Thinking about the women I’ve known in my life, it seems like they mostly fall into two camps – women who always have money on hand and those who scrimp and struggle with money. I don’t know about you darlin’, but I definitely want to be in the first group, and for the most part, I have been. But it’s taken a lifetime of hard work, luck and planning to get there.
Some things you don’t have a lot of control of – how you grew up, the influences in your life, or difficult circumstances like poor health. But there are at least 10 things I’m going to share with you to help you become one of these women who always have money.
First, let me clarify what that means – “having money” doesn’t mean let’s go out and buy matching mink coats and Ferrari’s. But it does mean that you have the basic necessities without too much struggle and you don’t have to worry about money if the water heater breaks. Or if someone says hey, let’s grab dinner out tonight. It’s not going to bust your wallet.
Item 1: She has an automatic savings plan / emergency fund
I wish I could tell you how many times my savings account has saved_my_butt! Example from just this week. My 22 year old son had a rental car because his was in the shop. 2 hours later someone sideswiped it in a parking lot and split – what a JERKFACE! Boom – $500 deductible that had to be immediately paid to the car rental place. Because I’ve bombarded it into his head his whole life, he has a savings account and it had just enough money to cover that unexpected (and unwelcome) expense. Shit happens.
I promise you, if you set up an AUTOMATIC savings plan right now, you will bless me at some point in your life. It doesn’t matter if it’s $25 a week or $200 a month, that little cushion will give you an alternative to credit cards or payday loans when bad things happen (and they WILL). But it HAS to be automatic or if just won’t happen. Think of it like taxes – after a while you won’t even miss it.
Next read – How to set up a STEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT
Item 2: She avoids debt and lives below her means
This can be a huge pitfall if you have out-of-control spending habits. Women who always have money choose carefully how they spend it. They understand the difference between WANTS and NEEDS (as in I WANT abs, but I NEED chocolate!). Take it from me – I am the biggest impulse spender around. True confession: I did$50 in impulse spending this morning before I even had breakfast!
So the key is – you can adjust your spending OR you can adjust your income. It’s a little like losing weight – you can either give up cookies or spend 5 hours at the gym! Or just stay fat.
Obviously, I suck at squashing my spending – so instead I’ve chosen to earn enough to cover a few little lapses. And I am very sensible about many other things – I could care less about having the latest shiny new toy. I don’t even want the latest iPhone, a shiny new car, or a beautiful custom-made kitchen – naaah. But a cute top and some new shoes – ya got me!
But debt – that’s the big killer. It’s SO easy to get yourself sunk into debt so deep you can’t see daylight. And those interest rates are killer. Side rant – do you ever pay just the minimum payments? Uh, don’t do that. Minimum payments are for SUCKERS. They are very carefully set to keep you in debt for the maximum amount of time. Click to read the post.
Item 3: Diversify your income – think side hustle!
Especially in difficult times like these (hello Covid – you sneaky bugger!) – having all your eggs in one basket is a huge risk. No one could have predicted a situation like this and now millions are out of work (or out of business) and scrounging to get by. That’s why it’s SO important to have a variety of income sources. Doesn’t matter if it’s an investment portfolio – which sounds a lot more intimidating than it really is, a side hustle, or a backup skill you can use for a pivot point when your “real” job craps out. You NEED more than one income source.
Me, I’m all about the side hustle. I seriously SERIOUSLY think everyone should have one. I’ve had a long string of them dating back more than 30+ years. I’ve been an Ebay seller, sold Avon, Pampered Chef, Stampin’ Up! and Mary Kay (all pretty unsuccessfully – I SUCK at selling). I’ve been a computer teacher, a blogger, a Fiverr entrepreneur, and now I run my own business as a virtual assistant to businesses and bloggers (come visit me at HelpforNewBloggers.com).
Even if you are a stay at home mom, you can run a very successful business from home. I know tons of women who do this. Even if you already have a full-time job, I created my business from scratch while working 40 hours a week and raising my family. And it helped me to retire from sucky Corporate life 7 years ahead of schedule.
So put your thinking cap on. What can YOU do to create an additional source of income? What do you like to do? What are you good at? You can teach piano lessons, tutor kids, create handmade items for an Etsy shop, fix computers, build websites, be a life coach. The list is literally endless.
Here’s why I became an entrepreneur – I hated waiting until payday! The idea that no matter how hard I worked, I could only get a set amount of money on a set day drove me CRAZY. I hated having to worry about my gas tank going down because I didn’t have enough money to refill it. Or I’d have to brown bag it for a week because I’d overspent and was trying to strrreetch it until payday. That feeling just SUCKS. So, I don’t do it any more.
Yes my income can be unpredictable. It can drop suddenly without warning, but this afternoon a company paid me $188.50 in affiliate income. A couple of days ago, I woke up to an extra $99 bucks from a product sale. A couple of days before that it was $40 for some graphics work and then I got a new client who will pay me several hundred a month every month. This is SO much more fun than just getting a ratty ol’ paycheck!
