Follow these tips and you're sure to be a better money manager--
Get involved in the family's finances
The best way to start is to talk about it. Get involved in household financial matters like investments. Ask questions and take up smaller tasks like online banking or booking fixed deposits online. Create a budget with other people in the house and compare the actual money spent by the family against the budget. This helps you keep a tab on unnecessary expenses or brings to your notice that you have probably underestimated your cost of living.
Smart Buying and Selling:
A woman tends to shop not only for herself, but the entire family. Use smart ways of buying goods, which will save some money. Online stores such as Flipkart, Ebay.in and Amazon.com are good sources to get value-for-money deals. Check out sites like cashkaro.com which offer cash, coupons and discounts for shopping. Many outlets have offers on particular days, mark those dates and make use of such offers when required.
If you have a penchant for designer wear or love to flaunt the latest fashion fads, then a routine clean-up exercise of your wardrobe is a must. Don't be surprised to find them in top condition. But if for some reason you refuse to use them, don't just throw them away. Here's your chance for that garage sale you wanted to have! Or if you are an e-commerce butterfly, sell them on Quikr!
Single or married, financial planning is a must. Take ownership. Plan your finances so that you know your net worth today, where you want to be tomorrow and outline a strategy to get there.
If you are married, sit down and plan your finances with your spouse. Ensure that financial goals of the family are born out of joint decisions. Figure out answers to questions like -
- What are your tax benefits, if you are married?
- How can you claim medical expenses if you are married with dependents or single.
- What are your retirement plans?
- How will you manage your finances when your family grows bigger?
- How are you going to handle your finances when your parents start depending on you financially?
Make realistic plans—one which includes the current standard of living, inflation and medical expenses (funded by investments or savings).
Be prepared for unforeseen circumstances like a medical emergency, divorce, death of a spouse and so on. It is important to have savings in only your name so that you can use the funds when needed.
Do you have an emergency fund? Have you thought about what would happen to your finances if you want to quit working or if you get laid off? You have to keep some cash aside for emergencies so that your finances are taken care of. If you are married and if your husband wants to set up a venture, think through its financial viability. Do not have emergency funds in a fixed deposit, but as a savings or a liquidity fund, which can be extended over a period of time and where you will be able to withdraw money at any time.
Take advantage of special offers for women
Be aware of special offers from banks and interest rates that you are entitled to, as a woman, and put them to good use. Enquire about low interest rate home loans that some financial institutions may have to offer. In some states, the stamp duty for registration of real estate is lower for women.
Financial awareness is not gender-related. Whether you are economically independent or not, knowing your numbers can change the way you live.
A shout out to men who are reading this—encourage the women in your life to gear up to work on their finances.
This was originally published in DNA.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org