm responsible for it all; the rent, the car payment, the personal loan, the student loan, medical bills, oh yeah and living necessities like food, diaper, toilet paper, etc. Luckily, I have a good job but holy moly ... the sudden pressure and responsibility is intense.

I've had to do a lot of thinking because my future is no longer "we's" and working with someone else on a retirement plan or even the simple act of eliminating any debt. It's all on me. I'm dictating what my retirement plan looks like, and I'm in charge of my debt and getting rid of it to free up some money so that I can retire! Problem is - I've never been super good at managing my money and have gotten into a lot of personal financial trouble in the past. This includes foreclosing on my condo in 2011 and filing for bankruptcy. Not good. But it gave me a clean slate and I was able to re-establish credit (through a new car purchase and credit card) and have been trying to stay really smart with living within my means. I'm a huge consumer, especially when I'm going through a rough patch in life. So my spending can spiral out of control when it's something that makes me happy through a really hard time.

To combat that, I've been keeping track of all of my "debts" and balances on them - and have created a Plan of Attack! My goal is to get my debt to almost nothing or paid off by the time the girls are ready for kindergarten so that I can purchase a home in an ideal school district and afford to live in that area. Having no (or very little) debt will definitely help with that dream. I've read the Dave Ramsey book, Total Money Makeover and he has some great tips if you can get past all of his rants and woman-bashing examples. You do a few "baby steps" to get to the final goal of paying off your debt and then investing in your future and building your wealth. A lot of people have had great success from his plan, including one of my favorite Instagrammers (who also blogs about debt), Jen Dufore at Jen also hosts a community of people focused towards paying off their debt in her Facebook group which you can link into from her website. There's a lot of great success stories and tips shared through the group.

Another resource that I've been an avid reader of is the blog And Then We Saved. Anna paid off almost $24,000 in debt in just 15 months! She has a lot of great tips and "challenges" including the Spending Fast and the Spending Diet. Do you have what it takes to spend no money for 30 days? How about a whole year? Imagine how much money you could throw towards your debt if you eliminated non-essential spending! She encourages "out of the box" ways to save money including selling unused items, purging non-necessities, doing odd jobs, etc. All of it is in an effort to life a debt-free life! I honestly, can't imagine. I'd be rich hahahaha!

There's also a great website, if you're interested in couponing, sweepstakes, or freebies called Free Stuff Times. They peruse the world wide web and find the latest contests, and even put together a shopping list for major retailers like Target and Walmart and pair their ad items with coupons so that you can get the best bang for your buck during that week's shopping trip! And some of the bargains they find equal FREE products!! I like to check for the free Kindle listings for the week or month, and sometimes there are free Pampers Rewards codes too!

How do you budget on a single income? What crazy things have you done to earn extra money or pay down debt?
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