Erin Gobler

  • The Best Budgeting Apps for Couples to Manage Money Together

     

    Before Brandon and I got married, we really struggled to find a budgeting solution that really offered everything we needed. 

    We weren’t quite ready to merge our finances yet. But we knew we were getting married, we had shared financial goals, and we wanted to be able to budget collaboratively. Now that we’re married and have shared finances, we have entirely different financial needs. 

    At the different points in our relationship, we need different tools and strategies to help us manage our finances together. Luckily we were able to find the perfect apps to help us do that. 

    In this post, I’m sharing 6 of the best budget apps for couples. Some are specifically designed for couples with separate bank accounts, while others are better suited for those who share finances. 

     

    The Best Budgeting Apps for Couples to Manage Money Together

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    Why couples should budget together

     

    Study after study shows that finances are one of the biggest sticking points in a relationship and that disagreements over money are one of the leading causes of divorce. 

    There are so many different reasons why couples fight about money! Plenty of millennials these days are entering into a marriage where one or both partners has student loan debt. For example, see my article here about how my husband and I are planning to pay off our six-figures of student debt.

    Couples also argue about money when you’ve got one partner who is a saver and another who’s a spender. 

    Even if you’re not married, budgeting together can be a great way to get on the same page with your finances and get in the practice of peacefully resolving money disputes that might pop up.

     

    What to consider when choosing a couples budgeting app

     

    There are many apps out there that can help couples to manage the household budgets, whether they’ve merged their finances or only rock separate banking accounts. 

    Choosing the right app for you can be daunting, especially when many budgeting apps operate as a paid service. What if you pay the fee and hate the app? Here are a few factors to keep in mind:

    • Are you willing to pay for an app, or will you only consider free apps? If you’re okay with a paid app, look for one that offers a free trial.
    • Do you want a service that has both app and desktop functionality? Some companies offer budgeting apps, but not a desktop version. I really enjoy the option a desktop version!
    • Do you want to sync the app do your bank account, or are you okay with manually recording transactions?
    • Are you a more hand-on budgeter, or a more passive one? Some apps really require you to make a plan for each dollar, while others allow you to passively monitor your spending.

     

    What if we don’t share finances?

     

    I know that not all married couples choose to merge their finances. And plenty of couples who haven’t yet merged their finances still want a way to budget collaboratively and set shared financial goals. This was exactly the case for my husband and me before we were married. 

    The good news is that each of these budgeting apps can still be effective if you don’t have shared finances. In fact, some of the apps are specifically suited for couples who don’t share a bank account.

     

    The best budgeting apps for couples

     

    Zeta

    Zeta is a budgeting app for couples with either shared or separate finances who want to budget together. It’s specially designed for those with separate bank accounts. 

    Zeta allows you and your partner to upload your bank accounts and control what the other person can see. You can create a joint budget and track your spending together while keeping some expenses private. Zeta also allows you to set joint financial goals and track your progress.

    A feature that makes Zeta ideal for those with separate finances is that you can keep a running tab on who has paid for certain expenses, and tag your partner when it’s time to settle up.

    Zeta has awesome features like the ability to keep a running financial to-do list and well-designed financial dashboards. 

    I didn’t know about Zeta when Brandon and I were budgeting with separate bank accounts — Otherwise, I probably would have used it! 

    Cost: Free

    Who It’s For: Couples with separate finances who want to budget together.

     

    Honeydue

    Honeydue is a budgeting app that allows couples to add separate bank accounts and track spending together. When you add your account, you can control how much of your information your partner can see. Couples can set a joint budget and share financial goals.

    Another great feature is that you can set up reminders for you or your partner when it’s time to pay a bill. You can also message within the app to keep all of your money conversations in one place.

    One feature of Honeydue that really sold me (and the reason Brandon and I used it when we had separate finances) is that it allows you to track who paid for what and who owes you. If I paid the rent bill, I would enter it and indicate that Brandon owed me for half. Honeydue keeps a running tab based on all transactions, and allows either partner to settle up at any time. 

    This feature really addressed one of the more complicated parts of living with a partner and sharing expenses when you have separate finances.

    Cost: Pay what you want. Honeydue allows you to pay them whatever amount you think is fair, even if that number is $0.

    Who It’s For: Couples with separate finances who want to budget together.

     

    HoneyFi

    HoneyFi is another app that allows couples with separate finances to manage their money in one place, while deciding what the other partner can see. 

    Using HoneyFi, you and your partner can set up a budget together, track your bills, and monitor your spending. You can also create and track financial goals. 

    The big difference I chose to use Honeydue over HoneyFi is the feature in Honeydue that allows you to keep a running tab and settle up shared expenses.

    Cost: $59.99 per year with a 30-day free trial

    Who It’s For: Couples with separate finances who want to budget together.

     

    You Need a Budget

    Let me preface this by saying that You Need a Budget (YNAB) is my favorite budgeting app. It’s the one I personally use and recommend the most. 

    YNAB is a budgeting app that really allows you to make a plan for your money. Unlike more passive money apps that tell you where you spent your money that month, YNAB allows you to proactively decide where you’ll spend your money. 

    I also love YNAB for its tracking and reporting. When you add your debt and investment accounts, you’ll be able to see an accurate report of your net worth.

    YNAB is definitely pricier than some of the other options, but I’ve saved that at least ten-fold by using this budgeting method.

    Cost: $84 per year with a 34-day free trial

    Who It’s For: YNAB is ideal for those who prefer to take a hands-on approach to budgeting. If you’re inclined to track all your expenses in a spreadsheet, YNAB is a simpler solution for you. YNAB works for couples with either joint or separate bank accounts.

     

    Personal Capital

    Personal Capital is a financial planning app that allows you to monitor your budget, while also keeping tabs on your investment and retirement accounts. For couples planning their financial futures together, Personal Capital is a great way to keep an eye on your progress. 

    Personal Capital is a great tool for seeing your entire financial picture in one place. But unlike some of the other apps, it doesn’t really allow you to intentionally create a plan for your money every month. 

    Personal Capital also offers more advanced features such as wealth management services and financial advisor sessions at an extra cost.

    Cost: Free for the budgeting services, with extra fees for wealth management services.

    Who It’s For: Personal Capital is ideal for couples who want to monitor their investment and their progress toward reaching specific financial goals such as saving for a home. This app isn’t ideal for hands-on budgeters.

     

    Mint by Intuit

    Mint is a budgeting app that allows you to sync all of your bank accounts and track your spending throughout the month. 

    Mint is especially adept at automatically categorizing your transactions based on where you’re spending money. So for those who prefer to be more passive when it comes to your budgeting, Mint is a great option for you. Mint also has features that allow you to set and track financial goals. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance 

    Cost: Free

    Who It’s For: Mint is the perfect app for couples who want a low-maintenance budgeting solution. You can use this app for shared bank accounts, or separately add your individual accounts. 

     

    So what’s the verdict?

     

    If you read through this entire post, you might still be stumped as to which budgeting app is right for you. I’ve chosen my winners based on whether you and your couple have shared or separate finances.

    The best budgeting app for couples with separate finances: Zeta

    The best budgeting app for couples with shared finances: You Need a Budget

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Dealing with finances in your relationship can be challenging, there’s no doubt about it. I truly believe that having an effective tool can help to ease some of the frustration. 

    I’ve used more than my fair share of budgeting apps, and some of them have been better suited for couples than others. Whether you share a bank account with your partner or not, there’s definitely an app on this list to meet your needs.

     

     

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  • Sinking Funds: What They Are and Why You Need Them in Your Budget

     

    Have you ever had one of those months where you’re right on track with your budget and feeling really proud of yourself, and then your car breaks down?

    You’ve got a $500+ expense that you hadn’t planned for, meaning you have to put it on your credit card. Now, instead of spending the next few months saving up for that weekend getaway you’ve been dreaming up, you’re going to spend it paying off those car repairs. 

    Luckily, there’s an incredibly simple solution to prevent this problem from happening again: Sinking funds. 

    In this post, I’m going to share what sinking funds are, why you need them in your budget, and how to get started using them today.

     

    Sinking Funds: What They Are and Why You Need Them in Your Budget

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    What is a sinking fund?

     

    A sinking fund is a savings strategy you can use to save monthly for planned expenses that come up throughout the year.

    The entire concept of sinking funds is that you save a bit of money each month for big expenses you know you’ll only have to pay once in a while.

    Let’s say you spend $600 each year on Christmas. Rather than waiting until the end of the year and having that oh shit moment when you realize how much you’re spending (end ultimately putting it on a credit card), you can save throughout the year. Set aside $50 per month for Christmas, and when December rolls around, you’ll have your entire $600. 

    Sinking funds are effective for three different types of purchases. The first type of purchase is expected costs that you know how much will cost. Examples of this include vehicle registration, insurance, and annual subscriptions.

    Sinking funds are also ideal for expenses that you know are coming, but that you don’t know quite how much they’ll cost. These expenses include car repairs, medical bills, and pet expenses. 

    The final type of expense you can use sinking funds for is saving for financial goals. If you’re saving up for a vacation or the downpayment on a home, you can use sinking funds by setting aside a specific amount of money each month. 

    The important thing you have to remember is to treat your sinking funds just like any other bill — Nonnegotiable.

     

    Why are sinking funds important?

     

    There are so many expenses that pop up throughout the course of the year that we know are coming, but that somehow always seem to catch us by surprise. And they always end up screwing your budget.

    Sinking funds allow you to spread those expenses out across each month, instead of paying them in a lump sum when they pop up. That way, you can ensure you’re never going over budget. 

