Nowadays we live in a society where it seems like we can talk about anything: sex, mental health, social issues. Except for one final taboo: how we manage money.
As young women, talking about how we manage money can make us feel like we’re in the dark and unsure about how to come out on top. Sticking our heads in the sand can be easier than fronting up to our lack of financial self control.
(Especially after a night on the town drinking espresso martinis or clicking ‘proceed’ on that online shopping order).
Lots of us are working hard and spending harder, with only 12.6% of twenty-somethings feeling in control of their finances.
On average women have less savings than men with a quarter of women saying they’re more anxious about money than they were a year ago.
So… yeah… Things aren’t great. So what can we do about it?
Despite it feeling like an uphill battle, kickstarting smart money habits can be pretty pain-free. New money rituals can help melt away our money worries for good.
If you’re ready to get serious about your finances, read on for my top three tips to kickstart money management in your twenties.
Tip number one: budget baby
First things first – yes, you need a budget. And no, this isn’t the same old bullshit of just ‘drink less lattes and stop buying avocados’.
I mean, I’m pretty sure we all know that idea is A) not the only problem and also B) not gonna happen.
Your budget is yours and it can be as complicated or as simple as you see fit it. (I’m an Excel nerd and spreadsheet everything, but a simple dot point list will also do the job).
What your budget needs to do is figure out exactly what goes in (your earnings), what comes out (your bills) and what’s left to spend (and hopefully save!) at the end of every week or month.
Once you’ve figured out those basics, take a good hard look at your ‘what’s left to spend (and hopefully save!)’ column. Start classifying your purchases in basic categories like “Food”, “Clothes”, “Leisure” etc.
Now the harder bit… are all these categories things that what you want to be spending your money on? Are you spending $80 a week on work lunches you can make at home? Have you bought a new dress every week without realising?
Pretty quickly you’ll see patterns in your spending you didn’t know existed and hopefully you can find a few areas where you can cut back.
Keep in mind that its not necessarily about spending less money – my number one philosophy is that good money management shouldn’t feel restrictive at all. What it IS about is making sure everything you DO spend, is something you really value and is worth parting with your cash for.
Chances are at the end of the month when you’re broke, there’s a load of stuff you’ll look back on and think “that totally wasn’t worth it” in hindsight.
Start figuring out what stuff you can stop spending money on without feeling like you’re losing out.
Sometimes little tweaks can make a big difference – saying no to social things you’re only pretty meh about or choosing a glass of water at the end of the night instead of one more cocktail.
Tip number three: manage money with a mindfulness motto
Basically these tips are about mindfulness for money. Every purchase you make should be a conscious decision.
Only buy things when you can say ‘Spending this money brings real value to my life”. I promise you you’ll stop feeling guilty about spending the money later.
There are endless ways to manage money – feeling aware and like you’re in control (even if you still feel like you don’t have enough) is a massive first step.
Want more on money? Read about why women have less superannuation here.
Emily Wright is a Product Pricing Manager with a flair for personal finance. Emily works for a British energy and services provider and is currently based in London, England. After studying mathematics at the University of Warwick, Emily became passionate about helping friends build confidence with money. Find her on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.