As a Homemaker, you may think that you’re not contributing to your family’s bottom line because you are not consistently bringing home a steady paycheck. That couldn’t be further from the truth, but seeing your contribution requires a different perspective. One way you can, and likely do, contribute to your family’s bottom line is by planning. Creating plans, such as meal plans and spending plans, helps maximize your dollars to live comfortably. Planning also helps you save and prepare you for unexpected events.
Here are some things to you can do to plan and make better use of your monetary resources as a Homemaker:
Live within your means. This is sometimes easier said than done, but it is the basic principle of planning. The best way to do this is to use cash as much as possible to prevent over-spending. But, if you prefer to shop online like me, using cash may feel practical. One way to keep things in check is to have separate accounts for paying bills and for regular spending, like food, gas, and other needs. On pay day, transfer set amounts into the proper account to ensure all bill obligations can be met and that if you happen to splurge on a meal, it might mean Ramen noodles for a few days, but it won’t affect your bills.
Track your income & expenses. A good way to do this is to invest in a simple planner, such as the (insert planner name/link). Even if you don’t have a planner, take out a notebook and pen, and write down all your bills – even the small ones you don’t think about, like subscriptions to apps on your TV or phone. These small bills feel manageable all by themselves. But a lot of small bills can easily add up to big dollars that you may be wasting on things you don’t use that often or could truly live without.
Plan your meals. You can start this first by taking an inventory of what you have in your house already. Then plan your meals to incorporate those items. This can help you focus just on buying what you need. It can also help you cut down on grocery spending and prevent buying a lot of items that don’t add up to meals (something I personally struggle with). Once you create your plan, stick to it! Cook and eat at home as much as possible – even when you don’t feel like cooking! Eating out may be convenient but doing so too much can be costly.
Price match, use coupons and take advantage of incentives. Price matching might take a little time and effort, but the savings is worth it, and can really help you stick to a budget. Price matching is especially important when buying in bulk. It may be better not to buy items such as produce in bulk if you don’t plan to eat it all in the timeframe it remains good. Trust me, I’ve wasted plenty of money on large bags of salad mix – thinking I was going to eat them faster, only to throw them away half used, and end up spending more than I budgeted buying fresh bags. Some people have found success couponing. I personally like the using savings apps such as (name the ones you use). Also, take advantage of incentives, like purchasing items using a store’s app. I’ve found that this can be a good way to catch discounts and sales that might not be available in the store.
Have a rainy day fund. When you do all the things above, you will find that you can build up a rainy-day fund, even if you didn’t think you could before. Find a system of saving that works for your household. Being home, you’re likely in tune with how money flows out on a daily or weekly basis and can really help determine the best way to save based on how your house operates. We’ve done lots of things over the years, such as savings programs through our bank, setting a specific amount to save each month, different challenges. Whatever you do, keep your money in a bank account. Don’t rely on credit cards for this. We’ve made this mistake and learned that the balances can quickly add up and stay high without a plan to pay them off.
Find ways to make money. Now you may be thinking, I thought the point was that I didn’t need to do this. The reality is, you may still need to make a little money to make ends meet and create a little financial cushion. They key is figuring out how to do this as a “side hustle” to your full-time job of Homemaking. One way may be doing odd jobs for people that tap into your talents or selling gently used items on platforms like Poshmark. I’ve tried lots of things over the years. Whatever you do, just be keep in mind any money you may need to spend to make money, such as buying materials and monthly subscription fees, and the time you’ll need to devote to make it worth your while.