    You’ll never have to feel guilty about going on that vacation or spending money on the holidays, because you’ve been planning and saving for those expenses. 

    You Might Also Like: 17 Foolproof Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

     

    Common sinking fund categories

     

    Everyone’s sinking fund categories are going to look a bit different based on what you’ve got going on in your life, but here are some common sinking fund categories:

     

    • Vehicle registration
    • Car repairs
    • Car insurance
    • Home repairs
    • Christmas
    • Medical bills
    • Pet expenses
    • Vacation
    • House downpayment
    • Association dues
    • Clothing
    • Car replacement
    • Weddings
    • Kid-related expenses
    • Tuition
    • Annual subscriptions
    • New appliances

     

    How much should I put in a sinking fund?

     

    Each sinking fund is going to have a different amount in it based on how much you expect to spend in each category. 

    For fixed expenses, this will be easy. Let’s say you’re creating a sinking fund for your vehicle registration, which costs $120 per year. Save $10 per month, and you’ll have the full amount after one year to pay for your vehicle registration. 

    For variable expenses, you’ll have to estimate how much is appropriate for you. One way to do this is to look at how much you’ve spent in the past. 

    Let’s say you’re setting up your Christmas sinking fund. Look back in your budget to see how much you spent on Christmas last year, and you’ll have a good idea of how much to save.

     

    Where should you keep your sinking funds?

     

    When it comes to storing and keeping track of the money for your sinking funds, you have a few different options. 

    I’ll start with my favorite: You Need a Budget (YNAB). YNAB is a budgeting app that allows you to not only plan your monthly budget, but to plan your finances further into the future, and track the money you’ve set aside for specific purposes. 

    At any given time I can see exactly how much money I have in my pet expense sinking fund, for example. Then, when I spend money on our dog, it gets categorized as a pet expense in YNAB. The money that I’ve set aside for each category just sits in my savings account until I need it.

    YNAB is hands-down my favorite budgeting app and has totally transformed our budget. It has an annual fee, but you can grab a free trial here. 

    If you’re not using a budgeting app like YBAB to track your money, I recommend using a savings account with budgets (or just multiple savings accounts) to separate your sinking funds.

    In addition to the savings account I have at my credit union, I also have a savings account at Ally Bank. Ally Bank allows you to use buckets in your account to separate the money you’re saving for different purposes. 

     

    What is the difference between a sinking fund and an emergency fund?

     

    You might be reading this post and wondering what the difference is between a sinking fund and an emergency fund. After all, aren’t they both just a way to save for emergencies?

    Sort of.

    An emergency fund is a way to save for unexpected emergencies. The most important job of your emergency fund is to temporarily cover your monthly expenses in case you lose your job. That’s why it’s wise to have 3-6 months of living expenses in your emergency fund.

    Learn more here about how to build an emergency fund and how much you should save.

    A sinking fund, on the other hand, is for specific expected costs. In some cases, it will be a cost such as your vehicle registration or your Amazon Prime membership where you know exactly how much it costs.

    Others, such as car repairs, you don’t know exactly how much they’ll cost, but you know they’ll come up eventually. If the amount you need exceeds the amount you’ve saved, then you can dip into your emergency fund to fill the gap. 

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    I can totally relate to that frustration of getting hit with an unexpected expense, or an expense that you knew was coming, but totally forgot about. 

    I can honestly say that sinking funds have completely changed my finances around. Rather than getting hit by expenses that I have to throw on a credit card, I’m able to plan ahead with my budget and instead put my money toward things I’m really excited about (rather than those pesky car repairs).

     

     

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  • Should I Refinance My Student Loans?

    Should I Refinance My Student Loans?

     

    When my husband and I got married, we had over six figures of student loan debt. It wasn’t exactly the ideal way to start our life together. 

    However, it did force us to have a lot of money conversations early on and make sure we were on the same page with our finances. And for that, I could not be more grateful. 

    One of the topics of conversation was the fact that, while most of our debt was from federal loans with reasonable interest rates, he had one private student loan with an astronomical interest rate — About 14%. Yeah, that was painful. 

    One of the first money decisions we made together was to decide to refinance that private loan. With literally only a few minutes of effort, we were able to reduce his rate by about 60%. When we ran the numbers, we found that we were saving ourselves tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. 

    Refinancing a student loan is an amazing way to reduce your interest rate and save yourself a ton of money in the long run. 

    In this article, you’ll learn what student loan refinancing is, whether student loan refinancing is the right choice for you, and how to refinance a student loan. 

     

    Should I Refinance My Student Loans?

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    What is student loan refinancing? 

    Refinancing a student loan is essentially taking out a new loan to replace your old one. When you refinance a student loan, you take out a loan from a private lender. That lender pays off your existing loan, and you now have a new loan with new terms, a new interest rate, and a new monthly payment. 

    You can refinance both private and federal student loans, though certain types of loans may make more sense for refinancing. 

     

    How do I know if refinancing is right for me?

    The primary reason to refinance a student loan is to save money over the life of the loan as a result of a lower interest rate. In the case of Brandon and I, we reduced our loan by more than 60% and saved our future selves tens of thousands of dollars. 

    Here are some reasons that student loan refinancing might be the right choice for you:

     

    You have a lot of student loan debt. 

    Even with aggressively paying down our loans, it’s still going to take Brandon and me years to pay them off. For that reason, any reduction interest rate would have been worth it for us. If you know you’re going to be paying down your loans for many years, refinancing to a lower rate is definitely worth it!

     

    You have high-interest debt

    Even if you don’t have a ton of student loan debt, a high interest rate can be miserable. I know far too many people who see their student loan balances increase because of interest! If you have a high rate right now, refinancing is definitely something to consider.

     

    You have a stable income and high credit score

    While it would be amazing if everyone could refinance to a lower interest rate, that’s simply not how it is. Just like qualifying for any other loan through a private lender, refinancing your student loans with a low rate will require you to have a credit score and income that makes you a desirable loan candidate. If you do have an excellent credit score, you may be able to get a really good rate. 

     

    How do I refinance my student loans?

    Alright, we’ve talked about what student loan refinancing is and when it might be the right choice for you. But how the heck do you actually do it? Luckily, it’s a lot easier than you may think.

     

    Step 1: Review your credit report

    First of all, I definitely recommend doing a quick review of your financial situation before applying for any loans. The last thing you want is to fill out an application and find that your credit score has unexpectedly dropped or that you have a negative mark on there. 

    Checking ahead of time will help you to avoid any unwelcome surprises. If you check your report and your score has dropped or there’s a negative mark, you may want to take some time to get that ironed out before refinancing. 

     

    Step 2: Shop around for different rates

    Don’t just pick a lender because someone else used them. Spend some time shopping around. Lenders will allow you to fill out a prequalification form and it only takes a few minutes. That way you’ll be able to compare a few different offers. 

     

    Step 3: Choose the best offer for your situation

    Once you have all the offers in front of you, you can choose whichever one is right for you. It usually makes sense to go with whichever company offers the lowest interest rate, but make sure to read all of the terms such as the repayment period and forbearance options. 

    When it came to refinancing Brandon’s loan, the two places we turned to were  CommonBond and SoFi. They were companies we trusted that offered the best interest rates.

     

    Step 4: Finalize your new loan

    After you choose a lender, you’ll probably have a bit more paperwork to fill out to finalize the loan. Then they’ll handle the process of paying off your old loan, and it’s just a matter of making your monthly payments!

     

    When is refinancing not a good idea?

    Refinancing your student loans is an excellent choice for some people. In the case of my husband and me, refinancing his student loan is saving us tens of thousands of dollars over a period of several years. 

    But it’s also the case that refinancing simply isn’t for everyone. Let’s talk about a few of the reasons why you might be better off not refinancing your student loans. Some of these reasons are specific to people with federal loans, while others apply to anyone. 

     

    If you’re on the path to student loan forgiveness

    There are several federal student loan forgiveness programs available to individuals working in certain fields, such as teachers and public servants. 

    However, these programs are only available for federal loans. If you refinance loans with a private lender, you are no longer eligible for those programs. If you think you’ll be able to take advantage of one of those programs, you may be better off not refinancing. 

    As a note, please do a LOT of research on these programs before you get your heart set on them. Student loan forgiveness is never a guarantee and plenty of people who expected to have their loans forgiven have thus far been denied. 

     

    If you need an income-driven repayment plan

    Like so many recent college graduates, I remember being so excited when I learned about income-driven repayment plans. After all, I was a low-paid government worker and wanted to be able to reduce my monthly student loan payment as much as I could. 

    Then it became clear that the lower my monthly payments, the longer it would take me to pay my loans off. For that reason, I generally don’t recommend income-based repayment plans (or limiting yourself to your minimum monthly payment). 

    That being said, I recognize that many of us go through situations in life (myself included) when our income is low and we just can’t swing a higher payment. Heck, one of the first phone calls I made after my divorce was to my student loan lender asking them to lower my payment based on my income. 

    If you currently rely on an income-based repayment plan to afford your bill each month, refinancing is not for you. Private companies are far less likely to offer these plans.

     

    If you can’t qualify for a lower rate

    The big benefit of refinancing your student loans is to reduce your interest rate. My husband and I were able to reduce his rate by more than 8% by refinancing — We won’t talk about how outrageous it is that his rate was high enough to be reduced that much in the first place. 

    If you already have a very low rate or you shop around and find that you can’t qualify for a lower one, then refinancing is not for you. You definitely don’t want to refinance for a higher rate!

    If your credit history is preventing you from getting a better student loan refinance rate, take the next 6-12 months and work on boosting your credit score so you can try again in the future. 

