I am a VERY busy mom. I have a full time job, a part time job, two kids under five, a husband, and a household. Ok, even typing that was exhausting. We are all struggling with the demands of life and sometimes it feels like the pressure will never lift.
I’ve noticed, during these particular times of stress, that I tend to overlook certain things. I might neglect to notice the mountain of laundry in the basement or hurry past the cat little box trying to remind myself to clean it out. Well yesterday, as my co-workers can attest, I over- looked a very, very important detail.
Hubby leaves for work in the morning before any of us get up so I’m left on my own. The night before had been difficult; my two year old was cutting teeth and we didn’t get very much sleep. I woke up late -at 7:05 - my alarm didn’t go off. I had twenty minutes to get myself and the kids dressed, prepare breakfast, pack lunches, make two stops to drop off the kids before picking up my car pooling colleague. I rushed out of the house with the kids in tow, made the rounds and arrived at work a mere 5 minutes late.
As I’m getting ready for the day another colleague asks “What are you wearing?!?!” My reaction—“Pants?” She laughingly pointed out that I had put my pants on… inside out! I was mortified! In all my rushing I had actually put my pants on inside out and not even noticed! Good thing this happened before I took my first client!
When we are rushed and busy, we can over look things in our finances that can be more upsetting than wearing your pants inside out. Here are some helpful hints that will keep you on track when your life gets busy:
1. Know your expenses: Either through money management tools like the cash envelopes/jars or through a tracking tool like a journal or software program, you should know approximately how much money you are spending every month on certain item. Do you really spend $120 per week on groceries or is it more like $150?
2. Is your chequing account the right one?: Go over a month’s worth of bank statements and add up all of the bank fee charges including overdraft, ATM fees, monthly fees. Is this number shocking? You might be in the wrong chequing account. Visit your local branch or search the website to see what other chequing accounts offer. You may qualify for an account that can be saving you money in the long run.
3. Know you debt load: You should know how much debt you have within a couple of hundred dollars. Even better is knowing if it’s been going up or down over the last couple of months.
4. Know your interest rates: We all get our credit card statements but how often do we look at the interest rate. Make sure to touch base with your interest rates every month to see if your lender has increased them. The lender will notify you if there has been an increase but it can sometimes be difficult to find on the bill. You can also call the creditor to confirm the interest rate and possibly negotiate a lower one.
5. Balance protection insurance: Many lenders will call you to ask you to sign up for balance protection insurance on your credit card or loans. It may cover your minimum payments in the event of job loss or illness. Please look over the agreement very carefully. They may have a time period in which you have to apply to receive this benefit, usually 30 days. Interest may also continue to be charged during this time. It’s very important for you, if you choose this insurance, to know exactly what it covers and what you as the consumer need to do to qualify.
Set aside a little time every day or every week to touch base with your financial situation, it will pay off in the long run and will contribute to your sense of balance. I on the other hand will be focusing a little more on my wardrobe choices!