By HGYC Member Tasha Cooper
A recent study by the National Women’s Law Center found that almost two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women, and more than one in four mothers are now the sole or primary breadwinners for their families. That means a lot of moms are trying to budget on a tight income. Being a mom is hard enough as it is, but throw a tight budget into the mix and it can seem downright impossible. Juggling day-to-day expenses while also trying to save for the future can be daunting, but it’s not impossible.
Let’s start by identifying the importance of budgeting. Budgeting is one of the most important skills a mom can have. When you’re budgeting, you’re making sure that you have enough money to cover your expenses – both big and small. And when you’re a mom, you need to be especially careful with your money. That’s because you have to provide for your family, and that can be expensive.
But budgeting doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can be easy once you know how to do it. There are a lot of ways to budget, and what works for one family may not work for another. But there are some basic principles that all families should follow. Now, let’s look at how to create a budget!
The first step to creating a budget is to figure out what your current income is. This includes your salary, any other income you might have and any benefits you get from work. If you're not sure what your current income is, try looking at old pay stubs or contacting your human resources department.
Next, figure out how much money is going out to cover expenses. You will need to take into account things like the amount of money you spend on childcare, the cost of transportation and what expenses are in your budget that need to be paid every month such as rent or mortgage payments. It's
also important to include how much money you want for living expenses like food, utilities and fun...don’t leave out the fun!
Not sure what categories to budget for, start by taking care of your main S.T.U.F.F. (Shelter, Transportation, Utilities, Food, Fun).
The next step is to see what you can cut back on. For example, maybe you've been spending too much on groceries and eating out for lunch. If that's the case, then you might want to consider cutting back on those things. Or maybe there are some things that you don't need or use anymore that could be sold or donated? That would free up some cash for other things in your budget, like saving, debt elimination or investing.
Now, don’t get me wrong, sticking to a budget can take some getting used to, but there are strategies that can make it easier.
Check out these 7 tips for sticking to a budget:
1. Start with a budget and stick to it - Don’t let yourself off the hook
2. Plan your meals in advance to avoid impulse purchases
3. Check if you're paying for monthly subscriptions that you don't use or need
4. Use coupons and discounts when they are available to you, but be careful not to buy things just because they have a discount on them, as this can lead to impulse buys that are not in your budget plan!
5. Don't overstock your fridge with food - only buy what you need for the next few days or weeks so that it doesn't go bad before it is eaten, which will then mean that money has been wasted!
6. Make a list of things that are on sale and compare prices between stores
7. Shop at discount stores for everyday items like toiletries, cleaning supplies, and clothing.
In conclusion, creating a budget when you're a mom on a tight budget can be difficult, but it's not impossible. By taking the time to track your expenses and make a plan, you can make sure that your family has the money they need to cover bills and save for the future. You can do it! You’ve just got to be creative, stay organized, and be willing to make a few sacrifices. By following the tips above, you can create a budget that will help you live within your means, without feeling too restricted.
For more on budgeting, check out the Budgeting Bundle for exclusive e-books and on-demand videos!
Tasha is a Budget Coach, whose passion lies in helping women go from insecure to UNSTOPPABLE with their money. Having paid off more than $38,000 in student loan debt as a single mom, she understands the many struggles that moms face, whether that's living paycheck to payday loan to payday loan to paycheck or living in abundance.
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