Here’s why I became an entrepreneur – I hated waiting until payday!
Item 4: A woman who always has money has smart financial goals and WORKS at them
This is key. Being financially successful doesn’t just happen. It takes smarts, hard work, sacrifices, a bit of luck, and some planning. There are several balls you’re going to be juggling here, but they are all pretty important. The items you need to set goals for are:
- Managing your income (diversifying as necessary)
- Managing your savings (we talked about that already)
- Managing your debt load / spending (ditto)
- Managing your cash flow and bill paying (read Bill paying strategies)
- Teaching your children good financial habits – unless you want them sleeping on your couch at age 40! (Read Raising Financially Strong Children)
- Paying for College (Read Paying cash for college)
- Planning for YOUR retirement – not just your husband’s (we’ll talk about this in a minute)
It’s super important to have these financial goals written down somewhere and continually track your progress so you can course correct as needed.
I know in some marriages, the husband manages the money and that’s just fine, but you need to know exactly what is going on in your financial world anyway. Two reasons – he might die unexpectedly (or divorce you) and leave you broke OR he may be doing everything all WRONG and leave you broke anyway. You just never know, but lots of women have found this out the hard way. Don’t be one of them.
Item 5: She plans for HER retirement
Women are AMAZING – we spend all of our time caring for our husbands, our children, our parents, or our friends. But so often, we leave out one important person – OURSELVES. We don’t eat properly, don’t get enough rest, don’t get to have enough fun, and at the end of it all, sometimes we don’t have ENOUGH MONEY. That must be a horrifying feeling to be sitting there at 75 or 80 years old and be physically incapable of working anymore, but you don’t have enough money to pay for your medicine, or food, or a safe place to live. That sounds like a real nightmare and I don’t want you to end up like that.
Even if you are a SAHM, you still need to have an IRA account in your own name and put money into it every year. Yes, I know, it’s hard to think that way because women are inclined to put EVERYONE else first. But in a way, you ARE putting them first because your kids won’t have to support you in your old age. There are student loans and all sorts of other loans, but retirement loans don’t exist and you don’t want to be penniless and dependent on your family if you end up in poor health or a bad financial situation.
Take a minute and sit down and really think about this one. Even if you’re only 25, but especially if you are 40 or 50 – you need to get a plan together. Get yourself a good financial advisor and have them work out a retirement plan for you, separate from your husband or significant other. Like I said, shit happens and at that point, you may have kids or grandkids that you’ll have to support as well. Not planning for retirement is one of the biggest mistakes most women make in their lives.
Item 6: A woman who always has money knows HER WORTH
This one is speaking mostly to the working women and my side hustle folks. We are always complaining that women make less than men. Yes, we absolutely do and it’s totally unfair, but you know what part of the problem is – WE DON’T ASK for what we’re worth. They’ve done tons of studies on this.
Men aren’t afraid to play hardball and negotiate for a higher salary and good raises. They don’t have a problem with putting a worthwhile price on their labor and products they create. Women struggle with this – a lot! We’re taught to be “nice” and that asking for more money is selfish, rude, or unladylike. Usually we’re so grateful to have a job, we’re happy to take any little pittance to do it. Bull!
I totally did this in my job. I happily did the work of at least three people even when I knew that the men in the department were probably being paid a lot more. I literally saved the company more than $5 MILLION DOLLARS and let my bosses collect fat bonuses every year while I got almost nothing for that accomplishment. I look back now and I really scratch my head at why I put up with that – but you get lulled into thinking it’s just the way things are.
I don’t do that anymore. I took a course in negotiation and I’m perfectly happy to charge a fair price for my work. And if someone doesn’t like it, there are plenty of fish in the sea. That’s a good mindset to have. Useful tip – in a negotiation, the first one to mention a number LOSES. Try to maneuver them into locking in a number or a range first. It just might be higher than the number you had in mind, but you still can negotiate a bit higher from there.
Item 7: She educates herself about money
This is an important one. Every woman needs to know how money works. How to calculate (and negotiate) credit card interest. How to compare investments. How a 401K or a Roth IRA works. How to get college scholarships or student loan deferments. What are smart trade-offs you can make to lower your expenses or boost your income.
How to save money on groceries – that’s a big one because you’re going to be buying them for the whole of your life. Most women are pretty good about it (probably better than me!), but they suck at teaching these same skills to their kids because they can’t give up control. If you want kids to be good at managing money, you have to GIVE them some to work with and let them make some mistakes. It’s like training wheels on a bike.
The thing is, you’ve got a LOT of important stuff to learn and this is stuff they didn’t teach us in school. So we’ve got to learn it on our own. That’s OK – there are shows, podcasts, books, mentors, investing groups, all sorts of resources available to us. We just have to make it a priority.
Listen to a podcast while waiting for the kids at sports practice, join an investment group, get a life coach or a financial mentor. Yes, it will cost you some money, especially if they are good, but it could earn you or save you THOUSANDS in your lifetime. It could end up being a bargain!
