Advice for the Single Parent: Time, Energy and Money for Fitness

Advice for the Single Parent: Time, Energy and Money for Fitness

There are an endless amount of challenges that single parents face every day. Balancing a busy work schedule and raising kids doesn’t leave much time for anything else. Daily exercise and fitness often gets put to the wayside because we feel we don’t have the energy or time in the day to dedicate to an exercise routine. Studies have shown less than half of American adults get thirty minutes of exercise five times a week. But, we need to remember to take care of ourselves. As little as thirty minutes a day of exercise can go a long way towards getting in shape and even preventing heart disease. It is important to make physical fitness a priority for ourselves. Taking care of ourselves enables us to better take care of others. Sticking with a daily routine doesn’t have to take a lot of time, and the added benefits of a healthy lifestyle and extra energy will help you better tackle the challenges of being a single parent.

Where do we find the time and energy? After a busy workday, getting the kids to their soccer game, and making dinner, the last thing we want to do is work out. All our energy and mental focus is gone and we just want to wind down and relax with what little time we have before bed, by spending time with the family. There doesn’t feel like there is enough time to drive to the gym, get your workout done, and drive back, along with all of the other obligations in the day. Even if your gym is close by and you limit yourself to a thirty minute workout, you are looking at least an hour, if not more. This is where exercising at home can be incredibly convenient and a huge time saver. So when should we do it? First thing in the morning. This has several advantages. It is easier to dedicate time first thing in the morning. The kids might still be asleep and you have less emails and other distractions. Also, you are not worn down by the day yet. Working out in the morning can boost your mood and give you more natural energy to start your day. And, once you’ve done it, you’re done. You don’t need to worry about it again for the rest of the day. You can save your gym workouts for days you have more time, like on the weekends for instance.

Building a home gym doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive or take up a lot of space. With just a few reasonably priced purchases you can get what you need to assist you in your fitness goals. A healthy exercise regimen will consist of both cardio and muscular exercise. Here are a few workout and equipment ideas to get you started.

Jump Rope, Walking, and Jogging: A simple jump rope is very inexpensive and provides a great cardiovascular workout, and helps tone your legs. It can also bring some of that joy back from being younger, skipping rope on a playground. Even going for a moderately-paced walk can help you get in shape. Jogging around the neighborhood is another example of a good cardio workout. Try doing it for shorter distances to help build up stamina.

Bodyweight and Resistance Bands: For muscular fitness, there are a variety of options. Bodyweight exercises are an excellent way to get into shape. They utilize multiple muscles and don’t require any equipment, so they’re free. Who doesn’t like free? Some examples of bodyweight exercises are squats, lunges, pushups and dips. Another inexpensive option is resistance bands. These are like large rubber bands that offer resistance as you pull on them, simulating weight-lighting. They are easy to store, lightweight, and you can increase or decrease the resistance to best fit your needs. These are great for muscle toning and stretching.

Yoga: One of the best pieces of home equipment you can buy is a quality yoga mat. Yoga is an excellent form of exercise due to its efficiency. It is one of the best workouts for those with very little time to spare. A quick yoga routine can increase heart rate, stretch, and tone muscles. Yoga can also be very relaxing, so it is a great way to unwind if you need a little break. When shopping for a yoga mat, purchase one with a thicker layer of foam and avoid ones made with PVC chemicals for a healthier home environment. You may have to initially shell out a little more money for a nicer mat, but the thicker ones will last much longer and provide better cushion and support.

Getting just a few pieces of home gym equipment doesn’t have to break the bank and will allow you to fit that quick workout in a busy schedule. Even if you decide to expand on your home gym equipment later on, it is often cheaper than many gym memberships in the long run, and you have everything within reach.

It may seem difficult, but making time to take care of yourself needs to be a priority. There are a lot of people counting on you and you need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of them. Working out at home can save a lot of time and money, and still provide great health benefits. You can purchase relatively inexpensive items or just use your own bodyweight and still get a great workout. Beginning each day with a quick and efficient workout will give you the energy and focus you need to be charged for the day.

Article submitted by Alexis Hall

Photo courtesy of Pexels 

Top 100 Single Mom Blogs & Websites

Top 100 Single Mom Blogs & Websites

Heyyyy mommies!!! I wanted to share a website with you of the Top 100 Single Mom Blogs and Websites (we made #60 YEAH!).

It is filled with everything from budgeting, adoption, having twins to mommies finding their true happiness again in life!

Just click this link  to read all about it! And don’t forget to tell us which ones you like the best!

#SingleMomsRock

Don’t Break the BANK for Christmas

Don’t Break the BANK for Christmas

With the holiday season here, it’s filled with cheer and plenty of spending.   The holiday season has turned into a time of the year where the quantity of material possessions trumps thoughtfulness and the true reason for the season.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah; they all symbolize spending time with loved ones.   This is the time of the year when stores and credit card companies make a killing getting shoppers to overspend.  The holiday season allows individuals the chance to rationalize overspending and to dust off credit cards.  These should be the days of Giving Thanks and being Jolly, Merry and Bright!  Not Broke, Greedy, Stressed and In Debt.  So who says we have to go into debt to enjoy the Holiday Season?  Let’s NOT break the bank for just Christmas sake!

We don’t have to give in to the temptation and overextend ourselves financially for the sake of buying unnecessary gifts.  So, here are some tips to attempt to get through the holiday season without any new debt. 

