No matter what size and shape your family comes in, all moms worry about finances. If you’re a single mom, you might be more likely to struggle with juggling bills and credit card debt with your monthly expenses, but you also have the advantage of being the sole person in charge of how you spend your money. Not only that, but more women and mothers than ever before are becoming entrepreneurs and choosing the greater flexibility and financial freedom of running their own business. The internet has given rise to a whole new age for small businesses, and many of them are run by women. Women open 2 out of 3 new enterprises, and they employ 25 percent of the workforce in America. They are also around 8 percent more likely to succeed at starting their own business than a man. How do they manage it? Taking control of your personal finances is hard enough, but how do you combine that with raising your kids and living your dreams at the same time?
1. Take a Look at Your Monthly Budget.
The first step any mom should take in improving her finances is doing a serious assessment of your monthly expenses. You can’t cut corners when you’re keeping a record of exactly how much money goes to rent, groceries, utilities, cable, and other expenses. Decide where you can afford to cut back. Can you settle for fewer minutes on your cell phone plan? Can you go without that gourmet coffee you love so much? Whether you’re saving up to start a business or just looking for ways not to struggle so much, it’s all about the little things. They can add up to big savings if you’re willing to make some sacrifices. Try using a mobile or web-based app for balancing your monthly budget – there are plenty out there, and they’re easier than trying to write everything down.
2. Think Seriously About Credit Card Debt.
It’s easy to get underwater when it comes to credit cards, but you can never underestimate how important your credit score is, and for a long list of reasons. You should really only have two or three cards at the most if possible, and if you have a large amount of credit card debt to your name already, you should start consolidating it. See if you can transfer balances to the card with the lowest interest rate. You might be putting off dealing with the issue of credit, but what if you want to get a new car or refinance your home? Improving your personal credit is also the first step to starting your own business. Securing a merchant account is one of many things that can be cheaper and much easier with good credit history on your side. Very few people have spotless credit reports these days, but the more you work on it, the better off you will be.
3. Tips for your Home Business.
The internet has opened a world of opportunities for normal people to be able to market their own business. Use it to your advantage. Learn about virtual terminals, building a website, using social media marketing. and finding cheap and efficient ways to ship product. You could make a large amount of cash without ever leaving home. But make sure you know how to separate your personal finances from your business finances. Don’t treat your business like a savings account and borrow against it. Instead, think long term, and work on generating enough money to pay yourself a salary. In the meantime, don’t quit your day job. Even if you’re passionate about your chances for success while working for yourself, it’s better to devote down time at work or at home to keeping up with your business than to let the steady paycheck go too early. This is especially true for working moms who are providing health insurance for their kids.
Getting smart about your finances can seem like a tall order, but in the end, it’s what you and your family deserve. Money management is probably the single most important life skill that nobody learns in school, and if you didn’t have your parents there to set a perfect example, you might have to figure things out on your own. But then again, you probably already knew that. Just because you’ve never thought of yourself as business-savvy doesn’t mean the potential isn’t there. Re-evaluating your pocketbook could also be the beginning of re-evaluating your goals, and when the bills come around next month, that could mean everybody wins.
Amy Nielson is an avid blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @NielsonAmy.
Disclaimer: The above guest post has been screened by Dallas Single Mom. All opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of this site.