Monday, June 3, 2013

Budgeting Update and Financial Guide

Sylvia and I agreed it was worth it to make her lunch every day instead of buying the school lunch, and start saving that money towards other things. And just in time. Just spent $80 for items needed related to her upcoming dance recital.

Riley still gets her lunch at school, but since the year's almost over (yay!), I am now putting that money towards a "Riley" line item, and will use it for next year's school uniforms and some summer clothing needs. She has also agreed to do the laundry over the summer, and I have agreed to pay her for that. Because it's totally worth it!!

I am getting child support again (sporadically) so I am splitting that money between Sylvia's line item, Riley's, Transportation (I just spent $500 on my car - again - and have already been warned that another $500 will be needed in a few months), Miscellaneous (which is used for household needs and presents), and paying down credit card debt.

My dad advised me to keep track of how much I'm spending on the car over a 12-month period, and then see if it's more or less than a car payment would be. The car is 12 years old now, has close to 150k miles on it, but it is a Toyota so everyone keeps telling me it should last at least another 100k miles. Yes, but at what cost? To be continued...

In the meantime, I was offered the opportunity to review Financial Guide for Single Mothers by the author, Amit Eshet. After 10 years of single motherhood, a lot of the book covered information that I have already learned (and, admittedly, some of it the hard way), but I do think it is a great quick-reference guide, and would be useful for single mothers just beginning their journey.

While I appreciated that Eshet was forthright about most financial institutions being in the business of making money, I was surprised that Eshet did not recommend a credit union in this chapter. I am constantly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of a credit union that offers me a low-interest credit card, and superior customer service.

Also glaringly missing from the book, when talking about the importance of saving money, Eshet did not point out that it is so much easier to save when you have a portion of your paycheck deposited directly into your savings account. Most employers will offer direct deposit, so it is always worth asking.

While much of the book would be useful to anyone, regardless of whether single or not or a parent even, Chapter Eight: Financial Education for Kids will be particularly useful for single parents. Eshet includes a breakdown of age-appropriate financial concepts, even beyond the age of 18. I wish I'd had this chapter when my kids were younger! But I will hang onto it and go over it with the girls.

I was offered the book to review for free, and the author has informed me that it is currently available for 99 cents at Amazon (and the link above is connected to my affiliate link, so I would receive maybe half a cent?) for a limited time.


D A Wolf said...

Wonderful that your getting some child support again! And yes, the financial issues as they get older are more complex (and significant) than we realize.

I, too, could have used such a book. Then again, there's a lot that some of us could have used, and I know you know what I mean!


Rose ASL said...

I feel the same way about the Jeep I'm driving. Should I buy this gas-guzzler with a filthy interior and replace the transmission, based on the fact that Jeeps have a history of lasting long and this one has had few owners? Or should I put that money into a newer car with possible unknown problems that won't cost $250/mo. in gas? Decisions, decisions...