Some women are born with a flair for working with money whilst others have to work a bit harder at it. August is National Women’s Month and the ideal time to sharpen up your money know-how.
“Drawing up a monthly budget and keeping track of your income and expenses on a weekly or monthly basis comes more naturally for some women than others. A few small ‘tweaks’ can easily lift your financial performance regardless of your skills,” Eunice Sibiya, Head of FNB Consumer Education.
“The good news is that the first steps to becoming financially savvy woman is not signing up for a course in finance but rather a change of mindset and an understanding of your relationship with money.”
Sibiya suggest the following money tricks that women with financial flair use:
- Women with financial flair don’t use money to make themselves feel good
- Apply the “have-to-have-it” rule
- Invest in you
- Don’t live beyond your means
- Be prepared to say no
Women with financial flair don’t use money to make themselves feel good
Unfortunately as the fairer sex, our emotional side often sends us running to the shops after a bad day or for a pep-up. Splurging is nothing more than instant gratification that is likely to leave you feeling guilty as soon as you put all your parcels down on your bed. Being vigilant about your impulsive shopping is a sure way to display emotionally intelligent financial behaviour.
“The only way to fight emotionally driven spending behaviour is to put alternatives in its place that tackle the root of the problem. When you realise that your rush to the shops is emotionally charged, ask a friend whether you can pop over, take a run around the block to clear your head or make yourself a cup of tea and work through your emotions. When feeling stressed or depressed, a short destruction may save you from a shopping spree you might regret,” recommends Sibiya.
Apply the “have-to-have-it” rule
“The “have-to-have-it” rule can save you from incurring unnecessary expenses or debt,” says Sibiya.
Before you buy another item of clothing, ask yourself: do I really have to have it? If the answer is “NO”, put the item down. If you are in two minds, purchase the item but keep the tags attached and don’t throw the slip away. Try it on again at home and check how many of the items of clothing in your cupboard you will be able to match it up. You may be surprised to find that you have a similar item already!
Invest in you
“The mistake that some woman often make is relying on their partner or husband to look after all the finances as well as their future,” says Sibiya. “Make sure that you look after your own financial future, by understanding what money comes in and out of the household. Be part of the household budget discussion.”
Even if your job might provide you with a pension fund, you can never prepare enough for old age. Try to save 10 percent of your income in various types of accounts that will prepare you for retirement – one such a nest egg to consider is a retirement annuity.
An annuity is a great way to boost your retirement; you can choose the amount that you want to save every month, increase it at any given time and enjoy the tax benefits.
Don’t live beyond your means
Women who are financially stable are cautious to never spend more than what they earn and one of the easiest ways to do so is to stop carrying debt, in the form of a credit or retail store card, around with you.
“With purses full of store and credit cards, it has become easy to spend more than what we are in actual fact able to afford and the ease of swiping is but the beginning of the problem. Because these bills are not on one account, it is easy to forget how much you have spent and even more difficult to remember what monthly repayments have to be made,” says Sibiya.
Try rather to adopt an emergency mindset to debt. Transact primarily with your cheque cards and leave your retail store cards and credit cards at home. By doing so you will be unable to make impulsive purchases and you will be forced to remember to put your cards in your purse if the need really does arise.
Be prepared to say no
“Whether it is your children or your family, women tend to put other people first and their finances suffer as a result,” says Sibiya. “Remember that children don’t understand the value of money, unless you are financially disciplined and teach them about financial concepts.”
The same goes to lending money to family and friends, rather send them to a financial planner or help them set up a budget and financial goals.
“Each and every woman has the capability of having financial flair. Empower yourself by taking control of your finances: sit yourself down this Women’s Month, write down how you’d like to change your mindset and then hold yourself accountable to it. Personal financial management is achievable – set your goals and remain disciplined. Strive to manage your finances smarter and see your dreams fulfilled,” concludes Sibiya.
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