Women are getting empowered through literacy and employment. The biggest motivation of a career-focused or business-oriented woman is the need to make ends meet, even in the tough terrain they find themselves, as a result of their gender or the country’s poor economy.
The need to reduce financial stress is her top priority, which is why she puts in the hard work to make it happen. Inasmuch as a woman can be highly industrious, there is a number of factors that are detrimental to her finances, and also affect her journey towards financial freedom. They are extravagant spending and a lack of savings or investments.
Lack of savings has made some women go insolvent. This is why it is vital to cultivate the habit of savings, no matter how small you earn. Savings is very crucial for women because it goes a long way to determine their financial independence in the near future. Though a lot of women are faced with challenges when it comes to savings due to tons of expenditures, if you are determined to save, all it entails is self-discipline.
Also, note that you must not be a multi-millionaire business owner, or earn a lot of money for this to be feasible. You can start with the little funds that come your way now. This will keep you better prepared when the big bucks start coming in.
Every individual who became rich through hard work certainly passed through the savings stage (big or small percentages) as a means of pooling resources. Some women usually excuse themselves from saving, under the excuse that they earn too little, forgetting the fact that savings are a matter of habit, rather than ability. As a woman, being employed does not make you economically independent; a lot still depends on your ability to utilize the income, by making a sound decision when it comes to savings and investments.
To attain financial freedom within the next 10 years, here are 6 tips on how to save yourself into financial abundance:
- Get another means of income – This simply means having another stream of income or a side business that generates extra funds for you. Sometimes, your main source of income is not enough to pay your bills, not to speak of putting aside funds for savings. A lot of women make extra income from event planning, cake making, bead making, catering, fashion, hair styling, etc. For you to make extra bucks for yourself, you can decide to venture into any of the above-mentioned, then create your own niche. These side jobs can be structured in a way that you can do them during weekends, or when you are on leave (for career women). Also, you can venture into buying and selling businesses, where you sell your products online. The profit made from your side businesses can then be channeled into your savings account for future purposes or investing it in a viable business.
- Reduce your expenses – When it comes to saving, one major thing that prevents some women from actualizing it is extravagant spending, which has left a lot of women bankrupt. Some of these expenses have to do with purchasing luxurious things like expensive bags, shoes, clothes, hairs, etc., in order to impress people or to stay noticed. Looking gorgeous is a good move, but it should be done wisely. This is why it is advisable to cut down on expenses to enable you to save. Always form the habit of reducing the way you spend, especially on things that will later become a liability. Have a budget put in place prior to shopping; it aids you in tracking your expenses.
- Make daily, weekly or monthly savings – Another tip that helps you to save is having a daily, weekly, and monthly savings plan. Irrespective of your profession/business, it is important to cultivate the habit of saving. You can decide to do it daily, weekly, or monthly, and choose any plan that works for you and stick to it. Saving has to do with self -discipline and good planning. You can decide to automate your account daily, weekly, or monthly to whichever plans that suit the type of job that you do. Reason being that some women earn daily, i.e. for business owners, while some earn monthly for career women.
- Focus more on assets than on liabilities – A lot of people make the mistake of acquiring expensive things just be noticed, and stay relevant, which is not a good financial decision. Always channel your funds to things that will appreciate in years to come, as it is the best way to gain financial freedom. One money-saving tip is, instead of acquiring those expensive clothes and bags, you can decide to go for affordable things and put the remaining money into your savings account; hence, you can be able to invest it in the near future, especially on things that will increase in value.
- Focus on networking with friends that will financially build you – The popular saying, “Show me your friend and I will tell you who you are” applies here. Mingling with friends that are financially inclined, will help you achieve your financial goals; friends whose major discussion is about the best platform to save and invest their hard-earned money. Be wary of the ones that will lure you to lavish your funds on extraneous things, like acquiring wants and not needs. Choose friends that will assist you in making good financial decisions, and flee from the ones that will deceive you to spend all you have earned and saved.
- Have a positive mindset about money – Having a positive mindset about money is very essential when it comes to putting aside funds for savings. It is imperative that you create one, irrespective of how little you are earning.
If you do not cultivate the habit of saving with the little funds you have, you wouldn’t be able to do so when you start earning trailer-loads of money.
How to prioritise your needs over wants
It is crucial, as a financially oriented person to learn how to prioritise your needs over your wants.
