Women and Money: Who's controlling your destiny?
Money and control are strange partners, as women we find ourselves bound by many things and our money is no different. We are very capable when it comes to managing the grocery budget or making sure that the mortgage and utilities are paid on time. So why do we totally flub when it comes to securing our own financial future?
The answer can be found by exploring what and who has our time and attention. Although women make half of the income in the household, many times we choose to pay ourselves last, if at all.
Extra money goes to the children's new soccer gear or our husband's new work boots. I realized early on in my marriage, that while I agonized over pinching together enough pennies to pay the electric bill, that my ex-husband thought nothing of going to the barbershop weekly for a trim. Here I was coloring my own hair in the kitchen sink to save a few dollars. He prioritized himself by getting his hair cut and I needed to do the same. However, being the worry wart that I was, I couldn't just ignore the bills and get my hair done. So, I did what I suggest you do. I made a plan. My plan was basic. Don't spend more than you bring in.
I made a complete list of the money coming in and the money going out each month. I vowed to save at least 5% of my income and work towards 10%. I repeated this process periodically as my income or circumstances changed. Next, I made a list of ways to cut expenses and vowed to stick with it. Here is my list:
· Make a weekly grocery list and only buy sale items
· Plan the dinner menu based on the sale items
· Check all insurances and cut out unneeded expenses
· Cut cable or switch to a cheaper plan, look at bundle packages that provide discounts for 12 months or longer
· Shop at thrift stores like Goodwill
· Reduce eating out
· Reduce coffee or quick snack purchases
· Make more money by getting a second job or turn a hobby or something you do well into a home-based business
· Sell unnecessary items, ie bike, golf clubs, second car
This is an abbreviated list, but you get the idea. Once more money is brought to the table, do one thing first...set aside a portion in a savings account and do not tap into it. Use the rest to pay off credit cards or make one extra car or house payment per year.
Build a relationship with money. Money is a tool to be used to secure your destiny.