Today on the blog I’m sharing 8 Habits of Financially Smart Women! Over the past couple of years I have seriously become the money conscious person I never thought I’d be able to be. However, after earning my degree (and almost 30K in debt), it was virtually a must that I became money conscious. In this post I am going to talk about ways that you can become more money savvy too!
In the following post, I’ll dive more into financial planning for women and ways that you can save for the future! One of my main goals for 2020 is to pay off a large chunk of my student loans. Through careful spending and a whole lot of saving, I should be able to accomplish this goal! If you have debt you’re trying to pay off, or have something you’re saving for, then this post is for you.
8 Habits of Financially Smart Women
1. Budgets Every Week
This is something I only recently started doing! With the start of the new year and my goal to pay off my loans quickly, I knew I wanted to create a chart that kept track of it all. On a Saturday night the first week of the year I stayed up until almost 11:30pm making my chart and inputting formulas! Excel is now my best friend and is something I use every day at work so I put those skills to the test.
Now there are a ton of free printable budget templates, but I personally think keeping one that’s more easy to update is the way to go. Using an Excel chart is a great way to do so because the formulas will auto-populate! I had to learn a lot of skills for my major (even though I massively sucked at most of them), but YouTube is your FRIEND. I had to take an Excel test for my current position and was told beforehand to prepare. You can BET that I spent hours practicing!
I do want to set y’all on the right track though, so I wanted to create free printable budget sheets for you to utilize! I would suggest starting here and then moving onto an Excel chart where you can have everything totaled up.
If you’re a beginner, here are a few Excel tips for a budget chart:
- If you want to create a total row, use this formula: “=SUM(”
- In order to total everything in that row or column, drag your mouse across the cells you want to select, then hit “)” and enter!
- If you want to make a number in a column an expense, add this: “–” to the front of the number!
- I also like to use conditional formatting to make it red so I know it’s not revenue/income.
- A tip for using the =VLOOKUP function is to go to the Formulas bar at the top! I still hate trying to remember everything to type in, but the nice part of Excel is they can prompt you through most formulas you’re trying to create.
2. Keeps Her Spending Under Control
This is probably the most important tip here. You can’t be financially savvy if you have no money!! This was a tip I learned very quickly and one that I had to get in check in order for me to succeed. My mom has always been an amazing budgeter because she had to support herself, my sister, and I by herself. Some of the tips I’m sharing here are the items she’s taught me growing up!
These are some tips on how to get spending under control that I have learned/implemented over the last year. The first thing that is really important is to watch spending on items that are WANTS and not NEEDS. You do not need a professionally made coffee every morning on your way to work (yes, I’m mostly talking to myself here). You’ve got to stop buying things that are not life sustaining items.
That’s why I want to stress the importance of a spending plan! I decided that for this year I wouldn’t spend more than $200 on misc items each month. That includes clothes, subscriptions, movies, coffee, and eating out! January has not been easy and I really need to re-evaluate for February; however, I think starting with a game plan is the most important step in this process.
If you’ve been asking yourself, “how do i stop overspending?” Then I suggest taking a look at my other blog post that includes 20 Things to Stop Buying to Save Money (here)! These are all tips I used that taught me how to stop overspending and I think they’ll help you to do the same.
3. Has a Game Plan for Her Debt
This portion of the post is the one that metaphorically punches you in the gut. If you’re in your 20’s and don’t have debt, CONSIDER YOURSELF BLESSED. Those of us who do are out here cutting out everything we love to get rid of it. That being said, the most important thing to do when it comes to your debt is to have a game plan! I have every dollar I make from my side hustle this year going towards my student loan debt.
I also created a spending plan (that I mentioned earlier) and in that I decided any additional income from my paycheck (that doesn’t go to rent, bills, or other items) will go into my savings. That way I’m building my savings as well as paying off my debt! The reason I’m trying to do both is that in case something happens and 1) I get fired from my job or 2) I can no longer work, I will have a cushion.
4. Adds any Unused Money to Her Savings
I listened to an amazing podcast about saving money (and the name is escaping me and it’s seriously bothering me that I can’t remember), and the woman whom they interviewed gave a really amazing tip. She said that any money you would have spent, but ended up saving, to total that all up during the month and add it straight into your savings! I first thought that I don’t have any instances where I have money like that, but I was wrong.
