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Moms, Five Reasons To Examine Your Spending Habits

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 family.

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?

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 saving strategies?

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 back burner?

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 sharing creative ideas to save time, save money, and enrich your life! Visit for your free e-guide  "Moms Making It! 111 Great Money Saving Ideas!" She is a wife and mother of five children.

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