With little to no money education to go on, for many of us figuring out how to personal finance is something of a circus act. Accessing credit is easy, but learning how to balance credit and other bills while paying for food and shelter takes some juggling --- and as with most circus acts, there’s a learning curve.
My own foray into personal finance was a bit of a fiasco. It took me more than two years of barely paying my credit cards on time and finding threatening letters in the mail to get the message that I had to control my spending and get with the payment program. Life and trial and error were my guides— and based on what I hear from others, this is a fairly common story.
BuzzFeed also noticed this fake-it-til-you-make-it trend and asked its female community members how they were managing to improve their finances. After all, women face unique challenges. Thanks to the gender pay gap and pink tax, women make less but pay more.
Well, I say bah! to this patriarchal nonsense. It's time for us ladies to leverage the power of the Internet!
So, whether you're already working towards a better money future or you're just taking control of your money for the very first time, here's some inspiration and smart finance tricks, courtesy of the ladies of Buzzfeed.
1. Figure out how much money you need to survive.
"I was constantly using credit cards to make my money stretch. I had it under control in that I wasn't in debt, but I was always dipping into my savings when my card payment was due. I decided to figure out how much money I actually needed to cover the bare minimum costs in my life. For me, this amount was $1,000. This amount could cover my rent, pay utilities, and buy groceries. Once I set this limit for myself, I kept my checking account as close to $1,000 as possible — any time I went under this amount I stopped spending, and any time I had more than this amount in my checking, I transferred the extra cash to my savings." —Keren Duff, via email
Figuring out how much your life costs and making sure to have that much money in the bank is the most basic of personal budgets. This method works without using any additional tech other than your existing bank account because it relies on you remembering one single number and sticking to it — in this case, $1,000.
To determine your survival costs, add up your monthly rent, utilities, internet, phone, and transportation costs for the month. Add in pet costs, if applicable. Then estimate how much money you spend on your own meals per day, and multiply that by 7. Add that to your bills, and there's your basic budget.
If you can make sure to have this much in your bank account at all times, you can use credit for the extras, but you won't have to rely on your cards for your basic expenses. Plus, if you have money left at the end of the month, then you can transfer that to a savings account. When it comes to saving, every little bit adds up!