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Single Parent Options
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If you’re a single parent with a tight financial situation, spending time with your child can be a legitimate challenge.  However, with the proper attitude and a willingness to effectively plan your time and finances, it can become a reality...perhaps sooner than you think.

Small Changes with Big Results

It may take a little juggling, but it is possible to make small changes with big results. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Altering your work schedule.  Many companies and organizations allow their employees the opportunity to work at various times throughout the day or night. If this is a possibility, altering your work schedule can often give you the time needed to play, work, and interact with your child.

2. Salary sacrifice. Money is tight, but if you can live on less than you are currently bringing in, the option of working part time is definitely do-able. It takes comittment and planning from both the parent and child, but the dividends are worth it. Your ability to cut corners will go a long way in helping you to achieve your goals. Make food items from scratch, walk instead of drive, and choose to go out less, and eat in more. The money you save can be substantial.

3. Cut commute time.  If you commute more than an hour each way to work, perhaps it’s time to re-assess why you have chosen to work that far from home. Is it possible to be employed closer to home? With today's high fuel prices, everyone is feeling the financial crunch. Less commute time means more money saved, and more hours spent with your child. During a normal five-day work week, it could add up to an additional 10 hours for spending quality time with that important person in your life .

4. Income diversification.  Is it possible to augment your income by working from home? With the greater increase and acceptance of  “tele-commuting” many companies are making attractive options to the working parent. If your company does not encourage this type of situation, could you possibly start a home-based business to bring in some extra cash? Most people are amazed at just how much they can make part time if they really put their mind to it. Sell baked goods, type term papers for local college students, or clean a local home part time.

5. Choose cheap or free entertainment. Spending time with your child is more important to them than spending money, (even if they tell you something completely different.)  Get a season pass to the zoo, walk in the park, visit a local free museum, or meet them for a picnic lunch. The possiblities are endless, and the memories created will be looked back upon for years to come.

Making changes in your work schedule and financial bottom line is never easy, but your ability to adapt and re-structure can make all the difference in your child’s future. It’s something to seriously consider.

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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