This post is in collaboration with PayPlan.
Being a single parent isn’t anything that I’ve ever experienced but how I would cope if I was in that situation has always been a consideration for me when planning our family finances.
It’s not that I plan to be a single parent at any point but I’m guessing not many people do. Life happens and things change for lots of reasons and whilst I can’t plan for how I’d cope mentally, I’ve always been conscious that I needed to be able to cope financially if the worst happened.
I want to know that I could cope if I suddenly went from a two-income family to a single parent one-income family. And it works both ways, if something was to happen to me then Mr Frugal would be in the position of coping with life as a single parent so I want to know that he’d be able to manage in that situation.
After my Dad died last year, it really brought it home to me how difficult it was for the person left behind to know what to do and I worried at the time that Mr Frugal would struggle to know what to do because I’m the one who looks after a lot of the money ‘stuff’ in our house. I wrote him a list of ten things that I wanted him to know if he was parenting on his own.
(Keep reading as that list is done there ↓↓↓↓↓↓ somewhere)
The reason I’m rambling on about single parenting today is that PayPlan shared some recent research with me about single-parent families and I was quite surprised at some of the facts which in turn got me thinking about my little ‘life after me’ list. I wasn’t surprised by the fact that one in four families in the UK are single-parent families but I was shocked to learn that one in ten single-parent families have used a payday lender or turned to their local food bank for help.
The thought of Mr Frugal on his own struggling about how to feed the kids breaks my heart and I don’t ever want that to happen. I don’t want it to happen to anyone which is why I thought I’d share my little list with you all today in the hope it helps someone else – my list has 11 things on there but some are only relevant to us. Here are the ones that I have that would help other families…
- Always have a monthly budget.
- You get a discount off your council tax of 25% if there’s only one adult in the house. Considering we pay £160 council tax each month that’s a pretty significant saving.
- Plan your meals EVERY week or you’ll end up spending a fortune and being a regular in the local takeaway. It takes five minutes and then you can do your shop online and just buy what you need.
- Every year, use TopCashback or Quidco in conjunction with comparison sites to make sure you’re on the best deal for energy, insurances, internet and anything else you can think of.
- Use the calendar on your phone (I like Google Calendar as you can have it on your Macbook and on your phone) and use it as a reminder for everything – appointments, important dates and reminders to check you’re on the best deals each year.
- Birthdays and Christmas happen at the same time every year so there’s no excuse not to put even a little bit of money aside each month to help you pay for them.
- I spend ages shopping about for the best deals so please don’t buy the first thing you see. You can save a fortune by shopping around so turn off your Xbox and put in the time.
There are lots more budgeting tips for single parents over on the PayPlan website if you want to have a look through them.
I was also shocked by some of the research findings which show that across a range of activities that you would expect to do as a family, an adult in a single-parent family pays more than an adult would pay per person in a two-parent family. The ‘family deals’ cater more for families with the stereotypical two adults and two children family and families that don’t fit that end up paying more.
As a society, we should expect companies to cater for families of all shapes and sizes. If a family of four can get a deal giving them a discount that reduced the cost per head then a family of two, three, five and six (and more) should be able to get the same kind of deal.
It’s well worth having a read of the comparisons as they’re made using the prices from companies many of you will have heard of and even used yourself.
And to those of you who are single parenting right now – you have my absolute respect. You have one of the most challenging but no doubt rewarding tasks I can imagine.
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Why not Pin ‘The Cost of Single parenting’ for later?