List & Limits 

Create a holiday shopping list, set a spending limit for each person and only buy for who’s on it.  Leave your emotions at the door. With sales and deals in every retail window, it’s easy to get sucked into purchasing items that you never planned to buy.  Using the money you have set aside in your budget, or using cash you have readily available (don’t use credit), create a cash-only Holiday budget – and stick to it!  Keep track of your spending. Remind yourself of all other debt responsibilities like your car payment, rent or mortgage, etc. that will be still be due after the holiday season. 

Cash Christmas

Pay cash, pay cash, pay cash. Christmas Savings Clubs and Christmas Bonuses are cash options that allow debt free spending.  Avoid using credit cards and do not charge purchases.  Buying gifts with cash will avoid the unwelcoming surprises, interest rates and fees that will come knocking in January. When the cash is gone, stop shopping and refuse to use credit. 

Thoughtfulness over cost

Pay attention to family and friends and purchase gifts that make the person feel special.  Pay attention to hints or comments throughout the year.  And, do not rule out handmade gifts. Sometimes handmade gifts mean the most.  Remember the cliché’, “It‘s the thought that counts”?  Well, it may be corny, but it’s true.  Put time into choosing the gift that the person wants, not the gift that makes you look generous. 

Start Saving for Next Christmas

Christmas is the same time every year, yet somehow we manage to wait until the last minute to make purchases, often without a budget. Consider joining a savings club or opening a savings account that you can’t touch. By putting away $50 each month you will have $550 to spend by the time Christmas rolls around. Also consider picking up gifts throughout the year, which will definitely be easier on your wallet come December. 

Buying gift cards monthly or every pay period is an automatic saver for year-end holiday spending.  These gift cards can be used to purchase Christmas gifts for family and friends or just given as gifts themselves. 

We tell ourselves it is fine, we will worry about it in the New Year. When the New Year comes we are faced with a “financial debt hangover”, where we then spend the entire year trying to pay off our debt, only to do it all over again! Don’t create new damage and repeat the cycle. 

Cicely Jones is the owner of MPA Financials, a Full Service Accounting Firm with 15 years’ experience.  Cicely has a passion to spread knowledge of financial empowerment by educating clients and giving sound financial advice.

Website: http://mpafinancials.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mpafinancials/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mpafinancials


Mom Attends Son’s School for Donuts with Dad

Mom Attends Son’s School for Donuts with Dad

She’s wasn’t going to let her son miss out on Donuts with Dad just because dad isn’t around. Yvette Vasquez from Fort Worth, Texas, made a second trip back home after learning about what was happening has her son’s school, to put on a semi-disguise. She sorta became ‘dad’.

I don’t know about you, but not only was she courageous, but I’m sure her son was just as proud.

Read the full story here! 

Being Prepared

Being Prepared

Being a single mom most times does not afford the luxury of having additional funds, that’s a heavy burden when everything is solely depended on you.  Single mothers carry the responsibility of taking care of the household, paying bills, grocery and clothes for the kids, and just MAYBE trying to save if anything is left. Child Support, Alimony or Government Assistance is not something every single parent receives to help, so it can be hard to be prepared for emergencies and save for a rainy day.

If you don’t have an emergency fund for unplanned events, you’ll most likely have to borrow the money or take money from a responsibility you already have. You know what that means?  That means you’ll end up in more debt!  Building an Emergency Fund will help you from incurring more debt but also create foundation of financially stability.

No two people have the same financial situations so your strategy to build an emergency fund should be catered to just your life.  Most say an emergency fund should be the equivalent of 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses in cash or liquid assets; that consists of paying for housing, food and necessities at least.  Or a better way to decide how much to store in cash is to think about how much of a cushion you would need if you lost employment for a few months.

Budget

To start saving, you must know where your money is going.  So your first step is to create a budget or write down all of your income and all of your expenses for a month.  Having those numbers in front of you will show you exactly where your money is going and the areas that you are spending too much money in. Know your monthly expenses will allow you to calculate your monthly take home pay. If your expenses are more than your income, your priority needs to be getting the two in line. You need to either cut your expenses, earn more money, or do both.

Just start

The most difficult thing at times is starting.  You’re saying, “But I don’t have it.” I’m saying, “Have you tried?”  Just start.  Don’t overthink it. Just start small and do it.  Even if you start with $10-25 every month or every time you are paid, guess what?  If you are diligent, it can add up.  Looking at a huge number of thinking you need a $1,000 saved up is scary and seems farfetched.  But if you change your perspective and break down the savings goal to monthly seeking smaller amounts, it will become easier and less scary to start.       

Save loose change

An easy way to save without much thought is to save loose change.  Ask the family to collectively contribute any loose change from their pockets daily.  To speed up the savings, include loose one and five dollar bills.  Doing this daily will add up but should be your only source of saving.

Plan

Planning is a key component to saving money.  Planning your day, meals, events, trips, etc. can all become cost effective measures that can potentially save you some money vs spending more money.  This can cut down on gas expenses from unnecessary errands and trips, to planning your lunch for work and not eating out wasting money on food.  Planning your meals ahead of time allows you to better plan your grocery list, which will also allow you to not waste funds on unnecessary items in the store. 

Unplanned events are almost guaranteed to happen when least expected.  So having a cash cushion accessible in case of emergencies is important. This may cause for a little sacrifice but it will prepare you for some unforeseen occasions that can cause additional financial strain.  Being a single parent sometimes means it’s all on you. So why don’t you go ahead and be prepared.

Cicely Jones is the owner of MPA Financials, a Full Service Accounting Firm with 15 years’ experience.  Cicely has a passion to spread knowledge of financial empowerment by educating clients and giving sound financial advice. 

Website: http://mpafinancials.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mpafinancials/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mpafinancials