Ask Kim: Budgeting 101

Dear Kim, 

I’m a single mother working two jobs, but I may have to pick up a third. I already feel like I’m failing my kids by missing so many school programs due to picking up shifts, but I’m doing my best to keep the lights on. I know there has to be a better way. Do you have any advice on how I can better budget?


Single Soccer Mom

Dear Single Soccer Mom,

There are two options when looking at budgeting. You can either reduce your spending or increase your income. I would begin by looking honestly at your monthly expenditures and see if anything can be reduced. There may be items in your monthly spending that you haven’t looked at in a while, maybe a gym membership you aren’t using, the level of cable or even your car payment. We all need to have housing, food and transportation, but the nature of those items can vary greatly. I’ve found if you go item by item to look at what you’re spending for everyday items, you may find ways to reduce your outgo each month. If you’ve looked at all your expenses and can’t find anything else to reduce or eliminate, then the other option is increasing your income.

You don’t say the nature of what your jobs are, but is there a way to increase there? Maybe some additional training that will lead to a raise, changing career fields, or simply looking at what others in your field are making and asking for a deserved raise. All are options.

Now to the issue of missing school programs. It’s so hard to not be there for your kids when you want and feel the need to be. I would sit down with them if they are old enough and have an honest conversation with them. Explain the reason you are picking up additional shifts, to keep food on the table and a roof over your heads.

It’s so hard doing everything alone. Burnout is a very real thing when you’re spending all your energy on taking care of your kids and trying to earn enough money to survive. I’ve been there and I encourage you to carve out a little time for just you. If you can take a long hot bath after the kids are down for the night, swap babysitting with a friend and curl up with a book for a couple of hours, whatever works for you. It will go a long way to keeping your spirits up and allowing you to be your best self when you are with your kids and while you’re juggling your work schedule. Keeping your focus on your goals may help when you feel discouraged.

If you need additional help getting your budget in line or brainstorming about job options, reach out and I’d be happy to have a conversation with you.



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