The image of stay-at-home mum drinking margaritas all day and while watching soap operas has been present in American media for quite some time. The truth is quite the opposite. An average stay at home mum works about 94 hours per week.
Things like cooking, cleaning, teaching, and even behavioral therapy take up the most of that time, but certainly, aren’t the only things she does during the day. Some even have jobs that allow them to stay at home, on top of everything else.
Those that can’t manage to find one depend on their partners to provide money for the home budget, which can have some serious consequences. Most stay at home mum feel guilty when they buy something for themselves, feeling that they are taking away from the family.
One of the best ways to combat this is to take charge of the family budget and see where money can be saved, so there is enough for everything.
Keep Track of The Budget
Just having an idea in your head isn’t really a proper way of making and keeping a budget. Everything has to be noted and written down, including both income and expenses. No matter how small item is, note it in your spreadsheet and monitor how much you are spending on various items on a monthly basis.
This will give you a pretty good idea of how much money can be saved and where you can pinch it from. It can be tedious at first, but you will soon fall into habit and it will become second nature. If you have an accountant, it would be a good idea to consult them on which expenses can get you a tax deduction, so you can focus on them.
Earn Money from Your Savings
Having extra cash for emergencies is a prudent tactic, but in case you manage to save up more than a few months of your income or you have an unexpected windfall of money, it is best to invest it. There are several ways how you can go about doing that, but the simplest one is to find a broker in your area that can manage your portfolio.
Many people shy away from this idea, preferring to keep the money in their checking account or even worse, at home, but that is just a way of letting inflation eating it up little by little. By investing it, you are making sure that it is working for you.
Talk to Your Partner
The only way a home budget is going to work is if both you and your partner are on board with the idea. If just one of you saves while other is splurging on various luxury items, it will only lead to quarreling and accusations, especially if money is tight. Discuss everything and make a decision together.
You may need to make a few compromises, but some important rules need to be established. For instance, you can create a limit above which any purchase must be agreed upon by both of you. How much exactly will depend on your situation? For some couples, it can be as low as $50 or as high as a couple of hundred dollars. Whichever it is, stick to it.
Obviously, things like a mortgage will take some time before they can be eliminated, but smaller debts, like those on credit cards, should be paid off as soon as possible. The interest you pay on those can be used for other stuff and you need to free up that money. One of the best solutions is a snowball method, where you pay the smallest debt first and then add that amount to payments on the next one and so on, until you are debt-free.
Avoid Impulse Buys
A sure way to wreck your budget is going to the market and spending your monthly grocery budget on trinkets you don’t really need on impulse. Of course, there is always a shiny new toy you may need, be it a kitchen appliance, a piece of clothing or a new power tool for hubby, but ask yourself do you really need it or you just want it.
Try to sleep on a purchase before making a decision and see how you feel in the morning. A good habit is to make a list every time you go shopping and sticking to it, no matter what. If you really need that new blender, keep an eye on discounts and collect coupons. Not only it will create good habits, but you will be that much happier when you finally buy it.
The second source of income is a great way of complementing your budget, but it is not an option for everyone. Some mums feel that getting a job, even the one that can be done from home is defeating the whole purpose of stay at home parents, although there are plenty of jobs that allow you to work from home and be an involved parent. Even if you don’t opt for working, these budgeting tips should help you stay afloat and not worry too much about money.
Jessie Connor is a passionate writer and researcher from Brisbane, contributor at several business and lifestyle blogs, hooked on yoga and healthy living. She loves to spend her free time travelling, reading and of course – shopping!