How to Budget – Single Moms Can Make it Work

How to Budget-Budget tips for Single Moms

Single Mom BudgetOne of the most important concerns for a lot of single moms out there is how to budget. Numerous single moms go through a situation of trying to manage a tight budget just to provide continuously for their kids. This can be extremely hard for them, especially when they are facing and doing this on their own, with no partner to help and support them. Learning how to budget can make financial struggles feel like less of a burden.

However, having a good budget is crucial especially when you can almost guarantee some emergencies to happen to you and your family. Learning how to budget can help a single mom learn how they can manage their money better without all the stress and pressure. These tips will help all single moms to establish a household budget:

Learn How to Budget for Your Family

•    Firstly, determine how much money you are getting every month. This is critical when learning how to budget.  Make sure that you include all sources of income that are promptly available to you like pay checks, social security, child support and even dividends on bonds and stocks. Anything that you are sure of coming to you should be part of the budget.

•    Next tip is to list all the expenses by starting with the most vital ones such as rent, car payment, insurance, as well as utilities. You may also include in the top list the groceries and then that is the time you begin with the other expenses like credit cards, incidentals and medical expenses.

•    Carefully look at how much money are coming in versus the money that is going out. Your priority should be the bills because these are the ones that keep you sheltered and keeps food always present on the table. Pay all of those bills out of what you have kept in your budget and take a look of what’s left. This is a key strategy of learning how to budget.

•    Determine the number of non-important bills that you can pay, and pay as many as you can. However, you must rank them in order of priority first, and after that, you can start paying them. If it is hard for you to pay the full amount, or if you need to make some payment arrangements, you can always try to negotiate with the person or office you owe and explain everything.

•    Lastly, take a look at the money that was left. Always keep in mind that unexpected emergencies will always happen, so you do not have to wait for the next pay day because you have extra money for any emergency situation that might occur.

Learn How to Budget – Spend Smart

When learning how to budget make an effort to squeeze in your budget every month until you know it by heart. Maintain trimming off costs here and there, and the money that you will be saving should be directly into your savings fund. Having a budget can help you keep track of where all your money is going, as well as get hold of steps to ensure that all of the money is going to the right places for your kids. How to budget for single moms is extremely important, so it is crucial that you pay attention with your budget. Learning how to budget will help you feel in control of your finances.

Are You A Victim of Identity Theft – What to Do

Are you currently a Victim of Identity Theft?

What To do Now if You’ve A Victim of Identity Theft

 

If you’ve ever been a victim and had your identity stolen, you know the frustration and stress, not to mention fear experienced after someone assumes your identity. Here are some actions to take after your identity has been stolen in order to re-establish yourself in the credit world.

1. Get a copy of your credit report. Doing so will aid you in determining which creditors have been contacted by the imposter rather than yourself. Once you have your credit report, you can begin the process of contacting those creditors to alert them to the fact your identity has been stolen and misrepresented at their business.

* RICHMAMA TIP: Even if your identity hasn’t been stolen, it’s a good idea to get a copy of your credit report annually to check it over and ensure there are no creditors listed that you haven’t had contact with.

* Get it for Free – You’re entitled to a free credit report yearly from the three major consumer reporting companies, which you can request through the Annual Credit Report website or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

Prove You’re a Victim of Identity Theft – Keep Good Records

2. Start a file. Compile all your information pertaining to the identity theft incident(s). Place originals and copies of all necessary documents in your file.

* When you do telephone anyone regarding your identity theft, record the company name, the name of the staff you spoke with, the date and time you spoke to them, and what was said to keep it in your file.

* In the event you have to mail someone one of the reports or documents, ensure you hang on to the original and mail copies only. Keep the  originals in case you need them.

* You’ll be surprised at how often you’ll be required to recollect specific facts related to your case. Your file will come in handy more than once.

3. Put a fraud alert on your credit reports. The purpose of this action is to alert all of your creditors that someone other than yourself has received credit in your name. To place a fraud alert on your credit reports, call any of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) to let them know.