     

    If you may not be able to make your loan payments

    The federal government has programs in place that borrowers can take advantage of if they run into financial hardship and can’t pay their monthly loan payments anymore. Private companies aren’t always so understanding. 

    If you’re struggling to make your student loan payments and legitimately fear the day is coming where you won’t be able to pay, I wouldn’t refinance from a public loan to a private one. 

     

    Final Thoughts

    I can entirely relate to the feeling that you’re never going to get those loans paid off. I understand the anxiety that comes with seeing the amount that you owe increasing each month rather than decreasing because your interest rate is so high. 

    Trust me when I say: I understand.

    Refinancing isn’t for everyone, but being able to refinance your student loan can be a serious game-changer for reducing your monthly payment, reducing your interest rate, and saving yourself a hell of a lot of money in the long run. 

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  • How to Rebuild Your Finances After a Divorce

    How to Rebuild Your Finances After a Divorce

     

    No one goes into a marriage planning to get divorced. Unfortunately, it happens — And it often it’s a tough financial blow.

    I got married for the first time when I was 24. I thought I had my shit together — Marriage, house, and a sizeable household income. 

    Less than two years into the marriage, I found myself completely undoing everything I had built over the past several years. 

    People often talk about the emotional toll that a divorce takes, but the financial one was a lot harder for me. After all, I knew almost nothing about finances and found myself thrown into the deep end. 

    The next year was one of a lot of learning and a lot of rebuilding. I had to educate myself about all things budgeting personal finance, and then use the information I was learning to completely rebuild my finances. 

    If you’ve been through this or are currently going through this, I see you and I know how you’re feeling. In this article, I’m talking right to you and teaching you how to rebuild your finances after a divorce. 

     

    How to Rebuild Your Finances After a Divorce

     

    How divorce affects women

     

    Before we talk about how to rebuild your finances after a divorce, let’s talk about why it’s so important that you make this a priority.

    First of all, divorce is expensive. As if financially starting over on your own wasn’t bad enough, add on the fact that the average divorce costs around $15,000. I was incredibly lucky that mine wasn’t that pricey, but it’s a reality for way too many people. 

    Another ugly truth that it’s important for us to talk about is that divorce uniquely affects women.

    We’re still living in a world where men make more than women, and 69% of husbands make more than their wives. So when a couple gets divorced, the woman’s household income drops more than the man’s. 

    I don’t know about you, but I find those numbers horrifying. And those numbers are exactly why these lessons are so important!

     

    Gather your support squad

     

    If there’s one thing I wish I would have done differently during my divorce, (there are actually a lot of things I would do differently, but if I had to pick just one) it would be to gather my support squad right away. 

    Divorce sucks, and you need your support system more than ever. But more than emotionally, they can be there for you financially. 

    I’m not saying you need to ask people to help you financially, but people may be able to offer insight. There are plenty of people who could have offered personal insight on the topic, and I didn’t take advantage of those resources. 

    Another member of your support squad should also be an attorney. When my ex-husband and I started the divorce process, we promised things would be amicable and that we’d split things down the middle without attorneys. Needless to say, things did not remain amicable and I got a lot less than half of our assets. Even in the friendliest of divorces, hire an attorney

     

    Audit your financial situation

     

    It’s safe to say that your finances post-divorce look a heck of a lot different from your finances pre-divorce. For that reason, your first course of action should be an audit of your entire financial situation. 

    First, take stock of the amount of your assets. Depending on your situation this might be a home or car from your marriage. It also hopefully includes cash in the bank. 

    Next, count up your debts. Unfortunately, many people come out of a divorce with more debt than they started. It’s best to face this head-on. 

    Finally, add up your monthly income and your monthly expenses (including debt payments). Hopefully, your income is more than your expenses, but if not, we’ll deal with that too. 

     

    Set up your financial plan

     

    Now that you’ve done an audit of your entire financial situation, it’s time to make your financial plan. Your financial plan is going to look awfully different from the one you had when you were married, so it’s best to start from scratch. 

    Here’s what you should include in your plan:

    • Your monthly budget. Adjust any expenses as needed to make sure your expenses are less than your income. 
    • Your debt payoff plan. If you’ve got debt, then you also need a plan to pay it off. And paying the monthly payments is rarely a good plan.
    • A savings plan. We’ll talk later about building an emergency fund, but just know, you need to have a savings plan. 

     

    Update your documents and accounts

     

    After your divorce, be sure to allocate some time to update all of your documents and accounts. First, this might mean letting your insurance companies know about the divorce. If you and your spouse shared a health insurance plan, one of you may need to sign up for a new one.

    Next, be sure to update your beneficiaries! I’m embarrassed to say that it took me a solid year to change the beneficiary on my life insurance policy — my ex-husband would have gotten a nice surprise if anything had happened to me! Be sure to check your beneficiaries on other accounts too, such as any retirement accounts. 

    In some cases, getting someone’s name off a loan might mean refinancing. That was the case with my car loan, and it’s probably the case with others as well. 

    If your divorce involves a name change, then, of course, you’ve got a whole lot of extra work to do to change your name. Change your name with the Social Security Administration, and then be sure to change your name on all of your accounts. 

     

    Be okay with downsizing

     

    For most of us, divorce means a pretty drastic reduction in household income (in my case it was a roughly two-thirds reduction. And when you’ve got less money, you’ve gotta downsize. 

    The first big downsizing move I made was to move from our three-bedroom house to a studio apartment. At first I thought it would feel way too small, but it was actually the perfect size for just one person! Super easy to clean and very homey. 

    The other downsize I had to make was my monthly car payment. My ex-husband and I had purchased my car together, and the monthly payment was based on what the two of us together could afford. 

    So when it was just me making the payment, I couldn’t swing it. 

    At that point, I was faced with two choices. I could sell the car and downsize to something cheaper, or I could refinance. I ended up refinancing my loan and cutting my payment in half while also getting a lower interest rate. 

    Downsizing is going to look a bit different for everyone, but it really comes down to getting your monthly payments to a place where they fit into your new budget. 

     

    Build up your emergency fund

     

    Literally one of the first things anyone should do after a divorce is build up an emergency fund. If you’ve already got an emergency fund, make it bigger. 

    Here’s the thing about going from a two-income household to a one-income household. If you lose your job or source of income, you’re now a zero-income household. 

    When you’re married and both bring in income, there’s an extra safety net in that the other spouse would theoretically still be bringing in monthly income. That just isn’t the case when you live alone. 

    So while I think saving three months’ worth of expenses is a good starting point when you’re married, a single person should aim to save twice that. 

    I know this doesn’t happen overnight and if someone had told me this right after I got divorced, it would have seemed absurd. 

    At the very least, you can start putting little bits away now until you can ultimately reach that goal of six months of expenses. 

     

    Cut back on personal spending

     

    When you’ve got a lower household income, you’ve got less wiggle room in your budget for discretionary spending. While married-me wouldn’t have given it a second thought to go out to lunch or order my favorite takeout, divorced-me was careful to double-check the budget first. 

    I’m not saying you can’t spend money on yourself. I think that after a divorce more than any other time we could use some pampering. 

    But at the same time, we have to be realistic. If you can’t fit the same amount of discretionary spending into your budget as you once could, figure out where you can cut back

     

    Seek out personal finance education

     

    Probably the best thing I did to help rebuild my finances after my divorce was to immerse myself in personal finance education. I was determined to figure this money stuff out, so I threw myself into every resource I could find. I read blogs, read books, listening to podcasts, read financial news, and just about everything else you can think of. The year after my divorce was probably more educational than my entire four years of college for that reason! 

    If you’re newly divorced (or not) and looking to up your personal finance game, here are some of my favorite resources:

     

    Look for ways to increase your income

     

    Listen, divorce sucks for a lot of reasons. But it also has its silver linings, one of which being that you now have a lot more free time. And while more free time might not seem like an upside for everyone, it’s a fantastic opportunity to increase your income!

    I was lucky in that I already had my blog up and running when I got divorced. As a result, it was easy for me to use it to make some extra money. 

    Even if you don’t already have a side-hustle in place, you can easily get one up and running! 

    There are so many options out there to help you make extra money. Here are some of my favorite ways to make an extra $1,000 (or more) each and every month

    Increasing your income has to freaking many benefits. First, it can help you to quickly pay off any debt you accrued during the divorce — I ended up having to put a lot of expenses on my credit card at first, and having a side hustle was a lifesaver.

    Having a side hustle can also help you to build up your emergency fund, create some extra wiggle room in your budget (for those of you missing your discretionary spending), or help you save for future financial goals

     

    Know that you can and will rebuild

     

    Having gone through a divorce myself, I know how impossible it can feel to build your finances. You look at your much-smaller household income and the amount of debt you accrued over the course of the divorce, and it literally feels insurmountable. 

    But I promise you that it is not impossible. You can and you will rebuild, and someday you’ll find yourself in a much better place both financially and emotionally. You got this!

     

     

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  • How to Create a Minimalist Budget to Manage Your Money

    How to Create a Minimalist Budget For Your Money

     

    For years I avoided budgeting because of how restrictive it felt. I didn’t want to feel guilty every time I spent my own money!

    Then I discovered the concept of a minimalist budget, and it was a total game-changer. Rather than spending money on things you don’t really care about, you can spend more money on the things you care most about. 

    You’re probably familiar with the concept of minimalism, but minimalist budgeting might be a mystery to you. It’s the same concept — You’re eliminating the non-essentials to make room for the things you truly value. 

