While scrolling a popular online working moms forum, I stumbled upon a post asking for the best money tips. They explained they had been splurging on coffees and online shopping and needed the best ideas to help her handle spending. So here are the top-voted tips.
1. Pay Yourself First
Many in the thread agreed that paying yourself first is the best way to start managing money better. One responded, pay yourself before bills if you can. Others suggested ensuring you max out your 401k and have your paycheck directly deposited into your savings account.
Paying yourself first gives you an allowance. Once that is gone, you wait to pay yourself again and avoid dipping into savings or other funds.
2. Buy a Prepaid Card
Similarly, many suggested buying a prepaid card to add cash to every paycheck. First, determine what a realistic allowance is for you. Then, add that to the card. Rinse and repeat.
3. Window Shopping
In a modern twist to traditional window shopping, one woman noted that she “Window shops” in-store and online. If she sees something at the store she wants, she will snap a photo of it. Then, when she revisits the images the following day, she’s usually relieved she didn’t buy the items.
For online, her “window shopping” is adding items to a wish list. If they go on sale and she still wants them, she admits to purchasing them. However, she confessed she usually no longer wants the items. It has helped save on impulse shopping mistakes.
4. Track Your Spending
Many in the thread agreed to do nothing but track your spending for a month—track where every cent goes. One added, “100% the first thing to do is track every penny. You can’t control what you don’t understand.”
I guided a friend through creating a budget and controlling her finances, and she was mind blown when she figured out she was spending $300 per month just at Starbucks.”
5. Don’t Follow Trends
Several stated avoiding clothing, makeup, hair, and nail trends. It drains your bank account quickly. Instead, choose “timeless wardrobe pieces.” Additionally, avoid getting caught up in all the skincare trends. Instead, find and use what works for you and stick with it.
6. Pay for Quality
Quality is better than quantity because it will outlast cheaper items that must be replaced more frequently. It may feel like you’re spending more initially, but in the long run, you’re saving cash. For example, one noted, “I never skimp on items like beds, bedding, shoes, clothing, coats, etc.”
7. Sell Things
Another best money tip the working mom’s community shared is to sell items around the home and in the closets that no longer serve a purpose or bring you joy. Many suggested Mercari, Facebook Marketplace, and other selling apps like Offer Up – are great ways to remove unnecessary clutter and make extra cash.
8. Calculate Hours
One of the popular tips is to calculate the hours you take to earn whatever the price is on the tag. So, instead of viewing an item as $50, figure out how many hours it takes you to purchase it. Several suggested this helps with discretionary spending.
9. Stop Triggering Yourself
One woman confessed, “I stopped browsing YouTube content and blogs that made me want to spend. I deleted Facebook and all my social media because the comparisons to others’ lives and the targeted ads were getting to me.”
They noted, “Deleting social media seems drastic, but losing the ability to compare my life to others and decide I need new things to improve has been helpful.”
10. Retirement Accounts
Finally, many online agreed that you should max out your 401k through an employer or set up an IRA for retirement. One explained, “Put money in a 401k if your employer offers it. Contribute enough to get at least any money they match. It’s increasing your yearly salary and reducing your taxes.
Set up the contribution to automatically come from your pay stub. Then, if you put money towards retirement before it enters your bank account, you don’t need to think about it or budget for it. And that money will GROW dramatically over time.”
This article appeared first on The Cents of Money.
With a passion for investing and personal finance, I began The Cents of Money to help and teach others. My experience as an equity analyst, professor, and mom provide me with unique insights about money and wealth creation and a desire to share with you.