Money Management Tips for Independent Women
Budget, why do I need one of those?
The word budget is one that can trigger a range of emotions. It’s a word that evokes feelings of responsibility, restriction, and sacrifice. However, budgets don’t have to be limiting. Creating a budget can actually help you do more of what you love.
How can a budget help you?
Budgets help you accurately assess what’s coming in versus what’s going out. Creating and sticking to a financial plan helps you manage and prioritize your spending. A budget when followed, can help you save more money to do the things you really want to do.
Those monthly Target runs that turn into cash drains, could be money spent instead on an epic vacation. When we spend mindfully we control impulsive purchases that cause us to accumulate things that actually have very little value. Your budget is your money management tool, it doesn’t have to restrictive.
Creating a budget that works
The first step to creating a budget that works, is getting a clear and accurate picture of how much money you are bringing home each month. Gather your pay stubs and/or bank statements to calculate your take home pay for the month. Once you have that amount figured out write it down. If your pay is irregular factor that in , as it might be appropriate to use an average take home number to create your budget.
Next gather all of your monthly bills, and make a list of all of your recurring monthly expenses. Once you have all of your expenses written down, calculate the total. The expense total represent the total amount of money that is already reserved for other obligations.
Tip: Calculate your savings contribution as an expense in your monthly budget. By doing this you ensure that growing your savings is always factored into your budget, and you are always paying yourself first before any big splurges.
Now subtract the expense total from the take home total, the balance if positive represents the extra money that can be allocated for fun activities. If this number is negative, you want to assess your expenses and see where you can reduce debt. If you are drowning in debt, we advocate paying that off first. Paying down debt increases your ability to add more room for fun to your budget.
Committing To Your Financial Plan
You can use a budget to plan for expenses like vacations, a designer bag you have been coveting, or a once in lifetime concert experience. It’s all about spending responsibly and according to what is reasonable for your finances.
The key is to limit splurges, and learn to manage your money in a way that benefits you the most. So while it might be tempting to spend the summer hitting every rooftop happy hour and every Sunday brunch, you have to ask yourself will it help you reach your big goals?
Sometimes you have to let your friends know you are committed to responsible spending, and you are prioritizing your finances to create more room for future experiences. Trust us, when they see the pics of you hanging out on that fly excursion on Instagram they are going to wish they created a budget and stuck to it also!
There are many tools that can help you manage your money quickly and easily. If you’re a digital girl, Mint is a perfect option to create your budget and track spending directly from your phone. If you are old school, and prefer to write things down Amazon has some great planners that help you manage both your finances and your daily schedule — this one is our current favorite planner.
Independent girl bosses may enjoy a splurge every once and awhile, but they also know how to keep it cute and manage their coins.