Is there anyone in the world busier than a working mom?
Without a doubt, you have your hands full 24 hours a day from work to handling all the tasks at home that your family relies on you for. Amidst all the organized chaos, there are some costly financial traps you can inadvertently run into. Following are four specific tips for avoiding these financial traps:
1. The Grocery Gauntlet
In an effort to select healthy food for the family without spending hours in the grocery store, many working moms make numerous trips throughout the month to pick up last minute items.
This can be costly for a few reasons:
● Every trip to the grocery store requires gas and time
● The more often you step through those automatic doors, the more likely you are to be exposed to clever marketing that encourage impulse purchases (especially if you’re hungry!)
● Spread out over 10-15 short trips, it can be extremely challenging to maintain a predictable grocery budget
One option to avoid this financial burden is to set aside time early in the month and plan one large-scale trip to hit one or more grocery stores for the bulk of the month’s essentials. Between non-perishable foods and items that can be frozen, this can help reduce the rest of the month’s visits to replenishing staple items like milk, bread, and eggs.
This allows you to save time and money on transportation, and gives you a much better chance of sticking to a reasonable grocery budget.
2. The Dental Care Decoy
We all know that proper dental care is important to our health. However, when dental insurance is not an affordable option, families face paying out-of-pocket for dental services, which can be very expensive.
To help ensure your family gets the dental care they need without heavily impacting your budget, consider the following tips:
● Consult your dental office. Most dentists are willing to work with you on prices and payment options as opposed to losing you and your family as patients.
● Take advantage of discounts. As an alternative to insurance, dental discount plans like the one offered by Dental Solutions, provide a great way to save up to 50% off the retail cost of dental care at participating providers.
● Don’t skip dental visits. Ironically, maintaining a strict biannual schedule of visits to the dentist for every member of the family can end up saving more money than it costs. Considering the adage, “An ounce of prevention saves a pound of cure”, it makes sense that maintaining a healthy mouth is more affordable over time. In fact, restorative and emergency dental services are far more expensive – not to mention potentially painful – than routine cleanings and x-rays.
3. The Bundle Booby Trap
Like many families, you may be paying one company a monthly fee for bundled cable, internet, and phone services. On the surface, this seems like the best possible deal, plus it’s much more convenient to handle one payment as opposed to three or more.
However, realizing this is the case, cable companies have been known to add in fees for services and maintenance over time.
It’s always in your best interests to routinely review your bundled bills and contact the provider regarding any unexpected or erroneous fees. If you have more than one provider available in the area, keep a sharp eye on specials they’re offering and use those as leverage to discuss having your bill lowered. Or, if your current provider won’t budge, considering switching to another.
4. The Amazon Ambush
Without a doubt, shopping online can be both cost-effective and extremely convenient. However, there are always ways to shop smarter to cut costs.
While you make use of the internet to shop around, be sure to compare prices and find customer reviews to make wise buying decisions. You should also consider one important fact: just because you’re ordering something online doesn’t mean it’s going to be cheaper than it would be elsewhere. In some cases, shipping and handling costs are inflating the bottom line. Additionally, return policies and warranties may not be what you expect.
The best option? Use the internet to inform your shopping plans, but including local stores in the final decision making process. Many physical stores now offer free “ship to the store” services for items you can order from their online inventory and pick up at the local store rather than having them shipped to your home, which, at times, may be the best price option available.
While these are just four financial traps, there are plenty more out there to be aware of, and it takes diligence to stretch every dollar as far as it can go. As a mother and business professional, you do a great job working hard for your family. So, enjoy these money saving tips, and keep up the good work!
Dental emergency? Contact our sponsor Costa Dentistry if you’re in the Ashburn Virginia area.