budget help


hi. I’m looking for a place to rent. Don’t have one yet because everthing is so expensive.

for 1 adult and one small child could anyone tell me what to expect some bills to be…
2. gas heat
3. groceries and non grocery items
4. what are your childcare cost for a child under 2 years?

any information on budgeting would be helpful. I’m very low income. trying to go to school to better our futures while working full time.


It would be helpful to know what part of the country that you live in, because these things vary quite a bit. I am in Southern California, so my answers really wouldn’t be helpful to someone who lives in the South or the Midwest.

One option though that might be cheaper than renting an apartment would be renting a room. Maybe if you could find a woman who wouldn’t mind having a single mom as a roommate.

To check out rents in your area you can usually look at the classifieds on the online version of your newspaper. Another place to look is sfbay.craigslist.org/ and just select your area.


oh didn’t think of that… I’m in the midwest. Missouri actually. right now I’m in the KC area, but I do not know if I will stay.


When I was a single parent with young children, I found it helpful to rent together with another woman with a child. We helped each other out with childcare.
I borrowed money (from a bank) to go to school, as nursing school was a full time job, and found it easy to pay it back once I was making good money.
If your child is under two, the more time you can spend with him or her the better for the child, which is why I borrowed the money.

Your local chapter of Birthright International (www.birthright.com) might be able to help you find a place to stay, as they should have information on housing, food, etc for women who are pregnant or have young children.
Rent varies depending on situation: my son paid $800/month for a room, then found a place where he pays $300/month sharing with two other guys.
Good luck.


A lot of apartments (at least the ones I’ve dealt with) include gas heat and/or water in the rent. Try to find one that does, that’s one less thing to worry about. Your electric bills probably won’t be too much if your apartment isn’t large, and especially if you don’t run the AC very often. Probably budget $30-50 /month depending on the area rates. Groceries vary; my husband and I spend about $100 or a little more per week but he eats about as much as two people so your bill wouldn’t be that high. You might want to spend $40 up front for a Costco or Sam’s club year membership because you can buy in bulk and save money that way. Store brands and generics are almost always as good as name brands, cost significantly less, and if you can stock up during a store brand sale, you’ll get a lot for dirt cheap.


You might want to sign up for WIC. They will help with groceries and food for your daughter. From what I understand, basics like milk, cereal, fruit are covered. It will free up your money for the things that are not covered.

Also, check for subsidized apartments where the rent is based on your income. Usually there are young families who live there so you might be able to swap babysitting with another mom. You would save both on rent and child care costs.


I just read your other post too. The best thing you can do at this point is to look into school programs for single moms. I had 3 kids when my ex left us w/o child support. I worked 70 hours a week to keep a roof over our heads and then got laid off my full time job. I looked into college and found that unemployment and family services both had programs for single moms to go to school. I went back to school and they paid my tuition books and gas to go to school. I also qualified for medical and food stamps and WIC. I worked 10 hours a week and my life got much better!!! You can do this too. Promise, it isn’t as scary as it sounds. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to check into these programs even if you think you won’t qualify. If my kids were young enough, they would have paid my daycare expenses too. If you want more ideas or want to talk, email me and I would be happy to share more. BlestOne@mchsi.com


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