By traditional standards, men are the primary providers of the family while women are responsible for the home. In these modern times however, most households now have 2 wage earners, because more women are now opting to work…hence the birth of the working mama.
Interestingly enough, the jurisdiction over household matters still falls under the job description of the wife…and this includes the domestic finances. Why is that? One may surmise that it is the woman’s attention to detail that make her more skilled at managing the nitty gritties of household finances. And this is true, but women are also the more emotional gender, which makes the fairer sex more likely to make impulsive decisions.
Women, moms in particular, have a lot to juggle in their lives and adding one more thing: money matters…can be a little overwhelming. But the need to prioritize the family’s financial health is no small matter. If left to neglect, the consequences could be severe. Thus, the importance of developing money smart habits cannot be emphasized enough.
1. Set goals and create guidelines to achieve them. Always begin with the end in mind. Before you set guidelines for saving and spending, put the numbers down and work towards them. Saving for a house? Starting a tuition fund? Looking into buying insurance? Identify your goals and create actionable plans to work towards them.
2. Live within your means. Avoid debt by consciously living within your means. For example, if you earn 30,000 a month, try to create buffer for planning your monthly budget so that you can put a percentage of this into savings.
3. Identify the difference between wants and needs. Did you really need to eat out tonight, or would you have saved money by enjoying a simple meal at home? Do you really need another car, or can you work around commuting? Do you really need that new iPhone? Or will the one you are using last a few more years?
4. Avoid borrowing money, even on credit. Everybody knows this, but old habits die hard. Credit cards create the illusion of having more money than you actually have. Here’s a tip. Withdraw the amount of money you have set aside for your monthly budget and pay for everything in cash. This will help you to become more disciplined and discerning about your expenses, because you no longer have a seemingly “unlimited” spending power.
5. Learn to say no. As moms, we are often pulled in many directions when it comes to the pressures of spending vs. saving but the best thing we can do for ourselves and for our families is to learn how to say no. Remember that when you say no to something you want buy may not need, you are saying yes to taking one step closer to kind of life that you and your husband are working towards for your family.
6. Track your expenses. Know where your money goes! Between grocery receipts, utility bills, and tuition invoices, knowing exactly where every peso goes can be tedious, but these tracking tools will be your best friend at the end of the month when you do your check and balance.
7. Always be learning. There are numerous books that written to make financial literacy accessible to the average woman. Why not pick one up to get tips from the experts to further refine your household’s financial management.
While developing smart money habits are a good place to start, like the experience of every student, moms must be patient with themselves. There’s no need to expect to get every habit down perfectly right away. It will truly be the small changes we make in our habits every day that will make all the difference.