UPDATE: This article was published in November 2015. Make sure you’re up to...
Being a single parent is no bed of roses!
Being single does have rewards. You have complete control of your life and you’re able to do whatever you like when you like. You don’t have to justify your actions to anyone.
And some of the best parts of being single are being able to come and go as you please and not having to have an argument or discussion with anyone when you want to go on a shopping spree!
However, being a single parent and trying to raise children on your own is no bed of roses.
According to Gingerbread nearly a quarter (23%) of households with dependent children are single parent families, and there are 1.9 million single parents in Britain today.
As well as the constant demands from the children, you may find yourself having to juggle the bills on just the one income.
You don’t have the freedom to come and go as you please and there’s never any money left in your budget to go on a wild shopping spree.
It can be even worse if you have significant debt as well.
If you find yourself on the downward spiral of debt, struggling to make ends meet on your own with a young family, then don’t keep it bottled up and hope it will go away. It won’t. Tell others about it.
Using credit cards and payday loans to get from one pay day to the next or to cover unexpected expenses and income shortfalls just does not work. You need to work out a budget.
If there is more going out than coming in, look at ways to either try and increase your income or cut back on non-essential spending. By spending more money than you have coming in, things can only get worse.
Eight tips for single parents to grab back control of debt
- Do you find unopened bills scattered about the house in unusual places such as in the food cupboard, or stuffed down the back of the sofa? Don’t leave letters unopened. Deal with them as soon as they arrive.
- Contact your creditors as soon as you realise that you’re struggling. Don’t leave it until you’ve missed several payments. Let your creditors know what your circumstances are and why you are having problems paying your bills. Send them a copy of your income and expenditure to back up any offer of payment and don’t be pressured into paying more than you can afford.
- Make sure you are receiving all the benefits and Tax Credits you are entitled to.
- Tell family and friends that you’re struggling. They may be able to help you.
- Shop around for the best deals on utilities and mobile phones.
- Do you need two mobile phones? Is the SKY package essential? Cut back on unnecessary expenditure.
- If you’re living in your overdraft, change to a basic bank account elsewhere. This will put you back in charge of your finances and stop the bank taking money from your account to pay off the debts you have with them
- Don’t feel you have to cope on your own. Gingerbread and Netmums offer practical support for single parents.
And, if your debts are becoming a problem and you need some help, you can use our online debt advice facility Debt Remedy.
If you’re a single parent let us know how you cope! Remember, you don’t need to struggle alone.