Working in an office full of women a mere hop, skip and a jump from Oxford Street, it’s not unusual to see ladies returning from lunch laden with shopping bags. Temptation is on our doorstep and its form is more Topshop than Golden Delicious.
Sadly, for many of us shopping, like eating, is often an emotional experience rather than a decision based on objective thought. This means when you’re happy you shop, when you’re sad you shop. Unfortunately, this can lead to a vicious circle of spending and sad emotions, especially if you've racked up some serious debts that leave you feeling guilty every time you spend.
The only way to break this cycle is to recognise that shopping will not make you feel good. An object cannot change your life for the better. No, not even those fabulous shoes, or handbag, or dress that makes you look like a size 8. Oh, okay maybe the last one then. Real life changes come with being financially astute and secure. Taking control of your spending, recognising that you need to plan for the future and dealing with current debts may be frightening but when faced head on have positive long-term repercussions.
Karen Pine and Simonne Gnessen are authors of the book Sheconomics. If you like to play fast and loose with your cash this book will take you in hand. The two financial experts have come up with these five money actions that you can take now. We’ll give you a brief overview here but suggest you splash some cash in buying the book – it will be a far better investment than another pair of skinny jeans.
1 Save automatically so there’s no pain or effort. Set up a direct debit to sweep an amount every month straight into an interest-earning savings account. Even just £20 will add up and help pay unexpected costs that occur.
2 Overpay a bit on your mortgage every month. Even a small sum can make a big difference to your mortgage term. If you’re renting regular saving is even more important if you’re hoping to own your own house one day.
3 Join your company pension scheme. If you haven’t joined, sign up today (you could be turning down free money).
4 Get a current value of any investments or pension plans you have and decide what you want them to look like in five years time.
5 Write down what you don’t understand about finance and ask someone you trust to explain. Or take the questions to a financial advisor.
These may seem like serious actions to be dealing with and they are but you are more than capable of sorting them out. Money management isn’t just for men and once we take emotion out of the equation women’s ability to organise and plan ahead make them great money managers.
Finally, if you can’t stop clothes shopping this exercise is just for you. Read the questions below regarding the item you want to purchase then follow the (stern) advice at the bottom.
1 Is it a high cost item and ‘hot’ at the moment?
2 Are you in two minds about whether it really suits you?
3 Does it draw attention to parts of your body you should really play down?
4 Will it only go with one or two other items in your wardrobe?
5 Do you like rather than love it?
6 Would you actually prefer it if it was in another colour?
7 Be honest - do you want it just so you can wear something new tonight?
8 Are you buying it because it’s a bargain and something you wouldn’t buy at the full price?
IF YOU ANSWER YES TO ANY OF THE ABOVE PUT IT BACK.
Yes, you read that right. Put. It. Back. Follow this link to the Sheconomics website where you can download the Stop Me Before I Buy One worksheet; stick it in your handbag and pull it out every time you’re about to hit the tills. Your bank balance will thank you.