Finances And The Single Mom

Perhaps one of the most challenging things I have had to manage since my husband died are the finances.  When he was alive, I handled  the majority of it, but we also rented, and didn’t have as many responsibilities as I do now.  Plus we also had more income coming in, so I’ve definitely had to learn how to spend more wisely and make better choices.  Learning how to do this up until this point, and still learning how to manage, is not an easy task for me and often leaves me feeling overwhelmed.

One of the changes I am trying to make is switching from my bank to my credit union.  I have too many bank accounts and need to consolidate, so that is the first item on my list.  Unfortunately we’ve had this bank account for over 11 years, and it bothers me a bit to cancel it because we opened it on our first anniversary!  That change will be happening soon though, and I suppose it’s just one more step I need to take.  I really just want to streamline everything and have it at just one bank/credit union.

Re-financing my mortgage is also an option I am considering, but that is going to take a lot of researching on my part, but I do want to do it.  I’m toying with the idea of a 20 year vs 30 year mortgage, which I have already.  Has anyone had any experience with that? 20 year sounds very tempting, but I am concerned about my payments going up, especially being on a fixed income every month.  I like having my homeowners insurance and taxes paid through my mortgage as well, that way I don’t have to deal with it.

And lastly, I just canceled an old credit card today that had a zero balance on it (as well as a shitty interest rate, and I never used it either).  I know many will argue with me that it’s a ding on my credit history, but….credit history counts for only 15% of your FICO score, where as payment history and outstanding balances count for 35% and 30% respectively.  The rest is made up of new credit (10%) and what types of credit you have (10%), (The Source for that is here) . So while I may have dinged my credit just a bit today, I will recover in the long run because it was such a small change, and I do have great credit already.  Because I am closing the bank account, and moving over to the credit union exclusively, I will also do a balance transfer on my bank credit card to a new credit union credit card, provided I get one.  I don’t think that will be a problem though.

I’m looking forward to my finances being more streamlined and a lot easier to manage.  If you’re a single parent, how have you managed your finances?



14 thoughts on “Finances And The Single Mom

  1. Pingback: Finances And The Single Mom | Glitter is My Prozac | Bank Transfer Day News Finances And The Single Mom | Glitter is My Prozac | Bank News From The Net

  2. If you make one extra payment a year, you will pay offyourloan in 17 yrs instead of 30 years. So unless the interest rate is going o be a lot different, it may not be worth the closing costs to refi. Also, you don’t have to make that payment at one time. I always rounded up my payment.

    It is so hard taking create of the finances along other eerything else. Good Luk

    • That has been something I have been considering, but I don’t have the money to do that yet. I could try to do some tweaking in my budget, but,not sure I can manage it. Something to consider down the road though

      • It’s a pretty easy pcoerss . but it takes a long time. You have to be patient. I would consider cutting up most of your credit cards and then adding everything up and decide which one to pay off first. Then when you’re done with that one, say you paid $50/mo, add it to the next one. So if you were pay $50 on the next one, you would now be paying $100/mo. And you probably heard wrong about not paying credit cards. You should pay them, but if you haven’t paid them and you are close to the statute of limitations for your state then do not pay. When you reach the SoL you legally do not owe that money any more.Also, as far as your credit score it will take a while to go up. Even though credit companies are suppose to report every month, sometimes they don’t. or they only report the bad, not the good. And your credit score is a calculated formula, so if after you pay off most of your debt, but still have many cards open & with balances, your credit (FICO) score may still remain high until your debt to income ratio goes down. So, if your income goes up, your credit score can also have the ability to go up.I agree with the previous poster .. do not pay for someone to give you advice. If anything go to your local CCCS.Good luck!email me: vetsmom_rgvi can help 4 free

  3. We’re going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and these topics have all been covered, if not will be in an upcoming week. It’s too much to answer in one post, but some of your decisions appear to be on the right track if you’re interested in being debt-free. His main push is to live debt-free – pay off all debt starting with the smallest, so that future large purchases can be paid in cash and income can be invested directly into savings and investments. I am a person that needs more direction with financial matters as I feel very overwhelmed with what are the ‘right’ decisions. I got sick of my own lack of discipline with spending and saving that resulted in lots of wasted money. What I like about Dave’s guidance are the reasons behind what debts to pay off and when, and then what savings to accumulate for one’s own emergencies, as well as future. I could kick myself for settling for mediocrity in assuming I’d need a 30 year mortgage and a loan for every car or large purchase. I never understood the benefit of compound interest if one takes advantage of investing – on a middle income salary, there’s no reason one should not retire a millionaire by following simple (and scripture-based) principles. I’m not selling this, but you might want to try listening to or watching his radio or tv show, or grab one of his books for starters. It’s helping me to shed this paradigm of ‘mediocrity’ as I mentionedm, and work with what we already have to maintain a nice emergency fund savings and properly budget for other items so we don’t have to get into the cycle of financing everything large, then paying them instead of our own savings. Pardon the long post, but I got turned onto him and this particular series (you certainly don’t have to attend one to get the benefits from reading his materials) from a number of friends who’ve gone through his message and got out of debt…some got out of massive debt. It takes discipline and determination, but the fire’s lit here and it’s a bit scary but I’m finally ready to put the motivation to use to make better financial decisions going forward. Good luck with what you decide!!! It’s intimidating enough to tackle significant financial decisions when you’re working with a partner, and I can sympathize with it feeling even moreso daunting when single and supporting kiddos.

    • well, i don’t really have a middle income salary, but hoping to get there within 5 years or so. Then I can really put more focus on paying off my house and putting money towards retirement. it won’t be easy, but right now the most important thing is taking care of my kids.