If You’re a Victim of Identity Theft – Call the Police

 

4. File a police report. When you’re contacting the companies who’ve been defrauded by someone using your name, the companies will request either a copy of the police report or the police report’s identification number. For your records, it’s wise to obtain and keep a copy of the police report so when you need this info, you already have it in hand.

5. Close those Accounts- Closing those accounts will make them off-limits for the identity thief to further access. Plus, because of your contact, those businesses will know your identity has, in fact, been stolen.

* If possible, insist on using PIN- and password-protected accounts to protect your information in the future. Avoid using security questions with answers that are easily obtained (such as your phone number or address).

* The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, advises that you follow up on all contacts regarding your identity theft in writing. In some cases, the FTC suggests you mail your follow-up letters by certified mail with a return receipt requested for your document file.

6. File a complaint. The FTC also recommends that victims of identity theft contact the FTC website (ftc.gov/idtheft) to file a complaint. Then, law enforcement agencies can work in tandem to catch the people stealing identities.

7. Stay on top of the situation. Be hyper-vigilant about your credit accounts. Keep track of all incoming billing statements. In the event you believe your name or accounts have been misused, respond immediately by making calls, closing accounts and doing whatever is necessary to protect yourself.

If someone steals your identity, take action by completing the above steps. Being knowledgeable and alert will help you guard against future attempts to misuse your identity. Identity theft is no laughing matter but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

How to De Stress the Hectic After School Schedule

Now that school is in session are you finding that afternoons ramp up your stress meter – well you’re not alone.  This is a common problem for many families.  Here are some suggestions from author and educator Ann Dolin on how to de-stress the afternoon – and have a happier day with your kids.

Solutions to De-stress a Hectic After School Schedule By Ann K. Dolin, M.Ed.

In a recent KidsHealth survey, almost 90 percent of students said they felt stress day in and day out.  And when kids are stressed, their parents are as well.  Some of the stress is from school, classes, etc, but just as much pressure can be felt after school.  If your after-school schedule feels more hurried, stressful, and complicated than you would prefer, try the following the solutions to make life a little simpler for you and your child.

  • Reassess the After-School Schedule- I’m sure we can all agree that each child is different – some thrive on hectic schedules, whereas others crave downtime.  Listening to our kids is the only way we’ll know how they feel.  Take time to ask your child if his load is too stressful, or just right.  The flip side of this equation is your personal situation.  Perhaps more than children, parents feel overextended and exhausted.  Managing kids, a job, transportation to sports, and of course, homework, is enough to put even the most organized and efficient parent through the wringer.  If this feels too familiar, consider reexamining your children’s schedules.  Can one activity go by the wayside?  Is there a sport or lesson that your child doesn’t truly enjoy, but you insisted upon so that he doesn’t miss out on an opportunity?  These are the activities you might want to reconsider.
  • Create a Predictable Schedule – Although each child in your household is likely to have a different schedule, it helps to create a family policy that homework must at least be started before leaving for an after-school activity.  Getting a jump start on homework significantly reduces procrastination and stress later in the evening
  • Use a White Board – It’s easy to keep track of assignments with a white board. Hang a large white board near an area that will be used for homework. When your children return from school each day, insist that they write their assignments on the white board.  By using this tool, you or any other adult in the home will know of the assignments each child has for the day, what has been completed, and what is still left to do. When the homework assignment list is visible, unfinished work is less likely to slip through the cracks. This is a great solution for busy households.

 

  • Conduct an Audit – Busy parents know that it’s difficult to check every assignment each child has night after night. The Internal Revenue Service keeps taxpayers in line with random audits. You can do the same in your home by auditing homework a few times per week.  Let’s say that you have a family policy that all homework must be done by 9 p.m. otherwise privileges are taken away the following day.  At that time, ask to see your child’s homework.  Praise him or her if the work is done.  If it’s not done, rescind privileges such as leaving the house after school the following day to see friends or watching television.
  • Take a One-Hour Time Out -A one-hour time out is meant to be time away from anything that flashes, beeps, or has a screen. Choose 60 minutes every weekday (the hour immediately following dinner works well) and make that a mandatory quiet time. In our fast paced world, we’re bombarded by loud noises which can cause over-stimulation, agitation, and anxiety. During this time, there should be no iPods, televisions, video games, computers, or phones. Instead, consider activities such as reading independently or together, doing a puzzle or playing cards. You may find that simply leaving craft supplies out encourages creativity. A one-hour time out also forces kids who would usually be glued to electronics to go outside to play or get together with neighborhood friends.

