‘I work long hours to be a good role model for my daughter’: Single mum on how she manages her budget and saves for holidays

Amy Tarick White says that holding down two jobs as a single mother means she has to manage her time and money efficiently

In our ‘How I Live On...’ series, we’re finding out exactly how people in the UK spend, save and invest their incomes. This week, we speak to Amy Tarick White, 34, from Kettering, who is a mother of one and works full-time.

“I’m an operations manager for a concrete company, and I also work in a bar, so I often work very long hours. I’m also a division commissioner for Girlguiding – I love it. It’s time I can spend with my daughter.

“Because I earn over the bracket, I don’t receive any help with any of my expenses. So I have to pay for all school trips, uniform, allowances, school dinners, things like that.

“It can get expensive. When we changed schools, the new school uniform was £300 in total, but you do choose a school and its ethos, so you have to accept the price, don’t you?"

Balancing my budget

“I have one day a week when a member of my family looks after my daughter, but the other days I pay for childcare before and after school. That tends to add up to £500 a month.

“I have to be very effective with my time management to manage everything. I just plan what my weeks entail, what other things I have to face and then prioritise.“I have everything written down on a spreadsheet. Once my bills are paid I mark it off and I can say on any given day how much I have got for the food shop.

“My daughter’s father pays £200 a month, which is an agreeable amount – we like to keep things civil and have a good rapport. When she does see her dad, he saves enough to take her away. I think it’s good for them to have time together.

“Some dads are penalised quite strongly, and rather than being able to spend time with their children they have to pay child maintenance.

“No parent should be penalised in money for seeing their child."

“I pride myself on personal achievements, which is a pressure in itself, but if things are handed out on a plate people are willing to take the handouts. I want to be a good role model for my daughter.

“I think it is a good example for her that I work. She will definitely be independent – there’s signs of that even now. She said they have done bank balances in school and how to work them out. I think that’s really important to learn about.”

Managing my money as a single parent

Net monthly income: £2,075.36

Child maintenance: £200

Total: 2,275.36

Monthly outgoings

  •  Mortgage: £550
  •  Childcare: £500
  •  House bills: £280
  •  Food shopping: £200
  •  Takeaways: £60
  •  Travel/fuel: £200
  •  Holidays: £60
  •  Other treats (such as hair & beauty; days out): £60
  •  Gym/school needs/trips: £100
  •  Netflix, Spotify etc: £10
  • Amount left to spend and save: £175.76
  • Total: £2,020
  • i reality check: Single parents

    Parents have a lot of demands on their pockets, from school lunches to days out, childcare to Christmas presents. For some single-parent households, those expenses can be even more difficult to manage.

    Earlier this year, the debt charity StepChange revealed that a quarter of all the people seeking their advice were single parents who had complained that they were being squeezed by the rising cost of living.

    According to new research from Fairmoney.com, more than a third of single parents now think that they would be better off on benefits than in employment, due to the pressure of going it alone.

    More than a quarter also think that schools offer little or no support to single parents, while a fifth worry that they have failed their children due to financial constraints.

    Dr Gewolb said that these solutions would “help secure the finances of single parents across Britain”.Dr Roger Gewolb, founder and executive chairman of Fairmoney, has argued that the UK’s 1.7 million single-parent families deserve better. He called on the Government to provide a better framework for high street banks to offer parents meaningful face-to-face financial advice, widen the criteria for loans to be offered, and increase the number of bursaries awarded to help pay for school supplies and uniforms.