Author Lisa Alther summarized it best when she said, “Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease.”
Managing work and raising kids can feel like the world’s greatest juggling act for single moms. Tossing in a bowling ball illustrates the pressure of staying on top of finances on one income with only 24 hours in the day.
For Mother’s Day, we wanted to give single moms a little bit of time back. Here’s a checklist of 5 financial priorities that everyone, especially single moms, can use to start building financial stability today.
It can be tempting to take out payday loans or max out credit cards to get through the day. Unfortunately, these services also come with high costs that can take a long time to pay off. Avoid payday loans and pay back your credit card bill in full by the due date.
Some debts, like mortgages or student loans, are necessary to grow your wealth. Be cautious whenever you take out a loan and make sure that you can afford the terms and interest rates that come with them.
If you have a lot of debt, build a budget that works for your family with room to pay back your debts as quickly as possible. Payactiv offers free 1:1 financial counseling in our app available in the Apple App Store and Google Play if you need support or assistance with your finances.
Financial emergencies can happen anytime and often cost $1,000 or more. An emergency fund is a great way to keep your emergency savings safe. Financial experts suggest keeping at least three months of expenses. If you’re self-employed, work seasonally, or your schedule changes frequently, consider doubling your savings goal to six months of expenses.
Tip: The Payactiv Visa® Card* comes with optional goal-based saving to help you put money into your emergency fund automatically on whatever schedule you choose. Set up Direct Deposit and get paid up to two days early1.
Tip: Scholarship.com has a long list of scholarships available to single mothers that’s worth checking out if you’re a single mom thinking about going back to school. Community college classes are inexpensive and a great place to start if you’re unsure about what you’d like to study.
If you have extra income after paying off debts and saving three months of expenses in an emergency fund, it’s time to put some of that money to work in investments. Investing in an employer-sponsored 401(k) account is a wise idea. If you don’t have that at work, open an individual retirement account (IRA) at the investment brokerage of your choice.
Tip: Find an inexpensive book or podcast on investing from an expert you admire. We have a few Dave Ramsey fans who work at Payactiv (this author included!).
If you ignore your finances or procrastinate checking your bank statement, you could miss an opportunity to improve your lifestyle. Set a timer for a few minutes a week to create a simple budget and check in on your finances. Building the habit of thinking about your finances can help you and your family for years to come. If you struggle with feeling motivated to budget, try rewarding yourself with something fun to help rewire your brain.
Tip: The SmartSpend feature calculates a budget for you. To use it, link your existing bank account to your Payactiv account, and SmartSpend will tell you how much is safe to spend.
As a single mom, it’s essential to be kind to yourself and feel proud of your accomplishments to date. Instead of focusing on the past, focus on the present and how you can reach your ideal financial future. Your goals will help guide your financial decisions and motivate you to own your finances. When you stay in control of your money and stick with a plan, everyone benefits.
You’ve got this!
*The Payactiv Visa® Prepaid Card is issued by Central Bank of Kansas City, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Certain fees, terms, and conditions are associated with the approval, maintenance, and use of the Card. You should consult your Cardholder Agreement and the Fee Schedule at Payactiv.com/card411. If you have questions regarding the Card or such fees, terms, and conditions, you can contact us toll-free at 877-747-5862, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
1In order for you to be paid early, your payroll or benefits payment provider must submit the deposit early. It is important to note that your payroll or benefits payment provider may not submit the deposit or payment early each payment period. Be sure to ask your payroll or benefits payment provider when they submit your deposit information to the bank for processing. Early deposit of funds will begin upon the 2nd qualifying deposit. A qualifying deposit is defined as a direct deposit greater than $5.00 received from the same payer.
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* The Payactiv Visa Prepaid Card is issued by Central Bank of Kansas City, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Certain fees, terms, and conditions are associated with the approval, maintenance, and use of the Card. You should consult your Cardholder Agreement and the Fee Schedule at payactiv.com/card411. If you have questions regarding the Card or such fees, terms, and conditions, you can contact us toll-free at 877-747-5862, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
**Central Bank of Kansas City is the issuer of the Payactiv Visa Prepaid Card only and does not administer, endorse, nor is liable for the Payctiv App.
1 Standard rates for data and messaging may apply from your wireless provider.
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Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.