As a single parent, I have to make sure that not only do I pay my bills on time but also that I have a sufficient amount left over every month for toiletries, emergencies, mishaps and whatever else my toddler can throw at me. Gone are the days where anything left after bills were paid was fun money. Now even the fun money has to be budgeted but I have a little secret. I have never been very good at budgeting my money. Even at times when I had extra money to spend all too often I'd be checking the couch cushions for a little spare change to keep me going until I received my next paycheck. Becoming a parent has forced me to find an option that ensures that not only are the bills paid but also that I have sufficient funds for all the extra expenses of a toddler. Because my funds are tight I do get a pretty substantial tax return every year so, instead of going on the shopping spree I so desperately yearn for I pay up as many bills as possible for the year and stock up on necessities I know will come up such as clothes and shoes in the next size up and big boy things that I know will help with the transition. Not only does this get me prepared for the insane growth spurt that is guaranteed to happen over the year, buying at this time of the year allows for me to take advantage of some great sales that are always going on during tax season. As an additional bonus, I try to use my credit card to help boost my credit as I have the money available and can pay the bill in full. This system has really allowed me to be prepared for the year to come, alleviate stress, and to have a little extra to do something fun with my favorite person. When you have it just pay it. I know there are a lot of really cool things out there that would be a lot more fun to buy then paying rent, car insurance, or cell bills, but that little splurge can bring on a whole year of stress that could've been avoided. When my car broke down in the middle of the year I was truly thankful that I chose to pay my bills rather than buy that spiffy new laptop. Not having to pay many of my monthly bills has given me just that little bit of extra too many times to count.