The role of women in society is evolving, as evidenced by the changing of their daily tasks.
Women are no longer the housewives that were beautifully detailed in Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives. They are independent, and in many instances, the primary caretakers of themselves and their families. However, despite their increasing responsibilities, women often still want to bury their head in the sand when it comes to money.
As a woman, it is vital to understand your financial health. Why do many women want to live in the financial dark? Are there small changes that can be made to help them see the financial light? Here are my top suggestions:
Look at your bills and understand the charges.
Do you look at your electric bill? Did you use the Kilowatts that the utility company so kindly printed on the bill? Was the meter properly read? What rate are you being charged per kWh? Is there a cheaper alternative for gas or electric?
Whether you are evaluating your energy bill or your credit card bill, you must do so with a critical eye. Otherwise, it is impossible to determine if you are being charged unfairly. Ladies, you work too hard to let your money slip away due to improper billing or misunderstood charges that could be eliminated by alternative decisions.
Create, and follow, a personal budget.
Budgeting is crucial for success (insert eye rolling). This is an age-old concept that still holds incredible value. The format does not have to be a fancy spreadsheet that changes colors when your spending habits are sending you into the red. A budget can be as simple as listing your income and all of your expenses in detail on a piece of paper. After determining your cash flows, you need to track how much you have spent each week.
I want to place an emphasis on including all of your expenses on your budget. I have found that many people leave small expenditures off of their budget. For example, if you know that you like to buy three Starbucks coffees per week, you need to place this expenditure on your budget. This may appear to be a small expense, but as the month progresses, these habits add up to big costs. Therefore, if you find yourself wondering where your money goes, you most likely spend small amounts that add up and are not accounted for in the budget.
Lastly, once you have spent your budgeted amount in a particular expense category stop spending! There is no point in having a budget that you don’t follow.
Evaluate your relationship with money.
Money should be used for your security. It is designed to supply you with basic needs (not to be confused with wants). Money will assist you in your golden years to live the life you desire.
As the holiday season approaches, I want all women to think about how they are spending their money. The holidays tend to be a time where women throw caution to the wind in terms of their money. Overspending on wants and gifts for others is not the way to foster a healthy relationship with money. These actions have the potential of threatening your security throughout the year, as demonstrated by those who are still paying off holiday bills during the summer.
My wish is for all women to know where every hard earned penny is being spent. Gone are the days of letting husbands or significant others take care of that pesky money situation. Gone are the days where women let money rule them versus them ruling their money.
I believe that small changes will equate to financial success. While my list of changes is not all inclusive, it is a great start for beginning a financial dialogue that I hope fosters more good financial decisions. I want women to see the light.
Amanda Golsch is a six year employee of Children’s Hospital Medical Center and an adjunct professor for the University of Cincinnati. While in grad school, Amanda developed a passion for personal finance. She realized that personal finance can impact every aspect of your life, including your health. Therefore, Amanda has set out to teach as many women as possible basic financial principles that can leave a powerful and lasting impact. Her motto is “A financially literate woman is a powerful woman.” Got a question for Amanda? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.