Raising children is difficult even in the best of circumstances and the wealthiest parents. For those of us who are mothers and run our own small businesses, juggling all the aspects of life and parenting become that much more challenging. One of the most important tasks mothers must do is budgeting for the needs of the family and the children.
Here are a few tips I have gathered in my years of mothering experience and as a small business owner.
Use a Calendar
Mark each and every non-routine expense on a calendar. These include shopping for school supplies, clothing, shoes, dental and medical appointments and other expenses.
It can really blow a budget if you only allow $50 for school supplies, but your child needs a fancy $100 scientific calculator for school. Over-estimate expenses without going too far overboard. This will give you plenty of room to work, and you can take any extra leftover funds and apply it to a bill, another expense, stick it in the bank, or use it as “fun money.”
This seems like common sense, but so many ladies in my social circle have regular freak-outs when unexpected expenses come up. If shoes, clothing and school pictures are “unexpected,” there is a problem with your budget. Plan for these expenses several months in advance.
Shop the Sales
Growing up, and even now, I mostly shop sales. My mother never pays full-price for anything. Clothing stores always have coupons and store-brand cash vouchers for purchases. Shop these sales and you’ll save a ton!
I know – everyone preaches about the value of coupons. They really do help you stretch your family budget a lot farther, if you do it right. When I was first married and my husband were on a tight budget, we’d find a coupon for a food item we didn’t normally buy, and buy that item just because we got $2 off.
Coupons are great, but if you buy junk food with a coupon and pass up fresh fruits and veggies, you aren’t doing yourself or your budget any favours. Only use coupons for food items you normally buy. And compare coupons. If you save $0.50 off a 12-ounce box of pasta that is normally $5, but you can get a 36-ounce box of pasta for $6, that coupon just cost you money.
You can make your budget work with children, you just have to take the time to plan and watch what you are doing.
- License: Creative Commons image source
This is a guest post. These great parenting tips are brought to you by Jacqui Vincent, mum of four and the owner of MyBabyShoes, Australia’s leading online retailer of children’s shoes.