I’m 42 years old and I have one daughter, aged three. I work 34 hours a week as a senior manager in the NHS and I also run my own coaching business. I have 10 coaching clients at the moment.
The relationship with my daughter’s father ended quite acrimoniously which resulted in me taking out an injunction. This has meant my daughter’s father has not been in her life for over a year due to the court process. This left me overnight having to cope with everything, with no financial contributions until the last few months.
Until October 2020 I was only making around £300 each month from my coaching. In December I dropped half a day in my NHS job to concentrate more on my own business as it started to grow.
I started 2020 as a single parent having to watch every penny, my circumstances having changed overnight. Everything went from being 50:50 and having lots of disposable income, to 100% being on me. I was paying out more than I was bringing in despite having a basic salary of 75k. I had to adapt over night. The Costa trips were replaced with boxed lattes in a mug. Frivolous takeaways became an Aldi pizza night treat on a Friday.
Never in my adult life had I walked around the supermarket doing mental calculations and putting things back, but this became my life. I recognised there were times I felt resentful for having to do everything by myself, and I would then treat myself to something indulgent like an Elemis face wash or a perfume, things which came with ease prior to my daughter. But treats like these were always on my credit card, and only served as another outgoing.
Fortunately I did a lot of personal development and, with being a Coach, recognised that I was too qualified, experienced and savvy to be struggling. I set myself up in business coaching, which by the end of the year was making me an extra 2.5k – 3k a month. Now I have a loose budget but I ensure myself and my daughter can live a life that feels less restrictive.
I continue to buy bargains, but that is because I want to invest my money into assets to give us some more security for the years ahead. I also make a point of donating regularly to charities that support parents, in gratitude for where I have been. I find myself spending money mostly on my home, getting it just how I want it for me and my daughter so we can be comfortable in our little bubble.
I was brought up in poverty and had a clear mantra throughout my life that I would not have a life of struggle. When I found myself struggling as a single parent it really got me down initially. However it was also the motivating factor that meant I refused to stay there.
At the start of 2020 I had absolutely no idea how I was going to make it through, envisaging that I would eventually have to sell my home as the reality was I just couldn’t afford the mortgage and any upkeep easily. Fast forward 12 months and I have never made the amount of money I am making. This wasn’t because I was super talented or had extra help, I was just very clear of my why, which was I would do anything to keep my daughter in her nursery and us in our home, as that was the only stability she had.
Sometimes you don’t need to be able to see the how, just be clear about your why.
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If you would like more information on benefits or support with debt, we suggest Entitledto or Turn2Us for easy to use benefit calculators, Citizens Advice for general benefit and debt advice, National Debtline, or Business Debtline if you have your own business that it’s debt.