Being a single mom can be stressful financially, especially if you’re the sole source of income. Despite the long hours of work and your dedication, sometimes you can find yourself in a financial pinch and discover that you’re short on money for rent (or another important bill).
So what’s a mom to do?
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First things first:
Hopefully, you have a budget so that you know ahead of time if you’ll be short. Emergencies happen and unexpected expenses pop up, but the sooner you know, the more time you have to come up with a solution.
While it can be overwhelming and stressful to think about, you don’t want to wait for a five-day notice to really start working on it.
A great way to get ahead of the issue is to be tracking your expenses and where your money is going. When you’re adding up how much you’ll be short, be sure to take into account any late payment fees you might be charged with if you think you won’t be able to get enough money by the due date.
Once you find out that you’re going to be short and determine by how much, see if there’s any way you can work something out with your landlord/complex manager.
If you’re renting from a private owner, it might be beneficial to be honest and point blank and ask if they’ll extend your rent due date.
If you’re at an apartment complex owned by a company, many of them have “promise to pay options” where you pay a portion of the rent (usually 70% or more) with the promise to pay the remaining balance within a certain time frame.
Say you can’t get an extension, however, as stressful as the situation is, you can take comfort in knowing that most states have laws to protect renters from being immediately evicted or locked out of your home.
You’ll usually be given some type of notice that you’re late and what’s owed (which might include late fees) along with a time frame of when you need to pay before they start the eviction process (usually 5-10 days).
After that time period then they start the court process of having you formally evicted which still can take some time. So in most cases, you won’t find yourself locked out of your home overnight.
When you have the amount of money you need calculated and your (hopefully extended) due date, it’s time to find the funding.
If you simply needed more time for a payday, that’s fantastic! Just make sure you pay the balance on the date promised or risk them beginning the eviction process!
If you still need a way to raise those funds here are a few ideas.
Of course borrowing from someone you trust is an option but many single moms find that their friends/family don’t have the ability to loan them money If you can borrow, however, you might have to swallow your pride and ask.
You’ll want to avoid high interest and often borderline scammy payday loan/title loan type borrowing as this often can land you in even more of a financial bind than when you started. These type of businesses are notorious for sending people down a rabbit hole of debt!
1. Pick up extra hours.
See if there’s a co-worker who wouldn’t mind giving up a shift for a day off or if your boss needs extra hands on a busy day. Sometimes you might not be able to but it never hurts to ask and those few extra hours could beef up your check just enough.
There are also programs like Gigshift that let you pick up side work for people who call in or when companies are in need of extra staff short term.
2. Work a side hustle
There are a ton of options out there now for independent contractor jobs and many of these pay weekly. Some like Lyft even let you pay out same day after you meet a certain payment threshold.
- Drive for Lyft or Uber
- Walk dogs with Rover
- Deliver groceries with Instacart or Shipt
- Deliver food with Dasher or Ubereats
- Deliver general items with Postmates
- Pickup freelance work on Upwork or Fivver
- Offer “date night” babysitting on Care.com or Facebook community groups
To see the full list of side income ideas for single moms read this post.
Some have suggested taking surveys online or surfing the web for websites that are collecting data but I’ve personally found that the amount of time simply qualifying for a survey isn’t worth the time or money.
Your time is valuable and these sites certainly won’t help when you’re trying to get money for rent or another large expense. When you’re in a financial pinch, don’t waste your valuable time or energy on survey sites!
Also be mindful of the pay date of some of these companies. While most pay weekly, there are a few that pay bi-weekly or monthly, and a few that only payout after you’ve earned a certain amount.
3. Move some other bills around.
If you’re short because of a cumulation of bills, see if you can postpone some of the less important bills and allocate that money to rent instead.
For example, many cell phone companies have a grace period where your phone will still work just fine even after your bill date rolls around or you can see if another biller will work with you.
While it’s not the best circumstance stealing from Peter to pay Paul can be a solution in a pinch.
4. Seek out resources instead of cash.
So while you might not be able to get cash, much like number 3, you might be able to get resources for other items you need and use that money towards bills.
For example, if you know you need $100 for groceries and $150 for rent, see if there’s a community pantry or service where you can get food instead. The same goes for borrowing.
Maybe a family member can’t offer you cash but they may be able to watch your child while you work more hours or have a few meal nights there.
Many people understand that a mom shouldn’t have to choose between feeding her family or paying for a roof over their head and are willing to help with what they can.
5. Ask for help.
There’s a lot of need out there so you may have to research quite a bit and make a lot of calls before you find the help you need but there’s often churches and organizations out there that offer rent assistance.
Note, many of these can’t offer help unless you’re at risk of being evicted which is different from simply being late on a payment. This means you’ve been given a notice and the court process has already been started.
(Please do not postpone seeking out alternatives and allow the eviction process to start to gain help! It’s not always guaranteed!)
Ask other moms and facebook communities or your church, many of them can point you in the right direction at the very least and save you some time surfing through the web.
Unfortunately, life happens and we can find ourselves short on cash for major expenses when this happens, hopefully, this post can help you plan a solution!
And above all, continue to be mindful of your budget, strive for financial freedom and remember, you totally got this momma!