I see you.
I am you.
My week typically starts out with waking up at the crack of dawn, trying not to fall asleep in the shower, throwing on something presentable, and grabbing my second cup of coffee before rushing out the door to drive 35 miles to work.
I’m a Certified Financial Planner™ professional, mother, wife, sister, daughter, and want-to-be artist. My daughter is almost one and just learning to walk. Her teeth are cutting, which makes nights interesting.
My daughter has also changed how I manage my money. She's expensive, so there have been massive changes to our budget - but there are also some not-so-obvious changes as well.
Here are 3 tips to change how you're managing your money as a new parent.
Make time once a week for the day-to-day workings of your finances.
Every Sunday night for about 30 minutes, we review our day-to-day finances. By breaking up the easier stuff, like what are we spending this week on groceries, from the more complex and mentally exhausting tasks, like getting life insurance or a will, we're able to focus on the here-and-now and our meetings are very efficient.
Once a week, we review the day-to-day aspects of our finances such as:
Monthly budget in Google Sheets
Cash flow in CalendarBudget
Debt payments & balances in Google Sheets
Savings contributions & balances
Make more time once a quarter for the bigger things.
Once a quarter for about an hour, we review every aspect of how we're managing our money - and find the gaps to close over the next couple of months. These include:
Estate planning tasks
Insurance needs & tasks
Income growth options
Subscription review & cuts
Our goals & values
Once your finances get away from you, it's difficult to get back on track. Without monitoring, your budget can implode quickly. This is especially true over the holidays. Setting a time every week to review the week ahead can help your family stay on track.
We call these our "money dates." It's our way of checking in with each other and making time for each other every week. After our meetings, we turn on a movie and relax.
Reflect on what you're teaching your child about money.
Kids absorb everything, including how you treat and talk about money. From an early age, toddlers begin to pick up on the concept of money - and they learn it from you.
As early as 2 years old, your toddler can play "store" and start to learn the concept of exchanging money for goods. Then, when you are shopping, show your child how you enter your card into the machine to buy the items. This helps them realize that you have to exchange money for the items you bought.
From ages 4 to 5, your child can start learning how to be frugal by clipping coupons (even digital ones) and helping you find the items in the store.
When doing these activities with your child, they are not the only one cementing good financial habits - you are too. By showing your child how you have to exchange your card payment of items at the store, you are actually practicing mindfulness as well. By clipping coupons, you are practicing being frugal as well.
These are only two examples, but provide a good starting place to reflect on what ways can you teach your child good habits with money.
Managing your finances is stressful enough, add kids into the mix and it's even more so. Not only is your budget tighter than it was before, but your time is limited. Finding time to check in with your money is important, and will help stop it from going off the rails.