How I Talk About Money With Other Moms

As a mom and a personal finance writer, I love talking about money, but I also know it’s not always a socially acceptable topic to bring up. While I used to shy away from money talks when sitting around with groups of mom friends, I’ve since realized those gatherings are the perfect time to raise the potentially awkward topic.

In fact, I’ve learned some of my best savings tips through casual conversations with other moms. One mom’s offhand mention of early camp sign-up discounts helped me nab a sizable reduction. Another taught me my credit card included travel insurance so I could forgo paying extra for it. And a mom text chat warning me about mail check fraud prevented me from dropping a check into a mailbox that was known to be compromised.

Talking about money with other moms doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. For me, it’s been an incredible opportunity to pick up practical tips to add to my financial toolkit.

If you want to talk more about money with other moms but aren’t sure where to start, here’s what’s worked for me:

Be curious and helpful but not nosy

We all have different boundaries regarding what we’re comfortable discussing with friends, and it’s important to respect your friends’ boundaries around money. Asking a friend if they can share any good discounts they’ve found recently is an easier conversation starter than anything related to income or taxes, which can feel more personal.

“Moms nurture each other,” says Maria Bailey, marketing expert and author of “Marketing to Millennial Moms.” We are often eager to share where we found a great deal because we want to help each other. She adds that it’s our way of saying, “‘Hey, I don’t want you to overspend.’”

If the conversation does veer into uncomfortable territory, you can always guide it back to the topics you do want to discuss by saying “here’s what I’d really like your tips on.”

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Seek out moms in-person and online

As moms, our top money concerns often evolve as our children grow: First, we’re trying to figure out how to fit diapers into our budgets and then we’re scrambling to afford summer camps, followed by after-school activities and college. Getting tips from moms who are at the same stage or one step ahead can shed the most relevant insight into our current situations.

As Bailey says, “You can find women who have common life goals and common life phases. Moms with young children won’t have similar financial goals to an empty nester.”

My best money conversations with other moms pop up when we are sitting around together, waiting for our children to get out of activities or at school events. If one person mentions a topic like summer camp costs, others quickly chime in with their ideas and suggestions.

I also belong to several mom-themed Facebook groups where I can easily ask and answer questions from other parents on money topics. Text chains with other moms have been another valuable source of brainstorming over money topics like credit card rewards and retail sales. WhatsApp groups, Google groups and other networks can also provide a way to connect and chat about money.

Talk about the kids

One thing we have in common as moms is that we’re always prioritizing our children, so talking about kids and how we talk about money with them can be another safe topic. I love hearing from other moms about how or whether they decide to pay their children an allowance or how they respond when a child asks for an expensive purchase.

Pamela Horack, a certified financial planner who also calls herself “Your Financial Mom,” warns against using phrases like, “We don’t have money for that.” She says the idea of running out of resources can be a scary thought for children, and instead we can have a conversation about priorities and budgeting.

I learned that lesson the hard way when I told my son, who was 10 at the time, that we couldn’t order takeout because we had to save money for college. For months after that comment, he worried every time we got takeout that it would negatively impact his ability to go to college one day.

Now, when we don’t want to spend money on something, we try to stick with an explanation that focuses on our general budgeting priorities rather than a this or that approach — a helpful lesson from Horack.

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