Whether you are a single mom, married mom, in a relationship mom, being a mom and thinking about money can often be stressful. Here are some tips to help you budget like the savvy mom you already are or you can be.
1. Start With Your Income: There are two main numbers you need to make any budget: total income and total expenses.
As you plan your budget, begin with monthly income. The easiest way to do that, whether you're working a full-time job, multiple jobs, relying on your husband's income, or receiving child support is to check your pay stubs, bank account or discuss your partner's income. If you're earning the same amount weekly or biweekly, you can use this income. If you are working multiple or irregular jobs, this may change depending on how you often you're doing part-time or side work.
Finally, add in any child support or alimony you're receiving regularly. If you receive these payments but it's not consistent, you may not want to include them in your income total. Or you may want to budget them as bonus amounts you can add to savings.
2. Be Realistic About Your Spending and Expenses: The next step is adding up what you're spending each month. This might be a real reality check. You can divide this into two categories: essential spending to maintain your standard of living and "extras or wants".
So what's essential? Your list may include things like:
Utilities (electricity, gas, water, garbage)
Cell phone and/or internet service
Diapers and formula if you have a baby
Child -related necessities like school lunches, uniforms or clothes
Activity fees for extracurriculars
Why is savings listed here? It's simple. If you're a mom, an emergency fund is something you need. Emergency funds come in handy if you have an unexpected car repair, a child gets sick and you need to miss a day of work. Even if you're only budget $25 a month for savings, small amounts can add up. Treating savings like a bill ensures that the money gets put away regularly. Check out the Be Secure Financially budgeting tab to find easy savings plan to work with your budget.
Next, move on to the extras list. This is where you'll include expenses you don't necessarily need. For example, you might have:
Subtract all of your expenses (essential and extras) from your total income. Ideally, you should have money left over, but you might not. Don't get scared, you just need to make adjustments.
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3. Finding Savings in Your Budget: Once you've got your initial budget done, you can take a second look to find savings. Here are some specific tips for cutting down on spending and freeing up cash in your budget:
Try To Reduce Childcare Costs: The average cost of daycare for a baby runs between $5,547 and $16,549, depending on the state you live in. That breaks down to over $10 to over $100 per week. Daycare assistance may be available for some single moms who meet certain income requirements but if you don't qualify, there may be other ways to cut costs.
You may be able to find a family member who's willing to offer childcare at a discounted amount. Or you might setup a childcare swap with another mom whose schedule is opposite of yours. The other mom may be in the same learning how to budget boat and you could help each other out, financially and emotionally. Even reducing your childcare costs by $50 to $100 per month could add $600 - $1200 per year back to your budget.
These are some basic budgeting tips for moms. You aren't unlike anyone else looking to save, you have the added worry of taking care of children while doing so. Depending on your situation, you also might need extra guidance. If this is the case, Izzy of Be Secure Financially offers affordable budgeting and financially freedom options. Check out the Be Secure Financially Coaching Packages here.
Know this as a mom on your new financial journey, you might mess up, you might not know what you're doing right away, but with knowledge and practice you can do this. You can take control of your finances!