When it comes to money, some women have an ostrich-like approach: They’d rather stick their heads in the sand than check their bank balances. Others fly-by-the-seat of their pants, letting emotions or circumstances guide their financial decisions. But the money-savviest among us face our finances head on, forming habits that make us financially healthy and even happy. When we develop good financial habits, we feel in control of our lives and better prepared for any situation that might come up—good or bad. Here are five finance habits of super money –savvy women to start building, now. By: Jillian Kramer for Glamour.com
Women can build up a nest egg without even thinking about it by automating their savings. Think of this as a way to conserve your willpower for other healthy habits. One way to automate savings is to set a portion of your income to be deposited from your paycheck—or your checking account—into your savings account each month. Financial experts recommend dedicating 20 percent of your income to savings or a retirement fund each month.
The financially-savviest women set money goals—in both the short and long term—then lay out specific steps for how to achieve them. This is an important first step in developing your personal financial roadmap, and you’ll want to revisit these goals during any major life event, like getting married or starting a new job. If you don’t know where you are going, it’s that much harder to know how you are going to get there.
Whipping out your credit card for anything from a much-needed coffee to something larger, like paying your rent, can at times be tempting. But, as a financial coach points out, money-smart women know every swipe has the potential to impact their financial position, and so they are very choosy with when and how they use their credit cards. When you do use your cards, get into the habit of being responsible by paying balances off in full each month—or more than the minimum due—to save interest build up and stress.
Controlling your emotional ties to monetary decisions is vital to becoming money-savvy. Otherwise, improving your finances is a Band-Aid solution. Taking the emotion out of money might be as simple as dissecting why you’ve made certain money choices. For instance, you might notice that much of your overspending at the mall is tied to tough days at work. Pairing those triggers with healthier habits, like going to the gym instead, is a surefire step toward financial success.
It’s tough to turn down a happy hour invitation from the friend you haven’t seen in weeks. But money-smart women know that $7 margarita can add up to money trouble. You don’t need to say no to everything, but refraining from items that can derail your financial plan, like eating out and impulse buys, will help keep your finances in line. Of course, you should say yes to career and educational expenses that add to your value—and potentially up your income. After all- taking continuing education classes and meeting or spending time with a mentor will enhance your earning power and ability to save.