Wednesday, April 11, 2012

{She Works Hard For The Money}

Let's Talk Dollar$ and $en$e...

It's been awhile since I've touched on the importance of money but (let's be honest) us ladies (and gents) sometimes need a little kick in the hinkeycheeks to re-evaluate our financial needs and goals...

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Since I was a little girl, I've had a decent understanding as to the value of money. It probably began with scrubbing my bathroom for a measly $5 as a kid...all for the sake of buying that newest beanie baby! Then there was the "family talk" when I was around 10 or so years old about compound interest and how it works. Oh, and that time in high school when I wanted my parents to buy me a car like everyone else's parents did? Yeah, that didn't happen. I got stuck with the clunker...but guess what? I learned to not only save my money, but also to think wisely about how I wanted to use and invest it. I bought my first car when I was 18 years old and was able to pay half of its total cost up front and manage monthly payments.

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Now, granted, I am no money-saving machine. I struggle with saving just like everyone else. Therefore, since becoming a professional, I have made it a point to put a certain allotment of money into my savings account every pay day; the more money I make, the more money goes into savings. Seems easy enough. But I also have made it a rule not to take money out of my savings account for anything other than emergencies or wise investments. This actually has helped a lot, because it forces me to maintain a minimal amount of money in my checking account and keep my spending at bay. Trust me, if you set ground rules for yourself and allow your savings to build you will be one happy individual!

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For some of you, this is not new information. You may already practice this habit (among others) as part of your savvy saving ways. Whatever helps you reach your financial goals, I'm on board! But for those of you trying to justify saving money or who are struggling to maintain money, here are a few great tips from Kiplinger:

{Pay yourself first}
Take care of your own financial needs so that no one else has to. Put yourself in the driver seat of your own monetary desires; being accountable and responsible are two very good qualities to have and maintain.

{Keep tabs on your credit}
Do you know your credit score? Do you monitor your credit report? This is something I have recently done in order to know where I stand in "credit land." Food for thought: think about using credit cards that you can get the most rewards from (cash back, frequent flyer miles, etc.) and constantly make sure to check your balances and pay your bills on time. The more money in your pocket, the bigger your smile.

{Build a solid emergency fund}
Always, always, always have an allotment of money set aside for emergencies. If you find yourself in a bind (this is life, and life can be a bitch), you will be very happy with yourself for having a "safety cushion" of money available when in need. Panick attacks can easily be avoided.

{It's okay to talk about money with your significant other}
Hell to the yes. I am all about this! For one, you need to know if you and your significant other are on the same page as far as financial needs are concerned. Money is a huge factor in many unhappy couples and, ultimately, failed relationships. It doesn't mean you have to necessarily "share" your money, but it does mean that you need to have an open and honest conversation about your financial goals and realistic spending habits. Don't make excuses.

{You have financial options for everything}
Save. Invest. Pay off your debt. Build up your 401(k) plan. You have options and ways to become educated in all of these realms; the decisions you make now affect your future in a way that I can only begin to touch on. You are currently living in a time where the economic crisis is real, influential and, in many scenarios, devastating to people's lives. You have no excuse for not thinking ahead. Get on it!

{Personal finance is empowering}
We want the best of the best. We are impulse buyers. We want it, and we want it now. You know, that's all great in a world made up of rainbows and unicorns, but we need to face reality. How much do you spend in a month? How much do you save? How much do you owe? Do you want to buy a house one day? Support a family? Being in control of your money is nothing short of an amazing feeling. I love it. I love finding deals for everything from shopping to traveling to wining & dining. Having a bigger picture in mind of what you want will help you save your money and make wiser financial decisions.

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It is never too late to start making better decisions. Saving money doesn't mean you need to miss out on enjoying life or indulging in all it has to offer. It just means that you may need to start thinking twice about certain things. Don't be afraid to call yourself out. Do I really need [said item] right now? Could I get [this] at a cheaper price? As a female, I have to understand that women tend to live longer, earn less, and take breaks from the workforce for reasons such as caring for children. I've said it before, but women (especially) need to understand the importance of being in control of their finances; do not depend on anyone but yourself to get you where you need to go. Educate yourself, ask others for advice, seek out wisdom and stay informed. We want a lot, but we have to be willing to work save for it.

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Money does not buy happiness, but it can help make dreams a reality and impossibilities possible. Write down those things which you would accomplish, own or partake in if you had the means to do so. Then create a timeline and game plan for how you will achieve those desires and make them a reality. I encourage you to take small (or big) steps toward financial freedom...for it is only you who can take the blame for not being where you want to be.

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  1. You got $5 for cleaning the bathroom? I got $20 total a month for cleaning the bathroom, folding the towels and whites, setting the table, drying the dishes, sweeping the floor, and dusting. I have always saved my money. I thank my past self for not buying things all will-nilly, never really buying anything actually.

  2. Now more than ever women are working hard for the money. Definitely makes me want to chant the song by Donna Summer. But what amazes me is how often I hear ladies talking about earning a million dollars. Now don't get me wrong that's a fantastic goal but I often wonder how many make time to look & feel like a million dollars.