Being broke at the end of the month can make any mommy fret, considering the number of expenses to be dealt with, before the start of the next. Often, you might wonder that the huge sum that was credited to your bank account has vanished in thin air within a span of few days. In the current climate, credit card bills have often turned out to be heart-breakers more than saviors when those expenses are required.
The reasons behind the exorbitant bill could be money, rent, groceries, or even a few weekend splurges that were inevitable. However, there are ways you can spare yourself the jolts that month-end bank balances could give.
These are a few ways several mommies around the world smartly plan their expenses for the month to ensure they save considerably.
We suggest you do the same. Create a budget plan and stick to it. It surely is going to make a huge difference in your lives too. Here are few smart tips:
- Set Realistic Budgets
The first step is to chart out a budget plan on a paper enlisting the various expenses that could arise across the month. Anything from home essentials and your kids’ needs to spa therapy sessions needs to be included considering the amount that could be possibly spent. Well, this is one of the first few ways of disciplining yourself if you want to drastically curb your expenses.
By realistic budgets, we mean the self-pampering you could indulge in once in a while, or even fortnightly lavish dinners that could cost you a dime.
Penning the budget plan itself would lead you to several eye-openers that probably didn’t occur to the mind over the past few months.
The budget plan can be further bifurcated into a series of weekly plans to manage expenses even better. You could also allocate a budget for each of the weeks to prevent unnecessary expenditure and restrict yourself to spending within the amount mentioned in the plan.
This tradition has been employed by many over decades and has worked for several individuals, so probably you could give this approach a try too.
- Partnering With A Budget Buddy
Harsh critics, or rather those who share constructive views, are a must-need in every aspect of life including while charting those monthly budgets. A bestie who’s been by your side through thick and thin, your husband, or even children can make great bouncing boards while drafting budget plans. You could probably pen a draft in solitude and maybe call this trusted partner over for a review later on.
Such collaboration should probably help you mommies save a good amount even after spending a big chunk on the monthly essentials.
- Considering Legal Settlements
Many mommies belonging to the working class would agree that a significant amount of their monthly earnings is spent on paying off the instalments of their loans and maybe even the EMIs of the vehicles they’ve recently bought.
Legal settlements also include the expenditure incurred while going through a divorce. Paying the lawyer or even alimony frequently could leave you with little money every month. Even if you have parted ways with your spouse, child support expenses are inevitable. So, you can’t afford to miss on essential spending by prioritizing secondary needs – it’s criminal, to be brutally honest. Hence, it is all the more important to be smarter about your finances to prevent a hand-to-mouth living and that dreaded struggle of ‘making ends meet’.
Legal settlements need to be included in your budget plan at any cost to prevent being on the sorry side.
Setting aside a higher-than-usual amount exclusively for these important expenses would be ideal to be a little more disciplined in your monthly spending behavior.
- Hierarchy of Expenses
Some of you might be familiar with the famous Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and how it is vital to realize basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing, before attaining self- actualization. This also implies how most people would think of satisfying physiological needs first before their attention turns towards luxury.
Similarly, the budget plans of all mommies should reflect a hierarchy – higher-priority expenses at the start to low-priority needs towards the bottom of the pyramid. The budget for recreation and entertainment needs to be allocated only after the money to settle legal expenses and the monthly bills have been set aside first. The craving to enjoy a sumptuous meal at that famous joint, planning a trip to Disneyland with the kids, and even a day at the spa are thoughts many mommies can’t resist.
- Religiously Abiding By Pre-decided Lists
Making fortnightly grocery and essentials list to be carried to the nearest retail outlet is a practice most of our mommies followed, and many of us have inherited from our parents. However, many of you mothers would agree taking detours to visit stores, indulging in unplanned splurges and ending up with a dent on the month’s budget.
If you are dead serious about reducing unnecessary expenditures by every penny, you have to curb these unplanned shopping sprees. To the best extent possible, you need to pre-decide your spending behavior, even if you are taking your kids out or catching up with a few friends from high school.
Apart from the pre-planning, the budget plan you charted after hours of brainstorming is a picture that should remind you of curbing extravaganza.
