Mompreneur Budgeting Basics…
If you’re starting a business as a Mompreneur, you have to do your financial budgeting, but you first have to do financial budgeting at home as Mom. You can’t have a budgeted business without having a budgeted family and home life. It just won’t work.
If you get your home budgeted, you have a much better chance of getting your business budgeting under control, and therefore will have a your financial status in control, and a successful business in the end.
You can take those same financial habits from home, and apply them to your business.
Budgeting Basics: So how do you know if you need a home budget?
Do These Apply? If Yes, You Need a Budget…
1. Money falls through your pocket.
Do you feel like you have money for a moment or two, then it’s gone? You either have too many expenses, or are too quick to spend on wants rather than needs.
2. Your credit cards are never paid off.
If you are paying only the minimum balance on your credit card, and/or using one credit card to pay off another, this is your big red flag to have a financial budget!
3. You’re always saying, “I can’t afford that.”
Do friends ask you to go out to lunch, or to an event, and you say you “can’t afford it” all the time? This may be true, or it may not be. The only way to really know is to have a financial budget.
4. You don’t put any money into your savings, or very random in your behavior.
Get specific, and have a regimented plan for putting money into savings. For example, the first 10% of your net income always going to savings, or all bonuses from your workplace going straight to savings.
5. You don’t have a savings account at all.
Financial budgeting needs to be a priority. If you don’t have any savings or emergency fund, it may be a sign that you need a budget.
6. You never seem to have enough.
Money can be deceptive. What seems like enough can suddenly not be so. Forming a budget can help you get a grip on what you really have. You may find out that you do actually have enough, or that it’s feasible for you to make some strategic cuts to have enough.
In financial budgeting, there are some principles that are considered basics…
* Distinguish between wants and needs. This is absolutely vital! Beware of convincing yourself that a want is a need when it isn’t. You may just be trying to find an excuse to buy an item. Be honest about your real needs and essentials, and just the things you want.
* Expenses should not exceed income. It’s typical to sit down, and discover that you actually don’t make enough money to cover your expenses. If you do, you need to look carefully at your income section, and see where you can increase it, and look just as carefully at the expenses, and see where you can make cuts.
*Try to never to spend change. When you pay cash for something, always use paper money. Pay the amount on purpose to get change back. Then put this change into a jar or piggy bank. It will build quickly.
DIY Projects & Repairs
It’s amazing how much information is on the internet, even for solving obscure problems. Make use of all those online tutorials and videos to fix things around the house.
Make Your Financial Budgeting Work for You. Take a Fresh Look & Ask…
* Is it too simple? If your budget is too general, you may have let it slide because there just weren’t enough details to get a true grasp on your finances.
* Is there too much detail? You might find it exhausting trying to keep a budget that has dozens of categories.
* Are you realistic about your income? A budget may fail if your income section is more about goals and ideals than actuals.
* Do you have rewards? A budget should have some rewards worked in, like a vacation, a dinner out, or a new pair of shoes.
* Does you include alternatives? For some people, this is natural. Others need to write them in. If you list and create alternatives as plan B & C, you’ll be more successful.
Have Fun Alternatives
As noted above, having alternatives to fill the void created by cutbacks is helpful to keeping your financial budget. Having creative and fun alternatives may be even more helpful.
How Do You Do a Savings Account?
Always Pay Yourself First
Think in reverse! What if you put money into your savings account first, and then tackled your other expenses with what’s left? It might help to make it a percentage, like 10% of your income.
Always Study Your Financial Budget
Review all those optional expenses–cable, eating out, phone apps, etc., and see where you can trim unnecessary expenditures. Then move that money over into savings.
Never Earmark the Windfalls
A key to saving is, don’t earmark the windfall! Instead, put it in your savings account. Pretend it doesn’t exist. It’s just money like any other money, and not special. This requires some discipline, but this habit of putting windfalls into the bank will jump-start your savings account.
Always Split the Costs
Include your family. Various lessons, sports and extracurricular activities can cost a lot of money. If your child wants to get involved in the budgeting, have a portion of the expense (such as for uniforms) come out of his or her allowance or birthday money. This helps not only to save money but also to encourage your kids to think before committing to an activity.
