An unfortunate fact of life as a single mom is that we tend to be on a very tight budget. Because of that, if even one small financial thing changes, everything else can go quickly, too. It’s not hard to look around and see many two-income households that are losing their homes to foreclosure, so it seems very possible that it could happen to any one of us at any time. Even something like children’s father being unable to make his child support payments, or not getting the overtime you’ve been counting on can make it hard to make your scheduled payments. If that happens, it may be time to see if you can refinance your home, for lower payments, or see what other options are available to you.(Note that personal loans, bad credit loans and such we cannot help you with. If you have foreclosure questions you need to find someone local to help you. Other home loans, mortgage and such for single mothers we cannot help with either. On our site you will find single mom grants, grants for college, scholarship information and you will also find great amount of details on getting free stuff)
Therefore, it is SO important to know that there are many programs that exist to help save your home, if you are close to that position. Whether you are only a few days late on a payment, or you are several months behind, there are several governmental programs that can help you. In addition to the federal programs, you will also see that some counties or states offer assistance to you. There are very few situations where it is more appropriate to allow your home to be foreclosed on. That could damage your credit for many years in the future, and you could have trouble renting any homes for the next seven years.
However, you should be aware that there are scammers out there. They might call you and tell you they can negotiate with your bank to lower your payments, or that they can restart your mortgage from the point it was at prior to your late payments. Although a few of these, on occasion, might be legitimate, you should not feel pressured to make an immediate payment. Instead, you should be allowed to take the time to investigate the company that is calling you, by contacting your bank to see if they work with the callers. If they tell you that their “help” is only available if you make an immediate payment over the phone to you, they are probably not the real deal. Thousands of people have wasted millions of dollars on these programs, and still lost their homes. Some people have been told that they cannot be helped within moments of paying the fees these companies to charge.
Regardless of how a woman becomes a single mom, the realization that it either will be or is happening, can be terrifying. This can be true, even if you have been trying for some time to have children, or you became a single parent through adoption. The fact of the matter is that no matter how long you’ve wanted to become a single mother, the actuality of the situation can seem overwhelming.
Even if you happen to be one of the lucky few who don’t have to worry about money, it will usually take at least a few changes in your financial affairs in order to become a single mom. This could be as minor as diverting money into college accounts, or as significant as a complete overhaul of your living situation, spending habits, and savings plans. The good news is that there are an enormous amount of grants for single mothers that are now available to you. Although many of them are income based, you can also find at least a few places that are available to even higher income families. There are also so places that do not ask for any of your financial information at all, and provide you with services with no questions asked.
Taking Care of the Basics for Your Family
Although you probably want to provide everything for your child, it is pretty common to have to choose between necessities and essentials. Contrary to what your child might think, the only things that he or she needs to have are:
4) Necessary medication and medical care
5) Adequate and appropriate supervision, when you cannot be around
6) Transportation to school or child-care
7) School supplies, as required by your school district
Feeding Your Family
Food is one of the most obvious things that you have to provide. Given that the cost of groceries seems to go up each and every week, this can be more challenging all the time. You probably already know a few things you can do to stretch your food budget, like buying in bulk, using coupons, and watching for sales. In addition to those important steps, you can also look into food stamps, WIC, food banks, and Angel Food ministries. Many food banks do not ask for verification of your income, and you are served as long as they have food available, and you show up within the hours they are open. Angel Food Ministries provide a way to buy at least fifty dollars worth of restaurant quality food, for about 30 dollars or so, and are not subject to any type of financial questions. WIC has a surprisingly high income level, and is available to pregnant or breastfeeding women, and children up to five years of age. This type of food grant for single mothers is one of the most common, and usually provides formula, if needed, within the first year. Quite frankly, there are a lot of ways to minimize what you have to spend at the grocery store.
