One of my besties asked me to write this a few weeks ago, and I had to think about it hard. I was questioning myself, am I really good at money? Well I’m definitely not an expert, however I have been a single parent most of my adult life and built myself up from nothing. I’ve also worked in financial services the past 5 years and do some life/financial coaching on the side.
A little background info: When my sons were born I was 21 & 22 years old, with NO JOB and no future prospects. When my first son was born I lived with my mom but had to move out when he was 5 weeks old due to unfortunate circumstances. That is when I moved into public housing. Fast forward 12 almost 13 years and I’m in my own house, drive a nice car that is paid for, and have a hefty personal savings with other savings accounts too. I can tell you how I did that later, but for now I’ve thought of tips within multiple categories of raising children.
As parents we spend a ton of money on clothing for our kids. Each season they need a new wardrobe because they keep growing. Mine are preteens and I’m still doing this and I imagine I will keep doing it until they can A-buy it themselves or B- they stop growing finally. Tips I have for clothing
- Clearence isles are where it’s at- always the first place I hit in a store!
- Thrifting- hit up the thrift store in a rich area and be amazed at what you find that’s name brand for $5 or less. Yard Sales are great too and are the cheapest option.
- High Sales/Rebates stores – Children’s Place is a really good example, with a credit card you earn points and coupons each time you purchase which can really add up. Andddd it’s good quality. I wish my kids could still fit into Children’s place.
- Brand names are NOT needed- I will repeat this one a couple times. It’s not really an issue for this kids until they start getting older.
- Learn to sew- learning to repair small holes or rips will extend the life of the clothes and saves you $. Ya’ll I have boys- they are hard on shit.
- Make your own Tye Dye- This is fun for all of us and is relatively cheap- a couple packs of white shirts (cotton only) and a dye kit (it has the rubber bands and gloves and dye). Luckily Tye dye is popular right now.
- Resale your kids or your clothes- Resale the ones that are in good shape on Poshmark or have a yard sale.
- Separate Play clothes from good clothes- Again I have boys. The knees in every pair of paints get dirty smh- I separate the stuff they can play out in and their school clothes. I hate rebuying something I just bought because they got it dirty.
At this point my boys eat adult meals, and it is SOOOOOOO much. With new technologies like doordash and grubhub they will ask me to just doordash something because we don’t have anything to eat at home— When in fact there is more than plenty.
- Just Say NO- My answer to the question above every time
- Brand names are NOT needed- at the grocery store this time.
- Make a Weekly Meal Plan- Plan out your meals for the week may this be 3x meals a day or just one. Do IT. Once your meals are planned go shopping, with your list of required ingredients in hand. This way you’re less likely to buy other things you do not need. Also, you can check at home to see what you already have and just buy what you don’t have.
- Grocery Store Rewards- Find a grocery store that gives you rewards just for shopping. Locally we have Ingles and the points that count toward gas savings.
- Fruits and Veggies are cheap. Eat healthy save money.
Ya’ll remember when Covid first started and everyone went crazy about toilet paper? Me too mostly cause I didn’t have to worry and was grateful about it. I had plenty and not because I panicked or anything like that. I try to buy these goods in bulk.
- Buy in Bulk. I don’t buy food in bulk only household items: soaps, toilet paper, napkins, toothpaste, laundry soap and deodorant. It looks more expensive, but it is actually cheaper per item. And I don’t run out. I use Sam’s Club.
- Reuse containers- Im crafty so I like to reuse the containers, and so I save them.
- Look on Facebook marketplace for furniture of other big items. This is way cheaper than buying brand new. Also yard sales and thrift stores. You can also find things like candles and pots and pans at thrift stores.
This is my opinion is THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE. It will take some self-discipline at first but once you see the money adding up, I promise you will thank me later. Most people middle class and lower have no savings of any kind, this baffles me because WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENS..? What if your car breaks down, or the tv gets broken or you have to miss alot of work for something unforeseen.. ? I think I have financial anxiety and that is what has helped me to save- funny but dead serious-.
- You should have MULTIPLE savings accounts- They are as follows:
- High Yield Savings accounts- Takes a few days to be able to access the money once you request it, but these savings shouldn’t be used. Leave it and let it collect that high interest. I use discover for this and they have a great app that lets me use one app for my savings accounts and credit cards.
- Emergency Savings- this one should be easily accessible for emergencies- car breaks down, missing work ect- I have mine with the same bank as my checking account.
- Regular Savings- this is for Trips, birthdays, Christmas or whatever in the year you need to save money for. You can put this as high yield or in a regular savings which ever you prefer. Make sure it is separate from you emergency fund.
- Retirement Savings- Have you even thought of this yet? I’ll break it down a little bit for you here because most people dont know the difference.
- A- 401K is the most popular and is usually offered with jobs- It is pretax so the money that goes in the 401k you HAVE NOT PAID TAXES ON- so when you pull it out- guess what—- you gotta pay the taxes on it. So it may look like you have alot in there but when you go to take it out WHEW- B- IRA’s are post tax earnings so when you pull it out you will NOT owe taxes on it- HOWEVER it will have penalties if you pull it early : so be knowledgeable.
- MAKE YOUR NET BUDGET- After you decide how much cash to add to your different savings accounts redo your budget with the amount that is left over after they have been pulled. That way you dont budget in your savings- because lets face it you wont save it.
- SET UP SAVINGS TO AUTOPULL- Same day that I get paid, all of my savings accounts pull the specified amount. It’s easy and I never miss it because it’s not been there. Thats your net Budget. Savings come first bills come 2nd-
Just FYI for your kids future
- Did you know you can buy stocks in kids names..? You of course are on it but it is in BOTH of your names and you can be removed when they become of age. This is great- could you imagine if my parents would’ve bought me some stock in Apple or Microsoft?? I use the app Stockpile to purchase.
- You can add your kids to your credit card as an authorized user and build their credit as they grown up.
- A 529 plan is a savings account for college. It does have penalties if you take it out early and can only be taken out for educational purposes. Not a must have for me- I use a high yield account with mine and his name. 1 per each kid. But good info because you can get some tax breaks.
- Get Life insurance on yourself and leave the beneficiary as the kids so you know they’ll be taken care of if something happens- I told yall I have financial anxiety–
So these are a few of my tips, for saving money. I’ve managed it well so far in my life and I am currently saving for buying my sons cars in the near future- 3 years and 5 years away. My savings are not huge each check but I don’t touch them and they add up over time. Make a plan and stick with it. Write out your financial goals and even make a yearly plan of things you need to save for. Once you get comfortable, extend your savings to next year or two years from now. I find that it’s best to be prepared. – Maybe I’ll write about financial planning at some point.
If yall have any questions, leave a comment and let me know.
Until then love and peace.
Dedicated to my Bestie Kari =]