How To Manage Money As A Young Mum
- Camila Dias
After discovering she was pregnant, Camila realised she had to start budgeting her finances. But how do you keep on track of your spending as a young mum?
Having a baby is a shock to household finances. Income may fall if you are not yet working or have had to leave due to pregnancy or having a baby. When I found out I was pregnant, I was still in college and there seemed to be an endless stream of things to buy the baby I had on the way. I decided it was time to make a budget to make sure I was spending wisely.
Creating A Budget
Budgeting is a straight-forward tool to help you keep control of your household money. The first step I took was to decide whether I wanted to work out a weekly or monthly budget, I wrote down a list of all the money I had coming in and everything I spend.
You should make sure you are receiving all income that you are entitled to. There is a lot of financial help for UK resident single mums, or low income families. As well as this, if you are a single parent you should try to receive maintenance from the other parent. At first I didn’t want to ask my sons dad for money as I didn’t want all the hassle, but then I realised now is not the time for false pride as my son has needs and his dad should contribute. (See end for useful contacts)
Once I wrote down my income from all sources, I added them up and wrote down the total. I called this ‘total A’.
I then added all the expenses I had. This included things such as household bills, travel, leisure, regular shopping and financial expenses such as loan repayments or savings. For regular spending, use bank statements and any other records to help you. Now add those all up and write the total at the end. I called this ‘total B’.
How Does Your Budget Look?
Now that you have added up all your income and expenses, subtract amount B from amount A to find amount C. If your budget comes to a minus, this means you have a shortfall and you may be building debts.
When I started university and began getting student finance It was completely new to me to start receiving lump sums of money, I thought I would have more than enough until my next payment so stopped budgeting and started treating myself at the salon and shopping sprees for my son and I. I soon realised how much of a mistake that was as I quickly ended up with debts.
When this happens, try using comparison websites to ensure you are getting the best deal on you household bills such as gas and electricity. You must also try to cut down your spending by tracking exactly where your expenses go such as by keeping receipts and trying to cut down on leisure, but if after doing this you are still in shortfall and there is no way you can increase your income, consider getting free advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau before debts get out of hand.
If you have a plus number as your budget total, this means you have a budget surplus and you should consider saving for you or your child in case of an emergency. You can also consider opening up a high interest savings account to increase your savings. My personal tip when you are faced with extra money would be to pay bills in advance. After I learned my lesson with student finance, for my next payment I decided to pay my rent in advance for the next couple of months. This meant that my important bills were covered and I didn’t have money sitting around, which tempted me to spend it on unnecessary luxuries.
As a young mum I often have to make sacrifices, there’s been times where I’ve wants those new pair of high heels, but realised there not necessary and the money can be better spent. Having children does not come cheap, but trying to manage your money by using budgets is a simple way to keep your money under control.
HM Revenue & Customs
Maintenance from a former partner
Child Maintenance options
HM Revenue & Customs
Maternity allowance, Income Support and in-work credit
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For free debt advice and help
Citizens Advice Bureau
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