Providing the Clothing For Your Family
Clothing is something that you can spend a small fortune on, or almost nothing on. You have an enormous amount of control over that, even if you live in a small town or rural area. I’ve lived in small towns, with limited or inadequate resale and thrift shops, and still managed to dress my kids ( and myself) well on an incredibly limited budget. The trick is to shop outside your immediate area, and to arrange exchanges with your friends and family members. The internet has made used clothing accessible to almost anyone, for a fraction of the cost and with more anonymity than you would have by shopping at a local store. That can be more important as your children get older, and are likely to become aware of the social stigmas associated with wearing used clothing. If you have two or more children of the same gender, you may also notice that you’re able to have hand-me-downs that are in better condition, when you buy a higher quality piece of clothing, even if it is used. If you have an immediate need, a lot of churches and some food banks offer clothing banks, which will allow you to obtain clothing for free.
Keeping a Roof Over Your Heads
Paying rent, or a mortgage each month, has been one of the biggest challenges that I’ve had each month. Usually because it’s the biggest bill, it’s also the hardest one to save up for. Single moms, with minor children, can be found in virtually every homeless shelter in the United States that will take them. Many churches and non-profit agencies offer rental assistance to qualified people once or twice a year. The important thing to remember here is that they will not always have funding, so always have a backup or two. Even if they usually are able to pay a month’s worth of bills, when funding gets low, they might be unable to pay as much or at all. So, even when you have someone…keep looking for someone else. A little research can be a huge help.
Additionally, the local Housing Authority will provide subsidized housing for qualified individuals. People who receive this type of assistance will pay less for their own housing expenses, because you will only be required to pay 30% of your income towards rent. Unfortunately, this type of housing is limited and often presents with very long waiting lists. If you live near a smaller area, and have transportation, you could try to apply there. A lot of people who are otherwise eligible for subsidized housing cannot go to smaller towns because of a lack of transportation, and therefore the waiting lists may not be as long. This type of grant for single mothers is an ongoing one, and therefore you will be required to be re-certified, at least once a year.
Making Sure That the Roof Over Your Heads Also has Electricity, Gas, and Water
If you just need your utility bills to come at a different time every month, you may be able to get the companies to do that. Otherwise, you could easily get stuck each month trying to make arrangements to delay your payment, which eventually could backfire if they refuse to allow you to do so. It is becoming common practice for utility companies to limit extensions to only once or twice a year.
However, if you think that your income makes you eligible, or you find yourself unable to pay your utility bills each month, you might want to look into the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. It is available in every state in the United States, in addition to the District of Columbia and five territories. Once you are enrolled, you will see a credit on your bill each month that reflects the amount you are not responsible for. This grant for single mothers will be based on your income and family size. Some people report that they didn’t receive any type of paperwork regarding an approval, before they began seeing the credit on their utility bills.
Providing for Your Child’s Medical Needs
Let’s be honest, kids will get sick. Once they are in daycare or school, they will probably get sick more, just because they are around other kids. Although eventually they will not get sick as much as they do in the first few years, they will always get sick. They will also need immunizations, antibiotics, and checkups to make sure that they are growing and developing normally. You will also need to know that if your child requires emergency care, that you can take them to the nearest hospital, and that they can see a dentist as often as it is currently recommended.
That means, that with very few exceptions, your child needs some sort of medical insurance. If you have an affordable, comprehensive policy available from your employer, or if your child’s father provides it, then you are lucky. If you’re not one of those lucky few, then your family may be able to benefit from one of the state-run medical assistance programs. The most common ones are Medicaid and low-cost insurance for children offered by individual states. They both have similar coverage, but Medicaid is typically free; whereas the low-cost insurance has at least a small cost. Kids are eligible as long as the family meets certain income and residency guidelines, from birth to at least 18, and sometimes older in some states. Pregnant women may also be able to use one of those programs.
These programs also pay for many of the most commonly prescribed medications.
