Stay at home mums have a lot on their plate. Very often, managing the household finances falls on their shoulders, as well as the majority of childcare and caring for the home.
Basic bookkeeping can help you streamline the financial side of stay-at-home life, putting you in control of money and reducing stress. It leaves you free to enjoy the fun side of bringing up little ones, indulging in spur of the moment treats knowing you can afford them.
If the thought of bookkeeping sounds like a chore, or a complicated thing, these tips will make it quick and easy.
Create Your System
You need a simple way of tracking income and expense, and it doesn’t come much easier than the following bookkeeping system. Grab a notebook or open a spreadsheet if you prefer working on the computer. Make five columns:
Date – to record when any transaction, no matter how small, is made.
Item bought – what you spend money on.
Cost – how much you spent.
Income – enter wages or other payments as you receive them.
Balance – subtract or add the amount from your bank balance.
To keep an accurate, running bank balance, take your current balance from your latest statement when you first set up the system and enter this figure first in the Balance column. Remember to note which direct debits have already been paid and which are outstanding. Any that are outstanding need adding into your Item Bought column as an expense and deducted from the Balance column.
Each month, set up a new page with the same columns, starting each one with your current bank balance. The goal is to end the month with money left over in the balance column. Remember to check your bookkeeping figures against your bank statements each month so nothing gets forgotten.
This very simple system will take care of basic bookkeeping needs, but don’t be scared to ask for professional help if your finances are more involved. Tracking investments or multiple income sources, especially if they impact your tax bill, takes a little more care. Accountants can make sure you’re not overpaying tax, and a bookkeeper can show you how to do things properly, or do it for you if you prefer.
How Bookkeeping Saves Money
After just a couple of months, you’ll begin to see a pattern in your spending and income. You’ll know exactly how much your regular bills are, and be able to look ahead and plan for upcoming additional expenses.
As well as forward planning, bookkeeping helps you prioritise spending. Perhaps you didn’t realise how much fast food or coffee with friends was costing. Maybe you can trim the grocery bill if you do a more thorough weekly or monthly shop and reduce the number of top-up shopping trips. A detailed set of accounts let you delve into any category of spending, such as days out, ATM withdrawals, clothing or petrol, so you can see exactly where your money goes.
If you want to save for something special, you can look over your figures and plan areas where you could trim expenses. Instead of denying yourself things you enjoy in the quest to save money, you can make informed decisions and spend less on things you won’t miss so much.
*This is a collaborative post*