There’s really no experience comparable to motherhood. It changes your life forever and it also changes your finances. Let’s face it, kids are awesome, but they aren’t necessarily cheap.
Becoming a mother adds more responsibility to your plate as you have another life to support financially and emotionally. Not to mention, women statistically trail behind men when it comes to managing their finances. While the gap is closing more and more with each passing generation, women and moms still need to know how to master their money more than ever.
More moms are working, earning breadwinning salaries, and dealing with different family dynamics and lifestyle changes that require a solid financial situation.
Moms also face different societal expectations and standards when it comes to furthering their education, continuing a career, as well as managing money and a household if they wish to so so. It’s unfortunate but true. Dads are rarely asked how they ‘balance it all’ or if they ever feel guilty for working or pursuing a passion project and having a family.
To help you improve your finances while continuing to love on your little (or older) ones, we asked financial experts and everyday mothers for their best financial advice for moms at any stage in their motherhood journey.
Financial Advice For Moms Expecting
1. Prepare For The Unplanned
Expecting moms have a lot to prepare for. Even if you consider yourself to be an awesome planner, there’s always the chance that you’ll be faced with an unexpected cost so it’s best to prepare for this in advance by increasing your emergency fund.
“There may be hundreds, if not thousands, or dollars of unplanned spending that you may have a difficult time planning for if you’re not prepared,” says Ben Huber, a personal finance writer and owner of DollarSprout.
“Start diverting a small, but meaningful portion of your household income into a savings account with the sole purpose being to pay for life’s twists and turns as you move through pregnancy and your baby’s first year of life.”
2. Consider the Flexibility of Your Income
We know a baby is likely going to increase your expenses. This is why it’s important to consider the stability and flexibility of your income.
Are you currently making enough to support a child? Can you afford to stay home if that is your desire? How will you handle the increased expenses that come with adding another addition to the family? Should you or your partner get a flexible side hustle?
“Going without your income for a few months may be a part of your plan, but know exactly how long your family can last without it and have a plan should the unexpected happen,” says Lauren, an expecting mom and financial blogger The Practical Penny.
3. Borrow Items to Keep Costs Down
You don’t have to let the stress of increased expenses to you down as an expecting mom. Veneta Lusk, a personal finance writer and blogger at Becoming Life Smart, recommends borrowing items and accepting hand-me-downs from other moms to cut some costs.
“When I was pregnant, I borrowed most of my maternity wardrobe because new maternity clothes were so expensive for me at the time,” she shared. “I did buy a few pants and tops from the clearance section at Old Navy, but I also used Facebook garage sales to find maternity and baby clothes regularly.”
Financial Advice For Single Moms
4. Seek Flexible and High-Paying Income Opportunities
In 2016, the median income for families led by a single mother was around $35,400 while the median income for married couples was $85,300.
Single mothers often have additional financial pressure because they are the sole income provider in the household. Given these statistics, a single mom needs to work twice as hard or double her salary enough to earn as much as a married couple household does.
On top of that, she also has to spend time managing her household and raising her kids. Max, founder of Tried and True Mom Jobs proposes a solution.
“Being a mom is a full-time job, but you can still find time in the morning, during nap time, and at night to help contribute to your family financially,” Max says. “Try finding a stay at home mom job that is flexible enough to work around your kids’ schedule.”
There are plenty of ways to earn a legitimate income online and you don’t even need a degree for some of the opportunities. You can become a virtual assistant, transcribe audio and video files, do remote customer service work, or even teach or tutor online from the comfort of your own home.
5. Utilize All Your Resources
Kimberly Studdard, a workflow strategist and mompreneur who founded The Entrepremomer, recommends that single moms utilize all their resources to become more financially stable despite being the sole income provider in the household.
She also echoes Max’s recommendation that moms can earn a great income from home and create their own schedules. Kimberly supports her entire household with the income she earns from her full-time virtual assistant business.
“If you can’t afford daycare, but want to bring in income, find something online because there are so many more options than there were 10 years ago,” Kimberly says. “Also, don’t be afraid to sign up for assistance if you need it since that’s what it’s there for. Government and private assistance programs can provide financial help for moms and help you better yourself and your child’s financial future.
Financial Advice For Divorced Mothers
6. Get Involved in Your Family’s Finances
Divorce can place a huge financial burden on both parties. When a couple goes from managing money together to splitting things up, it can create tensions and confusion while leading to overall financial instability.
Amy Blacklock and Vicki Cook, the founders of Women Who Money recommended that women get more involved in their family’s finances prior to the unfortunate event of a divorce. Being in the know how when it comes to your money, investments, debt, and savings will only help you continue to make sound decisions if you ever became a single mom.
“Get involved with your finances TODAY,” they stated. “Don’t get into a habit or pattern of just letting your partner or husband be in control of your money, no matter how much you love them or believe in your marriage. You don’t want to be blind-sided and have no idea what’s going on with your finances if something goes wrong in the relationship.”
Financial Advice for Recently Widowed Moms
7. Lean on Life Insurance
Losing a partner is a painful experience and money is the last thing you’d want to think about during the mourning process.
“Life insurance is usually thought of as a way to replace someone’s income and unfortunately family scenarios that involve women who work in the home may cause a couple to overlook the crucial need for insurance,” Sofia says. “I remember arguing with a friend about it years ago. He and his wife have four kids, and at the time she was staying home with them. I asked him how much it would cost to replace all lost work if she were to pass away. He would likely have to cut back on his own hours which is also a financial hit to the family.”
Financial Advice for All Moms
8. Work on Your Credit
You may not be actively seeking a loan or line of credit, but you never know when you may need one.
If you are growing your family and looking to buy a house and upgrade to a larger living space, your credit score will definitely be considered by lenders.
Mike Peason, is the founder of Credit Takeoff, a research-driven personal finance blog for people who are looking to improve their credit. He and his wife each have 810+ credit scores and he provided some sound advice for moms looking to improve their credit.
“Know what’s goes into calculating your score and never miss a payment,” Mike says. “If you don’t understand the fundamental factors that make up your credit score — payment history, credit utilization, types of credit, number of inquiries, and credit age — you’ll never be able to build up a good score or maintain one. You should also keep your credit utilization below 30% since lenders want to see that when you have a line of credit, you are responsible with it.”
9. Set Financial Goals
This is something everyone can benefit from but moms especially need to prioritize and focus on their own financial goals.
“I believe most women are planners and if we have a clear idea of what we need to do and how we’re going to do it, we can make it happen,” Max says. “Whether it’s to get out of debt, buy a house, or stay on a budget, write it out (to make it real) and stick to it.”
10. Find Something You’re Passionate About
As a mom, you shouldn’t feel guilty about still having your own passions and they may even help you out financially.
“Before I knew I was pregnant, I wanted to be able to work from home so when we did have kids, I wouldn’t have to take them to daycare,” McKenzie Henderson, founder of the online store Cozy Cottontail,” shared.
“I’ve always been crafty and creative so I decided to start selling items on Etsy and made 500 sales during my first 6 months leading me to create my online store.”
McKenzie’s passion ended up being quite profitable and she’s not alone. Tons of other moms have turned their passions into profitable income to help them provide for their family and contribute to their children’s financial future.
While every mom’s situation is different, applying solid financial advice for women is a must if you want to improve your finances. Use these 10 tips to help you manage your finances better while enjoying motherhood.