How should you continue your saving journey as a single Mum?
“Sometimes, when you pick up your child, you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood – finding a piece of yourself separate and apart, that all the same, you could not live without.” – Jodi Picoult
Parenthood comes with many unexpected emotions and experiences, some of which can only be experienced as a parent as you give unconditional love to your children and find that you have become a better person for it, with some parents having found purpose. Becoming a parent usually involves making sacrifices such as putting children’s needs above your own when it comes to providing them with what they need, such as clothing, food, and shelter.
Although becoming a parent can be a rewarding experience when it comes to staying financially afloat, some parents can find themselves in a financial pickle. As funds become more limited with children and saving money becomes incredibly challenging especially if you’re a single parent and do not have enough finances to support your child’s needs and your own. Bringing up, children can come at a high price, with the child poverty action group estimating that the cost of raising a child until they are age 18 is £75,233.
In 2020 there were 2.9 million lone-parent families, according to ONS findings. Furthermore, Gingerbread had found that approximately 90 per cent of single parents were women. Save the children also obtained data showing that more than 1 million single parents received universal credit, with 9 in 10 being women.
Benefits and child maintenance for lone parents
There are child maintenance benefits for single parents, such as Gingerbread, which give sole parents free information packs. They can provide you with independent advice relating to benefits, housing, and maintenance difficulties.
Furthermore, reaching a child maintenance arrangement with the other parent is not always possible, which is why the government has a child maintenance service that can organise child maintenance for you. They can get maintenance payments from the paying parent and then give them to you. And if you do not know where the other parent is located, they can also assist you in finding them and support with paternity disputes.
What parents told IntelliSaving?
IntelliSaving recently asked members of the public about their parenting experiences:
Intellisaving asked parents what the positives of being a parent were. One parent responded with “The best part of becoming a parent is how vulnerable, fragile and dependent they are when they first come into the world; this is very significant for the relationship between parent and baby because of how in the first few months, the parent will be assessed on how well they handle their child’s needs”.
Another parent responded to the same question with “The best part of being a parent is the joy of having your children’s love and being a part of their life”.
How has being a parent impacted your ability to save? “Saving as a parent is difficult as I have to prioritise my child’s needs over mine. My financial situation has changed numerous times, but I have always found a way to provide for my child”.
The participants’ answers show that although there are challenges such as difficulty saving, being a parent is still worthwhile because of all the positives that come with it. Parents must overcome many challenges along the way, but many of them learn that they have strengths that they did not even know they had and can overcome financial situations through being more careful with spending habits and having family support when they need it most.
Tips on saving money as a new parent/soon to be a parent:
- Find out how much expenses you have
Before taking any other step towards saving money, you must first find out your expenses and how much comes out on a weekly to monthly basis and then once you know how much is going towards the essential, you need to work out your budget
- Work out your budget
Work out your budget based on how much goes to the cost of living, such as utility bills. Once you have worked out how much goes towards the essential, apply your saving strategy before your spending method
- Apply a Saving first spend later strategy
Apply a saving first strategy before a spending strategy as saving is less effective when you apply a spending strategy first as when you spend instead, you’re less likely to have anything left over to save, especially if you are a big spender, which will mean that you will constantly be battle between the part of you that wants to spend and the side that wants to save.
- Allocate what you have left after paying bills and saving
After you have paid for all your bills and applied a saving strategy, you can use the money you have left to go towards anything else you may need or want, such as going out for dinners and maternity clothes. You can add these extra costs to your budget and how much you would like to save for maternity clothes and other excursions.
- Open a saving account in preparation for your newborn’s arrival
If you have a baby on the way or plan to start a family opening a saving account to begin saving regular amounts into the account helps save towards prams, cots, clothing, and anything else your baby will need. You can also find out the average cost of the items you need, such as cots and prams, by looking online and visiting stores to get a better idea of how much you should be aiming to save to cover the costs of what your baby will need.
Even if your bundle of joy has already arrived, opening an account will still essential for providing for your child’s future.
- If you’re a soon to be mum, have a baby shower
Baby shower? Yes, a baby shower as family and friends usually bring gifts for your unborn treasure such as clothing; if you plan a baby shower and send a list of what your baby needs around to the invitees of what your baby will need, they will then see what they can afford to buy and bring along to your baby shower which will help you prepare for your bundle of joys arrival
- Saving on items such as nappies
Non-brand items are often cheaper than brand items and do the same job. There is also the option of reusable nappies, which help you save as you will not need to purchase nappies regularly, as a penny saved is a penny earned.
- Apply for benefits and support
Financial support is available as an aid in helping with the expenses that come with having a baby or having children; for those expecting a baby, you are entitled to NHS dental care and prescriptions throughout your pregnancy and a year after your baby has been born. Some pregnant women may also be eligible for a Sure Start maternity grant, a one-off £500 payment to help with some costs. There are also Healthy start vouchers for pregnant women or those with a child under four years old to spend on items such as milk and infant formula. Some parents can also receive child benefits monthly. Please note that your eligibility for certain subsidies could be income-dependent, whereas others are for every new parent.
- Keep on the lookout for discount codes
Looking out for discount codes is another good way of saving as a new or soon to be parent as sometimes you can find discounts when searching for in-store offers. Mothercare has a Mothercare scheme that gives a 20% discount to those who sign up.
- Joining clubs for discounts
Boots parenting club gives additional advantage points when individuals buy items for their baby at critical phases of their baby’s development. An alternate option is the Asda baby and toddler club, where parents are notified about money off events in the supermarket.
- Join a saving app
Intellisaving is a free saving app and is the best app for finance management. The Intellisaving platform is suitable for every saver; for instance, if you open a saving account on behalf of your children or in preparation for your child’s arrival, Intellisaving will help you track and manage your accounts more strategically.
The smart saving account application that is Intellisaving is an app for saving that has a detailed personalised portfolio of your financial saving profile, enables you to add accounts either manually or directly from your bank, and allows you to compare different savings interest-bearing accounts in the market.
Saving can be problematic for several reasons, and most will go through financial hardship at least once in their lives, so if you feel alone in the financial burden of trying to raise children on a tight budget, you are not alone. There are millions like you trying to provide for their family the best way they can. Many mums face several hardships but often manage to overcome many of those challenges through perseverance and dedication to not give up for the sake of their children. As C.Joybell says, “The strength of a women is not measured by impact that all her hardships in life have had on her, but the strength of a women is measured by the extent of her refusal to allow those hardships to dictate her and who she becomes”. So, keep going and do not give up; with each day comes a new opportunity to become a better saver and overcome the hardships that can plague the future outlook.