|Photo Credit Modern Retro Woman|
Growing up we were poor. Like sometimes we came home from school and the lights would be shut off poor, white rice and a fried egg for dinner a few nights a week poor and buying our new school year sneakers in bins at the local discount store type of poor.
There was no "budget" unless you consider robbing Peter to pay Paul a sound family money management plan, which I don't. My mom did the best she could after divorcing my abusive father. But even after she remarried we survived paycheck to paycheck.
Now, I am also poor (It's a sad cycle that I am trying to break) and find myself struggling. I do balance my checkbook though and I have also found other ways to supplement my income over the years. So in that respect I am a step ahead.
And then a few years ago I discovered Dave Ramsey and he has been a God send. I will be honest and say that I have yet to implement his full approach to money management, but I will, baby steps ladies geesh. :)
I did however see the brilliance in his Baby Emergency Fund advice and immediately set about saving one. Having that emergency fund has been so helpful to me over the years. Mostly with unexpected car repair, but also when my daughter was in need.
The basic premise is that if you have a baby emergency fund of $500 to $1,000 stashed away and you need new brakes or God forbid, have to fly out to a sick relative last minute, you have the funds available without having to put it on a credit card and pay interest or borrow it from someone else.
The ultimate goal is to have a 6 month emergency fund that can carry you and your family through in case of a health problem or job loss.
You can read more about Dave Ramsey and his simple approach to money management here. And you can read up on single moms that have used his plan to get out of credit card debt, pay off massive amounts of student loans, buy a car with cash, and build wealth here.
His books are reasonably priced for the genuine and important advice you get and I recommend the Total Money Makeover. But if you are on too tight a budget to shell out the $14.95 you can either wait until he has one of of his awesome $10 deals, borrow it from the library or buy a used copy.
However you get it, read it. It's so great to know that even as a struggling single parent you can pay off your debt and build a legacy/nest egg for your kids.
He also has some free budgeting tools on his site, budget sheets and the like.
Best of luck,