3 Things That Suck (Financially) About Being a Single Parent

It seems like some people always have an opinion about single parents. Single dads are usually considered heroes, while single moms are called names and subject to speculation about everything from their sexual habits to the quality of their parenting. And while I’m not talking about that double standard today, let me warn all of you - if you’re here to insult me, my child, or my parenting skills, click away because I don’t want to deal with your crap.


okay, is it just me or is that girl a cyclops?


Ah, the joys of single parenthood. While I’ve always basically been a single mom, even when I was still married, nothing could have prepared me for the difficulties I would face raising my son on my own. The discussions about puberty and sex (which I firmly believe should be father/son topics). The hilarity of trying to teach him to play sports. Trying to prevent him from becoming a total computer nerd like his mother.

One thing I was definitely unprepared for was the financial impact of being a single mom. No, I’m not talking about all those statistics about how single moms end up broke. Clearly two incomes are better than one; I don’t need anyone to tell me about that. No, I’m talking about those little things, the ones that add up to big things. Here are some examples of what I mean.

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Don’t Spend Money Before You Have It

Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar to you?

It’s two days until payday and I really need groceries. I’ll just write a check and hope it doesn’t clear before my paycheck goes into the bank.

I want to buy a new TV, but the money in the bank is for rent. Hmm… I do have that birthday money from Grandma coming in a few weeks, so I can get the TV now and replace the rent money when I get my birthday card.

I need clothes. I’ll use a credit card and I can pay off the balance when I get my tax return.

I’m going to skip my car payment so I can go on vacation. My extra student loan money will be here before the payment is 30 days past due, so I can make it up when I get back.

My dad will totally loan me the money to buy this dishwasher once I explain all the cool features. I should be able to pay him back in a few months when I get my raise.

All of the examples above are things I have actually done. That’s hard to admit, since I’m reading it now and cringing at how foolish I was, but it’s just the truth. For years, I was constantly waiting for money that would allow me to cover what’d I’d already spent.

If you’re shaking your head in recognition right now, welcome to the club. You don’t get a membership card and there are no meetings or cookies, but you do get to admit the sad truth: At some point, either now or in the past, you’ve spent money you didn’t have.

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Is There Such a Thing As “A Little” OCD?

I’ve told you guys before about what a clean freak my mom is, and how she carries the whole universe in her purse. I avoid going into a lot of detail about the extent of her OCD, because (1) this is a personal finance blog - sometimes, anyway - and (2) she would murder me with her bare hands. Well, not her bare hands, because that could get messy. She’d probably have to bust out a pair of these:

Anyway, I’m realizing lately that I have inherited some of my mom’s obsessive-compulsive ways. I just didn’t manage to get them in the ways that count.

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Weekend Reading: Crash and Burn Edition

There are two things I want to confess to you guys:

  1. I have totally sucked at linking to my awesome fellow bloggers lately. Actually I’ve sucked at reading their posts, too. On multiple occasions, I have cleared the PF posts from my reader because I was too stressed out to read them.
  2. I am so burned out on blogging about finance, it’s not even funny. I haven’t decided what to do about this problem. I took a week off from blogging here, which didn’t help much, and lately I just struggle to decide what I want to say. Probably because I’m scared of getting chewed out for having opinions.

Anyway, with those confessions off my chest, it’s time to link to some posts that are way more interesting than anything I’ve written lately. Please go check out these posts from my friends and let them know what you think!

Debts n Taxes asks if he and his wife should carry a balance on their credit card. Some interesting discussion going on in the comments over there!

Erika at From Shopping to Saving tells us how to plan a multi-family vacation without going crazy. I haven’t been on a vacation in 9 years, but my last one was multi-family and it was NUTS! Could have used this then!

Daisy at When Life Gives You Lemons did a great post about how running a blog is like running a business. Since my blogs ARE a business for me, obviously I thought this post was spot on!

Carrie at Careful Cents tells us 10 ways to save money on practically anything. I mean, where was this post when I was grocery shopping last week? And who did that FABULOUS redesign on her blog?

Jana at Daily Money Shot really really wants another dog. Like really. As someone with 4 dogs, I don’t think I’m in a position to comment, but she’s obviously smarter than me full of willpower.

Bog of Debt asks, are you giving it your all? When it comes to this blog, I have to say no! This was a fantastic post that reminded me I need to get my butt in gear and get motivated again.

JT at Money Mamba makes an interesting case for buying a new car instead of a used one. I actually bought my Yaris new, simply because the vastly lower interest made up for the savings of buying used.

Jefferson at See Debt Run gives several ways to use a big bag of chicken. Naturally this is one of my favorite posts of the week since I’m trying to learn to cook!

That’s what I know this weekend - I’m off to battle the burnout yet again! My mantra for the week ahead: When you’re freaking out and nothing is helping, you could be looking for the wrong solution.