Tips for single parents to help stretch rands

Durban - Parents often struggle to provide for their kids at the best of times. Take away one parent, and it becomes a real fight to make ends meet.

READ: Real ways to make ends meet

There are school fees, health care, entertainment and general living expenses to think of. If only one salary is responsible for covering these, proper money management becomes really important.

Ntombi Mponda from Metropolitan provides tips for single parents to help them stretch their rands further, when raising a family.

Don’t bear the burden alone:

You may be a single parent but you are not alone — never underestimate the value of your extended family and friends.

Brothers, sisters, parents or even friends can form a great support network, offering encouragement, advice and assistance when needed.

Start a lift club with friends to take kids to and from school — saving you money and time.

Or, if you need to work overtime or on weekends, lean on family members to look after your kids, rather than paying a babysitter. The kids will love extra time with their grandparents, aunts and uncles.

• Plan ahead:

When you have kids, school fees and additional living expenses add pressure to your finances.

By drawing up a budget and having a plan in place, you are able to manage these expenses better.

Start saving for your child’s education as soon as you can. A savings policy means your money will be secure until you need to access it.

• Shop savvy and save:

Take advantage of specials, coupons and rewards cards to save money on your weekly grocery shop. Buying in bulk and sticking to white label brands can also help to trim expenses further.

Always shop around before purchasing to make sure you are getting the best value for your money.

READ: Ten quick ways to cut your costs

• Second time lucky:

If you are expecting for the first time, ask family and friends for baby clothes, toys, cots, car seats, etc. that they no longer use, before buying new ones.

If you have more than one child, keep clothes for your younger kids, and take advantage of the school’s second-hand clothing store to save on uniforms.

• Honesty is the best policy:

Always be open and honest with your children.

If you are struggling financially, it is better to explain the situation to them, so they understand why you are unable to buy them certain things.

Older kids can help by getting a weekend job to assist in contributing to household expenses.

— The Witness Business Editor