How a Single Mother Can Gain Financial Control

This is a guest post from my friend Alexa Mason, who blogs over at Single Moms Income. I asked her to share her story here today because I find it incredibly inspiring and an excellent example of how you can take control over your finances and build a life you love. Take it away Alexa!

single mother financial controlIn July of 2012 I became a single mother.

The last year and a half has been a complete roller coaster. I went from living in the comfort of my own home, to living with my Dad, to doing something completely unorthodox as far as living situations are concerned.

I also went from working two day jobs to starting my own online business and here recently, becoming self-employed. I’ve made a ton of sacrifices along the way.

Expectedly, becoming a single mother has completely changed my life – but in a good way. Here’s my story.

The New Life

When my ex-husband and I first split I had to move in with my Dad. That meant me, and my then two and three year old daughters, all sharing one bedroom at my Dad’s house. Needless to say it was rough.

We all three slept together in one bed and did so for months. As much as I love my Dad and appreciate everything he’s done for me, it’s really hard to try and adjust to someone else’s way of life. I had my own schedules, routines with the girls, and way I liked things done.

I was going mad living out of a 12×12 bedroom with two toddlers.

Living with my Dad did have one you huge benefit though: I got to save all of my money.

Being Stupid

I had a few thousand dollars in savings which equated to enough money to put down on a house. I was also working two jobs at the time, one as an insurance agent which was my full time job and another doing bookkeeping for a local business which was about twenty hours per week. Income wise I felt prepared to buy my own home.

So I started looking at houses. To keep a long story short I made an offer on three different homes and they all fell through for different reasons. I am so glad they did!

I was making offers on homes that were in my price range even though I didn’t love the homes or the area they were located in. I just felt desperate to get out of my Dad’s house and didn’t like the idea of renting.

I decided to think outside of the box and I made a new decision.

Making Sacrifices

I went completely against the grain of “keeping up with Joneses” and I bought a trailer to live in.

This was my cheapest housing option. It gave me enough room to spread out on my own and figure out what I really wanted without making a huge financial commitment.

I bought a trailer that needed a lot of work. I then fixed it up the way I wanted. I repainted the whole thing and put new floors in every single room. It’s actually pretty nice!

I ended up taking out a $10,000 loan to buy and fix up the trailer. The loan term was 4 years and my monthly payment is $226 – you can’t beat that.

My Dad had an extra lot near his house with all of the necessary hook ups. He’s the one who actually encouraged me to do this since he had been wanting to put something on the lot for my brother to eventually move in to. This was temporary living for me and whenever I was ready to move on my brother would move in and take over the loan payment.

I found a way to pay much less than what I would in rent. This allowed me to finally give the girls space and for us to go back to living life and figuring out the new normal.

Finding Myself & Starting a Business

After a while being a single mother who was working two jobs took a huge toll on me. I started my blog in November of 2012 and in April of 2013 I quit the bookkeeping job.

When my daughters would go visit their Dad I would spend all of my time working on my blog. I ended up branching out into freelance writing for other blogs as well. In October of 2013 I was consistently making enough income from my online businesses to cover all of my expenses so I quit my job. (I built up an emergency fund first though.)

I am now working from home doing the things I love to do.

Life is Good

The last year and a half has been a roller coaster. I’ve had several ups and several downs. However, I believe everything happens for a reason.

The down times only made me stronger and because of all of this I was brave enough to figure out what I wanted and actually go for it.

I now have some amazing people in my life, my girls are happy, and I’ve never been happier myself.

Change can be hard to deal with but in the end it will make you a stronger person. Coming from a divorced mother of two with no college degree, I know that if I can get my financial messes straightened out you can too.

You can do whatever you want whether that be paying down debt, saving money, or starting your own business – you just have to stop making excuses and go for it.

Photo courtesy of FamilyTravelCK

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17 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • Liz December 19, 2013

    Sounds like you have really thrived after quitting your day jobs. I am impressed with how little time it took you to start generating income through your online businesses. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Alexa Mason December 19, 2013

      Thank you, Liz!

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer December 19, 2013

    Alexa, you’ve done such a wonderful job, and you really should be proud of yourself. You’ve managed to achieve your dreams and keep being a wonderful mom to your babies, all through lots of trial and tribulation. As a child of divorce, I can tell you that you’re doing an awesome job both for yourself and for your girls. Excellent work, my friend!

    • Alexa Mason December 19, 2013

      Thank you Laurie I really appreciate it! I think that you are your family are an inspiration as well.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money December 19, 2013

    Your story is inspiring, Alexa! I am always impressed by single mothers and fathers. I have no children of my own, but I can only imagine how much sacrifice it takes to raise children and work.

    • Alexa Mason December 19, 2013

      Kids are totally worth the sacrifices! I don’t know what I’d do without my girls.

  • Shannon Ryan December 19, 2013

    Such an inspiring story, Alexa. You have accomplished so much in such a short time. Obviously you worked your hinny off 🙂 and now you’re living the life you want and being a great role model to your kids. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Alexa Mason December 19, 2013

      Thanks Shannon!

  • Done by Forty December 19, 2013

    Alexa, I know I say this all the time but I’m so impressed by your entrepreneurial spirit. I figure being a single mom is tough enough: going out on your own to start a business on top of that is flipping impressive.

    Thanks for sharing your story here. I have no doubt you’ll succeed at whatever you tackle next.

    • Alexa Mason December 19, 2013

      Thank you!

  • Tonya December 19, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your story Alexa! I didn’t know the sequence of events that led to where you are now. You’ve accomplished so much for yourself and should be really proud! Continued success with the blog/writing business!

    • Alexa Mason December 19, 2013

      Thanks Tonya!

  • Andrew December 19, 2013

    Very inspirational story. I love your work ethic and dedication! You’ve made so many positive changes in the last year alone…the future is bright! Good job.

    • Alexa Mason December 19, 2013

      Thank you, Andrew!

  • Kayla @ I've worked too hard t December 19, 2013

    A great, inspirational story. I think you made all the right decisions, and you didn’t let social pressures or emotion get in the way — and today you can reap the rewards of all the hard work and dedication! Good for you, like I said, really inspirational and motivating to hear stories like this, even if they don’t apply to my individual situation, I can take something from it.

  • Michelle December 20, 2013

    Alexa, it has been so inspiring and awesome reading about your journey. It encourages me to take the leap of faith in myself to do what is right for me. And-I love your informational posts on freelancing.

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar December 21, 2013

    I have really enjoyed following your blog and seeing your business grow over the past year. You are a great example of how to handle unexpected changes and how to find positives in situations that don’t seem to have an upside.

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