    In this post, I’m explaining what a minimalist budget is and how you can create one to help you manage your money without the guilt and restriction that often comes with budgeting.

     

    How to Create a Minimalist Budget to Manage Your Money

     

    What is a minimalist budget?

     

    Minimalism is the practice of eliminating the non-essentials from your life to make more room for the things you truly value. Most people use the term minimalism in reference to physical belongings, but you can apply the concept of minimalist to any part of your life. 

    I particularly like to use it as it applies to budgeting. A minimalist budget is one where you eliminate the non-essentials and the clutter from your budget to leave more money for what you value most. 

    A minimalist budget can help you to reduce your monthly expenses, simplify your financial life, and get out of debt. 

    It’s important to note that budget minimalism isn’t the same thing as frugality. A minimalist budget isn’t about spending less money — It’s about spending money on fewer things so you’re only spending money on what you truly value.

     

    How do you create a minimalist budget?

     

    Like many things, creating a minimalist budget is easier said than done. I’m not going to lie – this doesn’t come naturally and you’re going to be hesitant to make cuts to your budget. Here are a few ways to help you create a minimalist budget that actually works for you.

     

    Identify your financial values and priorities

    One of the key benefits of a minimalist budget is that it allows you the freedom to spend money on the things that are truly important to you. To do that, you first have to identify what your values are. 

    Identifying your values and priorities is an important piece of the puzzle. Consider how often you allow yourself to spend money on something because it’s a “necessity”. Maybe it’s hitting the bar with your friends or that new outfit you’ve been eyeing online. 

    Sure, those things might seem like necessities. But what about when you compare the importance of a new outfit to being able to afford to fly home for the holidays? The outfit doesn’t seem like such a necessity when you identify your real priorities, one of which is that annual trip home for Christmas. 

     

    Make a list of all of your expenses

    One of the first things I think everyone needs to do when it comes to setting up a new budget is to take stock of where they’re currently spending their money. To do this, you need to make a list of all of your expenses. 

    The easiest way to do this is to literally go back through your last three to six months of bank and credit card statements and document every single expense.

    Yes, it sounds exhausting. But I promise you’ll get so much clarity from this one exercise!

    I remember the first time I set up a budget for myself. I really had no idea how much I was spending on anything each month. I set up a budget and was honestly shocked to see how much I’d spent on take-out every month. It was a LOT.

    Not only is this step important to figure out where you’re spending too much, but it also helps you to identify how much you should expect to spend. For example, it’s not realistic to start budgeting $200 per month for groceries when you’ve been spending $600. 

     

    Eliminate unnecessary expenses

    Alright, you knew this part was coming! Once you make a list of all of your expenses, it’s time to start cutting. Go through that list and figure out what you didn’t need to spend money on, or what you could have spent less on.

    Some of these will be easy, as with my example of eating out. As soon as I saw how much I was spending, I knew I had to cut back. Others will be more difficult because lots of things seem like necessities. 

    If you’re struggling to make cuts, refer back to step 1 where you identified your values and priorities. If something doesn’t fit within your values, cut it! 

    For example, suppose you’re spending way too much on food, partially as a result of regularly grabbing lunch and dinner out. If friendship is one of your top priorities, then you probably don’t want to cut that weekly dinner with your best friend. 

    But you could reduce your food spending by bringing lunch to work instead of ordering out. You’ve managed to cut your food budget without sacrificing one of your most important values. 

     

    Use a 50/30/20 budget

    One of the toughest parts of setting up a new budget is knowing how much you should be spending on everything. After all, there’s no handbook that you get when you become an adult that tells you how much to spend on groceries. You just have to figure it out as you go. 

    One of the best ways I’ve found to break up the budget is to do so by percentages. More specifically, I recommend the 50/30/20 budget

    The 50/30/20 budget is a framework that says you should break down your take-home pay like this:

    • 50% for needs, such as housing, transportation, and groceries
    • 30% for wants, such as eating out, entertainment, and hobbies
    • 20% for savings and debt

    Remember, this framework is just a guide, and it’s not going to be right for everyone. For example, Brandon and I have $150,000 of debt that we’re currently paying off, so we spend more than 20% of our budget on savings and debt. 

     

    Simplify your accounts

    Listen, I know it’s popular advice in the personal finance community to have separate bank accounts for your different savings goals. At some point, though, it all becomes more work than it’s really worth. And if you have a good system in place, you don’t need a bunch of different bank accounts. 

    First, popular online banks such as Ally and Capital One allow you to set up “buckets” within a single savings account where you designate different cash for different purposes. 

    Additionally, budgeting apps such as You Need a Budget (YNAB) allow you to budget money for certain purposes. My banking app might say I have $10,000 in my savings account, but I can look at YNAB and see that I have $5,000 budgeting for my emergency fund and $5,000 budget for RV renovations. 

    Another popular piece of financial advice is to shop around for the savings account with the highest interest rate. But then what happens is you’re constantly obsessing over whether your current bank still has the highest rate, and constantly moving your money as banks change their rates. 

    Here is some honestly for you — The difference between a 2% interest rate and a 1.75% interest rate on a savings account can literally come down to a few dollars, depending on how much money you have in the account. Just pick a bank with a high-yield savings account and let it go. 

    Finally, credit card hacking. Far too many people take out loads of credit cards with different types of rewards, and then only use their favorite. Credit card hacking might be effective if you do it right, but for most of us, it just adds extra unnecessary credit cards to our wallets. 

     

    Automate your payments

    I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of monthly bills. Every month I’m paying bills such as rent, renters insurance, utilities, phone bill, etc. We also pay off our credit card each month so we never carry a balance. 

    If I had to manually log onto my various accounts throughout the month to pay my bills, that would be a huge pain. In fact, I would probably forget once in a while, and that would cause a whole different set of problems. 

    These days, you can automate just about everything having to do with your finances. And I recommend that you do just that. Automate your bills, automate transfers to your savings account, and anything else you can. 

     

    Get out of the monthly payment mindset

    One of my biggest pet peeves about life these days is that everything is based on a monthly payment. For some things it makes sense — I’ll happily pay my Netflix bill every month. 

    But now there are apps that allow you to take out mini loans for large purchases. That way, instead of paying the total amount upfront, you’re paying it off over six months or so. 

    But here’s the thing. Those services encourage you to buy things you can’t afford. If you can’t swing the cost of the shoes in a single payment, you can’t afford the shoes. 

    These services also cost you more money. Nothing comes for free. If someone is lending you money, they’re getting something in return. Usually, it’s an astronomical amount of interest. And even if that’s not the case, they’re normalizing debt, which is not okay. 

    One important component of getting out of the monthly payment mindset is getting out of debt. It’s easy to think about your debt only in terms of what it costs you each month. 

    Your $5,000 credit card debt might only have a minimum payment of $85 per month. Or your $25,000 student loan might only have a minimum monthly payment of $150. And while those numbers don’t seem all that high, they’re costing you so much more than that. 

    Let’s do some painful math real quick. Suppose you have $5,000 of credit card debt with a minimum monthly payment of $85. If you only pay the monthly payment, you’ll pay over $7,900 in interest before you pay the card off. 

    $7,900!! 

    You’ll pay more in interest than you had in credit card in the first place. All because $85 per month seemed like a perfectly reasonable amount to pay to have credit card debt. 

    Here are some rules to live by when getting out of the monthly payment mindset:

    • Prioritize paying off existing debt
    • Don’t take on any additional debt
    • If you use a credit card, only spend what you have in your bank account and pay it off each month
    • If given the choice between a monthly subscription fee and an annual one, pay the annual fee. It’s almost always cheaper. 

     

    Question every purchase

    When you’ve been spending money on the same things for years, it’s easy to see those things as necessities. One of the adjustments you have to make for a minimalist budget is to start questioning every purchase. 

    Minimalist budgeting is about spending money on fewer things, even if it means spending more on those items. It’s about focusing on quality over quantity. 

    Maybe you have a go-to pair of shoes that you buy, but the heels wear out in just a few months. This was me for a long time! I would always buy the same $25 pair of high heels for work. When the heels wore out a few months later, I’d replace them. I didn’t think anything of it, because they were only $25. 

    It turned out that once I started spending more money per pair of shoes, I started spending less money overall. Instead of buying a budget pair that only lasted a few months, I could buy a more expensive pair that lasted infinitely longer. 

    Think about what expenses in your current budget you could replace for a higher-quality item. Instead of buying coffee out every day, what if you invested in a nice coffee or espresso machine. Instead of buying bottled water at the grocery store, what about buying a nice water filter? 

    The goal is to spend money on quality items that last longer. 

    You Might Also Like: How to Reduce Impulse Buying Once and For All

     

    Spend less than you make

    I know I said that budget minimalism isn’t necessarily about spending less money, and it’s not. But just like any budget, the most important rule is that you have to spend less than you make. 

    It’s easy to rely on credit cards and monthly payments that trick us into thinking we can afford more than we really can. But if the amount you’re swiping on your credit card each month is less than the amount on your paychecks, it’s time to change direction. 

     

    Schedule regular budget meetings

    I think we can all relate to a situation where we set up a brand new budget that we swear is going to change our lives, and then we forget about it in less time than it took us to make it. 

    I’ve gotten out of this habit by scheduling regular budget meetings for myself and my husband. We do one budget meeting around the first as I’m planning out the budget for the month, and a quick check-in on Fridays, since that’s the day he gets paid. 

    Even if you’re the only person sticking to your budget, these check-ins are still important! Putting time on your calendar will ensure that you’re actually checking in with your budget and noting whether you’re still on track. 

