Let me tell you, when I became a young mom, I had NO IDEA what I was doing maternally or financially. Lucky for me, I figured it out along the way but that wasn’t without making some BIG MISTAKES that I’m STILL paying for today. This article contains the 5 Financial Tips For Young Moms.
Rewards Are Your Friend
Back in my day in 2010 when I became a young mother, (yes I know how hilarious this sounds because I’m 28 but seriously) I wasn’t aware of very many rewards programs. The internet was popular but smartphones weren’t that accessible at that time. However, in today's world, almost EVERYONE has a smartphone. and this means you have access to SEVERAL rewards programs, deal shopping sites, and promo codes in the palm of your hand.
In that, you can use sites like Rakuten to get cashback on purchases you are already making. My husband and I literally have made over $35 by just buying normal things that we were going to buy anyway. We also purchase formula from Meijer and get rewards plus deals where we can buy a few containers and get one free.
Another thing we do is purchase gift cards from Giant Eagle for places like Home Depot so we can get the fuel perks.
We also started using a Cash App card which has boosts that you can activate. We’ve got money off (usually 10%) on Starbucks, Post Office Shipping Orders, and more. We can also get cashback in the form of Bitcoin through some of these boosts (usually 5% of the total purchase). This allowed us to “double-dip” essentially and get money back by using the Rakuten extension and paying with our Cash App card.
Attend Community College For Your Prerequisites
Well, let's talk about the mistakes I made. The first mistake I made was attending a University for my freshman year of classes. As opposed to going to a community college, I wanted the fancy title of the University. This cost me THOUSANDS of dollars over what I would have paid and resulted in me taking out SEVERAL student loans to make ends meet. And at almost 29 years of age, I am STILL paying and will STILL be paying off these loans for SEVERAL years to come.
So do yourself a favor, skip the brand name and use the community college first. I’m currently in a program that allows me to transfer to a University for my BA. This is saving me THOUSANDS of dollars and is still allowing me to get my BA from an actual University although my Associates will be from the community college.
You want to also make sure that you are filling out your FASFA correctly to make sure you can qualify for all the grants you can and don’t be afraid of scholarships. You can apply for these and you MIGHT JUST GET THEM.
Don’t Buy The Most Expensive Car — TRUST ME
In my early 20’s I ended up getting a job at a local dealership. I had a 2001 Chevy Cavalier at the time (that I DID NOT TAKE GOOD CARE OF) and thought that it was CRUCIAL that I upgraded my car. Although people took me more seriously (including my FAMILY) they did not see the looming debt and car payment over my head. As a Teen Mom, I felt this dire need to prove myself to everyone around me (including my family members) and material possessions and fancy labels seemed to be the only way to do that. WRONG! This left me once again in debt and financially unstable.
I currently drive a 2007 Honda Odyssey that is COMPLETELY PAID OFF and still going strong with under 180,000 miles on it. It has a DVD player, a sound engine, a sunroof, and leather seating. Did I mention I had a lease that got reposed later on when my first “husband” (common law) passed away unexpectedly and I couldn’t pay the bill? Not fun. It was humiliating to have to ride my bike places and ask for rides from friends and family to get myself and my children to where we needed to go. Please learn from my mistakes and make sure that you are NOT living above your means trying to impress other people (or even yourself).
Learn To Cook — IT’S WORTH IT! (LITERALLY)
I spent so much money those first few years eating out. I could literally kick myself for not learning how to cook beforehand. Olive Garden was my daughter's favorite restaurant years so I ended up taking her there ALL THE TIME. That $30 meal did not go far! This left me always spending more money than what I should have on food and my lack of discipline left me late on several bills.
Cooking can take a decent amount of time to learn but it is a skill that will keep giving for the years to come. Now, my husband and I literally prefer to make our own food at home because guess what, IT TASTES BETTER! We also know everything that is going in it so we can portion better (& be HEALTHIER).
Have A Budget (& Actually Use It)
The word “budget” isn’t exactly one any woman wants to hear when they see the perfect dress sitting in the shop window. However, it is one that you will become familiar with if you don’t want the looming cloud of debt over your head at a young age.
This is something I’m still learning to do at the age of 28. I’ve managed to become more disciplined but I’ve also learned to embrace technology. We stated using Dave Ramsey's Every Dollar a few months ago and it has made our life so much easier when it comes to organizing our money. (Yes, we like Dave Ramsey. No, we don’t follow him religiously).
We also opened an account with direct deposits going into each which also helps us stay organized. We have a Bills Account (with bills getting auto-drafted out of it so we don’t even have to mess with anything), a Christmas and Vacation Account, a Car Maintenance Account, a Spend (Play Money) Account, and a Savings Account. Plus we both have our Cash App accounts to take advantage of their boosts and 2 credit cards that we don’t use but have opened to help us obtain a mortgage in the future.
*BONUS TIP* — Direct Deposit Hacks
I am just now learning about this and I totally wish I would have learned about it sooner. My brother-in-law is currently teaching me about this. He calls it “churning checking accounts.” This is one tip he gave us about Capital One.
He said, “If you have had a capital one checking account after Jan 2018, you are not eligible. Deadline to sign up: On Jan 26 Capital One is offering a checking bonus of up to $400 when you open a new checking account with promo code BONUS400. To receive a bonus you must two or more direct deposits totaling $1,000+ within 60 days of account opening.
So change your DD to deposit $250 every pay into a new account for 4 pays. Then transfer out into your primary checking. There are no fees. Bonus will be paid in May. Close account a month later.”
I haven’t tried this yet but I have set up things in the past with Charter One (back when that was a thing) and received a bonus doing something similar. Credit Unions also have promotions like these so if that’s more your style, I’d stay alert to that.
All in all, there are TONS of money-saving tips and honestly, these are just a few of them. So to all the young moms out there looking to make their dollar stretch into their children's future, be sure to stay up to date. Generational wealth is something that is passed down, but so is generational poverty. You’re smart. Keep your nose to the grind and make decisions that benefit your family for years to come. You can do it!