      • I think in response to having less than a “middle income” salary, Dave suggests getting a fire under your butt (first), selling anything that can be sold for $ now, and taking on an extra p/t job if possible for extra $. After years of futile budgeting and occasional impulse spending to blow said budget, I’m finding I really do need a system like this to map out the smartest way to pay off debts while keeping ourselves safe in case of an emergency. What I’m learning is…it doesn’t matter how much money we’ll make or not make, we need something like this to get our ducks in order (and selves and children secure in case of emergency…because they will happen) all the same. And it really does make a difference security-wise what order you choose to pay off debts and start saving. I’m very ashamed to admit that (and being in this class keeps it fresh in my memory) when my father in law died 2 years ago, we did not have any money saved up and were terrified of putting several thousands of dollars on a CC for all of us to go back for his funeral…for fear of not being able to pay it off. In that reactive mode, we decided to just send my husband for his dad’s funeral. I deeply regret that decision, and will never be in a situation again to decide whether or not we’ll attend an out of town family member’s funeral.

        This is the end of my full first week transitioning to the envelope system (i.e., taking out the budgeted amount in cash for a certain type of category, such as groceries, and spending no more than that until the next paycheck), and I’m tracking between 30% and 40% lower for groceries than I have in all past months when I would go in and pay by bank debit card, all the while being lured to buy what we don’t need. The point is that is does hurt more to pay by cash (there are a number of studies that scientifically demonstrate this!), than if using a debit or credit card. I’m still full of the “but what if I lose my cash…Visa won’t reimburse me” excuses, but am trying instead to see the merit in this system as it appears to be working well so far.

        What I like about Ramsey’s advice (and it’s not just his…most well-known financial experts will say the same thing…he differs in how he lays it out, and in prioritizing paying down debt to have an emergency fund so you don’t need to finance things going forward) is to make sure your “4 walls” are in order before alloting $ any other places such as extra mortgage payments or retirement. And if money’s ever short, just pay the stuff that will keep you fed and sheltered and clothed first; letting Visa and all other non-4 wall bills wait…again, only if necessary. It’s hard to recover when you have no utilities, or from the street your home’s been repossessed, or you can’t feed the kids and yourself.

        As for your mortgage question, the last lesson dealt with this, and Dave’s comments about picking a 15 or 20 year over a 30 year mortgage were to go with the lower time commitment. The primary reason being that there’s more risk that something will “happen” that will prevent you from paying down the road. The risk increases that you’ll default after something major happens when factoring extra years of a mortgage payment. Prom dresses happen. Vehicle crashes and unintended medical expenses happen. Plus…in the long term you pay thousands and thousands of dollars more in just interest to have the extra time to pay it off.

        Again, I’m really excited about this (and swear I’m not advertising for him!), but this first year or so will be tricky while we maintain our emergency fund, and put all extra income toward our smaller debts (such as car and college loan). We’ll really be living without much of the little stuff we just mindlessly spent on before. After then, we’ll be able to take all that money to put toward retirement and pay down our house, and then build and build savings for ourselves.

        After learning I was attending Ramsey’s FPU a few weeks ago, my mailman relayed to me that after going through the steps in FPU himself a little over 2 years ago, he was able to pay off over $30,000 in debt, and now is working to pay down his mortgage early. Can you imagine what you’d do with all that leftover money from home and car, etc. payments???

    • You can fix your credit for free We are in the binsseus of getting you the best possible loan to fit your needs and goals, we are NOT in the credit repair binsseus. There is much you as a consumer can do to fix mistakes on your credit report, items that may keep you from obtaining the best loan available. Fix your own credit for free.You see the advertisements in newspapers, on TV, and on the Internet. You hear them on the radio. You get fliers in the mail. You may get calls from telemarketers offering credit repair services. They all make the same claims: Credit Problems? No Problem! We can erase your bad credit 100% guaranteed. Create a new credit identity legally. We can remove bankruptcies, judgements, liens, and bad loans from your credit file forever! Don’t you believe it! Many of these companies will take your money and they can actually damage your credit. There is no magic pill, but you can follow the legitimate, self help ideas contained in the Correct Credit Report Errors section of our site.The accessibility of credit reports is made possible by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT), a bill which was passed on December 4, 2003 by the US Congress. This act, which is sanctioned by the Federal Trade Commission or FTC, allows every consumer to obtain a free credit report once in a period of twelve months. Similarly, the FACT also ensures the privacy and accuracy of the information that the various credit reporting companies hold. Under this act, the FTC, together with the three credit reporting companies namely Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, have set up a website where people can log on to check out their annual credit scores. According to the FTC, there are three ways a consumer can obtain his credit report. The first one is by visiting the FTC’s authorized website,, and providing all the information needed to access the credit report. This is generally the fastest way to obtain one’s credit report. Consumers have to be cautious, however, of the supposedly free credit reports they see offered on unauthorized websites. More often than not, the services offered on these sites are not entirely for free. Those who want to get credit reports should keep in mind that they can only get them for free from the website FTC provided.

  4. Hi,

    I, too, am a single mother, working on getting her finances together. I rent, for now, so I’m not sure about mortgages but I know about everything else. Do you have a budget, especially since you have a fixed income? It can be very helpful, along with savings’ goals. Also, I’m with a credit union now instead of a bank (used to be with Chase) and I love it. The customer service is great and I can sit down with a financial advisor every month (if I need to) to lead me in the right direction. You should see if your credit union offers services like this.

    That’s my two cents. Thanks for sharing.

    • I have a “lose” budget, but am working on tightening it up, and shopping more wisely. Also, meal planning has been a big help to curb the big grocery trips. I’ll be heading to my credit union soon to sit down with an advisor to see what they can help me with 🙂

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  6. Pingback: Finances And The Single Mom, Part 2 | Glitter is My Prozac

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