    You Might Also Like: How to Create a Monthly Budget

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Whether or not you practice minimalism with your physical belongings, a minimalist budget can be a great choice for anyone! Minimalist budgeting is all about eliminating the non-essentials from your budget to make room for the things that you value most. 

    While budgets often feel restrictive, the minimalist budget is all about freedom — Freedom to spend on the things you truly value without letting the less important expenses get in the way.

     

     

    CONTINUE READING

  • The 10 Best Personal Finance Podcasts for Women

    The 10 Best Personal Finance Podcasts for Women

     

    When I decided to get serious about my finances, podcasts were one of the first places I turned for information. I love learning from podcasts since I can listen as I’m driving, cleaning, or out walking the dog. 

    Over the years, I’ve found myself drawn to financial podcasts specifically created for women. It’s no secret that women have very different financial goals and financial needs.

    Luckily there’s no shortage today of amazing personal finance podcasts created by and for women. Here are a few of my favorites!

    If podcasts aren’t your style, you can check out these lists too:

     

    The 10 Best Personal Finance Podcasts for Women

     

    So Money

     

    So Money is one of the OG female money podcasts, founded by Farnoosh Torabi. Farnoosh got her start as a financial reporter and wrote her first personal finance book in 2008. 

    Farnoosh talks about issues that are important to women, such as in her latest book, When She Makes More, where she talks about female breadwinners.

    Farnoosh started So Money in 2014 and since then, has published over 1,000 episodes. Farnoosh does solo episodes where she answers your biggest money questions. She also interviews top authors and business owners about their financial journey and best money advice. She’s interviewed amazing women like Ariana Huffington, Gretchen Rubin, and Jen Sincero.

    Listen to So Money here

     

    Clever Girls Know

     

    The Clever Girls was one of the first finance blogs I really dove into when I decided to get serious about my finances. The Clever Girls founder Bola started the website after successfully saving $100,000 in just a few years and knowing that she had to teach other women how they could save money too. 

    The Clever Girls Know podcast covers all of the financial education and empowerment that women need to help them pay off debt, save money, start growing real wealth, and meet their big financial goals.

    Listen to Clever Girls Know here

     

    The Financial Confessions

     

    Though you might not be familiar with the Financial Confessions podcast, you’re almost certainly familiar with the company that runs it — The Financial Diet. 

    Founder Chelsea Fagan started The Financial Diet as a personal blog back in 2014. Since then, it has grown into a finance website that publishes great content every day aimed at helping women talk more openly and honestly about money. 

    So it comes as no surprise that Chelsea’s podcast, The Financial Confessions, is all about getting honest about money. On the show, Chelsea sits down to talk to influencers, celebrities, and financial experts in various industries to talk about all things money. They talk about the financial secrets of different industries, how your background influences the way you approach money, and the financial habits they recommend.

    Listen to The Financial Confessions here

     

    The Fairer Cents

     

    Founders Kara and Tanja started The Fairer Cents podcast to talk about all things money as it relates to women. Kara and Tanja are both successful in their own right. Kara is the founder of Bravely, a community that provides financial empowerment for women. Tanja wrote the book Work Optional, where she talks about her and her husband’s journey to early retirement. 

    On the podcast, Kara and Tanja dive into some of the stickier issues around money. They aim to serve those that have been underserved by financial media in the past, and cover issues like the wage gap and exploring how money affects relationships (and vice versa). 

    Listen to The Fairer Cents here.

     

    Journey to Launch

     

    Journey to Launch is a podcast hosted by Jamila, a Certified Financial Education Instructor who, along with her husband, is on her way to financial independence by the age of 40. 

    On her blog, Jamila shares the steps that she’s taken to save and invest well over $100K in just a couple of years. On the Journey to Launch podcast, Jamila teaches her audience how to set and create and create an actionable plan to go after their own goals.

    Listen to Journey to Launch here.

     

    Afford Anything

     

    Afford Anything founder Paula Pant started getting serious about money in a desperate attempt to avoid spending the rest of her life working 9-5 behind a desk. She built successful side hustles and saved enough money to quit her job and travel. 

    Since then, Paula has built a successful real estate business and shares her business and financial expertise on her podcast. Paula talks about being intentional in the way you spend your money. After all, you can afford anything, but not everything. 

    Listen to Afford Anything here.

     

    Money Girl Podcast

     

    The Money Girl podcast was started by Laura Adams in 2008. Like so many other finance bloggers and podcasters, Laura gained her expertise through her own personal finance journey of learning to pay off debt and get on a budget. 

    Since then, the show has gotten more than 40 million downloads and provides short and sweet personal finance tips to women. Laura’s podcast episodes are easily digestible, as many of them are just 15 minutes. Laura covers topics such as paying off debt, saving for retirement, and developing positive money habits.

    Listen to Money Girl here

     

    She Makes Money Moves

     

    The She Makes Money Moves podcast is put on by Glamour and iHeartRadio and hosted by Samantha Barry, Glamour’s editor-in-chief. In this 16-episode series, Barry talks about money as it relates to women. 

    She talks about topics such as student debt, divorce, and combining finances with your significant other with financial experts such as Farnoosh Torabi and Stefanie O’Connell

    Listen to She Makes Money Moves here.

     

    HerMoney

     

    HerMoney was founded by Jean Chatzky, a personal finance reporter. Like so many women, she came to the realization that the traditional money media just wasn’t addressing the unique needs of women, so she started a website and podcast to address those needs herself. 

    HerMoney is all about improving the relationships that women have with money and leveling the playing field for financial security. 

    Listen to HerMoney here

     

    Mo’ Money Podcast

     

    Like so many other personal finance bloggers, Jessica Moorhouse started her blog in an effort to document her own personal finance journey and keep herself accountable. Seven years later, she’s an accredited financial counselor and provides coaching services to clients.

    On her Mo’ Money Podcast, Jessica talks to finance experts, celebrities, and authors to teach listeners about how to manage their money, make smarter money choices, earn more money, become debt-free, and live a more fulfilled and balanced life.

    Listen to the Mo’ Money Podcast here.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Podcasts have been one of my favorite ways to consume content, especially when I was just getting started with my own personal finance journey. 

    We know that the money needs of women are so unique. And luckily, there are plenty of podcasts out there specifically designed to help women take control of their money and meet their financial goals. 

     

     

    CONTINUE READING

  • How to Develop a Positive Money Mindset

    How to Develop a Positive Money Mindset

     

    Have you ever been at a point in your life where you learn everything you can about personal finance in an effort to get your money shit in order, but you just can’t seem to turn things around?

    Believe it or not, your mindset might be the problem. The beliefs and feelings you have about money play a huge role in the decisions you make and what you make your money situation mean about you. 

    I’ve definitely struggled with a negative money mindset in my life. After my divorce, I spent a lot of time beating myself up about my debt, my lack of savings, and just my general lack of money expertise. 

    I can honestly say that changing my mindset around money has been just as instrumental in changing my circumstances as changing my money behavior was. 

    In this post, I’m sharing what a money mindset is and what steps you can take to turn yours around and develop a positive money mindset. 

     

    How to Develop a Positive Money Mindset

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    What is a money mindset?

     

    Your money mindset is made up of all of the beliefs and feelings you have about money. People have either a scarcity or abundance money mindset, though to be honest, most of us probably fall somewhere in between. 

    You have a scarcity mindset if you believe there’s not enough money. You’re constantly telling yourself that money is tight and that you’ll never have enough to meet your goals. 

    If you have a scarcity mindset, you also probably beat yourself up about your money situation. When I struggled with a negative money mindset, I spent a lot of time beating myself up for taking on debt. 

    Not only do people with a scarcity mindset have negative thoughts about money, but they also often have negative thoughts about people who do have money. They might think that wealthy people aren’t good people. They probably also think that the more money someone else has, the less there is for the rest of us. 

    You have an abundance mindset if you believe that there’s plenty of money to go around. You trust that even if you spend the money you have now, more will come around. Everything will be okay. 

    When you have an abundance mindset, you don’t make money mean more than it does. You don’t make your money mistakes mean anything about you, just like you don’t make someone else’s money mean anything about them. 

     

    How to have an abundant money mindset

     

    Identify your current money beliefs

    Whether you realize it or not, you already have money beliefs that influence the way you think about money and the world. These beliefs might be a result of something your parents taught you during your childhood. 

    Think about phrases such as “money doesn’t grow on trees.” Most of us have heard it, partially because most of our parents probably said it. But have you ever stopped to think that your parents repeatedly telling you that actually taught you that money is finite and that there’s never going to be enough?

    Or maybe your parents told you that “money is the root of all evil.” If your parents drilled that into your head as a kid, you’re probably going to have some weird mental blocks about earning a lot of money. 

    You probably also have money beliefs based on your past experiences. Have you ever made a really stupid money mistake, and then for years afterward tell yourself that you’re bad with money? 

    What that really does is convince you that you’re bad with money. And far too many people develop that belief without ever trying to convince themselves otherwise. 

    If you’re struggling to identify what your current money thoughts are, write it out. Sit down with a notebook and just spend twenty minutes writing down everything you can think of about money. Eventually, something is going to come up. 

    Once you’ve identified what your current money beliefs are, you’ll start to identify where those beliefs came from. More importantly, you’ll see that you can change your beliefs.

     

    Understand that money is neutral

    One of the most important parts of changing your current negative money mindset to a positive one is recognizing that money is neutral. 

    So many people have a belief that money is evil, or that a lack of money is holding them back. Money isn’t evil and it isn’t out to get you. It has no value until we give it value. It has no meaning until you give it meaning. 

