Sunday, July 17th, 2011
I occasionally get emails asking how I do it on my own, financially, as a single parent. Honestly, that is one of the toughest parts of a job that’s not so easy in the first place.
I’m a dentist, so I’ll be fine in the long run. Being a new dentist and a resident, however, is an entirely different story. I’ve got mountains of student loan debt and an extremely low income. With only one small paycheck and a child to care for (and daycare being as expensive as it is), it’s a real stretch. I’m very lucky in that my parents will help me out in a pinch, but it does get old to be worrying constantly about finances. I’m pretty much at the point where if my online banking website had a box you could check that said “stop sending me statements because I just don’t even want to know”, I would totes check that box yesterday.
While I was in school, I didn’t qualify for any kind of assistance because I wasn’t technically employed. Now that I am employed, I make just barely enough to not qualify. I kind of have a thing about not accepting help anyway, but it would be nice to have the option. Unfortunately, I do not.
So how do I make it work, several of you have asked me? Well, I do get child support from Tyler and he is pretty good about paying it on time. I have a strict budget and use mint.com to manage my finances. I get the vast majority of things I need for Caro at consignment stores. I plan our meals for the week every weekend and shop only once, so that I cut down on unnecessary grocery store trips. I buy meat in bulk and split it up into smaller portions in ziploc bags and freeze those. I’m big into clipping coupons and shopping at this discount grocery store which is a little sketchy but I haven’t contracted food poisoning yet. (Although once a lady in the checkout line saw me pull out my coupons and must have assumed I was using food stamps, because she rolled her eyes and sighed, “babies having babies they can’t afford”. Yep. That happened.) And I never, ever buy anything that’s not on sale.
It is exhausting to worry about money all the time, but I am lucky that for me, it won’t be forever. Someday soon I’ll have a real job, a good one. Hopefully in the not-too-distant future, I’ll be able to buy a little house or a condo for me and Caro… and things like a new car, and organic food, and shoes that don’t come from Payless.
But until then, I’ll just keep plugging along and being as careful with my money as possible. Anyone care to share your money-saving tips for fellow parents (single or otherwise) in the comments?Add a Comment