Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thrifty Thinking: The Best 3 Budgeting Tricks All Moms Need to Know

Being a mom requires wearing many different hats — from chef to chauffeur, each of these responsibilities is important. However, many moms also tackle the family budget, which is what makes all of the family's activities possible. Creating and sticking to a budget has never been easy. That's why we've put together this list of three budgeting tricks all moms need to know. When you put these tricks into practice, your family will be well on the way to financial security, and you'll find it’s much easier to deal with any bumps in the road.

1. Make Saving a Priority

Too many families use what's left over at the end of the month before they think of putting money into savings. The trouble with this approach is the very human tendency to spend whatever is in our checking account. Seeing that we still have money left is what convinces us that it's ok to go out for pizza instead of eating at home and makes us choose a movie over going to the park. Saving, whether it's for an emergency fund or a vacation, should be treated like any other bill. Most moms make paying the bills a priority. Paychecks get automatically deposited, and then the bills get paid. What's left over is what can be used for discretionary spending and the costs of daily living. When you make it a point to transfer money to savings at the same time the bills get paid, you're paying yourself first. This means when the inevitable unplanned expense comes along, you'll be ready to deal with it rather than stressing about where the money is going to come from.

2. Get a Home Warranty

Home warranty companies specialize in providing peace of mind. A home warranty is a bit like an insurance policy for the appliances and major systems in your home. Instead of providing assistance and compensation when extraordinary events occur, a home warranty helps you when normal wear and tear take their toll.

Here's an example: When the fridge you've had for the last seven years suddenly stops keeping things cold, it's a big problem. Your homeowner's insurance won't cover the cost of a repair or a new refrigerator, but the contract you have with home warranty companies will certainly be there to lend a hand. Home warranty companies offer a broad range of protection. Contracts can usually be customized to fit your unique needs. If you want to protect your dishwasher or your home's air conditioning system, then a home warranty is the answer. Many plans can be paid for on a monthly basis and renewed each year. You can change your coverage options from time to time to reflect any changes or improvements you make to your home. Best of all, you'll have tremendous peace of mind. Between your home warranty and your savings, you're ready for just about any of life's curveballs.

3. Automate for Success

Have you ever forgotten to pay a bill? Most of the time, you're probably on top of this essential part of your family's budget, but then something happens. A family member gets sick, you go on vacation or some other incident disturbs your generally predictable schedule. A single late payment can have long-lasting and expensive consequences. From late fees to increased percentage rates, a late payment can wreak havoc on your budget for a considerable amount of time.

The good news is there’s an easy remedy for this situation. Automating your bills is the easiest, most straightforward way to make sure that everything gets paid on time and in the right amount. Check with your bank or credit union to see if they provide an online, automatic bill paying service. Alternatively, many of the people you pay every month, like the utility company, probably have the means to automatically withdraw money from your account on the appropriate due date. You'll never have to worry about making a late payment again.

While automatic bill pay is something that is easy to set and forget, it makes a great deal of sense to check in on how everything is going from time to time. Set a monthly or quarterly reminder to look at what's being paid. Is everything being received on or before the due date? Do you need to change the amount for a certain bill? These periodic reality checks will help keep your budget on track. From making saving a priority to getting a home warranty and automating your bills, these tricks can help any mom be the master of her family’s monthly budget. Your money concerns just might disappear when you put these tricks into practice with your family.

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