If you’re a mom then there’s no doubt about it that you have a lot on your plate. From the minute you wake up, to the minute you fall asleep, the work day doesn’t end. You’re constantly going, doing, and working. One responsibility that falls on a lot of moms is managing finances and keeping the checkbook balanced. For those moms among us who wear the accountant hat, here are a few tips that can make it easier to keep family finances in order despite your hectic schedule.
Staying organized is important and takes daily diligence to accomplish. The first step in keeping things organized is writing everything down. One method I’ve found to be quite useful is to keep a central records book and every time I make a purchase, whether it’s made with cash, credit, or a check, I write a record in my book. Including information such as the date, the person, the amount, and a simple note to help differentiate the purchase from other purchases is paramount in keeping a quality records book.
It’s also wise to keep family expenses separate from business expenses. Mixing the two won’t just cause financial confusion for you, but can actually change the way the law views your expenses. Take ten minutes every day to do a “daily check” of your finances and records. Ensuring that things are updated daily is the best way to stay on top of things.
Finding Time to Work
Probably the most difficult part of keeping the checkbook balanced is finding the time to actually sit down and do it. Utilizing the time you have, not the time you make, is potentially the best way to find the time to deal with finances. Since this is a task that requires attention to detail it’s important to focus, while working. The best time to achieve this is when children are at school, taking naps, or have already gone to bed.
Utilize Additional Tools
There are plenty of automated tools you can use either online or offline to aid in the process of keeping the checkbook balanced. Services like Mint.com or Wesabe.com provide an amazing array of tools to help keep your financial life under control. While these tools will never replace the manual balancing of the checkbook they do offer a second set of eyes as an additional safeguard against wrong charges, and over spending. In addition to these tools, it’s a good practice to create a spreadsheet for keeping records or notes about each expense.
Other Thoughts to Consider
As a mom you have a lot of things demanding your time. It’s wise to only spend time on those tasks that provide a benefit to your family’s life. For this reason you’ll want to limit yourself to one or two fundraisers per child, per year. Likewise you should limit yourself to using the same form of payment when possible. Always using checks or always using a credit card will help to keep your expenditures in one place for easier book keeping.
Now that I’ve had my say, have yours. What are some ways that you keep the checkbook balanced and your finances in order?
By Annie Harrington, a small business owner and freelance writer who is also keenly interested in all aspects of finance and design.