A woman’s best protection is a little money of her own, said Clare Boothe Luce. In my experience and knowledge, financial planning comes very naturally to women, and especially Indian women. I have grown up seeing my mother and aunts run the entire household, at times on a shoestring budget, ensuring there is always a meal on the table, children’s needs are met and miraculously still managing to create some savings.
Here are my six tips to manage your money better and make it work for you. You don't have to be working to make your money work for you. Personal Finance is 80% behaviour and 20% head knowledge.
Have your own account, not joint, not your husband’s. Your own. You need to have control over your money, whether earned or what you get as a household expense.
Other advantages of having an account are:
- You can track your expenses.
- Your money earns interest.
- It makes investing easy.
Have TWO accounts. One for your expenditure, one for your savings and investment. Because it's not about how much you earn, but how much you save.
- Separate accounts ensure you don't exceed the budgeted spending.
- Park the money earmarked as savings into the savings account first, not what remains after spending.
Have a separate account for your children, no matter what age.
- Whatever money they receive as gifts, straightaway goes into that account.
- You can also invest for them through this account.
- If you have a daughter, you can invest in specially designed schemes for girl child like the Sukanya Samridhdi Scheme.
Invest in options like:
- Fixed Deposits
- Recurring Deposits
- Mutual Funds
- Gold/ Gold ETF
- Post Office Saving Schemes
- Atal Pension Yojana
- RBI Bonds
- We women love to shop, but it makes sense to do so a bit wisely. Don't give into impulsive shopping.
- Purchase things that have value, post purchase. For example, in place of costume jewellery, buy either silver or gold jewellery.
Plan your BIG spend
- If you want to go for a holiday or purchase the designer bag you have been eyeing for a while, start saving up for it. Because none of these should come from your savings account.
- Your savings are to ensure that you have enough to safeguard your future and that you don't have to be dependent in your old age.
Money is the easiest thing to manipulate and make it work for you, and also the easiest to get manipulated by and let it make you work till your last living day. The choice always remains with you. With easy internet access, it’s now a child’s play to gain the right kind of financial knowledge to plan, save and make your money work for you.
The views expressed are the author's own.