    I say all of this because a lot of people blame their money (or lack thereof) or their debt for the problems in their lives. The sooner you can come to terms with the fact that money isn’t out to get you, the sooner you’ll be able to change your mindset around it. 

     

    Focus on being grateful for what you have

    It’s easy to focus on all the things that are going wrong in your life. Regardless of your financial situation, you’re probably more likely to focus on the bad than the good. 

    You might spend a lot of time worrying about your debt or about going over budget on your grocery shopping. Yet you give almost no thought to the good things that your money has done for you. 

    Listen, it’s easy to look at your next-door neighbor with the luxury car or your friend with the designer clothes and feel bad about your life. But it might put things into perspective to remember that a huge portion of the world’s population is living in poverty. And if you live in a developed country, you’re luckier than most. 

    Whatever your financial situation, find ways to be grateful for it. Yes, even the things that are easy to complain about. Here are a few examples:

    • I’m grateful for my debt because it pushed me to get serious about personal finance
    • I’m grateful that I make more money in my current job than I did in my last one
    • I’m grateful knowing I’ll be okay even though I went over my grocery budget

    Each of those thoughts takes something that could be perceived as negative (debt, a moderate income, going over budget) and spins it in a positive light. 

    I guarantee that if you think hard enough, you’ll realize you have a lot to be grateful for. I know that for myself, I’m most grateful for the goals my money allows me to have. My husband and I are able to make plans to travel full-time and have adventures because of our financial situation. 

     

    Learn to love your money

    People are weird about money. These days it’s still a fairly taboo topic. Don’t believe me? Next time you’re talking to someone, tell them that you love money and see how they react.

    Here’s the thing though — You can’t expect to have a positive money mindset if you don’t have positive feelings about your money. 

    Part of the reason we feel weird about loving our money is that it’s not a topic people normally talk about. It’s weird for me to say that I love making a lot of money, because I’m not supposed to tell people that I make a lot of money. 

    Loving money is also a bit taboo because, let’s be honest, it probably makes us seem like we’re selfish or materialistic or bragging. There’s an element of guilt that comes with it. 

    If this is what’s holding you back, just remember that you can be generous and giving and still love your money. In fact, one great reason to love your money is that it allows you to help others. 

    There are lots of reasons to love your money. You can love your money:

    • For security it provides
    • For the goals it will help you to reach
    • For the good it will allow you to do in the world

     

    Get better with money

    I realize that this post is supposed to be about money mindset and not actionable budgeting advice. But one factor that’s had the biggest impact on my money mindset is getting better with money.

    You see, I used to have a really negative money mindset. Part of this was a result of the fact that I had zero confidence when it came to money. And my lack of confidence was a result of the fact that I just wasn’t good with money. 

    For years I thought I had my financial shit together. It turned out that I was just married to someone who had his financial shit together, and he managed the money. When we got divorced and I was on my own, it became abundantly clear that I had no idea what the heck I was doing. 

    For the next few years, I threw myself into learning everything I could about managing money. As my knowledge of finance increased, so did my confidence when it came to money. And as my confidence increased, my money mindset got better. 

    The best advice I have for getting started with personal finance is to do what I did — Read personal finance books and blogs. Here are a few to get you started:

     

    Set financial goals

    One of the negative money beliefs that many people have is that they’ll never be able to do all of the things they want to do. They won’t be able to go on that dream vacation or buy that dream house because they won’t have enough money. And because they believe it to be true, they don’t really take steps to change it. 

    I can tell you right now that if you don’t actually take steps to reach your financial goals, you won’t reach them. There will never come a day where you just magically have enough money in your bank account to achieve your financial goal. 

    When you actually take steps to set and go after goals, you start making progress on them. And as you start making progress on them, your money mindset gets better and better because you realize what is possible. It’s a constant cycle, and you get to decide which direction it goes!

    If you want to get started with setting financial goals but aren’t sure how, check out my guide on how to set goals and plan your best year ever

     

    Create a money mantra

    If you need to change your beliefs about money but can’t quite get there, a money mantra is what you need. I know the idea of a mantra sounds a little woo-woo and not like something that actually works, but it really does. 

    First things first, what the heck is a money mantra?

    A money mantra (aka affirmation) is a short but powerful statement that you repeat every single day (preferably multiple times per day) until you believe it. 

    Your mantra can be something written on a post-it at your desk that you say out loud. I prefer to write mine in my journal every day. 

    Here are a few mantras you can try if you aren’t sure where to start:

    • Money flows easily to me
    • Making money is easy
    • There is always more than enough money
    • I am financially free

    The first time you repeat your money mantra, you’re probably going to feel a bit ridiculous. After all, you’re probably not going to believe it right away. 

    A while back I started working on a mantra saying I can make as much money in my business as I want. At first it felt so clearly false. But now that I’ve been practicing it for a while, I actually believe it. 

     

    Read a money mindset book

    Hands down my favorite way to learn about money has been reading books. Learning about money mindset was no exception.

    I loved Jen Sincero’s first badass book, You Are a Badass. So when I saw she had a money mindset book coming out, I knew I had to read it. 

    In You Are a Badass at Making Money, Sincero shares her personal money journey. She talks about overcoming her bad money habits and her negative money mindset.

    This pulled me in right away because so many of the negative thoughts about money that Sincero said had held her back are thoughts I have had about money too.

    I love that she wrote the book from her own personal experience, and I genuinely think everyone can find something in this book that really hits home with them, from identifying the money beliefs that are holding you back to transforming your relationship with money.

    Finally, I just love Sincero’s writing style and sense of humor, which made it really easy to read.

    Click here to grab a copy of You Are a Badass at Making Money.

     

    Sign up for a money mindset course

    Alright, you might be noticing a trend here — I kind of love to learn. Reading and taking courses are a few of my favorite things, and bonus points if they’re about money. 

    My favorite online coach, Natalie Bacon, has an online course called Money Mindset for Her all about overcoming your scarcity money mindset and adopting an abundance mindset. 

    In addition to sharing advice about how to change your money mindset, there are lots of super actionable tips about getting your financial shit in order. 

    Click here to sign up for Money Mindset for Her. 

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Having a negative money mindset is so hard to overcome, in large part because a lot of us don’t even realize what our money mindset is.

    The things that we believe about money are a direct result of the experiences we’ve had so far. And unless you want your future to replicate your past, it’s time to make some mindset changes. 

    I know that honing in on my mindset and learning to have an abundant money mindset has been seriously life-changing.

    Changing my mindset has helped me to embrace my debt, while also paying it off faster than I ever would have thought. It’s helped me to drastically increase my income. Finally, it’s taught me to completely change the way I look at my life and my money. 

    I know that the tips in this blog post can do the same for you!

     

     

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  • How to Build an Emergency Fund & How Much You Should Save

    How to Build an Emergency Fund & How Much You Should Save

     

    There were way too many years where I didn’t realize just how important an emergency fund was. I made enough money to pay my bills every month. But when an unexpected expense came up, I’d have to put it on a credit card or pull money from a different spending category. 

    Having a fully-funded emergency in place is seriously life-changing. It provides so much peace of mind and helps ensure that little bumps in the road don’t rock your financial world. 

    In this post, you’ll learn what an emergency fund is, how much you should have in your emergency fund, and how you can save enough money for an emergency fund. 

     

    How to Build an Emergency Fund & How Much You Should Save

     

    What is an emergency fund?

     

    An emergency fund, just like the name suggests, is a chunk of money that you set aside for an unexpected financial emergency. 

    An emergency fund is a safety net you can use for one-time expenses such as a broken-down car or longer-term financial emergencies such as a job loss. 

     

    How much emergency fund should I have?

     

    There’s a lot of debate as to how much you should have in your emergency fund. If you follow Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, he recommends an emergency fund of $1,000 until you pay off all your debt. Once your debt is gone, then he recommends that you save an emergency fund of 3-6 months worth of expenses. 

    Depending on how much debt you have, I don’t think $1,000 is nearly enough. My husband and I are working on paying off about $150K of debt. It’s going to take us several years to get there, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable going years with only $1,000 in our emergency fund. 

    My comfort level before paying off debt is about three months of expenses in our emergency fund. I feel confident that in our career fields, we’d be able to at least partially replace our income in that time. Once we pay off our debt, we’ll work on building our emergency fund to last 6-9 months.

    There are other things to take into consideration when it comes to the size of your emergency fund. If you’re single, you might want more of an emergency fund than someone in a two-income household who has another person to rely on in the case of a job loss.

    You Might Also Like: Is it Better to Pay Off Debt or Save Money First?

     

    Where should you keep your emergency fund?

     

    It’s best to keep your emergency fund somewhere easily accessible and highly-liquid. If an unexpected expense comes up, you want to be able to get to your money as quickly as possible. A high-yield savings account is a great option. You’ll keep your money safe while earning a little extra money on interest. 

    If you’re tempted to invest your emergency fund in the market, I highly recommend against it. The market can be volatile, and the last thing you want is for the stock market to drop at the same time you need to use your emergency fund. 

     

    How do I build an emergency fund?

     

    Step 1: Decide how much you want to save

     

    I talked about how much I recommend having in your emergency fund, but you’re the only one who can ultimately decide how much you’ll need. Once you know how much you want to save, you can figure out how long it will take you to get there. 

     

    Step 2: Figure out how much you can save monthly

     

    This step is where budgeting comes in. If you don’t know how much you can save every month for your emergency fund, it’s probably because you don’t have a firm grasp on your monthly budget. Let’s change that!

