Money is tight for everyone, but many women are suffering money woes more readily in this down economy. Much of this has to do with upbringing; generally women are not taught to balance their checkbooks as well as men, if at all. On top of that, women deal with totally unique expenditures (health and beauty products) and the salary gap between men and women is still appalling. But don’t get as down as the stock market! There is fiscal hope sitting at that bottom of your piggy bank!
Don’t let breaking the bank break your heart! Arm yourself with a fresh artillery of monetary know-how and take down the beast of bankruptcy!
1. Put your needs first.
Our maternal instincts say, “Take care of the children first”, which is actually what you are doing when you put your needs first. No we are not saying to starve your children while you eat lobster and shop at Barney’s. What we are saying is that whatever toys they think they need are not as important as putting money in savings for your retirement. You have to make the family comfortable with a cash cushion and in order to do that you have to make sure you are comfortable. Put a few dollars away for college, but remember that the government helps with loans and such for incoming freshman. The best way to make your children healthy, happy, and successful is to teach them through example of how to save money effectively and how to have fun with the little that you do have.
2. Mooch shamelessly at the office
We aren’t saying steal or suck up, but you should use the benefits at the company you work for as much as they benefit from you working for them! Figure out the best possible health benefits, sign up for employee-sponsored retirement plans, and work your behind off to get that end-of-year bonus. Never forget that you are working to benefit yourself, not someone else. You should be reaping all the rewards.
3. Save like a working girl, even if you’re not one
Save, save, save! We know that’s easy to say, but hard to do…but actually, it’s not really that hard. That’s just an excuse. Every time you don’t purchase coffee in the morning and you make it at home, tip yourself. Put the $3.50 in a jar (or in savings where you can’t touch it) and motivate yourself to cut back on consumer goods. When you go for a jog, give yourself a present by putting $1 into savings. Purchase your groceries in cash and put all your change in savings. Trust us; you probably won’t miss it. So much money is spent on small, unnecessary things like gum and bottles of coke because we have that change sitting around in our pocket. That change could mean the difference between living comfortably and struggling for money when you are older.
4. Maintain your credit reputation
Keep your credit in shape. Just like going to the gym, sometimes we let our grand plans of upkeep slide, but get back up and keep going. Many credit card companies will help you cut the costs on your debts and work with you. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and tackle those collectors. Remember that they are just people like you, doing a job. If you are nice, they will help you out. If your credit is still good, make sure to make small purchases every month and pay them off to build even better credit!
5. Act more like a man (in your retirement account)
Women live longer and therefore spend more. Many women are afraid to be too risky with their monetary investments, especially when being broke has scared us. Men are taught to see the big picture with money and that with high risks comes high rewards. If you have a little money to play with, do just that. Play with it. Don’t poke it with a stick hoping it will do something. If you are frightened, hire a professional to help you be as playful as possible.
- What do you think? What are some of your money-saving tips? What do you spend most of your money on as a woman?