Mom Approved Money Moves

On the occasion of Mother’s Day, we asked three home ministers of finance how they handle money. Managing a household involves unexpected expenses and how mothers prepare for short and long-term goals is commendable. 

Let’s take a look at their answers and see what tricks they have up their sleeves!

Priya is a ‘career-gal’ and a new mother living in Bangalore. She works at a major IT company and is juggling work and motherhood like a pro. Here is what she had to say – 


Please share some strategies you’ve developed to manage everyday costs while still saving for long-term goals like education or retirement.


I prefer convenience when it comes to budgeting. I use a budgeting app to track income and expenses. But since things can get hectic, I categorize broadly – essentials like rent, groceries, discretionary like entertainment, clothes, and savings like emergency fund, kid’s education, retirement.

I have a cook who helps me keep food bills in check by making home-made meals according to our taste. 

To check my impulse buying sprees, I’ve adopted a ‘wait 24 hours’ rule. Within that time, I am mostly able to make a well-informed decision between wants and needs.

To save for long-term goals, I utilize automatic transfers before the money gets spent on rent and other necessary expenses. For entertainment, I often explore free local activities like exploring Cubbon Park for picnics and borrow books from the library for story time. It’s a great way to bond with my kid without breaking the bank.


How do you plan to involve your child in conversations about money management when he grows up?


My child is still very young, but I’m already laying the groundwork for future money conversations. To teach my young one money management, I plan to use pretend play with toy money and pretend bills. As he grows up, I will introduce age-appropriate chores with allowances. 

I’ll be transparent about our budget, discussing needs vs. wants, and involve him in small savings goals. This builds a foundation for financial literacy early on. I know I’ll learn and adapt as my child grows, but I’m committed to involving him in the conversation from a young age.

Aparna is a homemaker from Kolkata who has a teenage daughter. Puberty is a difficult time for both the child and the mother and she is often at wit’s end trying to make sense of the changes in her child’s behavior and needs. 

Here is how she stays in budget while not turning into a complete ‘bad cop’ for her daughter – 


Now that college is coming near, how do you manage costs while preparing for fees and other needs of your growing daughter?


I manage costs with a budgeted buffer for surprises. We track expenses in a simple notebook, categorizing needs, like groceries, utilities, etc. and wants, like entertainment, clothes, etc. 

Weekly meal planning based on grocery flyers and sales keeps food costs down. I also buy staples in bulk when they’re on discount. 

When it comes to entertainment, Kolkata has so much to offer. From plays to parks and museums – you can have a fun day without burning a hole in your pocket.

We set aside a fixed amount each month for her education and our retirement savings. There are government savings schemes in India that offer good returns – I look into those too.

I involve my daughter in budget discussions. We talk about our financial goals and the importance of saving. This fosters responsibility and helps her understand the value of money.


How do you involve your daughter in conversations about money management, and what tips do you have for age-appropriate financial education?


I involve my daughter in money management by reviewing the monthly budget together and I encourage her input. I give her small allowance for chores, but she can earn extra for additional tasks. This teaches her the value of work and responsible spending.

We discuss long-term goals like college, and I help her research costs and potential scholarships. We talk about bank accounts, debit cards, and responsible credit card use.

In my opinion, open communication about wants, needs, and delayed gratification will help her become a financially literate young adult.

Madhavi is a retired government official who lives alone in Pune. She has two daughters who are both married. Let’s take a glimpse into her money management style. 


How do you manage your household so you can live on a budget and still have money for medical emergencies?


I create a monthly budget with clear categories for expenses (groceries, utilities), leaving room for unexpected costs. I prioritize essential spending like housing and food. I continue to enjoy occasional treats, but avoid impulse purchases and unnecessary extravagance.

For medical emergencies, I consistently save in a separate account and look into government savings schemes. I avoid letting my lifestyle outpace my primary income, i.e. my pension. This ensures leftover funds can be directed to my emergency savings. 


Raising a family must have involved unexpected expenses. Can you share some strategies you’ve used over the years and still use to enjoy a comfortable retired life?


Throughout my life, I embraced frugality like cooking at home, mending clothes instead of discarding them, and planned for the future with pensions and fixed deposits. Open communication with my daughters fostered responsible spending. 

Even for skincare or haircare, I would look to home remedies instead of spending on too many products. My daughters and I never invested in fast fashion and bought timeless pieces of clothing which were often exchanged between us for special occasions. 

What Did We Learn?

All mothers swear by budgeting to live within their incomes. If you make a distinct segregation between needs and wants, you are less likely to spend more than you are supposed to.

You can look to parks, libraries, and museums for entertainment while keeping a check on your bank account. Additionally, you can also look to home remedies for hair and skincare, and invest in timeless fashion.

Having an open conversation about money with your child is a great way to build responsibility in them. You can go over the budget together and give allowances to your kids so they learn the value of saving.

These tips will help you stay in budget, while also saving up for emergencies, and future goals like education and retirement. Happy Mother’s Day!