Being a mother is no small task. Whether a woman is a working mother or a stay-at-home mom who manages the household, the responsibilities that come with motherhood are considerable. And according to a new study, many mothers are taking on even more responsibility, one that has a substantial impact on their family.
According to a poll from Working Mother magazine and Chase Card Services, 59 percent of working mothers say they are managing household expenses on their own. That’s nearly twice the amount of working mothers who say they co-manage household finances with their spouses. The study polled more than 800 working mothers in December of 2012 and found that just 11 percent of working mothers left the management of household finances entirely up to their spouses.
Managing a household’s finances can be a heavy burden, especially for those women who are trusted to do it on their own. One of the riddles many mothers must solve when managing the family finances is where to trim some of the excess from their monthly budgets. There are several ways to do just that without making drastic changes to a family’s lifestyle.
- Hang up on your land line. Most adults now have mobile phones, and nowadays even teenagers have their own cell phones. So is the land line really worth it, or is it just a relic from a time long ago that now offers a false sense of security should your cell phone be unable to get service or see its battery drained? More and more households apparently feel a land line is a relic, as the U.S. National Health Information study found that, as of June 2012, 34 percent of households had abandoned their land lines and gone fully wireless. That’s probably because a land line can cost hundreds of dollars per year, a costly expense considering a family cell phone package may already be costing you a thousand dollars if not much, much more.
- Go to the gym more often. Many parents find they don’t have the time to go to the gym with any consistency and feel like canceling a gym membership is a practical decision. But is it really? Most likely not, as many men and women respond to canceling their gym memberships by purchasing costly equipment they plan to use at home. Such equipment can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and chances are the equipment won’t be used enough to make that investment worthwhile. Instead of canceling a gym membership, resolve to go to the gym more often. Doing so gives you a better return on your investment, and your health insurance company might have a reimbursement policy that cuts you and your spouse a check if you visit the gym ‘X’ number of times each year. Such rebates drastically reduce the cost of a gym membership.
- Get rid of cable. This cost-cutting measure comes with a caveat, as it is not necessarily as cut and dry as it seems on the surface. Cable or satellite television providers often lament that they’re forced to pay for dozens or even hundreds of channels they never even watch, and that’s a legitimate gripe when considering many families pay as much as $100 per month, if not more, for cable or satellite television service. But in order to save the most from giving up such services, you must make sure your hardware is current. If your plan is to rely on streaming services, you’re going to need a receiver capable of streaming video, a television with HDMI connections and maybe even a new wireless router if your current one is a little old and slow. Each of these items can prove rather expensive, and you haven’t even paid for a subscription service like Netflix or Hulu yet. If you already have the hardware to handle this transition, then your savings will be instant. If not, you may have to accept a net loss now with a goal of long-term savings.
- End your infatuation with brand names. Brand names are always going to be more expensive, whether you’re buying clothes or groceries. If you aren’t willing to end your relationship with your favorite fashion designers, then at least sever ties with brand names at the grocery store. When buying the items everyone has in their pantry, such as flour and pasta, skip the brand names in favor of store brands. Those extra few dollars you save at the register each shopping trip might not seem like a lot, but they can add up to a considerable amount of money over time, and no one will taste the difference.
More and more mothers are taking control of the family finances. When those finances need a little relief, there are many ways to save a few extra dollars without making any drastic changes to the family’s lifestyle.