It takes a concerted effort to manage stress.  Choose one or two of these strategies that might work for you and implement them for at least 21 days to see change.  Remember, research shows that it truly takes 21 days to modify a habit.

 

About the Author – Ann K. Dolin, M.Ed., is the founder and president of Educational Connections, Inc., a comprehensive provider of educational services in Fairfax, VA and Bethesda, MD. In her award-winning book, Homework Made Simple: Tips, Tools and Solutions for Stress-Free Homework, Dolin offers proven solutions to help the six key types of students who struggle with homework. Learn more at anndolin.com or ectutoring.com.

Stress Management Tips for Parents

Being a parent can be very stressful.  There are situations that you never thought you’d encounter.  And while dealing with office politics, sucking up to your boss and getting your work done are all skills you need to get ahead in the corporate world, none of these are of any use when being a parent.  Dealing with small individuals with minds of their own can be very stressful.  It’s no wonder that parents have more stress than ever.  Here are some time to help you better handle the stress of being a parent.

  • Take Care of Yourself  – Moms especially feel like there is no time for themselves.  You may work, have bills to pay and dinners to make.  It seems as if the work is never done – and it isn’t and won’t be.  So give yourself permission to do something for yourself – this will help avoid burnout.   Your kids will notice when you’re well rested and relaxed.  Stressed moms lead to stressed kids.   Take some time for yourself – find a babysitter, a relative or a friend who can give you a break.  Go get a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop and sit there for at least an hour.  Read a book, sip some coffee, peoplewatch.  Don’t talk on the phone or check your email.  You will feel relaxed and rested and better able to handle the kids when you return to the real world.   Don’t let more than a few weeks go by without taking some time for yourself.
  • Get Some Fresh Air – if you have small kids, through them in the stroller and go to the park.  Stroll along. look at nature, let them play on the playground while you relax on the park bench – encourage them to play with other kids or each other, allowing you some time to chill out.
  • Dance the Stress Out – Have more silly time with your kids.  Physical activity is a great stress management technique and as a busy parent it can sometimes be difficult to hit the gym.  So get funny with your kids.  Put on some fun music (I like classic 80s) and rock out with the kids. Play air guitar and head bang.  You will all feel better in no time.
  • Get Your Circle – we all need friends – even parents.  Finding friendship, even companionship can help bust stress.  Find a support group of other parents you can talk to – even if it’s just on the playground or at the bus stop – no these other parents do not need to replace your BFF from kindergarten – but your shared experiences as parents will help you form enough of a bond to enjoy each other’s company for awhile.
  • You Are Not A Servant – Parenting small children can sometimes feel like you’re a servant – after all they really can’t do much on their own – except create messes.  As they get older, moms sometimes find it’s easier to do things for their kids than taking the time to help them do things on their own – like clean up toys, set the table, get dressed, etc.  This constant servitude will drive you out the door and to a motel for a nervous breakdown faster than you can say, “Don’t spill…”  So establish some house rules about what your kids are expected to do.  Even having your kids hang their coats and put their clothes away can help reduce some of your chores – and make you feel less stressed out.
  • Ditch Perfection for Just Perfect Enough – Trying to be perfect can be extremely stressful – so don’t try to do it.  Except that as a parent somethings just don’t have to be perfect – like the cleanliness rating on your house.  Your kids want to feel safe and loved.  They are blind to the crumbs, so save yourself so stress and let forget to clean up one night – and don’t get stressed about it.

Nope, no one told you that raising kids would be so stressful for parents.  Oftentimes parents stress about the little things – when really they should be focusing on the big picture – making sure their kids feel safe and loved.  So go forth RichMamas and take some time to destress.

Are you stressed about money?  Money is the number one stress for couples and families.  Learn how to banish financial stress with One Rich Mama – the complete system for Chief Financial Moms to learn how to better save, spend and manage their family’s money.