Always Have an Emergency Fund
It is a good idea to have an emergency fund, because it can help you avoid high-interest debt, and reduce stress. Life is full of changes, and having that “cushion” can help you feel ready and calm.
How Do You Go about Creating an Emergency Fund?
Determine Your Financial Expenses
Look at three to six months’ worth of living costs, and count on saving that much in a fund. This can help you keep your standard of living if you lose your job for a time, or it can cover a large expense such as vehicle repair.
Next, determine how long it will take you to save that much, and how much you have to take out of your paycheck each month to reach that goal.
Expenses: Keep Categories General
Know what you spend every month, and keep it in general terms. If you preserve that clarity, you won’t get confused or overwhelmed. For example, instead of having “food, household items, drug items” as categories, you can lump, and be budgeting all those expenses under “groceries.”
Begin with Your Net Income
Figure out your net income for each month. This means your income minus taxes, insurance, 401K deductions, etc. If you are self-employed, subtract estimated taxes, insurance costs, retirement account savings, etc.
How to Keep a Healthy Outlook for Budgeting…
Leave Room for Luxury
Some budgets are so tight that it may seem there’s no room for any luxury. But if you get a bit creative about what constitutes a luxury, you will probably find you can in fact afford it. It could be something like buying the filet mignon over the flank steak sometimes, or ordering pizza to watch a movie together. The point is to include “some kind” of luxury in your budget, and in your minds. This helps keep everyone motivated, and makes the budget easier to deal with.
Don’t Penny Pinch
Just the thought of keeping track of every cent, can cause you to never budget. Think of budgeting in very general ways.
Try not to be too regimented. Just like penny-pinching, over doing it either way tends to lead to failure.
Pay off Financial Debts
It’s unpleasant, but paying off debts should be your absolute highest priority. The sooner they’re paid off, the sooner you’ll have more money left over. This should be big and bold, and in red to get your attention, so just imagine that it is.
Get the Family On Board
Nothing can make you frustrated with a budget like lack of home participation. Members at home not participating can ruin the whole thing. If the whole family is included and on board with the budgeting, it can improve everyone’s outlook.
Let the minor offenses go. Everyone makes mistakes, and breaks the budget now and then. Beating yourself up over a budget mess-up is not conducive to a healthy outlook, and neither is nagging and punishing family members.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your budget, and customize it for your family’s needs. Your outlook is likely to be a lot healthier if your budget is suited for your income, expenses, and personality. Your home dynamic should be taken into consideration when you form your budget.
Combining errands is something most people try to do, but there might be some other combinations that you hadn’t thought of. Try to think outside of the box on your combinations.
Know a Real Emergency
Make sure everyone knows what a real financial emergency looks like for your family. What constitutes an “emergency” can differ between family members, and dipping into the emergency fund for non-emergency expenses can deplete it fast.
For a true picture of your income and expenses, it’s a good idea to take your last three months’ worth of income or expenses and create an average. When in doubt, round down so that surprises will be more likely to be on the plus side.
Have Patience, Tweak & Adjust
It takes a few months for a budget to sort itself out and become habit. There will be kinks that need to be worked out. Understanding this can help you stick with it as it needs tweaking and adjusting.
Use Tools & Software
For some, using software to lay out the family budget can be very helpful. Software that is designed specifically for a budgeting purpose may make creating it easier.
Know the Difference Between Optional and Necessary
This distinction is tougher in some family dynamics than others. What one person thinks of as necessary might be looked at as optional by someone else. When this happens, take a look at budget formats and accepted principles in this regard that come from a third-party.
Once you are settled into your budgeting system, have all of the bugs out, and are feeling things working for a few months, you’ll know you’re on the right track, and can then apply these same tips to your new business. Of course the dynamics will be different, but you can adjust as needed.
Just take all of your new, good budgeting habits as Mom, and apply them to your business plan as Mompreneur. And if you need more help as Mompreneur, we have a resource to help you afford business progress…