If you are a Single Parent paying off your debt, you are no doubt already aware of some of the negative things about doing this by yourself. But there are also positive things too. As a Single Parent myself and having gone through my debt free journey as a Single Mum , paying off £12k over 2 years, I thought I’d share some of those positive points about being a single parent on a debt free journey. I’ll also share some things I did to help myself combat those negative things.
Positives of being a Single Parent when Paying off Debt
You don’t have to worry about anyone else being ‘on board ‘with your plans.
The only person you have to make sure is on plan, is yourself (and that can be hard enough!). This is one of the best parts of being a single parent is that once you decide to do something, you don’t really need to consult someone else. If you have older children, you might want to ask their views and opinions, or at least tell them that things will be changing. When I started getting serious about paying off my £12k debt, my children were 16 and 12. Up until that point, they had been used to getting toys, sweets, PlayStation games etc pretty much whenever they wanted. I explained to them that our money situation was changing and used it to teach them about why debt is bad, and how important it is to spend less that you are making. Luckily for me, my children were fine with this, and old enough to understand.
You have total control of the budget.
As a natural Control Freak, I love that there is nobody’s opinion to take into account, except mine. You don’t have someone telling you to put more/less money towards debt, less/more towards sinking funds, or to add new things into the budget. The only arguments you will have about the budget, is with yourself. Of course, this has its downsides too, but we will discuss this later.
You don’t have to be concerned about another person’s debt
This is hands down the biggest positive about being a single parent on a debt free journey. You won’t have unexpected or unknown about debt popping up! One of the main issues that I hear from married/co-habiting couples is the fact that they didn’t really know ALL debts that their partner had. As single parent, you don’t have to worry about that!
Generally, your expenses will be cheaper.
Things like Gas, Electricity, Water and Food bills should all be cheaper if there is only one parent in the house. Also, you will probably only have 1 car (so 1 monthly petrol amount, 1 insurance, MOT and Tax to worry about), 1 set of hobbies to pay for, 1 category for adult clothing. The list goes on!
Negatives of being a Single Parent when Paying off Debt
Now on to the not so positive aspects of being a single Parent and paying off debt. This is NOT meant to be a downer, but it is meant as a tool to keep us Single Parents on the ball, and aware of the pitfalls so we can avoid them or find ways around them.
You only have 1 income
This is the biggie, and the biggest barrier to Single Parents paying off their debt. We may only have 1 set of expenses and debt, but we also only have 1 income. Of course, this may not be the case if you have more than 1 job or have more than 1 income stream. But for the majority of us Single Parents, we only have 1 income. A great way around this is to add more sources of income. Things like Matched Betting, Freelance Writing, getting a 2nd job,
You may not have any real-life support
I found this one really hard. Nobody is as invested in your financial future as you are. Therefore, nobody wants to talk about it 24/7. If you are anything like me, you LIKE to talk about it 24/7 and are slightly obsessed. So, I set out to build that support, even if it wasn’t in ‘real life’ but online.
This is one of the reasons that I set up my own Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/744129762449972/)
Although it is a small group of approximately 780 at the time of writing this (May 2018), I love the support and accountability we give each other.
When I get home from a long day at work, I don’t have a partner to tell how I didn’t spend any money that day, how I stuck to my budget, or how I felt I had failed and needed encouragement. That’s where this Facebook Group comes in. We all support and encourage each other, and sometimes give each other a ‘nudge’ if we are going off plan.
I hope this post has shown you that Single Parents can pay off Debt too! It may take us slightly longer, but the end result is just the same.