In this case, the money you’re looking for is very specific! If you go to the store and your receipt says that you saved $6.58, then THIS is the money you’re looking at to add to your savings. I realized quickly that things like this happen more often than you would think and they appear if you make sure to remember to look for them! If you found gas for $0.15 cents cheaper than you almost paid, add that money to your savings.
If you’re a Target lover like I am, download the Target Circle app. Add coupons to your app throughout the week, then when you get groceries, they’ll sent you a push notification with how much you were able to save! Even if it’s only a few cents (which it sometimes is), you’ll occasionally save DOLLARS on a trip and after time that can add up to a good amount.
I partnered with Debt.com to share my new years goals about money! Click here to read my goals and the goals of 29 other professionals.
5. Doesn’t Eat Out Often
I added this as it’s own tip because HOLY COW can this expense add up. When it comes to saving money, this is one of the main things to stop buying to save money! Eating out encompasses everything that involves you spending money on food or drinks. I don’t go out ever and so I’m never spending money on alcoholic drinks! I understand that MOST people in their 20’s are not like this, so a good rule of thumb is to drink a little beforehand (if you are NOT driving).
When I realized I wanted to cut back on spending, I knew this would be the hardest to cut back on. It’s so easy to grab food on the way home or order food to be delivered to your door through delivery services! It’s also hard for me because my building at work has a cafe at the bottom so the convenience of quickly buying food is even harder to avoid. Be sure to limit yourself to a certain amount per week and this should really help!
6. Is Smart About Her Use of Credit Cards
Credit is one thing that has been important to me since my junior year of college. I had finally downloaded Credit Karma and realized that my credit was way lower than I wanted it to be! I signed up for my first credit card at TJMaxx (because, let’s be real, it’s the only place to shop in a college town that’s in the middle of no where). I soon learned that purchasing items and immediately paying it off didn’t matter!
Managing credit is in and of itself a game. You have to make sure to only use about 10% of your limit OR be sure to make consistent payments over time. If you don’t do either of those things it’ll be even harder for you to build credit! You also have to make sure you don’t use your credit card too often. I try to use mine at least every three months and then pay it off right away! I also only have one credit card so I can’t be tempted to overspend.
If you’re looking to find out more about credit repair, head over to my post about How to Manage Credit in College and After Graduation (here)! I partnered with Lexington Law Firm in order to share my tips on how I planned to repair my credit. They’re an awesome company who has worked with many of the largest banks and credit firms for years! I love them too because they offer insight into errors on your credit report and fast credit repair too.
7. Has Multiple Streams of Income
Any money savvy woman has additional streams of income. In this day and age where the cost of living is too high for most positions, you almost need to have additional revenue streams just to survive. I realized this VERY quickly and am currently trying to find two or three additional income ideas for myself! I’m looking more into investing/stocks and these are two great ways to make more money on the side.
If you’re interested in starting a blog like I did, I also have an entire post about How to Create a Blog for Free and Make Money that you can read (here)! Blogging has allowed me to have so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. It’s a great way to work with companies, meet women all around the world, write about what you love, AND make additional income.
Already a blogger/influencer? Be sure to check out my post that will tell you 10 Places for Influencer to Find Paid Campaigns linked (here)! I have been able to work with some amazing brands by applying to campaigns on these platforms. It’s a great way to obtain extra revenue as well as build your portfolio!
8. Saves for Retirement
One of the main requirements I had when looking for a full-time job was making sure a 401K was a part of my benefits package! Although I’m personally scared climate change will destroy the world before I can retire (joking but not), I still like the idea of having a cushion. I know eventually this will probably end up being my future child’s college fund, but right now it’s nice to think I will be able to retire one day!
The best way to find out how much to contribute is by talking to whomever your company uses for their benefits. My company even gave us a packet that discusses how to sign up and login on that company’s site as well! It’s also important to know how much your company will match and if they do. Ours only matches if we’re contributing up to a certain amount. Be sure to know if you company does something similar!
I hope you guys enjoyed this post about 8 Habits of Financially Smart Women! If you follow these steps you’ll be on your way to a financially sufficient future. I personally am implementing these steps to keep myself on track for this year and I think you should do so too. If you have any other advice, feel free to leave a comment below!
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Karen Chen says
What a great post! I especially loved the tip on adding unused money into savings – I’m that type of person who gets so giddy after saving with a coupon or discount! So many great tips here x
Ahhh yay! So glad you think so!