#MoneySavingChallengesForMomsSunday, May 09, 2021
It's no secret that mothers play an essential role in the financial well-being of the Jamaican home. In fact, they can be thought of as the chief financial officers of the family, but, unlike CFOs of multi-billion-dollar companies, their worth is often underappreciated and undervalued. Men will often complain about how much is made commercially for mothers on Mother's Day, while precious little effort is expended on the day designated for them.
But the truth is, while mothers are afforded all the brunches and pampering their hearts can stand each May, this doesn't necessarily make their financial lot in life better than men's, years after the advent of the women's suffrage movement which was meant to guarantee not just political and civil rights equality but economic equality as well.
The fact is, while the wage gender gap in Jamaica continues to shrink, according to the 2020 Global Gender Gap Report, published by the World Economic Forum, a non-aligned Europe-based intellectual group, women in the Jamaican workplace make roughly 62 per cent earned by their male counterparts. A sobering outlook of the report is that gender parity on the island is not expected before 100 years' time.
The good thing, however, is that Jamaican working mothers are not daunted by statistics. They continue to do what needs to be done in the best interests of their families. In a time of COVID burnout, money spenders are being encouraged to become money savers with challenges that seem to crop up every week. Mothers, keep motivated to find creative and strategic ways to save money, and by so doing make money for your families over the long term with these eight financial challenges.
Make an extra mortgage payment each year. This can go a far way in getting your principal down, allowing you to pay off your home faster and saving money on interest. Identify areas you can cut back on, like magazine subscriptions, etc, and instead funnel this money into your home, which is your wealth.
Diversify your income stream. If you've been meaning to convert a hobby into a money-making opportunity but have been too shy or too proud to (what will my friends think?), consider a report in The New York Times in 2020 predicting that a “pandemic-induced poverty surge” could widen the gender poverty gap. Unless you're Oprah or a woman of that ilk, your economic security could be precarious. Two or more incomes are better than one.
This year, invest to build financial acumen. It sounds counterintuitive. Saving money on day-to-day expenses is one thing, but it has to be done in the context of saving in order to earn money long-term. If you haven't yet done so put aside money that you can earn interest on regardless of what happens in the economy. Look for investments that carry little to no market risk or risk of rising taxes eating away at your wealth.
Buy insurance this year. This too seems to go left of the money-saving challenge, but again, it's about spending money to make money; it's not frivolous spending. If you're the principal breadwinner in your family, or your spouse is, make sure this person is adequately covered in the event of the unexpected, like sudden death, which has the potential to leave your family financially devastated or at the very least financially insecure and taking you off the road to building generational wealth.
Be financially independent. Emergencies can happen to anyone at any time. Not thinking about this is akin to burying your head in the sand. Death, divorce and disability can unfortunately happen to your family. Take the necessary steps to ensure your loved ones are protected by having emergency reserves. If you're not too deep in debt, you may want to consider increasing the amount you save each month as against the amount you put to discretionary spending.
Grocery shopping is a seriously big expense, all mothers know this. It's important to not only make a grocery budget but also to stick to it. With the emergence of the pandemic, kerbside pick-up became a very good thing. One of the unsung benefits to this was that it caused people to stick more closely to their budgets, as against in-person shopping, which fosters all manner of temptation to pick up items that are wants and not really needs. For as long as this delivery option is available, do it.
Talk to children about money. For your plan to get into fighting financial shape to work, your family has to be on the same page as you. The strength of your money goals as a family is as successful as its weakest link. If children are undoing all the gains you're making, by being destructive with their belongings, that's just like pouring water into a glass that keeps overflowing. Help them to understand why it's important to take care of what they have and why they won't always be able to have the same models of games their friends have, etc. This has the added advantage of developing them into being empathetic human beings.
Be grateful. In an age of social media when you're bombarded by images of things you don't have, this can foster unhappiness. Unplug from some of those sites that feed your feelings of worthlessness and that encourage you to spend unnecessary money in order to keep up with the Joneses. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by becoming thankful for all that you already have and your ability to get closer to your goals in your own time.
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