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Bills, and Debt, and Loans! Oh my!

Posted by Rima at 11th June, 2010

by Rima Pancholi, Woodhull Intern

Often unaware of how to properly budget, spend, and save money, people are thrown into debt and financial ignorance. (After all, a credit card is just a piece of plastic.) What does this mean for the woman? Further exacerbating the divide already caused by men receiving greater pay in the workplace, “financial ignorance” leads to poor credit, debt, dependence, and disappointment. (Aka: no more Manolos and getaways to Paris.)

As one of Woodhull’s newest interns, I had the opportunity to attend the “Living Large on Less” seminar with the wonderful Stacy Francis, founder of Savvy Ladies and Woodhull Alumna. Ms. Francis, in her seminar, gave hope to the woman hoping to pay off her credit card debts, become more financially independent, pay for her children’s education, pay off loans, spend money wisely, save for retirement, and invest wisely. (Gotta love those student loans.)

Ms. Francis started off her presentation by emphasizing the importance of writing down goals. By documenting in detail what you aim to achieve, goals not only seem more feasible, but also more manageable. Simply having abstract aspirations is less likely to result in success as “Unsavvy Samantha” sadly learned.

Ms. Francis also dispelled claims which we all too often make such as “I can’t save, I spend all my money” and “I’ll just make more money, so I can be rich.” To counter such misconceptions, she outlined an in depth plan for saving money right away. Say goodbye (or hello less frequently) to those unnecessary indulgences. (Au revoir Starbucks, weekly french manicures, and that oh-so-cute Prada bag.) She emphasized that spending less doesn’t require cutting funds from big things. (Sorry ladies, there’s no way to cut $500 from rent.) It’s possible to save money simply by buying a great roast coffee and a coffee maker. Ms. Francis provided excellent budgeting strategies ranging from computer software programs to simple envelopes. Her envelope technique was especially appealing given its simplicity and efficiency. After dividing excess expense budget into categories, she suggests carrying envelopes with the allotted spending amount (or a slip of paper which you can update) for each category. This seemingly trivial task will force you to actually see (by being compelled to hand over those pretty green bills) how much you’re spending. Also, the fact that the envelope doesn’t generate money (like credit cards obviously do) will make sure that you don’t exceed your budget.

Later in the seminar, Ms. Francis explained how exactly to contribute to retirement accounts, how to make wise investment choices, and how to essentially become a financially independent woman (who can totally go to Paris in her Manolos). She not only presented her material, but also answered all questions. With her wonderful money saving strategies, debts seem less daunting, saving money is easy, and cutting spending is less agonizing.

If you’re interested in Ms. Francis’ savy spending and saving techniques, be sure to visit her website at http://www.savvyladies.net/.

About Rima

Rima Pancholi has written 3 articles on this blog.

Category : Community Member Projects and Updates / Education / Events / Seminars

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