To become financially stable, you have to learn to make some strategic decisions, and one of them includes prioritising your needs over your wants. The things you need are the things you cannot do without, your necessities, which include; shelter, healthcare, food, clothing and other essential items. Wants, on the other hand, are the things you can live without. For people who want to be financially responsible, wants are considered luxuries. It is crucial, as a financially oriented person to learn how to prioritise your needs over your wants. If you buy everything you feel like buying even when you don’t need them, you are being financially irresponsible, and it might have a massive effect on you. If at all you are going to spend on your wants, it shouldn’t take more than 10% of your monthly income. The deal is; if you want to buy the things you want or desire, you should earn more money.
The needs of men are grouped into three (3), according to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. They include;
- Self Fulfillment Needs
- Psychological Needs
- Basic Needs
If your needs don’t fall into any of these groups, then they should be considered as wants.
How do you prioritise your needs over wants?
1.List your needs and wants
Writing down your needs and wants will go a long way in helping you to prioritize. Your needs should come first while your wants follow. Your needs should include your house rent, your feeding allowance, your medical fees, and other basic needs, in order of importance. You can group your wants into a hierarchy of priority and move the ones you cannot afford to the following month.
2. Research the prices of your needs and wants
Research the prices of the things on your list and affix. They might not be the exact prices and might be in ranges, but it is good that you do this. This would help you to calculate how much you might be spending in a month and if it fits your monthly income. With this, you will be able to remove the things that might put you in debt. The goal at the end of this should be to spend lesser than your monthly income and have enough for emergencies. This helps you to focus more on your needs rather than wants
3. Cut all luxuries
As far as basic needs go, there are some rules to it. It is essential that you eat, but you don’t have to eat at restaurants when you can cook at home and save costs. If you can’t cook, you can also check out some cheap restaurants instead of the big and expensive ones. Also, if you are not financially capable to rent a big apartment, look for smaller and less expensive options that would help you to save cost. Some basic needs can become wants if you don’t watch it.
4. Get multiple sources of income
The way this works is, if you get more sources of income, you get to settle all your financial needs which are your top priority, then you don’t find it difficult to buy the things you want. To prioritise your needs over your wants then becomes more comfortable.
5. Be sincere with yourself
Be realistic in your budget and don’t list out the things you cannot afford. If some of your needs will make you spend more, look for cheaper alternatives. You are the only one seeing your budget.
As stated above, some of the basic needs include; food, shelter, water, clothing, security and so on. They are the things that might kill you if you don’t have them. It would help if you considered these basic needs first when creating your monthly budget. Having satisfied these needs, you can go ahead and get the things you want. Never choose your wants over your needs. It is a risky financial move that might make you go broke and run into debt.
ATM Fraud: How to care and use your card wisely
To protect your card from external harm, there are few tips you must acknowledge and start getting familiar with.
The Cashless Policy, as we know it in Nigeria, was officially introduced and became fully operational in 2014 – with the aim to encourage electronic banking and to reduce physical cash in circulation – which would in turn decrease cases of cash-related crimes. One way of implementing this policy is through the use of ATM cards.
It is true that the advancement of technology has generally made our lives easier and more convenient. But, the adage “whatever has advantages, also has disadvantages” is not left out in the case of electronic banking. With the development of ATM machines and electronic cards for mobile banking, there are some risks and exposures associated therewith.
Some of these could devastatingly leave you broke in the blink of an eye; whereby, you find out the money you have worked so hard to accumulate has vanished with the stroke of some keys.
The Cashless Policy was met with e-banking fraud. There were reports of banks and individuals losing a lot of money to fraudsters, despite the regular checks put in place by financial bodies to curtail the loss of an individual’s hard-earned money.
The onus, therefore, falls on all responsible individuals to guard and protect their assets – Yes, your ATM card is an asset.
It is important to know how to handle your cards and make sure you’re not only using it correctly but smartly.
Automated Teller Machine (ATM) means a machine that dispenses cash and also performs specific banking services at the user’s convenience.
It is a dedicated payment system and the ATM card is issued by banks and other financial institutions for ease of financial transactions. It usually comes in the form of debit cards, which means you must have monetary assets with the said bank, to be able to use the card for transactions.
In order to handle your card wisely, you must be intentional about the money that comes into and goes out of your pocket. You cannot leave anything to chance. Have a plan for your money and stick to it.
To protect your card from external harm, there are few tips you must acknowledge and start getting familiar with.
- Protect your pin: You must not give out your Personal Identification Number. As the name connotes, it’s your very own personal form of identification, which grants you electronic access to your money. If for any reason your PIN gets exposed, you must immediately reset it. Furthermore, do not write it down on a piece of paper or if you must, do not leave it exposed or in your wallet
- Always report suspected cases of fraudulent activities: When you’re in the know about your finances, any discrepancy will immediately come to your notice. Some people do not recover from cases of fraud, because they didn’t discover it on time. Remember that the earlier you report a problem, the sooner it gets resolved. On this note, you must always be familiar with all bank transactions and statements. If you notice at any time that your card is missing – especially when you’ve been out with it, and you suspect it’s been stolen, report it immediately and block that card.
