Every one of us “single moms” knows for a fact, that keeping a savings account is a hard thing to do. We can talk ourselves into the importance of this idea, but all too soon, we have used up that very last quarter, dime, nickel and penny. Who has money to open a savings account, let alone watch it grow? Not many of us, that’s for sure. Or do we?
Take my younger life for example. I have often talked about raising my five kids on a shoestring budget. If I am honest with myself, I could have made improvements in my finances. Somewhere in the midst of my struggles I could have held onto $5.00. If I could have saved five dollars a week, for 52 weeks, I would have had $260.00 at the end of one year. If somehow I could have managed to have saved ten dollars a week, I could have had $520.00 at the end of one year.
Now, I know that finding an extra five or ten dollars would have already been called for, such as groceries or towards a utility bill, or even the five dollars our kids need nowadays for school activities. If I am brutally honest, I might have been able to have saved that money. So by the end of every year, I could have had a Christmas fund, or enough money for school clothes for all of them and the materials they would have needed.
It takes commitment, patience, effort, and sacrifice. Yes, even more than most of you already are doing so wonderfully. Money is this: It’s what keeps us in our homes, feeds our family, keeps us warm, turns on our lights and runs our water. We have to be responsible earners, and providers, but we also have to think ahead, and most single moms just can’t. Taking life one day at a time, is already a big challenge, and making sure we have tomorrow’s next meal takes precedent over any silly old savings account.
So what does this do for us? I mean why would it be so important? Money doesn’t define you. It doesn’t make you better or worse than the next person. Who you are is what is most important. Respecting yourself and your family’s needs are also very important too. Personally, I think when you take care of your money, and understand how to manage it, this way of thinking offers a sense of value to your hard work. It raises our self confidence and increases our self esteem. It can help us have more choices and control over our future. You might be thinking, really? Is $260.00 going to take all of my problems away? Is it going to pay my rent? No, but it can do those other things, which, in the long run of life, gets you where you need to go. Determination, sacrifice, commitment, patience, and reaching an attainable goal. I’m not talking about taking half of your paycheck, just five or ten dollars a week. What else can you possibly do without? Think about it. Are you packing your lunch every day? Are you grabbing your coffee from home in a to-go thermos? Do you get your nails done? You can do that less often, or do them yourself. How often do you get your hair done? Try a college or get the coupon offers from your local salons. Where could you trim off $5-10 a week? If you can’t, then you can’t. I understand that too, however, if you can, think about the reward you will see at the end of one year. That saved money is a saved bonus at the end of one year. This is a great tool and example to teach our children this valuable lesson: Save your money for the things you want.
Is there ever extra money lying around, of course not. You have to be in charge of this task. Take that next $5 or $10 and put it into a savings account, and don’t take any out for one year…try, with all your might to pretend it’s not there. At the year’s end, I hope you feel proud of yourself for some small sacrifices you have made to get there. This can be done.
My sister gave our family one of those coin banks that tally up your money and gives you a digital read out of what you have saved. By the end of one year, we saved $408.00 just from putting in every spare coin we had, and I taught them to pick up every single penny they saw on the ground. The jar was completely full that year, and besides a few school clothes for five kids, we also had enough extra to take a day trip to Santa Barbara. We were all treated to a great restaurant right by the pier, overlooking the ocean! It felt great to do all of that because of our family-effort to save our coins, even if it was just a penny here and a nickel there.
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Article by Laurie Cesario-Overton