    If you don’t already have a budget set up, check out my guide on setting up a monthly budget

    If you already have a budget in place but don’t have extra money left over to put toward your emergency fund, go through and figure out where you can make cuts.

    If you’re currently making extra debt payments, that might be a good place to cut until your emergency fund is in place. Otherwise, find some other discretionary spending such as eating out or a vacation fund you can divert budget money from. 

     

    Step 3: Make it automatic

     

    I used to tell myself that I would save whatever money I had left at the end of every month after my expenses. And time after time the end of the month would roll around and I would have spent everything, with nothing left to put into savings. 

    Finally, I changed my strategy. I set up an automatic payment to go through the day after my paycheck hit my bank account every month. Then I could only spend what I had left after savings. 

    It’s easy to have the best of intentions when it comes to saving. But I think we can all relate to a situation where we spend more than we plan to. Setting up an automatic transfer to savings is the best way to make sure it happens every month. 

     

    Step 4: Save any windfalls

     

    I don’t know about you, but I love those cash windfalls that come in throughout the year. Sometimes it’s a tax return (or finding out you owe less in taxes than you had saved, which is what happened to me this year). It could also be a little bonus or a raise at work. 

    Another windfall many people don’t think about is that extra paycheck some people get a couple of months per year. If you get paid every other week, then there are actually two months per year where you get three paychecks instead of two. I always look forward to those months, as my husband gets those extra paychecks. 

    While it might be tempting to spend those extra windfalls on something fun, there are probably better uses for them. If you’re still saving your emergency fund, then throw those windfalls in there. Once your emergency fund is fully funded, then you can throw those windfalls toward a different financial goal! 

     

    Step 5: Find ways to earn extra money

     

    At some point, there’s only so much you can cut from your budget. Even if you’re as frugal as can be, the money can only go so far. That’s where extra money comes in. 

    I love having a side hustle. I started my blog years ago and worked on it alongside a full-time job. A few years later, I added freelance writing to the mix. Now that I’m working on my business full-time, I’m already looking for another side-hustle to add to the mix. 

    The good news, it’s SUPER easy to earn extra money every month. Some of my favorite side hustle ideas are super easy to get started and can earn you $1,000 (or more) every single month.

     

    Step 6: Reevaluate and rebuild

     

    Your financial needs are going to change a lot during your life. You might decide today that $5,000 is plenty for an emergency fund for you. But fast-forward a few years and your life might look totally different. 

    In that case, you’ll need to reevaluate whether your current emergency fund is still sufficient. In general, the higher your monthly expenses get, the bigger your emergency fund will need to be. 

    The other thing to keep in mind is that something you’ll need to rebuild your emergency fund. Emergencies are bound to pop up sometimes — that’s what the fund is for!

    When you find yourself needing to spend some of that money, be sure to build it back up to where it was. It might be that it was a relatively small expense and you can get the fund back up in a month or two.

    In the case of a job loss where you end up draining the entire fund, it’s going to take you a lot longer to get it back to where it was. 

    Don’t get down on yourself if that happens — that’s what the fund is for! Your life will probably be a constant back and forth of building up the fund and then having to use it. 

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    I think we can all agree that unexpected financial emergencies suck. But they’re also inevitable and something we should all be prepared for. 

    If you use the tips in this post to boost your emergency fund, you’ll have a lot more peace of mind next time one of those unexpected costs rolls around. 

     

     

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  • Is it Better to Pay Off Debt or Save Money First?

    Is It Better to Pay Off Debt or Save Money First?

     

    One of the questions I am asked most often is whether it’s better to pay off debt or save money first. And honestly, it wasn’t all that long ago that I was the one struggling with this dilemma. 

    When I was newly divorced and desperate for financial advice, I read article after article that told said things like:

    • “Put all of your disposable income toward debt!”
    • “Build an emergency fund to fund 3-6 months of bills!”
    • “Max out your 401(k) and your Roth IRA!”

    As someone who was living paycheck to paycheck, I was crushed. How the hell was I supposed to do any of those things (let alone all three of them) when I could barely pay my bills every month? 

    Because of the amount of anxiety I had around this question, it honestly comes as no surprise that so many people are also struggling with it. 

    In this post, I’m answering that age-old question we’ve all had at one point or another. Which should you do first: pay off debt or save money?

     

    Is it better to pay off debt or save money first?

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    Remember, it’s not one or the other

     

    First things first, you don’t have to choose between just saving money or just paying off debt. You can do BOTH. 

    I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. In fact, I can guarantee you it’s going to be tough. 

    The first thing you’re going to need to do is to take stock of where you’re at. First, take some time to figure out exactly how much debt you have. It sounds obvious, but I know far too many people who just blindly make their minimum payments every month without really paying attention to how much they owe. 

    My favorite tool to gather all of my debt information in one place is Undebt.it. This tool allows you to add and manage all of your debt accounts, among other functions that we’ll cover later on.

    The other thing you need to consider is your life situation. How much money do you have coming in? How much money do you have in savings? What are your monthly expenses? All of these factors will help you choose between prioritizing saving money or paying off debt.

     

    Start by building your emergency fund

     

    Regardless of whether you have debt and how much debt you have, building your emergency fund should be your very first goal. How much you actually need in your emergency fund comes down to your comfort level, among other life factors. 

    To figure out how much of an emergency fund you need, really think carefully about where you are in your life and what you need out of an emergency fund.

    Today my husband and I both bring in income (I’m self-employed and he has a good job). Because we share expenses, I know that if I were to lose all of my freelance income tomorrow, we’d be able to get by for a while on his income. 

    But just a few years ago it was a very different story. Three years ago I was single, living alone, and barely making ends meet. If I had lost my job during that time, it would have immediately been an emergency.

    Your life situation will tell you a lot about how much money you should have in savings. If you’ve got kids or are a one-income family, you’ll need a lot more of a cushion. 

    Alright, so how much should you save in your emergency fund?

    Dave Ramsey recommends putting $1,000 in your emergency fund before you aggressively pay off debt. I highly recommend more than that. There are plenty of house or car repairs that cost more than $1,000 on their own. And what about job loss? For most of us, $1,000 isn’t even enough to get by for one month. 

    Like I said, how much you should actually save depends entirely on your lifestyle. I’m pretty risk-averse, so I would shoot for a minimum of a few thousand dollars. 

    Another thing to remember is that your emergency fund and your debt are totally intertwined. Nearly half of families don’t have enough to cover a $400 emergency. So when those emergencies do inevitably pop up, those families are going further into debt to pay for them.

    Having an emergency fund doesn’t prevent you from paying off your debt — It helps to avoid debt!

     

    Take advantage of an employer 401(k) match

     

    Just like there’s a bare minimum for what you should save for your emergency fund, I also think there’s a minimum for what you should save for retirement.

    Listen, I know how hard it is to care about retirement when you’re in your early twenties. I was lucky enough to get a job out of college that had mandatory pension contributions so I didn’t have the opportunity to opt out. And let me tell you, I’m so grateful that was the case. 

    If you start saving for retirement in your forties, it’s going to seem overwhelming. If you start saving in your twenties, it’s going to be a hell of a lot easier and more painless.

    When it comes to saving for retirement, the most important factor you should look at first is whether your employer offers a match on your 401(k). If they do, take advantage of it. This is literally free money. Try to contribute as much as they’ll match. 

    If you can do more than that, that’s great. But if you’ve got a lot of debt to tackle, I would hit your employer match and then turn your attention to the debt. 

     

    Make a plan to pay off your debt

     

    If you’re going to prioritize paying off your debt, you need to have a plan in place. And no, making the minimum payment on all of your debts every month doesn’t count as having a plan.

    As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, my husband and I are currently in the process of paying off six figures of debt (around $150,000 to be more specific). 

    Had we continued to make all of our minimum payments every month, we would have been paying off that debt for literally the rest of our lives. And after putting a plan in place to pay it off faster? We’re scheduled to pay it off in about seven years. 

    As you can see, there’s a pretty big difference there, and it’s all because we made a plan.

    To make our debt payoff plan, we used the tool Undebt.it.

    The first thing you’ll do when you sign up for Undebt.it is to add all of your debt accounts. This means consumer debt, car loans, student loans, and any other debt you’re carrying. 

    Next, Undebt.it will prompt you to decide in what order you want to prioritize your debts. Essentially they’re asking if you want to do a debt snowball (where you prioritize the lowest debt amount) or the debt avalanche (where you prioritize the highest interest rates).

    From what I read, the debt snowball seems to be a lot more popular. I understand, as paying off small debts can give you a lot of motivation. If that’s what you need, go for it. 

    We chose to go with the debt avalanche instead. Because of the amount of debt we have, paying off the high-interest debt first is going to save us tens of thousands of dollars in interest. 

    Once you’ve added all of your debts and have chosen what order you want to tackle them in, Undebt.it is going to ask you how much money you want to put toward debt every month. 

    This part is challenging and totally comes down to what fits within your budget. Try to find a number that is quite a bit more than just your minimum payments, but still low enough that you have money to save and money to live a little. 

    I know there are plenty of people who think you shouldn’t spend any fun money until you pay off debt. I 100% don’t fall into that camp. If it’s going to take me years to pay off debt, my husband and I are going to go out to eat and go see our favorite bands while we’re at it. My opinion is that you should still set aside some money for things that bring you joy. 

    Once you’ve got your number, you’re done! At this point, Undebt.it will tell you when you’re scheduled to pay off your debt. You’ll have to go in monthly and manually enter the payments you’ve made. As an alternative though, you can sync Undebt.it with the budget app You Need a Budget (YNAB), and it will automatically keep up to date with your balances. 

