By Teresa Hansen
We all need money. We all want money. It is what we spend much
of our time pursuing, "by the sweat of our brow"... We hopefully have a stream
of it coming in-- our stream may be smaller or larger than others. But it is how
we manage our money that can determine our financial security, and ultimately,
in part, our enjoyment of life.
Begin by keeping track of what you spend your money on
meticulously for 1 week. I suggest getting a blank check register and write down
the cash, checks, credit card debits and charges. After 1 week (or for a better
picture of your spending habits, do this for 1 month) add these expenditures up
by categories. For example: groceries, dining, auto:gas, auto:service,
household, clothing, etc. Software such as Quicken with help you do this and
will even generate reports so you can easily examine your spending habits.
1. It gives you a sense of control.
Not knowing where your money goes can leave you confused and
feeling frustrated that there isn't enough money left at the end of the month.
You may feel that you are desperately running on a treadmill only to find out
you aren't getting anywhere. How out of control is that?
Looking at your spending habits on paper, even before you make
any changes, can be give you a sense of control because you can see your whole
financial picture and know where you stand.
2. It can let you make better decision for yourself and your
Gain even more power by making some decisions about how you
spend your money. Is buying that 44 oz. soft drink every day for $1.25 bringing
you the satisfaction you want each month (realize that spending $1.25 everyday
is costing you over $37 each month.) Or even worse, what if you're in the habit
of getting a strawberry smoothie every day for $4.25? - that is over $127 every
month! Is that really where you want your money to go?
Sometimes, especially for moms, having a job outside of the home
can really cost money. By the time you figure in travel and auto expenses,
daycare, wardrobe, dining, extra money for conveniences because of the lack of
time you have to do these things yourself, it is amazing how little the take
home pay per hour ends up being. When you figure that the actual take home pay
is $2.00 per hour, is it really worth it?? Or would you rather trade in that
full-time job and its stresses for time at home raising your children (which,
I'll admit, does have it's stresses at times.) By using some strategic money
saving ideas, you could perhaps could even save you more than the $2.00 per hour
you gave up from full-time employment. See the calculator, How much does Mom
really make? http://www.crown.org/tools/mommake.asp
What if you could find a way to work a few hours a week from
home to make some extra money and still have time to be a mom and practice money
3. It can help you plan your future and reach your goals.
What do you want out of your life? Remember back to the dreams
you had as a child. Are those dreams still the desires you have deep inside, but
age, disappointment and apparent reality has made you put those dreams on the
I guess what I'm asking you to do here is, by examining your
spending habits and financial situation, are you closer to seeing a path to
fulfilling your dreams? Are your spending habits keeping you from financial
security, or even mere survival for the future?
We all sub-consciously know that we need to be responsible for
our retirement future. It is estimated that by the year 2016, the entire Social
Security structure will collapse. The government is quietly telling us that now
by encouraging us to invest in 401Ks, IRA and such.
4. It will set your children on the right financial path.
Today there are too many parents that work themselves ragged to
provide their children with material things they felt deprived of-- purchasing
designer clothes, cars, stereos, computers, cell phones and other nice-ities.
Most parents motives are good, but in reality, much of the time they are setting
their children up for failure.
Think of the lessons they are robbing their children of: doing
without for a while, saving and working hard for something they desire, being
grateful for what they have. You've probably heard the saying, "So many children
are "done for" that they are "done in"."
Don't get me wrong -having the money that you need and desire is
a good thing. But also having the skills to obtain and manage that money are
things we need to help our children develop.
Also, by working so hard to provide material things, how much
time is sacrificed that is time can't be spent with your children. Is that
really what we are trying to teach them? I'm reminded of the song "Cats Cradle."
The son carried on the example he received of perusing worldly things instead of
relationships. Once the father realized the error of his ways, the pattern had
been established and it was too late. But really, it's never too late.
5. It can bring you a sense of peace.
When we examine our spending habits, see the big picture and
make the changes we need to make for a secure financial future we can then
experience a feeling of peace and well being. Life doesn't have to be so hurried
and hectic. Dreams, passions and life missions can be pursued and we can live
our life on a higher plane.
- and it can all start by making a conscious decision to modify
that daily $4.25 strawberry smoothie habit!
Teresa Hansen is the creator of
www.momsmakingit.com sharing creative ideas to save time, save money, and
enrich your life! Visit
http://savemoney.momsmakingit.com for your free e-guide "Moms Making It!
111 Great Money Saving Ideas!" She is a wife and mother of five children.