In September of this year, The Art of Manliness (a blog I follow and recommend regardless of gender) posted this article: 4 Money Tips from 4 Personal Finance Legends. Now, I know the name of their blog might lend itself to focusing mostly on male “finance legends,” but I was still quite disappointed by the lack of lady representation in their roundup (spoiler alert: all four tips were from men). Almost all of the financial advice I have gleaned from these lovely interwebs have been from lady finance bloggers! And, as countless surveys and headlines can prove, women account for between 70% and 80% of all consumer purchases, 60% of all personal wealth in the U.S. is controlled by women, and 75% of women identify as the primary shopper for their household. All said and done, women are definitely aware of money and many women are beyond skillful with their management of it.
In that spirit, I have decided to do a roundup of my own in response to The Art of Manliness’ list, but only featuring the finer sex. Away we go!
Tip #1. Manage your money.
The Frugalwoods were one of the first finance blogs I found and started religiously following. Anytime Mrs. Frugalwoods’ posts pop up in my reader, I pretty much drop everything to soak up her knowledge. She and her (adorable) fam are a tried and true example of putting frugality to work for you, and one of the things I admire most about them is how they are adamant about tracking their spending: each month they publish a breakdown of every single dollar spent! They inspired me to open my own Personal Capital account, which I highly recommend to anyone looking to get a firm hold of their finances. Beyond that, The Frugalwoods were also the first ones to get me into the investing game. After reading a super simple post of theirs on the basics of setting up an investment account, I found myself excitedly looking forward to every paycheck just so my Vanguard account went up and up!
So why do such things as managed funds and so-called ‘expert market predictors’ exist, you might wonder? Because there’s money to be made in trading on the fear and greed that motivate most investors … And there it is. Long-term, low-fee index fund investing–much like frugality–does not generate revenue for businesses, banks, and marketers; hence, these lovely topics rarely show up in the mass media.
Mrs. Frugalwoods methodically drills home the fact that every day people (like you! like me!) can get a hold of your financial state, you just have to pay attention to it. Starting with tracking your spending, followed by noticing trends in that spending and adapting to lower your monthly costs (can I recommend her Uber Frugal Month Challenge? or her Clothes Buying Ban Challenge?), and finally using that difference you’ve created to invest the surplus! Sounds so easy, and can feel that way, too!
Tip #2. Recognize your priorities.
I started reading The Financial Diet when I stumbled upon an article detailing exact wedding costs in my frantic searches for “keeping a wedding under $10k” and “how to frugally plan a wedding” that started a few months ago. Since then I have been an avid subscriber because the women who run and write TFD are so much more than just weddings or cost breakdowns. TFD (incredibly) eases that voice in your head that is constantly asking, “how are other women like me dealing with [budgets OR mortgages OR negotiating a salary OR …the list goes on!].” A prime driver of their content is one of spending on the things that are important to you. If a daily latte is the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning, it is ok to budget for it! (Side note: lattes are not making you poor.) If visiting Guatemala is thing number one on your bucket list, socking away cash from each paycheck to pay for it is great! If celebrating your 30th birthday with a bang is the highlight of your year, do it! The phenomenal ladies behind organizing, ideating, and publishing TFD encourage saving and investing without pulling the reins in 100% on actually living your life and enjoying it.
Buy fewer things more intentionally. Focus on quality, versatility, and usefulness, instead of instant gratification.
Make indulgences and splurges a part of your financial life, but treat them as the rare, exciting thing they are. Too many treats aren’t treats anymore, they’re a lifestyle.
The intentionality of this tip is really what drives home the benefit. As long as you set yourself up for success (set a goal/priority, save the appropriate amount each week or month to get to said goal/priority), indulgence is not a 4 letter word to be avoided at all costs (pun intended).
Tip #3. Explore your options for tools, strategies, and tactics.
Half Banked is another oldie-but-a-goodie in my reader history when it comes to finance blogs. Desirae writes so emphatically about personal finance that you can’t help but be excited right along with her. She also does a great job at providing lots of alternatives when it comes to tools and strategies that she has tried, encouraging readers to seek out the best savings plan, investment tools, automation strategies, side hustles to earn extra income, and ways to set goals for their current financial needs.
At its core, money is just money. It’s just a tool that you can use to live the life you want, and no one knows better than you what kind of life that is. Trust me, you’re the expert on Things You Want.
One of the best things I’ve learned from Half Banked is to explore your options. For example, even after I picked Wealthfront as my robo-advisor, I continued researching and comparing other options and actually ended up opening a Betterment account as well based on a free-fee offer I discovered. I’ve earmarked each account for a different goal and get to capitalize on free fees under a certain amount in two places! It pays to consider your options.
Tip #4. Reevaluate your financial state often.
“Penny,” the writer behind She Picks Up Pennies, has gone through myriad of life changes while writing her blog. From paying off more than $24,000 in debt two years in a row (2015, 2016) and making a $15,000 mortgage payment, to getting married in her favorite “I don’t care if they were expensive it was worth it” shoes and detailing the costs of pregnancy and having a child, Penny has chronicled so much about how to stay frugal while the life you lead continuously changes. Throughout it all she continues to make great choices for her finances, and (lucky for us) shares her thought process along the way. What I’ve learned from this is that you can’t come up with a Perfect Financial Setup™ and then coast along assuming it is still working for you. Whether its having another mouth to feed, needing to spend a bit more on car repairs from one month to another, or excitingly accepting a bonus, any change to your life is going to affect your personal bottom line. This is not a thing to be scared of though, because once you’ve outlined a Perfect Financial Setup™ once it’s very easy to get to twice…and then a third time, fourth, etc.!
Financial independence happens faster when lifestyle inflation doesn’t get in the way. Even if we decide that early retirement isn’t for us, having the option to decide how we spend our time is invaluable. In fact, you might say it’s the greatest thing money can buy.
Penny is inspirational in more ways than one, not least of which in that she has chronicled her financial life for more than two years! That’s a lot of time to spend thinking about money, talking about money, and constantly analyzing how you’re using money. Thankfully, and encouragingly, her financial plan has ebbed and flowed with the changes and adjustments throughout that time.
You may have noticed that all of these tips include the word “your.” I purposefully set them up this way, because everyone’s money situation is very personal and very specific. Not everyone will have the same priorities. Not everyone will have the same budget. Not everyone will be able to use the same 401k plan, investing tools, or savings rate. The be-all, end-all of finance is figuring out what works best for you, for now!
Ideally you, lovely reader, are getting your tips, information, and research in many forms and from many kinds of people. Unlike this roundup or The Art of Manliness’ roundup, it is not one gender that is significantly better with and managing their money. If you’re looking for more financial blogs to broaden your info, may I suggest the Rockstar Finance Directory where you can sort and select more than 1,000 personal finance bloggers by age, category, location, net worth, and more! One of the best ways to learn more about this whole thing is by finding and following writers in your own situation as well as ones who you want to work towards being more like.
Do you have any money tips you live by? Have any other female financial writers you’d love it if more people knew about and referenced?? Let us know in the comments!