     

    Make a commitment not to go back into debt

     

    Paying off debt is glorious. We’ve got a long way to go before we’re debt-free, but even paying off just one debt is an amazing feeling.

    But paying off the debt isn’t enough. 

    For all of this to work, you also have to commit to yourself to never go back into debt (outside of a mortgage). 

    In some cases, this will be easy. Most of us aren’t planning to take on more student loan debt after we pay ours off. 

    But what about credit cards? Can you commit to never putting something on a credit card if you don’t already have the money to pay it off?

    Can you commit to saving up to purchase cars in cash rather than taking out a loan? 

    After paying on my car loan for years, I was determined that we’d purchase our next car in cash. It might not be the nicest car, but it feels pretty darn good not to be making payments on it. 

     

    Once the debt is gone, go all-in on saving

     

    When you get to this point, you’ve done the following:

    • Build an emergency fund
    • Put enough into your 401(k) to get your employer match
    • Paid off all of your debt (YAY!)

    I haven’t made it to this stage yet — we’ve got a way to go on our debt. But I can only imagine how great it feels to be debt-free. We’re probably years away, but I’m already planning what I’m going to do with that extra $2,000 per month when the debt is gone.

    For many people, it’s probably tempting to spend that extra money. It’s like getting a huge raise, right?

    And while I totally agree that becoming debt-free means you can start using some of that money on wants instead of needs. 

    But this is also the time to up your savings game in a big way. 

    First, this means building a hefty job-loss fund for yourself. Aim for six months of expenses in case you and/or your spouse lose your jobs. 

    Now that you have more disposable income, you can also start putting more into your retirement account. The younger you start saving for retirement, the more you can take advantage of that compound interest! 

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    I know so many people stress out about whether they should be saving first or paying off debt. I struggled with this dilemma for years. 

    The good news is that you can do BOTH.

    It is possible to save a solid emergency fund to help you out in a tough situation, while also slaying your debt. 

     

     

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  • The Best Personal Finance Blogs for Women

    The Best Personal Finance Blogs for Women

     

    I first started reading female personal finance blogs a few years ago out of absolute necessity. 

    I had recently gone through a divorce and was pretty much at financial rock bottom. I decided it was time to educate myself, so I started reading personal finance blogs to learn everything I could about managing my money. 

    The blogs I found most helpful were the ones specifically geared toward women. Women have entirely unique financial needs, and I love reading sites that cater to them. 

    Over the past few years, I’ve found so many amazing personal finance blogs. I was even inspired to rebrand my site to start talking about personal finance. 

    In this post, I’m sharing some of my absolute favorite female personal finance blogs to help you take control of your money and reach your financial goals

     

    The Best Personal Finance Blogs for Women

     

    The Financial Diet

     

    The Financial Diet is one of the first blogs I found when I started diving into personal finance content. The Financial Diet started as a personal blog years ago, but it’s grown into a daily online magazine sharing personal finance content for women. 

    One of my favorite things about The Financial Diet is that because they have a large crew of writers (myself included!), you get many different perspectives. 

    Not only does The Financial Diet post daily blog content, but the founder also has a podcast where she interviews influencers and money experts about financial topics. 

     

    Making Sense of Cents

     

    Making Sense of Cents is one of the biggest female personal finance blogs out there. Michelle started the blog years ago as a way to document her own money journey, but it’s turned into a lot more than that. Now it’s one of the most popular blogs out there. 

    One thing I really love about this blog is that despite how much Michelle has grown her site (she makes six figures per month), she still keeps it personal and makes it feel like she’s talking directly to her readers. 

    Not only does Michelle share personal finance advice, but she also helps to teach others to start and grow their own blogs. 

     

    Clever Girl Finance

     

    Clever Girl Finance is a personal finance blog for women. The blog was started by Bola, who started the site to share her financial expertise. Bola is a Certified Financial Education Instructor who was able to save six figures in just three years. 

    I love that the information that Bola shares is directed at women, who have entirely unique financial needs. Not only does the site share financial blog posts, but Bola also offers financial courses and a podcast. 

     

    HerMoney

     

    Rather than being a personal finance blog from someone sharing their money story, HerMoney is a digital media company that shares personal finance content for women. 

    HerMoney was started by Jean Chatzky, someone who spent two decades reporting on finance topics. The site focuses on improving the relationships women have with money. 

     

    Stefanie O’Connell

     

    Stefanie O’Connell has become one of my go-to bloggers for personal finance information specific to women. Stefanie, like so many twenty-somethings, found herself living a life she couldn’t really afford.

    One of the things that most drew me to Stefanie’s website doesn’t teach you how to pinch every penny you can. Instead, she helps women increase their income and manage their money so that they don’t have to sacrifice the lifestyle they want.

     

    Fitnancials

     

    One thing I love about female personal finance blogs is that so many of them share the story of women who were going through a hard time in their lives and were able to turn things around. 

    On Fitnancials, Alexis shares how she turned her life around when she was struggling financially. Alexis teachers her readers about how to manage their money, as well as how to increase their income. 

     

    Catherine Alford

     

    I first came across the blog Catherine Alford when I was looking around for advice on getting started with freelance writing. Not only does Catherine share great freelance writing advice, but she also shares great finance advice. 

    Like many other personal finance bloggers, Catherine started her blog as a way to share her own financial journey. 

    She shares articles on her blog, but I especially love the content she shares on Instagram. She hops on Instagram Stores weekly to share a money tip, and shares lessons based on what she’s going on with her personal money journey. 

     

    Afford Anything

     

    Afford Anything is a personal finance blog written by a woman who, like so many others, had a desire to ditch her 9-5 job for a life with more freedom. 

    Paula, the writer behind the blog, learned everything she could about personal finance. She learned to save more money while also boosting her income. 

    As someone who recently made the leap from employee to self-employed, Paula’s blog has offered great advice and been a confidence booster when I worried about whether this lifestyle was really possible for me. 

     

    And Then We Saved

     

    And Then We Saved is a blog that focuses on helping women to get out of debt fast. Anna started the blog as a way to share her own debt payoff journey and now helps other women with theirs. 

    In addition to sharing blog posts about paying off debt, Anna also has a book and boot camp course both dedicated to the same mission. 

    As someone who’s currently in the middle of a pretty huge debt-free journey, I’ve really appreciated what Anna has to offer! 

     

    Wander Wealthy

     

    If you’re an entrepreneur (or an aspiring one) then Wander Wealthy is definitely the blog for you. Tess, the blogger behind the site, started off talking about personal finance topics and has since transitioned into sharing financial advice for business owners. 

    Tess teaches female business owners how to pay themselves a livable wage, set and hit revenue goals, and learn the ins and outs of keeping the books for your business. 

     

    Women Who Money

     

    Women Who Money is a personal finance blog that was started by women for women. The site was started by two women who reached financial independence and left their full-time jobs to help women with their money.

    This blog focuses on issues that women want to hear about including making career decisions or starting a business, improving your financial situation, and saving for retirement. 

     

    Financial Best Life

     

    There are plenty of personal finance experts out there who focus on teaching you to spend less money and pinch your pennies. I always appreciate the ones who focus on helping women to afford the lives they actually want. 

    On her blog Financial Best Life, Lauren teaches women how to control their money, increase their income, and reach their financial goals. 

     

    Dear Debt

     

    If you’re in the process of paying off debt, then Dear Debt is the blog for you. On this site, the writer Melanie shared her journey of paying off $81,000 in debt. 

    Now, Melanie teaches other women to pay off their debt. Not only that, but she also teaches women how to pay off debt without sacrificing their mental health, which we all know can be an uphill battle. 

     

    Girls Just Wanna Have Funds

     

    Girls Just Wanna Have Funds is one of the OG personal finance blogs for women. Ginger started the site as a way to help and inspire women to create financial security for themselves. 

    One of the things that really drew me to Ginger’s blog is that she talks about her journey of starting over financially after leaving her marriage. I related to this so much when I left my own marriage and was left financially broken. 

     

    How to start a personal finance blog

     

    When I first started my blog, I didn’t talk about finance at all. In fact, I didn’t know anything about finance at all. Instead, it’s something I became passionate about after my divorce and began sharing my own money journey.

    Like so many other female personal finance blogs, I’ve found sharing my money journey to be incredibly motivating, as well as a great way to connect with other women going through the same things I am. 

    If you’re considering starting a personal finance blog yourself, I 100% recommend it! Here’s how to get started:

    1. Decide what to blog about. This part can be hard, but you can always change it later! Just think about what topics you’re interested in, and topics that you already know a lot about.

    2. Choose a domain name. Try to choose a domain that matches your niche or your own name. I just use my own name!

    3. Secure your social media handles. You’ll want to make sure that your social media handles match your domain, so grab those ASAP.

    4. Sign up for a hosting plan. If you’re starting your blog in WordPress (which I highly recommend), you’ll have to sign up for hosting. The provider that I recommend and personally use is SiteGround. I’ve never had an issue with them and they have amazing customer service! Plus their plans start at only $3.95 per month!

    5. Install a theme. Your theme is the framework for your blog design. Pretty much all themes are super customizable, so it’s best to just choose one and get started. My favorite choice is the Divi Theme because it’s a drag and drop theme that allows you to design your blog however you want without knowing any code.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Reading personal finance blogs has hands-down been one of my favorite ways to learn as much as possible about finance. 

    Not only do personal finance blogs allow you to learn about all things money, but it allows you to do it from so many different perspectives. You really learn that everyone has their own story and challenges to overcome. 

    I hope that some of these blogs can help you to start tackling your own money journey!

     

     

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