Broke? Overwhelmed? Need help paying rent, fixing your car, child care, medical bills? There are many resources available, some specifically for single moms. Here are some programs that can help:
Need to earn money more now? We recommend Steady, an app that offers cash bonuses and has helped more than 2 million people find quality gigs and jobs that pay up to $26/hr.
Are you getting a tax refund? File for your tax refund ASAP to get funds you need — and are owed! Learn more about tax returns for single parents.
Have questions about money?
The nonprofit Savvy Ladies provides a free volunteer-run helpline service that pairs you with the appropriate volunteer to help you with:
- divorce and money
- family finances
- small business planning
- debt management (including credit cards)
- retirement investing/saving
- money and emotions
Where to find free money: Churches
Many churches set aside what's known as a benevolence fund to help parishioners and community members with utility bills, rent and other expenses.
To get help with your utility bills from a church fund, start by calling churches in your area to find out which ones offer assistance and how to apply. You might have to sit with them for an interview, provide proof of financial need and fill out forms as part of the application process.
Some churches might ask you to volunteer time if you are able or attend church-led classes on money management.
Love INC is a ministry that mobilizes local churches near you across the country to support local people and communities in need. Each branch is independently operated, so you'll have to search for your nearest Love INC location to find out which churches in your area offer services and how to apply. For example, this branch serving Otero County, N.M., offers a food pantry and assistance with furniture, household essentials, building supplies, medical equipment, prescriptions, utility bills, rent, home repairs, and overnight shelters.
There are also several denomination-based organizations that can help single moms in need with utility bills and other expenses.
Catholic Charities has more than 3,000 offices across the United States that help families with free money for paying utility and energy bills regardless of their religion.
Most United Methodist Church locations offer assistance with food, clothing, utilities, and other essential expenses.
The Episcopal Church has hundreds of parishes across the U.S. that help community members with food, utility bills, rent, and more.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an organization that utilizes home visits to help people with rent, utilities, food, or clothing, in addition to offering companionship and religious guidance.
The Jewish Federation of North America helps people of all religions with basics like food, medicine, and financial assistance.
Lutheran Social Services serves more than 30,000 individuals and families with food pantries and hot meals, clothing, and emergency vouchers for hotels, buses, and utilities.
Where to find free money: Government programs
Benefits.gov is the official public benefits website of the U.S. government. The website is a portal to help you understand which benefits you’re eligible to receive. Answer some questions on the Benefits Finder tool to be matched with qualifying programs.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program
The federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program has distributed billions of dollars to help families stay in their homes during the economic shutdown related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find other government emergency rental assistance programs.
If you specifically need help paying utility bills, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps qualifying families cover energy costs.
To find your local LIHEAP assistance program, select your state and county from the dropdown menu on the LIHEAP site. You can also call the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) hotline at 1-866-674-6327.
Where to find free money: Nonprofit organizations
Community Action Organizations take on the responsibility of helping families in need with everything from utility bills to job training, food assistance, housing and more.
United Way’s 211.org is a 24/7 live hotline that connects you with community services, resources for mental and physical health, finding food, housing and more.
Salvation Army is a global organization that supports low-income people and families with a variety of food, shelter, emergency cash, jobs skills, domestic violence and human traffic support, and disaster relief.
Where single moms can get free money to pay bills
Free money: Housing assistance for single moms
If you’re a single mom in need of housing, there are a number of programs that can help.
We put together a guide for how to get free housing or an apartment, with information about the following resources:
- Rental assistance
- Home loans for single moms
- Ways to get help when you’re facing a housing crisis
Free money: Get help buying a car as a single mom
There are local and national programs to help low-income people get a free car, or finance a quality used car at good rates. This guide on how to get a car for low-income people will help.
If you're ready to buy a car, but money is a problem, we recommend 1800FreshStart, a marketplace for auto loans. 1800FreshStart is a quality service:
- Better Business Bureau rating of A+
- APRs starting at 1.74%
- Buy or refinance a car
- Available to buyers who have low or no credit, or who have gone through bankrupcy
- Apply for an auto loan within 90 seconds
Free money for gas
With higher gas prices than ever, getting affordable or free gasoline for your vehicle is critical. We compiled a list of 24 resources for getting free or reduced-cost gas, including vouchers from charities and government programs, discounts from gas stations and other retailers, and ways to earn money paid on gas cards.
