Single women who raise children, work a full-time job, and attempt to conduct a social life at the same time are the ultimate multi-taskers. The idea of work-life balance can seem like a distant dream instead of a necessary reality. Fortunately, there are many techniques that can help a working mom stay on track professionally, personally, and emotionally. Some of the major decisions single women face include whether to get a second job, earn a college degree while working, purchase a home, start a new business, and cosign on a child’s student loan application.
Certain ones are more relevant than others, but most single mothers face at least a couple of them at any given time. One of the oldest ways to evaluate those kinds of decisions is to explore the pros and cons associated with each one. While every situation is unique, you can probably gain some insight by reviewing the points below as a first step. Then, add your own pluses and minuses to each one.
Taking a Second Job
Necessity usually dictates whether a person needs to find a second source of income. For single parents who are already holding down one career, adding another can sound like a bad idea. Millions of full-time workers tackle the challenge of another job when they need money for a down payment on a home, college expenses for themselves or a child, an unexpected medical bill, and more. The pros include having a clear path to getting the needed funds. On the downside, second jobs can lead to undue stress, burnout, and a shattered schedule.
Cosigning on a Child’s College Loan
If your child asks for your signature on a private college loan, it’s worthwhile to remember that you are under no legal obligation to be a co-signer. Sometimes, having a second signature is the only way the youngster can afford school, so it’s a tough decision for a mother to make. Kids can find it frustrating when a parent won’t sign, even when the reason is that the mom’s credit score can’t sustain another financial obligation right now. If you feel hemmed in by the request, have an in-depth discussion with your child and try to help them explore other avenues for school financing.
Attending School While Working Full Time
It makes good sense to earn a degree even while dealing with an already busy career. Online classes are one of the best ways for moms to get a diploma at their own pace and at a reasonable cost. But you’ll need to find a way to finance the cost of attending college if you can’t get a scholarship or grant to cover the full cost. The pros of having an education are self-evident, but the downside is that you might feel stressed out or constantly broke for a few years. Investigate grants and find out if your employer will reimburse some or all of an online degree program. Another approach is to take classes as you can afford them, even though it might take an extra year or two to complete a standard four-year degree program.
Buying a Home
Purchasing a first home can be a major challenge for anyone. If you have a child to look after, a full-time job, and other responsibilities, buying a house can seem like an insurmountable obstacle. There are several moving pieces to the process if you’ve never done it before. Job one is saving for a down payment. You can use a printable monthly budget to help you stay on track with this specific goal. Those who are lucky enough to qualify for a federal loan program that only requires a 2.5% down still need to come up with a sizable chunk of money for the down payment and closing costs.
Find a realtor who works with first-time buyers and can help you apply for federal programs like FHA government-backed loans. The other substantive requirement is to get your credit in order. Remove any errors on your score reports, pay all your monthly bills on time, and keep credit card balances well under the 30% usage mark.