Home » Managing Money as a Single Parent: 7 Essential Tips

Managing Money as a Single Parent: 7 Essential Tips

by UNN Feed

Budgeting, saving and planning for a family is complicated enough when you have the help of a partner. But if you’re one of the estimated 1.84 million single-parent families in Canada, managing your finances and raising kids alone can feel even more daunting.

Julia Chung knows the feeling all too well.

Chung was a teenage single mom who felt the sting of judgment and rejection as she raised her son on her own. The now-CEO of Spring Planning in Greater Vancouver recalls making tough choices and sacrifices early on to ensure she and her son would have a stable financial footing.

“I struggled quite a bit, but I made an active choice that what I’m doing now is for my future and his future,” says Chung, who is also president of the Financial Planning Association of Canada. “There are sacrifices that he made and I made so that we could get to a point where we could buy a house and those sorts of things.”

Whether you’re a new single parent or have been solo parenting for years, following these steps can help you take control of your money — and build a bright future for you and your children.

1. Look your financial situation in the eye

Gather your bank statements, pay stubs and any loan or credit card bills to assess your net income versus how much you owe each month, Chung says. Don’t forget to include child and/or spousal support payments. Unless you know how much is coming in (and what’s going out), you won’t be able to create a sustainable, realistic budget, Chung adds. 

If you don’t have much of a credit history, consider opening a secured credit card or one with a low credit limit as soon as possible, says Drew Adamick, a certified financial planner and founder of Divergent Financial Planning in Lethbridge, Alberta. This will help you build your credit history and profile so you can qualify for future financing if you need to buy a home or get a new car on your own, he adds.

2. Update your estate plan, especially…

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