Hey, I'm Mckayla! Stay-at-home work-from-home mama building a community for supporting mamas in all walks of life!
Just Mom Things
Moms have a lot on their plates. Take Katie, your average mom, running around caring for her four kids. She manages the bulk of the household chores, including, of course, cooking and grocery shopping. But buying groceries, clothes, and even gifts for the occasional birthday party can be a source of stress for her. After all, Katie is also the manager of the family budget.
Many of us moms can relate to Katie. If you also are the manager of the family budget in your home, money is always at the top of mind. This is particularly true if you are a stay at home mom, with an even further limited budget. However, no matter what your situation, using and sticking with a budget can be the solution you need. In this post I want to talk about 10 hacks to a better family budget. But before we get started, let’s establish what a family budget is.
If you are in the midst of a money mess, you need a plan. A budget is the plan for your money. When money comes in, you can look at your budget and know exactly where every dollar should go, if it’s for spending, paying something or saving for later.
Start with having a family budget meeting. It’s a good idea to be on the same page as your husband. You can discuss what the budget categories are for your family and how much you’d like to attribute to each category. Don’t just create budget categories for household needs, you should include costs associated with things like career, entertainment, insurance, recurring subscriptions, and taxes.
You also want to assess where you are spending money and your financial stability. Do you have an emergency fund, an IRA or college fund? Are you in debt? How much money do you want to budget for paying off that debt?
Once you’ve agreed upon these items, create a monthly budget worksheet in excel or use something more sophisticated like QuickBooks. If you need, you can adjust it to weekly or biweekly, depending on your income and lifestyle.
Setting this up will save you time and minimize your stress about money. If you aren’t sure how to set up your categories and what money should be allotted to each, there are tons of free family budget resources to get you started.
Let’s talk about how to make your family budget even better – and easier for you. Here are ten money hacks that you can use right now:
You thought ordering groceries online was just for pandemic times. That may have made ordering groceries online popular, but it’s actually super helpful for your budget too. When you order groceries, for pickup or through a drop-off service, you are likely to spend a lot less than going yourself. When you order online, it’s more direct to see the specific products or foods you are searching for and therefore you’ll be less tempted at the store by the items or offers you see
Cash envelopes are just that. You are dividing your income as cash into specific envelopes labeled by the specific category they stand for. This is another trend as of late, and it’s no wonder, since it works so well to get you to your financial goals. Renamed as cash stuffing, you can find YouTube inspiration and motivation from videos where others show how they divide their payday cash.
Another way to better your family budget is by using debit cards. Perhaps you don’t like the idea of cash stuffing or find that it doesn’t work for you. Don’t resort to credit cards. Using a debit card is just as easy and will help you keep track of what money. In conjunction with a bank app, you will know what money you have available at all times.
This is a shocking hack that I wish I had thought of sooner. Most employers will allow you to direct deposit into more than one account. Of course, you need to check with your bank to make sure there are no restrictions or fees for additional checking accounts. However, if you can deposit specific amounts into the appropriate account (i.e. grocery account), you can match this up with the debit card hack for that specific account! This really changed the game for me since the envelope system became cumbersome when our expenses and household needs grew.
Again, you should be aware of how much money you have regularly. This shouldn’t be an obsessive activity. Just mark out a day, or days, to check in. For me I check every time I know I’m going to shop. It’s good so that you don’t go above your budget and also to make sure nothing suspicious is going on in your account.
This hack will save you a ton of money. In the moment, we may feel we really need or want something (especially if a sales associate is talking to us). I would say anything over $50 counts as a “big” purchase that you should wait on. Come back after a week of consideration, if you still want or need it.
Regular budget meetings are always a good idea. Once a month or so, to talk about what’s working, what’s not, review expenses and make goals.
This is something that would always make us fall off the budget horse. If there is a special occasion, I might tend to squeeze out more money than I should in order to make things work. However, it’s better to plan for these as much as possible. If something is coming up in a few months, it might be a good idea to talk about it during your budget meetings.
Did you know you could negotiate your rates with your service providers? There are many services that we get that you may be eligible for a discount or decrease for just being a good customer. You won’t know unless you ask.
As a mom you may already know this hack but I felt it was too good to leave out. There are much more benefits than books. For years we went without internet at home and I used the library’s internet when I went for the kid’s storytime. I was going weekly for this fun, free kids activity anyway. We print so infrequently that we use the library’s printer. Did you know that some libraries provide free tax preparation? Our local library even gives away vegetable and flower seeds in the springtime. We used these last year, and it was great.
As you can see, a family budget can make life more rich, in more ways than one. Creating a budget for your family will open up doors of communication in your home, make you a more savvy mom and reduce your stress. Managing your family’s money will be one less spinning plate to worry about.
Great tips in this article on managing our family budget. Every year we set our budget then just don’t manage it properly – definitely going to try the process described here.