Moms who work outside the home spend around 100 hours doing so, as found in a study conducted by Welch’s. The average mom ‘clocks in’ at 6:23 am and ‘clocks out’ at 8:30pm – which can leave little time for tasks such as budgeting and financial management. In order to reduce the burden of keeping atop of bills and other financial obligations, setting and sticking to a schedule are vital. So, too, is embracing technological aid, so you always know what you’re spending, what you need to spend more or less on, and what days your payments are due.
Budgeting Ideas for Moms on the Go
Setting Up a Payment Plan
Whether you are single or you have a partner, sitting down and crunching numbers is key, so as to identify areas in which you can reduce your spending. CNBC reports that consumers overspend by around $7,400 in the U.S. (without counting bills such as utilities and rent or mortgage). Some of the biggest categories of overspending are online shopping, subscription services, and groceries. Track all your essential expenses on an Excel spreadsheet and calculate how much you spent on optionals. Try to identify money traps you can easily avoid without cutting back too much on your enjoyment of life.
Reducing Debts
If you have multiple debts, many of which have high interest rates, then debt consolidation may be a good option. There are two main ways to consolidate debts. The first involves taking out a fixed-rate loan and paying off your debt with this loan, repaying the latter over a set period. The second involves transferring all your debts onto a 0% card, paying off the balance during a predetermined time. The latter will only be available to you if you have a high credit score. Consolidation is only worthwhile if it helps you pay your debts sooner than expected, or if interest rates are significantly lower than what you are paying currently.
Relying on Useful Apps
Personal finance apps are an excellent way to keep track of spending and available funds without having to put pen to paper and make extensive calculations. Top apps include Mint (a free app you can link multiple bank accounts and cards to), CountAbout (which obtains key information from your bank account as well as other financial apps), and Trim (which cancels unwanted subscriptions and negotiates fees for you). Some apps also help you make and track investments, which is a useful skill to hone, while are simply budget-oriented. One group of apps simply focuses on monitoring your bank accounts so that you always pay bills on time.
Setting Up Bill Payment Schedules
Depending on when you get paid, you may decide that a bi-monthly bill payment system works best for you and helps ensure you always have funds in your account when payment time pops around. You can decide to pay for your Internet and water in the first week of the month, for instance, and settle your rent and electricity bills in the last week of the month. More frequent bills (including gas and grocery payments), meanwhile, can be set up for payment on a weekly or fortnightly basis.
Keeping abreast of financial obligations can be tough for busy moms. Planning and analysis are key, as is aiming to pay existing debt sooner rather than later. Taking advantage of personal finance apps, meanwhile, will help keep track of every single expense and even kickstart an interest in investment.