3 Principles in Creating a Single Mom’s Budget

Single mom budgeting is not about being perfect, it is about being realistic.  If you use the same standards of a “normal household” budgeting, you may fail many times.  Not because you are not a good mom or parent, but because you can’t just do things the same way with someone who has a better half.

There are many reasons why a mom becomes a single mom and of all those reasons, often it is not a chosen path.  It just happens!  Whether a single mom wants to do something about it sooner or later, then it’s entirely her decision, but one of the burdens of becoming a single parent also means having a single income, and budgeting now becomes a survival.  This article will guide all the single moms, (as well as single dads) in creating their unique family budget.

Before applying the principles below, please make sure you keep track of your everyday expenses.

Keeping track of your everyday expenses is a cornerstone of every financial decision and it is a very important element in building your financial foundation. By listing every expense and income, and following a monthly budget is a discipline that a person, single or not needs.

Here’s your guide to tracking your expenses:
Best Budgeting APP Guaranteed to Make Your Life Easier


3 Principles in Creating a Single Mom’s Budget


1. Prioritize necessities.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs,  the top necessities of a human being in order to survive are:

Food/Water, Shelter and Clothing

Those things are necessary, but if you are a single parent, those are not the only necessities on top of the needs.  You should add the other necessities to your priorities, and these are:
Emergency Fund and Life Insurance.


Emergency Fund as necessity

Being a single parent is hard sometimes because you will have no safety net from a spouse’s income when things go wrong.  If you have parents, relatives and friends to help you out, then that would be great.  But not everybody is that lucky.  So each single parent should save up for an emergency fund, just in case.

How to compute your emergency fund:

If you are employed:  
    Your monthly expense x 3 = emergency fund

If you are self-employed:
    Your monthly expense x 6 = your emergency fund

If you are a seaman/OFW:
    Your monthly expenses x 12 = your emergency fund

The reason for the difference in the multiplier is simple.  It depends on how stable your job is.  For those employed, you will have a steady income monthly no matter what.  For those self-employed or business owners, your income may not be the same every month, so it is important to save for at least 6-months’ worth of expenses.  For OFWs and seafarers, there are times that you will not be able to return to your work as you planned, that is why it is important to at least save for a 1 year worth of expenses.


Life Insurance as necessity

When a client of mine died, I am left to talk to his widow, a 28-year-old widow with a 9-month-old baby.  The first thing that I asked of her, do you have life insurance?  When she said no, I told her to get one ASAP.  And without even telling her why, she agreed and said yes I need that.  Her personal experience prompts her to get a life insurance that same day.  She said, “I need that because anything can happen, and I am the only one that my baby has from now on.” Her 30-year-old husband died so suddenly without prior illness and she was left shocked, including me.

If you have someone to depend on, like your spouse, life insurance is still needed in case you are taken away early.  What more if you are a single parent? Not having life insurance is a mortal sin.  Why? Because nobody will be there to catch your responsibilities if you die.  Have you imagined what will happen to your kids just in case?

Will they be lucky to be taken cared by your family that has more than enough resources for their own family?

Will they be unlucky to be left to irresponsible relatives?

Will they be unlucky that they have to fend on themselves and may even be brought to a “bahay ampunan?”

There are numerous possibilities, and 90% of the chances are not good choices for your kids.

How do you compute the adequate life insurance for you?  Let me give you how to roughly estimate:

Your 1-year income x 10 = LIFE INSURANCE COVERAGE YOU NEED

I know you love your kids so much, but if you don’t have life insurance coverage right now, then it would be very hard for me to believe you really love them.  It’s a total disconnect!


2. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and your kid’s future, save for your retirement and their education.

Saving for Retirement

Being a single parent could be overwhelming because of too many responsibilities and you only have yourself to depend on, often, you tend to forget that you also have to take care of the older you.

If there is money left after spending on your top priorities which are the necessities stated above, then don’t forget to save and invest some for your older self.

Getting a VUL (life insurance with investment) for retirement would be a great idea since you will be hitting two birds with one stone.  You get to be insured and you get to save and invest for your retirement.

See a more extensive explanation on retirement here:

The Filipino Retirement Scenario, Find Out Where will you Belong in the Future

3 Genius Reasons Behind VUL (Variable Unit Linked) Insurance

Saving for the Education of your Kids

I have written intensively about this from my previous articles.  Kindly see my articles on this:

How to get more than 50% discount for your child’s College Tuition fee

The BEST INVESTMENT Vehicle for Your Child’s Education


3. Create a work-life balance as much as you can.

When talking about balance, stress is one of the most common problems single moms encounter.  Since no one to take your kids off your hands when you are too stressed to the max, it’s just you, your kids, and your desire to keep your family from falling apart.

Don’t forget to include in your budget, regular or even just an occasional “me time.”  Go get a pedicure or a massage, go to a movie with your kids or schedule a once a year outing with your family and/or with relatives and friends.

In short, don’t forget to live your life and enjoy your single parenthood with your kids.

In summary, always remember that the most important thing in budgeting is, you customized it to your unique living conditions and before applying the principles, again, please make sure you keep track of your everyday expenses.


As you keep track of your expenses, be guided by the 3 principles above, which are:

1. Prioritize necessities (food, shelter, clothing, transportation, emergency fund and life insurance).

2. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and your kid’s future. Save for your retirement and their education.

3. Create a work-life balance as much as you can.


To all moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day, especially to my Mom who sacrificed a lot of heartaches for our family. You are the best mom ever! We love you.

To all single moms out there, salute to you. Don’t forget to share this article with your single mom friends too.


For your Financial Health,

Dr. Pinky Intal





Do you need a financial consultant to help you out?  Contact me here.


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Pinky De Leon-Intal, MD, RFC
Doc Pinky is a licensed Medical Physician, Internationally Registered Financial Consultant, Certified Investment Solicitor and Associate Wealth Planner and Estate Planner of the Philippines. She loves to educate and spread financial literacy. She is a Lactation Consultant. She loves to travel. She is a devoted wife and mother.

2 thoughts on “3 Principles in Creating a Single Mom’s Budget

  1. jane concepcion


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