Three awesome (financial) things about being a single parent

Single parents get a bad rap. Mostly because we whine a lot. I do. I use my single parent status to solicit sympathy when I want to feel sorry for myself.

But I have a secret. It’s actually really awesome being a single parent, and most of the reasons are financial.

1) Everything costs less. Take for example, the train trip I booked for this summer to visit my dear friend Leisha in Prince Rupert, B.C. For me and my eight-year-old daughter to travel from Jasper to the BC coast, it will cost me $375. Round Trip. Two people (one with long legs, one with longer legs).

If we had another adult coming with us, it would cost almost $650. I know, I know – two people can make more money to make up that cost, and then some. And? You make more money, you spend more money. I like keeping my money in my pocket/bank account/cyberspace.

The writer and her offspring in 2004. Photo: Katherine Setka

2) All ways are my ways. I had a friend whose husband once spent their last $75 in the bank to rent a Playstation. They had two little kids, one not yet out of diapers. I was there when her husband called to tell her what he’d done. Her face sunk to the floor. I can’t imagine what that conversation was like once he arrived home, and I left their place. I was just glad I wasn’t there to witness it.

Because I make all the money in my house, I decide how all the money is spent. There are pitfalls to this, or course. Like if I want to spend my last $100 on a pair of shoes and then justify my Visa-purchased groceries, there’s no one else to notice or criticize. (I’ve done this. Live and learn. Live. And. Learn.) The flip side is that I don’t fight with anyone over money. Stats tell us money causes huge issues between partners, but I doubt you need numbers to prove this point. I’m sure every couple can attest to the fact that money is a big hairy deal for them.

3) I can make more money. I do a lot of freelance work, and I do it at night. After my girl has gone to bed, I pull out my laptop to write or grade or prepare or make calls or research. If I was married or living with my partner, how do you think this would impact our relationship? Because everybody loves a workaholic, right? You might argue I wouldn’t have to work so much if I had someone to share the load financially. Truthfully, I would work this much partner or no partner.

It’s obvious there are downsides to each of these. I poked holes in my own arguments. But today I choose not to focus on those things. Today, I feel blessed and fulfilled from the eight amazing (and challenging) years I’ve spent on my own. Well, not totally on my own. My favourite human in the world was right by my side, and she’s been worth every penny.


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