- Be cautious of the ATMs you use: Always use one that is associated with banks. Avoid any machine that may be situated in suspicious locations. In as much as it grants ease as a means of solving our problems, compulsive use of your ATM card should be avoided. Even with the extra charges attached to card transactions these days, you really would be doing yourself a favor by being careful of where you insert your card in your bid to avoid bank ATM charges.
- Do not be careless with your phone: Try as much as possible to avoid being careless with your phone or any other device that may contain your bank information. Always create security profiles for your gadgets. It doesn’t take much for someone to access your details and wipe your bank account clean. Make sure that your phone is protected by a password or pin and whenever possible, delete traces of money transactions from your gallery or messages, after you must have successfully backed them up of course. Just remember that your card information could be contained on your phone and leaves you to exposure if mishandled, so handle with care.
- Do not use public wireless connections for financial transactions: In fact, you should always be wary of all public wireless access. It is a fast and unsecured way for a third party to gain access to your private information. You could as well leave that information on a billboard for the whole world to access. Be sure to use password-protected wireless connections, it makes it more difficult for hackers to access your details.
Try to change your pin every few months. Keep it simple and short, only using codes you can remember.
Conclusively, while it is very convenient to use debit cards or ATM cards for financial transactions, you wouldn’t find it funny to learn that someone has emptied your account on the spot. Hence, it is important that you take precautionary measures to always keep your card safe.
Curfew: How to plan for a financial emergency
To ensure that you are prepared for a financial emergency, here are some basic decisions you have to take from the onset.
Life has its ways of generating unforeseen emergencies that leave us stranded. You cannot exactly prepare for some of these incidences despite your dedication. However, unlike other emergencies, a financial emergency is something you can actually plan for and work towards. Hence, the question of how to plan for a financial emergency is very vital.
The sudden declaration of curfew across several states in the country indicates that things could happen when you least expect. Traders who earn income from daily sales were the most affected; especially, the ones without laid down plans. Some white-collar workers too got a watered-down salary due to the situation, as the company made little or no profit.
However, to ensure that you are prepared for the next wave of sudden income blockage, some basic decisions you have to make from the onset are:
- Set up an emergency fund account: This is your most assured way of preparing for financial emergencies. It is non-negotiable. At every point, you should always have some money specially set aside for sorting bills in case of financial troubles. Although this seems like an obvious thing to do, in reality, most individuals do not have one. Financial experts recommend that the set-aside sum should be able to cater for at least 3 to 6 months of your basic expenses.
- Ensure you stay debt-free as much as possible: When financial difficulties kick in, what becomes a burden is the regular payment obligation you have to make. Remember, there are already basic non-negotiable expenses that you have to meet, and adding debts makes it much worse. If you are currently in debt, channel your resources to pay back in time. Also, focus on paying debts with the highest interest rate first.
- Slash down your expenses: As soon as the crisis kicks in, the first thing for you to do is to reevaluate. Run through your standard expenses and remove the wants. In a time like this, only the needs should stand. Keeping your expenses as low as possible would help you thrive better.
Having understood how to prepare for financial emergencies, it is also critical that you understand how to deal with them. Preparation and dealing with the situation itself are two different things.
Here are some tips on how you can deal with the current financial situation:
- Be critical about every financial decision: Financial debacles are mentally stressful and could cause you to make poor decisions. This is why, at every moment, you should think properly before making any money decisions. Practicing this would greatly help you steady the ship. Ask yourself what long-term consequences would this have on my credit and finance? If disastrous, you know what to do.
- Explore other potential streams of income: One of the fastest and easiest ways to navigate financial emergencies is to explore other streams of income. What else can you do to make extra income that would help deal with the present situation? In real-time, looking for a side hustle while going through financial difficulties is not easy, but if you can pull it off, it would help a great deal.
- Talk to a financial advisor: Lastly, you can always visit a financial advisor for a professional view on your current crisis. However, this may be a little tricky because you would have to pay for their services. But the right person can help you get your finances in check from the very first day, as opposed to you trying to put things together by yourself.
Emerging successfully from financial emergencies depends on how well you can prepare ahead, steady your ship, and navigate the terrain. The good news is that if you are one of those who planned early enough, you are less likely to stay long there than those who are unprepared. Remember that your goal should not be to learn how to deal with the difficulty as it comes, but rather focus on being prepared ahead.