Single Parenting: Making Ends Meet

As we continue to look into the specific challenges that single parents face, we come to the topic of family finances when you're the sole provider. And I've got to admit, it's tough. Single parents must find childcare and provide for their family, many times without any assistance. That can be rough...but thankfully it is possible. Let's take a look.

(While MomVesting realizes that many families of all walks of life might have a tough time making ends meet for any variety of reasons, we'll address this topic to single parents, just to keep things simple – but everyone's welcome to apply the info to their lives, no matter what the family situation.)

Financial Assistance

First, we once again come to the topic of financial assistance. Any family having trouble making ends meet can apply for financial assistance, and for single parents, this could be a godsend. Since we already discussed quite a bit about the financial assistance topic, let's just review the basics.

Basically, the best way to determine if you qualify for financial assistance is to contact the Department of Human Services. Through them, you can apply for many different assistance options, like childcare assistance, food stamps and rental assistance, among other programs. Also, it's important to note again that applying for aid should not be viewed as a sign of weakness but instead as a way to get by until you can improve your situation and give back to society again.

Fight for Child Support

Next, if you have not been receiving child support, you might choose to fight for your child's right to be supported by two parents. To do this, contact the Office of Child Support Enforcement in your area. They'll run you through everything that will happen in your case, including finding the parent (if you are unsure where the other parent is residing); completing genetic testing to legally determine that child is the other parent's; and meeting with a social worker. The social worker will then guide you through the remainder of the process and help you get the financial assistance you need while the child support case is in process.

Find Other Ways to Stretch Dollars and Increase Income

Once the legal and social services are out of the way, it may still be tough to make ends meet. Let's face it: child support often doesn't go far enough, and financial assistance may be stretched to the max. So what's a single parent to do? Let's look at some ways to make ends meet:

  • Increase Income: First, increasing income can help ease your financial burden. Take a look at our ideas on part-time jobs and work-at-home jobs.
  • Ask Family or Friends for Help: Sometimes other family members can help you through a rough patch as well, depending on their situation. This one can put a strain on relationships, though, so it may be a very last resort.
  • Budget: We always seem to come back to budgeting, but there's good reason. Tracking your cash can help you stick to spending goals and find ways to cut back on unnecessary spending.
  • Find Little Ways to Save Money: Coupons, sales, thrift stores, garage sales, cooking from scratch, trading goods, and saving pennies (really, saving change can add up!) can all help you stretch those dollars.

This post merely touches on the struggles single parents can face in making ends meet, but hopefully it can give parents in need a starting point to help them support the children. Because, really, when all is said and done, making ends meet is all about providing for the children in the best way possible.

Stay tuned for more single parenting posts, and feel free to let us know below your tips on how to make ends meet.

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Anonymous's picture

Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter wrote:

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 03:08 Comment #: 1

I remember a little of my very young years. Mom raised me herself from 1982 to 1989 before she met my step-dad. I remember her spending a lot of time finding us safe places to rent that were also cheap, eating a lot of beanie weenies, and having fun outside alot on the weekends. :-)