Being a mom is one of the most rewarding jobs you’ll ever have. It can also be one of the most stressful, especially if you manage your family’s finances as well. It might seem like no matter how hard you try, you’re always short money at the end of month. Thankfully, there are things you can do to get back on track.
Create a Realistic Budget
“I never live beyond my means,” said no one ever. In fact, even those who are super careful with money can accidentally spend over their budget. Many of the best money saving options for moms begin with a realistic budget. Not understanding what that looks like for some people can happen for a couple of reasons:
- They spend more than they earn.
- The budget is too strict and offers no wiggle room.
Regardless of the reason, you need to create a realistic budget. Take a good look at your monthly bills and see where most of your money is going. If it’s spent on groceries, find ways to cut costs. You can buy in bulk or choose generic instead of name brands. You can check out craigslist free stuff. You should look at how often you go shopping. It’s better to shop only once a week or every two weeks if possible. Going to the store more often usually results in spending more than if you buy larger quantities less frequently.
Pay Down Debt
With inflation making it harder to save, it’s easy to see why you’d turn to your credit cards for financial assistance. Unfortunately, having to use your credit can create a snowball effect in which the more you use, the further in debt you become, and that’s even with paying more than the monthly minimum. If you’re on a tight budget, you need to really buckle down and find ways to pay off your debt.
If possible, talk to your credit card company about lowering the interest rate on your cards. If that’s not an option, and you have a life insurance policy, you could consider selling it. Getting a life settlement, which is when you sell your policy to a third-party for cash, can help build a nest egg and pay off your debt. It’s important to note that you can receive some of the cash value; however, you will not receive the total death benefit. While most term policies don’t qualify, in certain situations, they may. It depends on your age and how long you’ve been paying into the plan.
Start an Emergency Fund
Having at least two months, preferably three, of total expenses in reserve can turn an emergency into a minor inconvenience. However, depending on your budget, that figure might be out of your reach. At the very least, try to set aside $1,000 that’s only for emergency use. This is separate from your actual savings account, and should only be used when you don’t have extra cash to cover the issue. If your furnace breaks down in the middle of winter, you need to act fast. Your emergency fund will cover the cost of the service call as well as possible repairs.
When trying to save money, many forget to treat themselves. Even though you’re trying to save money, you still need to do things you enjoy. While you might have to scale back, you can still treat yourself to lunch out, getting your hair and nails done, or having a much-needed girl’s night out. All you need to do is work it into your new budget.