Single Parent Finance Guide
When you’re looking after a child on your own nothing is every easy, but managing your finances can seem like an impossible task.
But don’t worry, this guide will take you through all the steps you need to take in order to get your money in order.
Single Parent Benefits
As it’s a lot harder to manage being a single parent, you are rightfully entitled to allowances and benefits from the UK government in order to make you and your children’s lives more bearable.
Unemployment Benefits for Single Parents
As a single parent with no job, you are entitled to the “job seekers allowance”, often also known as unemployment benefit. The amount you receive will depend on some circumstances, but the typical amount is:
- 16 to 24: £57.35.
- 25 or over: £72.40.
The rules for job seekers allowance are also more relaxed when you’re a single parent, including time before attending interviews and taking jobs.
Income Support for Single Parents
If you are only able to work part time due to childcare commitments then you may be entitled to income support to help supplement your money to the level of the living wage.
You will also be eligible for tax credits as a single parent, which can greatly supplement your other benefit income.
You can use the calculator from the Gingerbread charity to work out exactly how much benefits you are entitled to: https://www.gingerbread.org.uk/information/benefits-tax-credits-and-universal-credit/benefit-calculators/benefit-calculator/
You can also visit the Gov.uk site for an overview: https://www.gov.uk/income-support/what-youll-get
Hardship Grants for Single Parents
Certain charities work to offer grants to single parents. This can seriously help your circumstances and enable you to go on living your life with your child in peace and harmony.
If you’re under the age of 30 you are more likely to be able to get a higher grant due to the nature of being less experienced.
To see what grant you could be eligible for, see the turn2us grant calculator here: https://grants-search.turn2us.org.uk/
Childcare Allowances for Single Parents
There are plenty of options to help you pay for childcare, including money back vouchers, tax free childcare, and 15-30 hours of free childcare.
To see the constantly updated list of childcare benefit rules, see the official government web page on it here: https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/
Further Learning and Freebies for Single Parents
If you’re interested in pursuing further education to help you and your child attain a better standard of living, then you could be entitled to lots of help along the way. There are also lots of free gifts and offers that you can get to help furnish your home or clothe your child.
Student Finance for Single Parents
If you’re planning on going to college or even university whilst being a single parent, then getting extra support can really help relieve your stress and help you to focus on achieving those great grades that you’re striving for.
As a single parent you’re entitled to a learning allowance that does not have to be paid back, provided by the government. Find out more about it here: https://www.gov.uk/parents-learning-allowance
Extra Childcare Allowance
You are entitled to extra childcare allowances with up to 85% of your childcare paid for by claiming it back after the fact. It’s called a “childcare grant”, and again it is found on the governments website: https://www.gov.uk/childcare-grant
You are also fully eligible for the usual student finance options. You can calculate your full student finance eligibility here: https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-calculator
You will find many charities that offer very cheap or free clothes giveaways over the year. Sign up to local Facebook groups such as “bargains” or “freebies” and you will be surprised on what people giveaway.
You can also put up ads on Facebook marketplace to ask for clothes donations and many people in your area will be happy to donate to you.
You can furnish your whole home with freebie site furniture, and don’t forget to smile and ask really nicely for a discount, when you’re a single parent every penny counts!
Charities and Local Support Groups
If you need help, or simply want someone to talk to, there will be plenty of charities and support groups in your area that will be happy to help.
Below we have listed a few, but a simple Google search (or the traditional asking a friend) will help you find even more that are very local to you.
Single Parent Finance FAQ’s
Here are some of the common questions about managing your finances as a single parent mother or father.
Help I’m a Working Single Parent
There is a reason maternity leave exists, it’s very VERY difficult to work and look after a child at the same time. The early years of your child’s lives are the most special and important for their overall growth.
But many of you will want to be at work, and career progression is a sure fire way to protect your child’s future, and so it’s definitely something to go for.
The things that you should focus on are getting both your income support and your childcare allowances sorted, as this will ensure you are receiving the maximum money to put aside for a rainy day.
How do I cope being a single mum / dad?
A single parent family might seem weird to some people, but it’s honestly so normal that you shouldn’t even be worried at all.
But how do you cope? If it’s all getting too much for you what do you do?
Well for starters remember that there are other people who care about you and your child, and you will receive the help you need.
Take control of your life
Take control of both your routine and your finances, by being smart and disciplined. You owe it to yourself and your child to become the best possible role model for them, and that does not include lying down when times get tough.
So make sure to apply for all of the benefits you can, and reduce your outgoings to the most essential things to provide you with the best pot of money to spend on the things that truly matter.
Avoid bad habits and regular wasted money such as smoking, expensive nights out, expensive clothes and shoes, and flashy cars and accessories.
You and your child are now a team, and while they’re young you will have to captain it solo to make the best decisions for both of you.
Develop a support network to help
No-one wants to tackle this world alone, and so getting together with friends and family on a regular basis can help ease your stress and provide a nice break.
You can’t forget to enjoy yourself every now and again, and your support network can be the perfect place for some free childcare when you want to go out on an adventure.
Don’t be scared of the future, plan for it
There will be many uncertainties in the future of you and your child’s life, so you will require cash to pay for those unexpected circumstances when they arise.
You want to start planning years ahead into the future, putting money aside and planning expenditures to ensure that nothing takes you by surprise (or at least not too much).
How much does raising a child cost?
The total amount of money that it costs to raise a child from birth to the age of 21 is £230,000 or an average of £11,000 per year.
A lot of this will be spent on childcare in the earlier years, with it moving onto extra curricular activities and general day to day life as they get older (and eat more!).
There will also be fees later on in their lives for University or College.