Does personal finance for women differ from mainstream money advice? And what do us women need to do in order to be financially secure both now and in our later years?
I have been interested in finance for a very long time but it took me years to start investing and controlling my money. And I don’t mean 2 or 3 years.
Many personal finance blogs seem to be written by men for men and aimed at those who earn six figure incomes who are happy to consider throwing all their money into investments that others may think a little risky.
Where’s the financial advice for women who are juggling work, kids, childcare and home life? They don’t have the time or inclination to be reading company reports and researching investment fund managers.
Something I do agree with personal finance experts on though, is that we need to start.
Start learning, start saving, start budgeting. Not put it off for another few years like I did because it all seemed a bit too hard.
When you strip personal finance for women back to the basics, it’s all about creating a few good habits.
Nothing fancy, nothing hard or too technical, just good money habits that you are clear about sticking to.
These are the money habits that wealthy women have embraced and made their own. So can you. Remember, nothing hard.
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Personal finance for women Who Want More
Good financial habits are not something you should put off until you think you have enough money. We never have enough money, or so it feels!
Embracing habits that other, more wealthy women have will help you improve your financial situation in the short term and long term.
Whether you are in debt right now or just surviving from paycheck to paycheck, taking your first tentative steps to take back control is going to make a positive difference. Otherwise:
Do as you have always done and you’ll keep getting the same result
1. Set Realistic Financial Goals
First thing first, it is important to have financial goals to see some success in saving money. Following a few rules is your key to reaching financial freedom.
- Dream big
- Set some realistic goals
- Set short term and long term goals to achieve better results
- Define a time frame to achieve your goals
Without goals, you only have a vision. You need goals and some money rules to guide you along the way.
The second part of setting goals is working out the steps to achieve them. This is where being SMART with your goals is key.
Goals without a plan are just a dream
I know SMART can be very much over used when talking about goals and targets but today it really is relevant. Remember SMART means:
To make your financial goals a reality, and not just a dream, you need to be as specific as possible.
Not just with WHAT you are aiming for and by when. But also with HOW you are going to achieve your goal. What do you need to do to make sure it actually happens?
Example of SMART and non SMART goals
Achieve a $5,000 new car fund in 1 year
Save $416.67 every month for 12 months.
non SMART goal
Hopefully save about $1,000 for Xmas
Save a little every month by cutting back on some treats.
Pro tip – when you are creating your action steps to achieve your goals, remember to focus on the realistic part. You can live on rice and beans for a short time in order to save more money, but is that realistic long term?
2. Don’t Procrastinate
Procrastination can be one of the biggest hurdles in achieving any of your goals.
If you keep delaying your money goal plans, you will never be successful at saving money for your needs and desires.
I am the world’s worst procrastinator (or so I tell myself) and as a result it took me too many years to be conscious of the need to know about personal finance for women.
I struggled with each paycheck until I eventually got my act together and stop putting off the things I needed to do to improve my finances as an independent female.
If you want to achieve your goals, stop procrastinating. Easier said than done I know, but taking even small steps initially will help build your confidence and ability to keep going.
3. Be willing to learn
Believe me, I know personal finance can be a dry subject. But at it’s heart, what we are talking about is your money and how you can use it to make your best life.
Women who have their financial sh*t together know that knowledge is power. They know they need to understand more about money and what they can do to improve their financial situation.
You don’t need to get a PhD in the financial markets but please do increase your knowledge.
Having been turned off from the ‘by men, for men’ type blogs I turned to the library and Amazon to find books and information that helped me understand.
These are my top recommendations for learning more about personal finance and how you can help yourself.
4. Live Beneath your Means
I know everyone has dreams of a luxurious lifestyle. But if you don’t earn big bucks, you can’t spend big bucks (not without getting a ton of debt). We can dream a little though, right?
Whatever your earnings are, try to assume you have earned a little less than the actual amount and aim to live on that instead.
For example, if you receive your paycheck of $1000, consider it as $800 only, and put the excess amount into your savings account.