Or give up a night or two of Netflix to read a good book on changing your money mindset. Here’s a trick. I read a Dave Ramsey book on getting out of debt. I was so impressed with it (and it changed my financial life completely!), so I bought copies for all my kids. Then I taped a $20 bill to the back of each book. They couldn’t spend the money until they finished the book! Best choice I ever made because not one of my grown kids has EVER had to borrow money from me. Not once.
Item 8: She has discipline and knows how to motivate herself
In case you haven’t figured it out, if you aim to be a woman who always has money – it takes a certain amount of sticktoitiveness (my Mom’s favorite word!). Getting out of debt, planning for retirement, building a savings account – these all take months or even years to accomplish. And you’ve got to have the gumption to set goals, change behaviors, and stay the course.
Fortunately, as the mother of three sons, I’m something of an expert in motivation. I think most parents have to be unless you’ve got those miraculous self-starter type children. Plus, I’ve got a stubborn, lazy, rebellious side of my own (I call her the rebel without a clue!) to manage, so here’s a helpful post on how to motivate yourself to do anything – save money, exercise, stop biting your nails, you name it.
Item 9: She gives generously to charity
Giving money away as part of a financial program – huh? Sounds crazy doesn’t it? But it’s not. It’s actually one of the most sensible and necessary things you can do. Your money mindset is just as important as your money actions. When you give to charity – whether it’s a church or a hospital, a cause you believe in, or even buying lunch for a broke friend, it has a big affect on your mindset. You are saying to the universe – I have more than enough AND I’m grateful for it, so I can afford to help others.
Then the universe does something equally crazy – it blesses you right back. If you give consistently, you’ll find all sorts of lucky little breaks popping up. Even if you give once in a while, then good things will happen once in a while. I once had $40,000 dollars literally drop into my lap just when I needed it desperately. It’s a long story, but it was the craziest, most unexpected thing and I spent about a year shaking my head in wonder over it. But I made sure to give a good chunk of that money to charity just in case.
If you’re short on cash, that’s OK. It doesn’t have to be money. You can give time, old clothes, blood, prayers, or any kind deed. Even better, get your kids involved. Kids and volunteer work are a magical combination. Mine have been doing things like that almost since they could walk and it really enriched their lives, not to mention their college and work resumes.
Item 10: She has a positive money mindset
I should’ve put this higher in the list because it’s VERY important. Just like the charity thing, you really have to work on your money mindset or you’ll never be a woman who always has money. I am a huge believer in positive thinking, the Law of Attraction and all things regarding the power of the subconscious mind. Even if you don’t believe these things, they still are working for or against you depending on your mindset.
If you or your family grew up saying any of these things, you need to work on your mindset:
- Money doesn’t grow on trees
- I don’t want to get rich, I just want to be…. (you can be that AND be rich too)
- I’m always BROKE
- The rich get richer – those crooks
- No matter what I do, I’m always a day late and a dollar short
- We can’t afford that
That last one especially – I NEVER ever say that. Instead I say, that’s not a good choice for me right now, or I’d better save up for that, or even – let me look around for a better deal.
If I truly want something – like a cruise to the Caribbean, I’ll make a plan for how to get it. I actually did just that. I wanted to go for our 25th wedding anniversary, so I went ahead and booked it a year ahead of time even though I knew we technically “couldn’t afford it”.
And that whole year, every time I needed money to pay deposits, passports, excursions, you name it, the money would just show up. I’d get an unexpected refund, a random bonus at work, a big handyman job would show up for my husband, etc. It was the strangest thing, but we got that cruise and it barely cost us a dime out of pocket.
If you struggle with thinking you don’t deserve money or money is bad, or money has to be a constant struggle, this is another education opportunity for you. Get some books, join some groups, and really examine your beliefs about money.
The Step I Left Out
You may have noticed one step that I left out. The B-word – budgets. I know that most financial people live and die by budgets and meticulous money tracking and envelope systems, etc. But I can’t budget money to save my life! So I thought it would be totally hypocritical of me to add it in here. If that’s your deal – good for you! I mean it. My mind just doesn’t bend that way and I gave up trying to make it. So you CAN be successful without a budget, but if you can manage to do it, it probably does help.
Same thing for being frugal. I definitely admire people who are frugal and do that grocery thing where they can feed a family for $50 a week or do a no-spend challenge or whatever. But to me, it seems like SO much work and so much mental focus on money, money, money, that it’s just not for me. I’m not frugal – not even a little bit and I don’t apologize for it. But that’s the beauty of it, it takes all kinds and what works for one person might not work for another.
But I hope these tips will help you to become the woman who always has money. It is much more fun to be that way and it puts you in a position to be able to provide a good life for your family. A safe place to live, money for college or retirement, money for medical bills, or other necessities and a few frivolous fun things too. These are important things and they are worth working for.