Free money for a cell phone
Lifeline is a government program that helps low-income qualifying people get a free or reduced-price smartphone and wireless service. We elaborate on the dozens of programs throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, including those from big carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile in this guide to free smartphones and cell service.
Free money instantly
Whether you're looking to boost your income or need a quick cash fix, there are ways to quickly get the cash you need. Check out 9 ways to get free money instantly in 2022.
Whether for your own use finding a job and personal use, or for your children to use for school work, we collected 15 ways to get a free laptop for low-income families and students.
Free money for wifi and internet
Check out our guide to 10 places to get free internet and wifi for home — for students and low-income families and people.
Free or cheap medical insurance and prescriptions
Medicaid is a joint federal and state medical insurance program for low-income families. Find out if you qualify for Medicaid, and learn about your state's benefits.
If you are one of the majority of Americans who rely on prescription drugs, you may be able to get them for free or very low-cost. Learn more in our prescription medication guide.
Whether you need new clothes for your children, a professional outfit for a job interview, or you just want to update your wardrobe, there are a lot of ways to get free clothes when you can't afford to buy them.
We put together a list of places to get free clothing.
Free childcare and preschool
All 50 states, plus many cities and counties offer free or reduced-cost child care, daycare and preschool. Here is a list of all the ways you can get the affordable or free childcare as well as preschool you need.
The last thing any mom should have to worry about is how she'll feed her baby. Luckily there are programs like WIC that provide free formula to qualifying moms and babies.
Check out our guide to getting free formula and formula samples.
If you need help buying diapers, you have options. We put together a list of places to get free or cheap diapers.
Free parenting classes
There are dozens of local and national programs to help low-income families enjoy the holidays with free gifts. Here is our guide to free Christmas presents. There are also opportunities to get free toys from various sources year-round.
Free prescription glasses
Until recently, it was difficult to find a pair of eyeglasses for less than $400. Thankfully, more brands are offering stylish and affordable options, and some programs offer free eye exams and glasses for qualifying individuals. Check out our post with 18 resources for free prescription glasses and cheap frames.
According to the American College of Prosthodontists, more than 36 million Americans do not have any teeth, which can significantly impact their quality of life.
Dentures are a cost-effective way to get your smile back, but they can vary considerably in cost and quality and require periodic replacement and adjustment. Check out our guide on where to buy affordable dentures.
Perhaps not surprising, studies find that single moms are twice as likely to be depressed and anxious than partnered moms. One study of nearly 7,000 mothers in Europe found that 30% of single mothers reported symptoms of depression or anxiety compared with just 14% of partnered mothers and 37% of single moms reported high parenting stress compared with 16% of partnered mothers.
Self-care means putting your own mental, spiritual, physical and social well-being before all else — filling your cup so you can serve others in your family, at work, in your community. Read this excellent post with free self-care tips from therapist Elizabeth Cohen, PhD.
Coursera's free trial covers the course, The Science of Well-Being, from a Yale professor, has been taken by millions of people, and promises to teach skills that lead to more happiness and productivity.
Consider online therapy from a company BetterHelp, which offers therapy on a sliding fee scale.
Also, if you believe medication may be part of your mental-health plan, an online doctor who can write prescriptions can help. Our list of top online doctor apps for 2022.
Free scholarships and grants for single moms
If you’ve been thinking about going back to school (or about going for the first time), don’t let money be the thing that stops you. There are a number of single mom scholarships, grants, and financial aid programs you can apply for.
We put together a list of 20 scholarships for single moms that will help you land the job of your dreams, inspire your children, and help you live a better life.
Every month, I also give out $500 cash to one single mom, no strings attached.
I started the Kickass Single Mom Stimulus Grant to give a hand to single moms struggling with money, health, stress, child care, illness, and loneliness. If you’re a single mom and you need the money right now, you can apply — no catch.
For more info on running your household efficiently, creating budgets, meal plans, chores and more, check out our resources guide for single moms.