This 4-Step Personal Finance Cheatsheet Is So Simple Anyone Can Use It

by | Jan 30, 2023 | Career & Money

Ever wondered why some of your friends spend their evenings scrolling finance groups on social media while others claim they’re just “bad with money”? Newsflash: being “bad” or “good” with money is a misconception.

“It’s the most important thing I want women to unlearn,” says financial coach and former financial planner Jane Walters. “It doesn’t take a special type of person to be able to manage money well, and it’s definitely not a skill best suited to men.”

While that may sound like a thing of the past, research proves the media still talks to women and men differently about money. In fact, a 2018 study commissioned by British bank Starling found that male money media talks about power, luxury and outperforming the market but for women, it’s how to curb overspending – and whether your money type is an Alexis or a Stevie from Schitt’s Creek. Ugh, right?

The first step to changing this messaging is to upgrade your own money mindset “to one of possibility and growth,” explains Walters. If that sounds good to you, let’s begin cashing in with these simple money management tips. 

READ MORE: Struggling To Talk To Your Partner About Money? Try This Money Coach’s Helpful Hack

1. Deprogramme Your Money Messaging

Deprogramming sounds like a scary Scientology term. But we all hold deeply ingrained, often unhelpful messages about money, which come from our parents, systemic issues and our past experiences. “The most powerful messaging that women receive is in what society values of a woman – which is definitely not money,” says Walters. “Little boys are taught they have to be ambitious, strong and provide. Most girls grow up thinking their value is in how they look, and how kind and nurturing they are. That sort of messaging is powerful.” 

Seeing how your parents used things like credit cards and whether they spent lavishly or frugally also impacts your money behaviours. “The saying, ‘Money doesn’t grow on trees’ can give us a sense that money is hard to come by,” Walters adds. “I help women to change their money mindset to one where you can see the possibilities available and take action. It’s one where you trust in your own ability to earn, spend and manage your money well.”

2. Educate Yourself

A good way to become financially literate is to follow social media accounts and listen to money blogs that speak to you jargon-free and get you excited about your spending, saving and investing. Some of the most popular to add to your list: Maya On Money on Facebook (which discusses everything from daily money management to choosing financial products wisely) and Woman & Finance founder @mapalomakhu on Insta. Happy learning!

3. Know What You’re Up Against

“Changing your money mindset will go a long way to positively impact the mindset of future generations but it’s wrong to think that if women just changed their thinking then the gender pay gap wouldn’t exist,” says Walters.

Despite the fact that women outlive men, women retire with 30% to 40% less money than men, according to the World Economic Form 2017 Gender Gap Report. “Even with a great money mindset, you’re still going to come up against biases from hiring managers (male and female) and there are still female-dominated industries (e.g. nursing and teaching) that are financially undervalued by society,” Walters adds. Ensure that your pension fund is consolidated and that you’re not paying exorbitant fees. “If you can contribute more, then the earlier you do it, the better.”

READ MORE: Money & Friends: 6 Awkward Situations And How To Handle Them

4. Outsmart the Consumer Mentality

You’ve got money #goals. So why do you keep buying stuff you don’t need on Instagram at midnight? “[Targeted] ads are relentless,” says Walters. “We’re wired to seek immediate pleasure, so buying something right now seems like a better idea than saving for some arbitrary date in the future. Advertisers know this and use emotive language, urgency and scarcity to manipulate us into buying.” Use Walters’ rules to break the spell on your brain:

  1. Give yourself 24 hours between an urge to buy and handing over your hard-earned cash. This allows you time to think the decision through. 
  2. Never use consumer debt to pay for non-essential goods. That means no credit cards, payday loans or anything else. “If you don’t have the cash for it you can’t afford it.” 
  3. Decide on something truly important you want to save for. Having a “why” for making the trade-off is really important. You can even name your savings account “Future house” or “Kruger Park trip” to keep your priority front of mind.

*Words: Tara Ali

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