Eleven Essential Financial Tips That Every Woman Should Know
Managing your finances in a responsible way is an essential life skill. From sorting out your bills to understanding your credit report, all women should have the knowledge to be financially independent and take care of their own money. Learn how to budget, save and spend effectively to stay independent and financially ready for anything. Here’s eleven financial tips to get you started and keep you going.
Set a budget.
Whatever your income, a budget will help you to manage your money. Sit down and work out exactly how much money you have coming in every month. This should include your wages, any benefits, and any income from side jobs, investments, pensions or allowances. Now work out how much goes out. Include the rent or mortgage, utilities, bills and the average amount you spend on food and transport. What you have left you can save or spend. This is your budget.
Have an emergency fund.
Aim to have three to six month of expenses in a savings account. This is your emergency money. If you lose your job, this is a safety net to tide you over and keep the bills paid until you can find another job.it can also cover you in case you need to move out of your home in a hurry after a break-up with a partner or a housemate turning nasty.
A credit card is never just free money. It can be a useful way to build your credit rating and pay for unexpected expenses, but be sure to always be responsible. Failking to make payments of borrowing more than you can afford can lead to a damaged credit score and a spiral of debt you can’t handle. Read a guide to credit cards before applying for them.
Check your credit report.
Get in the habit of checking your credit report a couple of times a year. Check it thoroughly for any errors, such as an incorrect address or a debt you have now cleared. Arrange to have any errors corrected immediately as these could be damaging your credit rating unnecessarily.If your rating is poor, look at why and aim to fix it. Do you have several credit cards? Do you move around a lot? Are you not registered to vote? All these things can hurt your rating. Look through your report for anything you can improve.
Don’t rely on someone else for all your financial needs
Whether that’s a parent, a husband or a girlfriend. Pooling your finds for a joint home is one thing, but it’s important to maintain some financial freedom. You don’t want to be stuck in a bad relationship that you can’t afford to leave or unable to manage your own money without your parents help.
Be sensible with your money.
Of course you can buy treats yourself, but don’t fall into the habit of buying things to fix a bad day or a stressful mood. This can lead to emotional shopping, overspending and a lot of credit card debt. If you must have something, buy small treats like a takeaway coffee or a bar of chocolate, instead of always heading to the shops for a new handbag after a bad week in the office.
Be wary of a partner’s debt.
If you’re considering marrying your partner, but one has debt, consider waiting until the debt has been cleared. If you marry when one of your owes money, you both become responsible for it and it will have an impact on both credit ratings. Can’t wait? Protect yourself before marriage with a prenuptial agreement. It’s not romantic but it will protect your money should you ever get divorced. Anyone can use a prenup, not just rich couples.
Always have insurance.
Insure your home, your belongings, valuable possessions like electronics, your car and maybe even your health. Insurance can save you from huge bills to repair your home or car, replacing a lost phone, replacing stolen valuables or paying medical bills. Shop around the best coverage you can afford and be sure to always read the fine print so you know exactly what you’re covered for and can claim if some disaster befalls you. You could consider life insurance too, if you’re a parent or have other dependents.
Make a will.
Nobody wants to think about their own death, but without a will, there’s no guide left for your estate and the courts will decide who gets your money and other assets. With a will, you can lay out clearly who should get money, property, other assets and even custody of your children. Be proactive and get it done, especially if you have a partner or children.
Learn from your mistakes.
We all make errors with our money at times, from poor investments to overspending. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it and learn from it. Don’t bear yourself up and instead use it to think about you can avoid making a similar mistake in the future. By making mistakes, we learn, and you’ll be more money savvy even after a few stumbles along the way. You can learn from the mistakes of others too. For example, if you know your mother has high credit card debt, or your brother lost a lot of money gambling, you can learn their hard lessons without making the mistake for yourself.
Learn what you truly value.
If you’re prone to making impulse purchases, think hard about what truly makes you happy and how you want your future to look. If what makes you happy is a pair of designer shoes, then the investment might be worth it. However, if you picture the future in a house on the beach, maybe that money would be better used by being put into your savings for a house deposit, not spent on a pair of shoes. Weigh up large purchases like this to work out what it is that really want. You may just find you end up spending a lot less money, and find budgeting a lot easier.