This post contains the most important goals and that every single mom should focus on for a happy life and healthy finances.
Being a single mom is often overwhelming. It’s hectic just getting through the day, leaving very little time for anything extra.
Mornings are busy getting kids ready for daycare or school, prepping breakfasts and packing lunches, dropping them off, then commuting to your day job. Then you work a full day, battle through your commute and pick up the kids, shuttle them to their various after-school activities, then rush home, scramble to make dinner, help with homework, and get through the evening and bedtime routine.
By the time the house is quiet and you have a little alone time, you just want to veg out on the couch and unwind before it all starts over again. This is especially true when you have no one to lean on and help you manage a very full schedule.
Where is the time to focus on yourself and your goals? On your finances and plans for the future?
It’s so easy to simply focus on getting through each day. I totally understand this, I lived in “survival mode” for years before I felt like I was ready to join the real world and start changing my life.
But the fact is, if you want to improve your life and your finances, it’s time to set your goals and focus on achieving them.
I’ve made a list of the top 7 goals and New Year’s resolutions that every single mom should focus on this year. They are important because each one will lead you in the direction of a better year, a better family life, and a better you. Together, that makes for a better future.
Here are the 7 goals that every single mom should focus on.
Review your finances
Healthier finances start with a thorough review of how much you are earning versus how much you are spending. You need to understand where your money goes every month.
There are a number of tools I have created to help with this process. The quick and easy place to start is to download the monthly expense tracking worksheet from my FREE resource library. There is also a workbook that will take you through the entire process, step-by-step.
You can read How To: Track Your Personal Finances for even more info.
Review your budget
Now that you know what you have and what you spend, are you comfortable with this number?
Did you find that you are spending too much and living paycheck-to-paycheck? Or even worse, are you spending more than you are earning?
If you need to find ways to spend less and save more, it’s time to review (or create) your budget.
You can download my Monthly Budget Worksheet in resource library. Go through all your spending categories and find areas where you are spending the most money every month. Find ways to cut back, either by changing small habits, renegotiating utilities, or changing services.
Save more money this year
Now that you have reviewed your budget, it’s time to start saving that extra money. Some tips to help you do this:
Take some no-spend days
Try giving your bank account a break by taking a no-spend challenge. If you aren’t sure you can do a full week or month, start small by picking one day a week. On this day, you won’t spend any money. No shopping, eating out, or entertainment spending. Over time you will become more aware of your spending and form the habit of thinking through your potential purchases.
Automate your savings
This is my preferred method of saving money. Once you review your budget and find ways to cut your expenses, take that savings and apply an automatic transfer just after you are paid. For example, if you find a way to cut your utilities by $100 every month, then as soon as money is deposited into your account, have $100 automatically transferred into a separate savings account.
With automated savings, you won’t be tempted to spend money you simply don’t have sitting in your account.
As you build the habit of spending less and saving more, you can continue to adjust the amount of money that is automatically transferred every month. I worked my way from living paycheck-to-paycheck to automatically paying my savings account $420 with each paycheck deposited. Since I never notice the money, I never feel deprived of it.
Learn the tips and tools to automate your savings at 15 Tips, Tricks and Tools To Automate Your Savings.
Earn more this year
At some point you will reach the limit of how much money you can save every month. Your next option is to increase the amount that you earn. Here are some ways you can earn more this year:
Ask for a raise
If you have been at your job for more than a year, it could be time to request a raise. For some reason this can be really hard for women to do.
Start with making a list of all the ways you contribute to your company and your department. How are you adding value to your company? Are you putting in extra effort and exceeding expectations? Do you have goals that you wish to accomplish within your department?
If you find you haven’t been putting in the full effort that you could, try taking some time to improve your work performance. If you feel comfortable, you can discuss your goals with your manager and ask what specifically you could improve or work on so that you are in a good place to request a raise later.
Then do some research into what you would be making if you switched to a different company. What is the market value for the work you do now? I find that it’s really helpful to start with networking within my field and keeping tabs on what others with similar training are earning.
Be sure to wait for the right time to ask for a raise. If the company is trying to cut costs, has applied a hiring freeze, or resulting to lay-offs, it’s probably not a good time.
Lastly, if you do work up the courage to request a raise, be prepared if the answer is no. Inquire what it would take to get your yes. Is there additional training you can pursue? What is the timeline that you can expect to see a raise?
Read more about increasing your income as a single mom at How To Increase Your Income As A Single Mom.
If you feel like there isn’t much room for growth at your current job, consider moving on. This might seem scary, change often is, but it could also be the best move possible. It’s certainly worth exploring your options.
You can also consider adding additional training and skills in order to expand your employment options and hire-ability. Perhaps there’s even another department within your current company that you can move to once you have the proper skills.
Don’t be afraid of change, it is how we grow and improve. So think outside the box and be open to new and different opportunities.
Add a new part time job
If you are happy with your current work, one option could be to add a separate part-time job. This isn’t ideal because as a single mom, you’ll want as much time at home with your kids as possible.
However, if you have a split-custody schedule and days that you can put in long hours, it’s possible that you can find flexible work that can fit your needs. Working for companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash can be great options.
Start a side hustle
If you want the ultimate in flexibility and earning potential, consider starting your own side hustle.
If you have a lot of stuff sitting around in your garage, now’s a good time to take inventory and start selling what you have. Hold a garage sale or list individual items online.
You can start small by selling crafts on Etsy, refinishing yard-sale finds or taking online surveys in your spare time.
Or, you can go big by tapping into your inner mompreneur and starting a business. Some great side hustle options are consulting, coaching, freelance writing or even do what I’ve done, start a blog.
