Many women want to save money but feel like they don’t have the resources to do so. According to a recent GOBankingRates survey, the biggest barrier women face when trying to save is that they don’t earn enough, with 41% of women stating that they don’t make enough money to save for short- and long-term goals.
However, with careful budgeting, it is possible to save money — even if you don’t make a lot. In this “Financially Savvy Female” column, we’re chatting with Emily Sippel, CFP, financial advisor at Fort Pitt Capital Group, to get her best, realistic financial advice for women who are making between $35,000 and $50,000.
How can women in this salary range set a realistic budget?
To get started in setting a realistic budget, hone in on what your main priorities are and use the 50/30/20 rule as a basic budgeting guide. This rule is defined by 50% of your gross income being allocated toward needs — items such as housing, food, utilities, healthcare and insurance; 20% being saved across your emergency fund, retirement account and general investing account; and the remaining 30% earmarked for wants, personal care, entertainment, hobbies and subscriptions. You will want to review your subscriptions every couple of months and be sure to cancel ones that are no longer a priority for you, as they have a way of adding up over time, causing you to spend unnecessary money each month.
How can they balance enjoying the now with saving for the future?
View each area of your financial situation as a bucket, and rather than focusing on filling one bucket at a time, try to allocate funds from each paycheck to each bucket. After paying your monthly expenses, split the remaining portion between an account earmarked for future savings and another as a “fun fund” to be spent on enjoying the items and hobbies you love in the present. Take solace in the fact that you are saving for your financial future incrementally, which can help bring you peace to enjoy your life day-to-day. The focus here is finding a balance so you can enjoy each chapter of your life.
What other advice would you give to women in this salary range?
Developing a budget and sticking to it is key because generally speaking, money always finds a home. This means that if you are not saving money or spending it on expenses that are important to you, it is most likely being spent on superfluous items or items that you may not even be aware of, such as subscriptions. By creating awareness around where each of your dollars is flowing, you will feel more control about directing them to the areas of your life that are most important to you.
Survey methodology: GOBankingRates surveyed 1,037 Americans ages 18 and older from across the country between Sept. 5 and Sept. 7, 2023, asking five different questions: (1) How much money do you hope to save in the next year?; (2) What are you saving money for?; (3) How many savings accounts do you have?; (4) What is the primary method you use to save money?; and (5) What is your biggest roadblock/challenge in trying to save money? GOBankingRates used PureSpectrum’s survey platform to conduct the poll.
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