This way you will not spend all your hard earned money on unnecessary things and will be able to save something towards your future expenses.
Living below your means is one of the best and practical personal finance for women habits you can embrace.
5. Avoid Using Credit Cards
Credit cards can give you rewards and even cash back for using them. But these benefits are there for a reason: to make you spend. More than you planned.
If you do nothing else then please, don’t use your credit card unless you can pay it off in full every month.
When you own multiple credit cards, you tend to spend the money from your future earnings. It’s too easy to spend the money that you don’t have yet. Because you can.
Credit cards are really Debt cards
I call credit cards “debt cards”. Unless you pay off your balance in full you have created a debt on that card.
The solution is to use debit cards and hard cash for most purchases and keep the credit card as emergency money only.
6. Have Multiple Money Accounts
Personal finance gurus all agree that putting all your money in one basket is a very bad idea and is never going to be sufficient to fulfill your future needs.
Keep your money in multiple accounts, for example:
- Cash account with emergency fund for instant access
- Sinking funds for all those irregular bills you know will appear
- Low risk accounts for further emergency money and short to medium term savings
- Low and medium risk investments for your long term future and retirement.
Now I know that I put off doing anything other than putting my money into a standard savings account. An account that you will now earn a pittance from.
Investing might seem scary (been there and been scared) but it really is the way to grow your money over the long term.
My secret tip: Get comfortable with the idea of investing by using a really fun app called Acorns. It’s the modern equivalent of your coin jar as it rounds up every purchase to the nearest $1 and automatically invests this spare change.
Acorns is a really simple way to dip your toes into investing, and save money, without even thinking about it. I think the best part is this hands off automated service costs as little as $1 a month.
Acorns automated roundups make saving and investing unbelievably easy, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly your spare change accumulates.
7. Create a Habit Of Budgeting
Every personal finance expert will tell you that budgeting is key to good financial health.
Personal finance for women is no different. Wealthy women have budgets that include everything in their life.
They know how much income they have going in and what expenses they will incur. They have sinking funds for those pesky irregular bills and they allocate some money for fun.
Because having guilt free spending money is a key part of planning your finances. We all know we can be a sucker for a bargain or impulse purchases. So build a little of this into your budget.
As much as I try to be healthy, I cannot go weeks without chocolate or something sweet. Even when our budget was so tight it squeaked, I still had a small amount of money that I knew I could spend on something tasty.
Your budget is simply your plan to spend the money you have, nothing more complicated than that.
What it does mean is that sticking to your budget means you don’t go into debt, you don’t incur costly interest or bank fees.
Pro tip – don’t consider your budget is once and done. Personal finance is all about adjusting as you go along to make sure you stay on top of your money.
8. Look For Cash Back And Discount Coupons
This is often overlooked as a good money habit to embrace. Women with money save a lot of money, but it doesn’t mean that they do not live their life as they want.
Most of us women do online shopping. But, smart women compare the product price on various websites, they look for the best cashback and find discount coupon codes online.
Using cashback apps and discount coupon codes will help you save a small chunk of money every month and over a period of time, you will be amazed to see how that money grows into something not so small.
9. Earn extra cash
Earning more money is usually the key to becoming wealthy. After all, there is only so much you can cut from your budget.
Many women who have got their finances sussed opt for side hustles to earn and save some extra cash every month.
Side hustles like starting a blog, becoming a virtual assistant to small businesses, freelance writing, online teaching, babysitting and graphic designing.
These are some of the most popular side hustles that pay you a decent amount quickly. If you are ready for the next step with your finances then have a read of my post about the best work from home jobs.
Wrapping up finance for women
As you can see these financial habits are not highly technical nor do you need a degree in personal finance in order to get going.
There is nothing hard in any of the habits mentioned above, all you need is the willingness and commitment to start.
Once you have embraced some of these you’ll be ready to take further steps into the world of investing. But steps that are on your terms and within your comfort zone.
Start taking back control of your money by grabbing your copy of the Money Saving Starter Guide today.
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Last Updated on 7th June 2021 by Emma