Paying for Child Care
Most single moms have to work. That’s pretty obvious even to the most casual observer. That means that most of those kids are in child care while their moms work. Again, that makes sense. Unless you have family who are willing to provide day care for you for a nominal cost, you’ll have to figure out a way to pay for that service. And when a decent child-care can cost upwards of two hundred dollars a week for an infant, that can be a real challenge.
Fortunately, there are a variety of programs to help you afford child-care. Some day-cares give you a discount if you work there, even part-time, or volunteer a certain number of hours a week. If you are eligible for other services from the social services office in your state, you might also be eligible for free or discounted child-care. The same could also be true if you are fleeing a situation that involved domestic violence, or trying to get a high school diploma or G.E.D. Check with the Social Services in your area, because they will provide most of the funding.
Child Care Management Services is another agency that administers this type of assistance in many states. If you’re not sure who offers it in your state, a quick way to find out would be to call different licensed child-care providers in your area. They should be able to tell you handles it in your area, since if they accept it, they have to know who pays the bills. I promise, you are not the only single mom in your area who cannot afford the full cost of child-care, but also cannot afford to not work.
In some states, you are allowed to use these funds to pay a family member ( but not a friend) to watch your child. Usually, in this case, that family member must not live with you, so you would probably not be allowed to live with your parents and have the state pay your mom to babysit. Be sure to verify that that is still true, your state might be liberal than most.
So, you live 1.9 miles from the school. Not quite enough for the school bus to pick your kids up, but way too far for them to walk. Their school starts at 7:45, and you have to be on the road no later than 7:05 to be on time for school. Does this sound familiar? It does to me, because I lived it for three years.
First, it’s important to see how early your child can be at school. If they serve breakfast early, your child might just need to start eating breakfast at school. If not, check with your neighbors…what are other working parents doing? Does your child’s after-school program have a before school-program as well? I found out that ours did…for an extra five dollars a week per child, I could drop them off at daycare before school, and they would provide breakfast, then give them a ride to school.
If the actual transportation is a problem,, then you need to look into the grants that are available for low-income families to get used, running vehicles. Some groups offer this for free, while some organizations offer their cars for a low-cost, or even short-term financing. This is an important need for single moms, because it literally has the ability to change lives. Studies have proven that when single parent households have a licensed driver and a running, legal vehicle, those households have a better chance of getting and keeping jobs. That obviously means that your future, and the futures of your children, can be better just because you have a car.
School Supplies, Uniforms, etc.
Although over the long-term, you will spend less on school uniforms than you would if they worse street clothes, it may not seem that way when you’re shopping for a weeks worth of uniform, two weeks before school starts. Although it might feel awkward, you should consider calling the school or the outreach office at the school district, if you’re having trouble providing the required items for your child.
Many parents choose to donate their child’s outgrown uniforms, or unused school supplies, at the end of the school year. As a result, your phone call could provide your child with at least some of what they need. Even if they don’t have any extras, the PTA (or PTO) at the school might have funding for your situation. Failing that, they might be able to refer you to an agency or organization that can help. It’s also important to verify what s actually required, as opposed to what your child thinks they need. I remember a few years ago, when my daughter truly believed that she had to have her own, brand new, laptop to start junior high with. And no, the computer at home would not do, she had to have her own.
The good thing about single parenting is that society is so much more accepting of us, then they were only a generation or two ago. The scary part is that we have only ourselves to depend on. Fortunately, there are an enormous amount of resources, grants, and assistance that are available, if you know where to look. And even better, I’ve known, used, or researched as many of those types of help as possible, and if you hang in with me, I promise to do my best to help you avoid my mistakes. I also promise to do my best to share with you as much helpful information as possible. If you need something I haven’t written about, email me, and I’ll see what I can come up with.
Although my personal experience has been that of a single mom, it is my absolute belief that most of the information I’ve given out here would be equally appropriate for a single dad, as well as any low-income family unit with children. Whatever your path to parenthood is, I hope that my words are able to make it a little easier for you and your family to find what you need. Thanks for reading, good luck!