If you're a working mom, you know it can be hard to make it all work. Managing so many responsibilities can feel overwhelming, but with a few financial tips and tricks from others who have been there, the juggling act can be well worth it.
Here are 8 ideas to offer hope and help for moms who work.
- Know your benefits. Childcare can be a kick in the wallet, but a portion of that cost is offset by the tax deductions offered to working parents. To take full advantage of the benefits your employer offers, talk to your human resources department. Ask about Flexible Spending Accounts and any employer matching options they may offer. Your boss may not have a free on-site daycare, but with many corporate benefits, you can get the next best thing.
- Ride share. Organize a carpool or hop on a local ride-sharing program to make the most of every commuting dollar. Plus, when you're not on driving duty, you can use that time to connect with others either in your vehicle or on social media.
- Work your wardrobe. New parents may look forward to the day they don't have infant-formula stained collars, but in a few years, those stains will still be there -- only now, they're from finger paints and peanut butter sammies. Face it, kids are messy at every age. So plan on the occasional mishap, and to circumvent the cost of dry cleaning or replacement outfits, try to buy used. You'll still want to don designer threads; after all, exuding quality in the workplace is vital. But a limited (smart) budget often means brand new items are out of the question. Find a boutique second-hand store near you and raid the brand-name section for the perfect compromise.
- Use. Your. Breaks. Most state laws require employers to offer paid time away from your post to recharge. Do a little research on the U.S. Department of Labor's site to learn what breaks you're entitled to, and use the time wisely. Examples could include taking the time to scour coupon sites for smart deals or reading up on trade certifications, eventually landing you a pay raise.
- Brown bag your lunch. You've likely heard this before, but it's worth repeating: ditch the mid-day outing to restaurants with cubemates, and pack your own lunch. This small step alone can save you over a hundred bucks a month.
- Utilize leftovers. While you're mulling inexpensive meals, reconsider dinners, too. At least two nights a week, make extra supper to freeze for your family's evening meal another day. Buying and cooking in bulk saves money in volume discounts. Plus, you'll save a ton of time, and when you've been away from the kids all day, every minute together is precious.
- Begin a habit of saving. Budgeting may seem like the last thing on your mind, but if you'd like to build a better future for yourself or your kids, learn to set aside a portion of every paycheck. Ask anyone who's been there and done it: the best help for moms comes from Mom herself, not an advisor or government relief program. Take charge of your own future by getting into the habit of saving every month, and you'll be glad you did.
- Build your network. While no one can save money for you, there are other things your support network can provide. Never underestimate the power of a listening ear, a friendly smile, or even good financial advice from the people with whom you surround yourself.
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