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As stay at home moms, we have to become masters at budgeting. But it's not always an easy task. You think you know where all the money is going and at the end of the month, you're short $100. What happened?
You don't have a distinct plan...
If you look at it, you are willy-nilly thinking "Oh, we'll spend $350 on groceries for our family of 6 just like I saw on Pinterest!" Yep. Wrong! You end up spending double or more of that by the end of the month.
This was me all. the. time. at the beginning of my SAHM journey. So let's look at 4 things that have helped me get our budget in order!
Review all your expense categories
While it's easy to put Groceries, Utilities, and Car Payments on your list, we often forget the little things. School supplies, appliance replacements, emergency dentist trips, etc. All those little expenses add up, sometimes unexpectedly.
Go over your credit card and checking account statements for at least the last 3 months. Find all those little expenses that you didn't quite think about. Adjust your budget to accommodate those extras as needed.
Divide up payments that aren't monthly
Our car insurance payment is due every 6 months. When I was first getting our one income budget done, I didn't account for that giant lump sum (because it is close to $100 cheaper than making the monthly payments to them!). Imagine my surprise (or should I say horror!) when that bill came in! Yikes.
Make sure you're taking any payments that aren't billed monthly and dividing them up monthly so you aren't surprised by a giant bill you forgot to be prepared for.
Add any "leftovers" to savings
While it sounds easy, it can be even easier to take any leftovers in the budget and buy something you've really "needed". But as a single income family, you have to look at the bigger picture.
Even though it would be amazing to treat yourself to something (and is due at times!), most of your leftovers need to go into savings. Why, you may ask? Because when a massive financial issue arises, you'll be happy you had that extra money.
Always check bills that are auto-draft
Oh boy, is this important! It's incredibly easy to set up bills to auto-draft and move on with your crazy busy life. But... Always do a double check every couple of months to make sure your bill isn't suddenly increasing without your knowledge.
If you notice an increase in a bill, call as soon as possible to see what is going on. More likely than not, you've been "upgraded" to a service for free that then started charging you when the trial was over or some other simple thing that can be taken care of quickly.
Now, I know a lot of you are probably thinking "but what if I'm in debt?". Time ran an article in April of this year that showed adults under the age of 35 had $67,400 of debt on average while adults 35-44 had $133,100 of overall debt. That's a lot of money looming over families.
If you're struggling with debt, I suggest checking out Dave Ramsey. Though we weren't in debt, I did read his book, Total Money Makeover, when I first became a SAHM. He has a ton of amazing tips on getting your finances back in order and so many people have benefited from using his budgeting system. Check it out!