I am a divorced single mom of four of the world’s greatest children. I have been raising them on my own for the last nine years. It has been difficult navigating as a single woman in my career, the dating scene, and my financial life.
As a single woman, I found that I did many things to substitute for being single. If I was bored, I shopped. If I was lonely, I had impromptu lunches with my girlfriends. When holidays and birthdays came, I did extravagant things for my children and myself, because heck, I’m doing this alone and I deserve it! Have you single ladies felt like this before, or am I the only one? What about when you ask your girlfriend if you should buy that designer bag, new car, or take that vacation; most often we hear, “girl, you deserve it!” However, the question that should be asked is, “can you afford it?”
I did not plan to live life single. I do not find it fun to raise my children alone. I know that most of us don’t want to be in the positions that we are in; alone, raising children, making long-term decisions, managing the finances, college planning, and the list goes on. Sometimes it is overwhelming, exhausting, and downright unfair. I get frustrated and think, heck, I work hard, so why not treat myself to that happy hour, those new shoes, that new purse, that new outfit, that new car… You feel me?
However, should we risk our financial stability to reward ourselves? Most logical people would say that is ludicrous; yet, single parents do this without realizing the effects until an emergency arises.
So here is the caveat; we only deserve what God says we can afford, no more, no less. I am not telling you that you should not have nice things. I am not suggesting that you not enjoy a wonderful vacation, a nice home, or a nice car. I am saying, if deserving it jeopardizes your family’s financial stability, then you do not deserve it! If deserving it means you do not have an emergency savings, you will be late on your bills, or you have to put it on a credit card, then naw girl, you don’t deserve it!
You deserve financial stability. You deserve to be able to fix the car when it breaks down. You deserve to be able to replace the washing machine when it stops working. You deserve to pay your bills on time every month. You deserve to have 3 to 6 months of expenses in a savings account. You deserve to have enough money saved to enjoy retirement. You deserve to take a vacation that did not require a credit card. You deserve to be debt free. You deserve to give to the charities and organizations that are meaningful to you.
Stop believing the hype! If you are not where you want to be financially, then you deserve to be, but you need to make some changes. Below are a few tips that will help you begin to live the life you so deserve.
- Create a budget. A budget is a plan of how you will spend your money. If small businesses and major corporations cannot survive without a budget, neither can you! Share the budget, or portions of it with the children. Inform them of the family’s financial goal. Do your best to adhere to the budget. Most often, the kids will hold you accountable.
- Eat at home. Most single moms are always on the go. After work they’ve got practices, homework, etc. However, if you want to save money commit to eating at home. Tell the kids no more drive-thru. Have them make a PB&J sandwich and take a bottle of water to practice. Come home and cook dinner, or power cook on Sundays so that you do not have to cook during the week.
- Create a weekly meal plan. I try to plan my meals based on the grocery items on sale. You can plan 5-6 dinner meals per week and then go to the store and get only those items. This will prevent you from having to go to the store every evening after work to buy dinner, saving both time and money.
- Limit extracurricular activities. Have a talk with little Johnny or Susie and explain that they can only do one activity for the school year (based on your time and budget of course). This will require them to master that activity, and minimize the running around you do after work.
- Create a family “Deserve It” jar. Get the children on board. If you want to go on a family vacation or to an event, have them come up with ways to decrease expenses, and make extra money. Take that money and put it in the “Deserve It” jar. The children will hold you accountable, and when you meet the monetary goal then you deserve it!
I understand that it is difficult navigating this life alone. But you are not alone. God said that He would never leave you nor forsake you. You can do this! You deserve to live a life of blessings and prosperity. However, you must stop behaviors that counteract that from manifesting.
I’m on the journey, and I’d love to help you Stop Broke-i$m!