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Top holiday budgeting tips for single moms and dads

The festive season is often the time single parents push their budgets and bank balances. Don’t put yourself into debt with these tips.

Being a single mom or dad is hard on the pocket, especially during the holidays. The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank this festive season. You and your children can still enjoy the spills and frills of Christmas, without throwing you into debt, with these top budgeting tips…

Draw up a budget – and stick to it

Drawing up a budget before spending your money is very important. If you are not used to it, you need to get into the habit. Write down how much you intend to spend and on what, how much your expenses are and this will help you see how much you’ll be left with for saving.

Make a list of priorities

When drafting your monthly budget, ensure that you only set aside money for the most important things first. These include food, accommodation, clothes, transport, bills, etc. Eating out and other entertainment activities shouldn’t be your top priority.

Look out for specials

Plan your weekly or monthly grocery shopping around store specials, and try to buy in bulk. This will help you save money and get the best products at the best prices. Sign-up for reward/loyalty programs and download the store apps to get bargains on-the-go.

Remember to save

It doesn’t matter how much you save, but save on a monthly basis for rainy days. Anything can go wrong during the month and the only way such times won’t leave you financially frustrated is if you have money you can access without getting into any debt.

Pay your bills on time

Paying your bills on time saves you from getting a higher interest rate or paying penalty fees on late payments. You are already working on a limited budget. You need to prioritise sticking to the expense amounts you already have, instead of increasing them.

Limit eating out

Eating out is costly. To cut costs, pack snacks from home for your child to keep him/her busy and to fill him/her up while waiting for your order. By the time the order comes, he/she is full and ready to go colour or play. Usually, children want to eat off your plate anyway and that’s what you can share if he/she is still hungry after snacking.

Open a savings account

So you managed to piggy bank some of your money for rainy days, but still have a couple of notes left. Why not stash those into a tax-free savings account (yes, they actually exist!) You can even open one on behalf of your child. No initial fees, exit penalties, or administration fees. Otherwise, you can opt for fixed deposits, unit trusts, retail savings bonds, or exchange-traded funds (ETFs.) No matter which one you choose, you’ll be two steps closer to more financial freedom for you and your bundle of joy.

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