Does money seem to disappear every month? Do you wonder where it goes? Why is there never enough? Money, like time, can easily disappear.
If you’re a single mom, it’s a constant battle, isn’t it? There never seems to be enough money or enough time, does there?
Many women know their financial situation is not good, but they don’t want to know how bad it is. Not knowing where you’re at financially is creating as much, if not more, stress as knowing. Don’t stick your head in the sand and hope things will get better on their own. They won’t!
I’m a list person! There’s something about writing things down and then crossing them off that is rewarding. So, we’re going to make a list– of expenses. And we’re not going to talk about budgeting; we’re going to talk about a plan, a plan for your spending. (Doesn’t that sound better than a budget!)
The goal of your plan is to have you control your money and not to let your money control you. Another goal of the plan is to decrease your stress. That’s right! Having a spending plan will let you do fun things without worrying about spending too much or not having enough money to pay for it. Pay for things now, so you can genuinely enjoy yourself when you do go out.
So how do you make a plan (budget)? There are a several ways. The right way is the way that works for you. Try one. If it’s not working for you, try another. But no matter what, DON’T’ GIVE UP!
Today’s blog talks about a cash system with envelopes. Using cash makes it easier to stick to your plan. Let me ask you this question. Is it easier to hand someone a credit card or cash? Most people spend 15-20% less when they use cash. Something about handing out those dollar bills is hard!
How does a cash system work? You simply subtract your expenses from your taxed income and then put cash for each bill into its own envelope. These, then, are your budget categories.
Use cash for your smaller expenses or day-to-day ones. This works well for the areas you tend to overspend in–clothes, food, eating out, fun, kids’ expenses, etc. Whatever you do, keep it simple. The harder it is, the less likely you will stick to it.
For your larger expenses, you can use “virtual envelopes,” if you prefer. You keep track of these expenses using a budget worksheet (or Excel) or an app. Here are some money planners we suggest. (These are affiliate links. HSM gets money when you buy off them.)
The Easy Cash Budget Planner is beginner friendly. It’s simply a money tracking system. https://amzn.to/3snzLI7
If you want a planner that can also serve as a wristlet, here are a couple of suggestions. The nice feature with these two is that the budget sheets are laminated and therefore, reusable. https://amzn.to/3BUGfl0 https://amzn.to/3vtftPH
Dave Ramsey is a well-known financial adviser and a huge supporter of paying cash for everything. You can learn more about him and his system at https://www.ramseysolutions.com/ Many churches offer his Financial Peace University class for the cost of the workbook. Call your church or a nearby church and see if they offer his class. Here is his wallet system. https://amzn.to/3pnzaEx
Start by picking a plan and trying it. If it isn’t working for you or you need to make some changes, don’t be afraid to do it. Remember, your plan needs to work for you. The organizer you buy is simply a tool to help you plan.
Planning your spending is a wise way to care for your children. If you’re not familiar with how to make a budget, here’s free course we found to help you get started. https://courses.clevergirlfinance.com/p/create-a-budget-that-works/
The nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom, has a single mom university. There are parenting and health and wellness classes, in addition to finance. You can try it for free. Costs vary depending on the number of classes you take. Scholarships are also available. Check it out at https://singlemomuniversity.com/
Regardless of your financial knowledge, take the first step this week to financial stability. Take a course if you need to. Look at the links. Start writing down your expenses.
Next time we will talk about another method of planning using percentages.