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A Single Mother Struggling to Budget Weighs the Balance Between Just Surviving and Really Living

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. We had been responsible with money, but I still wasn’t fiscally prepared for this loss. I wanted to ensure that my kids and I could stay in the neighborhood and home where we’d always lived—something that was hard enough when my husband and I were both working.

It was almost impossible on my own. So, I had to learn to , which wasn’t easy, especially for someone who’d had to repeat a year of high school math.I spent my first year of widowhood keeping obsessive watch over all our spending in what—in retrospect—was a futile attempt to control a life that felt uncontrollable.

While my kids slept, I’d agonize over how much extra we could spend and still make all our bills. I quickly learned that with small children, every moment you are away from them costs money.

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