It is hard to believe but I am coming up on the year where I have now been divorced and a single mom for as long as I was married. I still have no regrets about kicking him out. It is still the best thing I could have done for me and my girls. In these last six years, I have learned a lot of lessons. Some about how to manage the emotional trauma of realizing your dream of a whole family is gone but most have been lessons I have learned about managing my finances. Going from just supporting myself to losing all of my earning to the person I married to rebuilding and supporting a family of four was tough. As most people do, I needed help with everything from rebuilding from nothing to credit repair. Along the way I learned some very valuable lessons and I thought I would pass them on. Here are 5 Tips for Financial Security for Single Moms.
Make Sure you are Getting Child Support
I am shocked at how many single moms don’t get child support. I live in Texas and have the advantage of having the state handle getting the support from my ex-husband. I am amazed at how many women here don’t use the service and just ‘trust’ that the ex will pay. They then realize that he always has a reason not to pay and spend a ridiculous amount of time and money trying to get the funds needed to take care of the kids. My advice is, no matter how amicable the divorce is, to make sure that you utilize the state or other service to make sure you are getting the child support you need. Get it out of your hands and let others handle it. Regular support, especially while rebuilding, is important and invaluable for your financial health.
Review Your Medical Insurance
It may seem like a given when you have a job with medical insurance that you are covered. But when rebuilding your financial health, you want to look at everything you money goes to. My ex pays for the children’s health insurance but I have the marketplace as mine. A hard lesson to learn is that the cost is not what is important, the coverage is. I had the ‘cheap stuff’ but my out of pockets were so high it didn’t help. So make sure your coverage has a low out of pocket even if it is a little more expensive monthly.
Have a One Month ‘Rainy Day’ Fund
Yes, this is H A R D! It took me several years before I had enough in the bank to cover a month of bills. My next goal was to have three months worth in the bank, which is ideal but really, really hard! I managed to get the month put away by opening an account at a credit union and putting as little as $50 away a month. It took so long because I would have to clean out the account occasionally to pay bills or for something for the kids. Eventually, it built up though and that is what matters. That you keep trying.
Pay Your Bills Early or On Time
The only time that I really had issues with money was when I put paying a bill off to pay for something else and then had issues getting the money together to pay the bill later. Late fees, pink sheets in the mailbox and phone calls never help a situation. To prevent myself from doing it again I put everything on auto-pay. Everything small, that is. My car payment and mortgage are large so I pay those as soon as I have the money.
If You Have Credit Issues Learn about Credit Repair
Because all of the credit cards were in my name at the time of the divorce, I got all of the debt. $40,000 is a daunting amount when you are struggling to buy groceries! The best advice I can give you is to learn about all of your options, including credit repair. It took me years but I am finally debt free and have no credit cards to my name to create more. There are people out there that will help. You just have to swallow your pride and ask for help.
Divorce sucks. That is just the truth of it. But if you can try to focus on your financial health you can come out of it better than you were before!
What tips would you give someone going through it?