Being a single mother is not easy, and doing it without the financial support of a partner can be daunting, but clever planning can help to lighten the load.

According to the 2018 Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor, nearly one in every two mothers (46 percent) are single, and only 14 percent of fathers contribute regularly to their children’s financial support. If you find yourself in this position there are ways of fighting for the financial support you and your child deserve. 

You can visit your nearest magistrates’ courts to apply for child maintenance (and get advice from the Jet Club Legal helpline). By law fathers are obliged to pay maintenance for their children, but not all of them do, so make sure you investigate your legal options. However, this can be a lengthy process, so if you are supporting your child on your own here are some suggestions on how to manage your finances. If you get these basics in place, it will help you get through each month financially.

Set aside a space as your ‘office’ where you keep your bills. Draw up a budget to show what you’re spending each month on housing, transport, food, school fees and other necessities. A free app such as Moneysmart or 22seven will basically do your budgeting for you. Set aside 10 minutes each week to check your progress and make adjustments as and where needed.

Make a list of every single one of your debts, no matter how small. Cameron McCallum, director and wealth manager at Netto Invest, says if you share a credit card with an ex partner, get him to transfer his portion on to his own credit card. Otherwise, if he misses a payment it can hurt your credit rating, and creditors can come after you, even if you’re legally divorced. Address debts by paying those that charge the highest interest first, as this reduces your long-term payment. Or you could consolidate them into one account at a lower overall interest rate, if possible. Some people prefer tackling small debts first, crossing off one at a time to build momentum and motivation. Talk to a financial adviser about the best option for you (see directory).

Use cash rather than credit cards, and shop with a list (and without the kids!), to reduce the temptation to buy things that are unnecessary. Stick to affordable stores and brands, and shop once a week rather than daily. Explore second-hand book stores and sites like Once More and bidorbuy, where you can sell unused items of your own.

Consider a second job, or a side-line such as selling home-baked muffins at the office, making clothes or phone covers. Or while the kids sleep, study for a certificate that could secure you a better-paying position. If you’ve been in the same job for some time, talk to your boss about a raise (be sure to tell him or her what extra value you bring – list your achievements and strengths and perhaps even offer to work longer hours).

If your children are old enough, explain the reality of your financial situation. Teach them the basics of budgeting and get them on board. If they want a cellphone or a matric dance dress, encourage them to budget, earn with odd jobs and save. It’s a great life lesson.

Everyone needs help sometimes, whether emotional, physical or financial. Don’t risk burnout your kids need a healthy, happy mom, and you deserve to be one so if you feel you’re not coping, reach out to anyone who can help, whether a family member, friend, colleague or professional.

· Make sure you have all of the following in place for peace of mind:
· An up-to-date will so your kids are taken care of should anything happen to you. Also appoint a trustworthy guardian.
· Life cover to provide for them financially should you pass away.
· Disability cover in case an accident or illness leaves you unable to earn.
· Medical aid.
· An emergency fund for unexpected expenses such as major appliance repairs.
· A retirement plan, so you’re not left dependent on your children.

Jet Club Members have free Access to Jet Club’s Helplines.

Legal Helpline
SA & Namibia
0800 0045 45

Botswana, Lesotho & Swaziland
+2711 991 8258

The Association Of Botswana Financial Advisors

Southern Africa
Financial Planning Institute Of South Africa
+2711 470 6000

MONEY GOALS FOR SINGLE MOMS MONEY GOALS FOR SINGLE MOMS Reviewed by Jet Club on May 15, 2019 Rating: 5
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