There is a great book on how to start a side hustle for very little investment, it provided the final push of motivation that I needed to begin fi&wine, along with a ton of ideas that helped me decide what type of side hustle to consider.
Focus on personal goals
It’s important to focus on finances, but it doesn’t matter how much you save or spend if you simply aren’t happy.
Take some time to really ask yourself how happy you are. What makes you happy and what do you need to be doing more (or less) of this year?
Some areas to focus on include:
Rather than starting the year off with super ambitious goals like losing pounds or going to the gym 6 days a week and starting a whole new exercise plan, start with a smaller health goal.
- Try eating at home more instead of take-out.
- Give meal planning a try – it’s healthier and saves money!
- Find a walking buddy – you can be more social and get some activity in.
- Download a health app like MyFitnessPal and give calorie tracking a try so that you are more aware of your eating habits and can slowly cut back on calories if you want to lose weight.
- Do some home workouts in the morning before the day starts. It’s super affordable (or free) and starts the day off right. Try fitness blender or DailyBurn.
- Make sure you have enough “me” time. We all need it and as a single mom, you especially need it and shouldn’t feel guilty for taking it. This can be your exercise time, reading time, or just some quiet, scroll through your social media time. Schedule it in and make it happen.
- Consider counseling or therapy. We all need someone to talk to sometimes. The best person could be the professional whose job it is to help you. They have training and experience and are available for a reason. They can provide tips, tools and techniques to help you work through your biggest problem areas, taking a weight off your shoulders and allowing you to be the best mom you can be.
- Try out The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It might sound silly at first, but there is a reason that he has such a huge following of hundreds of thousands of people he has helped. His Facebook group alone has over 187,000 members. I gave it a try for a few weeks and felt more relaxed, happy, confident and productive.
Revisit this post later by saving it to your favorite Pinterest board!
What makes you happy
- Whatever that thing is that makes you happy, write it down and do more of it. For me, my greatest stress relief is exercise, so I’m pretty heavy on the fitness goals. For others, it could be crafting, sewing, reading, travel, walking the dog, cooking, time with friends, etc.
Remember, a happy home starts with a happy mom. If you aren’t happy because you are often stressed and overwhelmed, your kids won’t be happy either. Take the time you need to focus on yourself and make sure that you are getting what you need.
Learn how to create your happiness list for a more intentional life at How To Design a Happier and More Fulfilling Life.
Connect with your kids
Maybe this is easy for you, but maybe it isn’t. Personally, I was so busy with the day-to-day struggle that I didn’t always make time to simply connect with my son. I was too busy commuting and fighting to build a career. I can never have that time back.
Eventually, I realized that I needed to cut back on my work hours and figure out how to cut expenses to accommodate the lower income. It seemed like I was going backwards, but it was the best decision I ever made. I had to make time for my son.
Create time daily and weekly to connect with your kid(s). Take walks together, hold game nights, cook and eat together. Whatever interests your child has, join them.
This requires a focus on having more patience, which is connected to your personal goals and level of happiness. You can’t create the goal of connecting with your kids without focusing on yourself. Hence, the need for those personal goals.
Reconnect with old friends, family or find your tribe
You aren’t alone and should never feel like you are. Being a single mom is challenging, many people simply can’t relate or understand. So find your tribe that does.
Don’t be afraid to lean on your family. They know you and love you. Even if they can’t always understand what you are going through. Take advantage of free sitting and fit in the alone time that you need for your personal goals. Some moms feel like they can only ask for sitting if absolutely necessary. Sometimes that alone time is absolutely necessary!
If you have a group of friends that you don’t see very often because you are so busy, take the time this year to reach out and reconnect. Have them over to your crazy hectic and dirty house, they are your friends and will be happy to see you regardless of what your house looks like.
It’s highly possible that your close family and friends just can’t always relate to you and your struggles. This is when it’s time to reach out and find your single mom tribe.
I found my tribe by searching for local Meetup groups from meetup.com. There were three different groups in my area, I joined them all, went to gatherings and forced my introverted self to be social. It was hard. Actually, it sucked. But I stuck around within each group until I found my tribe.
It took time. But it was so important to me that I not feel so alone and isolated anymore. It became pretty apparent which group was the best fit for me and before long I had a group of single mom friends that understood exactly where I was at, how I felt and what I was dealing with. I found support and lasting friendships.
You have such a big job as a single mother. It probably isn’t what you signed up for, but it can be an amazing joy and strength. Your child will learn a level of empathy, appreciation, and work ethic that many other kids won’t have. The bond between a child and single mother is often supportive and unwavering. And that’s okay!
The key is to remain the pillar of strength that you and your child needs. Use these goals to cope with the extra stress and overwhelm that are part of the deal. Get your finances in order, then make sure you have enough time to focus on your personal goals. Make time to find your stress relief and happiness. Build and nurture your relationships. Find your tribe if you don’t have family and friends that can really relate to your struggles.
Most importantly, focus on your goals so that have the patience and inner joy to connect with your kids. You don’t get to take back time. The last thing you want is to look back and realize that you didn’t spend enough quality time with your child.
- Review your finances, either by tracking your finances (check out the FREE resource library for printable forms) or use an app to do most of the work for you.
- Establish or review your budget
- Find ways to adjust your budget to save more money
- Brainstorm ways to earn more money. Write down your list of options, prioritize the list, then tackle each task one-by-one.
- Think about what makes you happy. Write down a list of things you can focus on and goals that you can set that will help you develop personally and emotionally. Break those goals into small steps that you can take action on each day. Schedule them into your day.
- Find time every single day to connect with your kids. If you feel like you don’t have the patience to really be present, go back and focus on your personal goals.
- Reconnect with friends and family or find your single mom support tribe
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This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase through a link, I may receive a small commission at no