- Ditching Credit Cards
Banks these days are alluring customers with fancy credit card offers with low interest rates that tempt many moms to own one considering the expenses piling up every month. The freedom of buying almost anything you want by swiping a card and thinking of paying later is a momentary joy. The bills that arrive in your mailbox during the second fortnight, thanks to the lavish spending you indulged in by using the credit card, could give you a panic attack.
Unless an emergency, where a big spend is inevitable, saying a big NO to credit cards is a must. Period.
- Preventing Debts At Any Cost
If you are a mom, supporting the home financially all by yourself, a burden you can’t afford to have is a debt, or several of them. As we had mentioned earlier, credit cards could land people in the habit of borrowing money to pay the bills and many mommies in the recent past have been victims of such debts.
Debts could land you in a never-ending miserable cycle of borrow-and-repay that could prove to be costly for you and your family. Most importantly, they take a toll mentally too, which can weaken us mommies, the driving forces of most families across the world today. Planning your expenses consistently, for several months (or even years), avoiding splurges that could prove too costly, and resisting credit card purchase temptations, are the best ways to prevent debts.
- Reserving an Emergency Fund
After piggy banking a good portion of salaries in money saving schemes such as investment plans and spending according to the charted budget plans, many moms are left with close to nothing towards the end of the month. This kind of a pattern isn’t too healthy on the long-run. It is important that you are left with a few hundreds or even thousands even after all the expenditures for the month are covered.
Chances of unforeseen incidents or even mishaps (god forbid) cannot be completely ruled out and being broke would just make things worse.
While charting a budget plan, including a row or column exclusively dedicated to an emergency buffer that mentions the exact amount to be set aside would be a smart move.
- Budgeting Mistakes
Introspection is perhaps one of the most important practices before going ahead with the execution of the budget plan. All mommies have erred in the past and these are some of the most common finance mistakes committed over the years, we could probably avoid in the days to come.
Maybe a lot of us even went ahead and made budget plans as a part of our new year resolutions, but somehow the money-saving idea didn’t quite take off the intended extent. Here are a few yesteryear wrong-doings that we should probably avoid from now on and perhaps be a bit smarter.
- A Budget That Doesn’t Match With Your Personality
Probably you happened to read quite a few self-help books about budgeting and how charting those plans help a great deal in managing money effectively. Quite naturally, the influence of some of these wonderfully penned works drives us moms to create budget plans that are sometimes quite contrary to our personality too. In a pursuit to be ideal in terms of spending, we often end up creating budget plans that aren’t quite practical.
Hence, it is quite important that you ensure your budget is tailored to your lifestyle and the way you spend, and yet not be too lavish to make you struggle. Planning a budget that solely addresses the family’s concerns and suppresses your interests isn’t an ideal one too.
- Lack of Consistency
You may be really disciplined with your expenditure for the first week, but eventually, you might give up on it for several reasons. Most important factor could be the lack of freedom to be lavish or indulge in splurges, or rather, discipline (depending on one’s perception). If you want to witness tangible results from your budget plans, the thumb rule is to abide by it for a long time, and it will surely become a habit you’ll find difficult to give up.
- A Rigid Budget
Locking a budget where there’s no room for unexpected additional expenditures isn’t too practical an idea either. Rigidity could give you less freedom in terms of your expenditures and you may soon start to detest the idea of budgeting completely. The next time you go about charting a plan, ensure there’s some buffer to accommodate any miscellaneous needs that may arise.
- Imbalanced Budgets
Setting aside exorbitant budgets for a few activities to the extent that several other interests suffer is unhealthy too. A large budget for groceries and nutritious food products for the kids and rest of the family with almost no money allotted for that Louis Vuitton bag you always craved to buy is unfair. Such an imbalance could also lead to you eventually shunning the idea of budgets.
We hope these pointers are easy to implement and make a sea of difference to your monthly expenditures, and help you comfortably balance yours and your family’s needs. It’s time to start charting out that budget plan, stick to it religiously and hopefully, the days to come should help your quest of saving considerably.