17 Ways Single Parents on a Budget Can Save Money

17 Ways Single Parents on a Budget Can Save Money

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, it costs approximately $233,000 to raise a child from birth to the age of 17. Housing, food, clothing, child care, transportation, and health care represent the main categories of parental spending. Overall, raising a child is an expensive endeavor.

For single parents, that cost is even more apparent. A 2017 study from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion found that child-rearing expenses for single-parent households with a before-tax income of less than $59,000 were roughly equal to married couples in the same income bracket. However, the average household income for single parents in this group was $24,400, while married couples averaged $36,300.

As such, single parents have the same financial responsibilities as any other family but are often at a lower income level. That’s only natural when there’s one breadwinner versus two. Luckily, if you’re trying to save money as a single parent, there are multiple strategies you can use.

How Single Parents Can Save Money

Some money-saving strategies boil down to smart personal finance choices, like creating a monthly budget through an app like Tiller or living frugally. Other strategies depend on your income level and take advantage of various assistance programs and tax breaks for parents.

Whatever the case, take an afternoon to organize your finances and make a plan to start saving.

1. Save Money on Groceries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), single-parent households spent 14.9% of their total income on food in 2019, the highest of any household composition.

Considering how much single parents spend on food, especially with older children in the house, figuring out how to save money on groceries should be a priority. For starters, switch to a budgeting-friendly grocery store in your area and buy store brands over more expensive alternatives.

Additionally, you can try coupon apps and cash-back apps like Fetch Rewards and Ibotta (read our Ibotta review) to save more on grocery shopping and household essentials. If you’re a single mom or have teens at home, these apps can also find deals on menstrual products to offset the pink tax. Reward apps won’t dramatically reduce grocery spending, but any amount of money you can save counts.

Single parents can also get creative to save money on food. For example, parents of newborns can make homemade baby food for a healthy, cheaper alternative to store brands.

If you have an older kid with a massive appetite or multiple kids, you can ease the cost of large, frequent grocery trips. Shopping at a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club makes financial sense if your savings outweigh the membership fee. You can supercharge your savings by investing in a stand-alone freezer to take advantage of sales.

Finally, try using kitchen appliances that save you money. Something as simple as a pressure cooker can reduce your food spending by using less energy. You can also use a slow cooker to prepare meals while staying energy efficient.

Both appliances also make it easier to cook with less expensive, tougher cuts of meat. The slow cooker’s low and slow process breaks down chewy collagen. A pressure cooker can also break down the collagen — and more quickly. But only if you don’t overcook the meat.

2. Use Amazon Subscribe & Save

Another effective way for single parents to save money on a tight budget is to start using Amazon Subscribe & Save to get discounts on everyday purchases.

With Subscribe & Save, you can get up to 15% off if you sign up for automatic deliveries of everyday essentials. For single parents, that helps simplify life and prevents you from having to find a babysitter or lug the kiddos to the store because you forgot to restock something essential.

Most products grant a 5% discount for setting up deliveries. However, if you add at least five products to your subscription for the same address, you save 15% on your entire order…Read more>>