This post first appeared on Essence
Black women are making the majority of financial decisions in our households, whether we are married or not, yet we are lagging far behind in the wealth gap, with an average net worth of less than $6,000 according to a recent Pew Center report. Even though we may be educated, paid and gifted, the unfortunate truth is that many of us find ourselves not just living check-to-check, but living check-to-Monday and still a long way from achieving the financial goals and the retirement security of our dreams. Here are eight tips to help you get back on the road to financial freedom just in time for summer.
1. Track your spending.
That’s right, each and every penny. Why? Because some say “money talks,” but I say “money walks” away from you quietly and you don’t know where it went! In order to find additional money to add to your retirement account, pay off debt, or save for a special summer splurge, you must get control of your cash flow so you can make better decisions. Get a real journal or check out an app like Mint that links to your bank account.
2. End your spending addiction.
That’s when you go into a store with the intention of buying toothpaste, but you walk out with $179.47 worth of stuff you don’t need! We’ve all been guilty of it, and if we’re honest with ourselves, we can all find ways to skim some of our unplanned and unnecessary spending and use that money to help build our financial goals.
Break up with your coffee shop. Instead, pick up your favorite blend at the grocery store, add your favorite flavored cream, get generic hot chocolate packets for a rich mocha flavor, and if you absolutely must flaunt like you’ve actually visited the coffee shop, get the decorated cups at your local discount warehouse. You can save $1,500 or more this year alone.
4. Disconnect your landline
Chances are, you and every breathing soul in your household owns a mobile phone. If you’re holding onto your landline for a fax purposes, get the QuickFax App on your mobile device and send faxes for a few dollars. The number of faxes you need to send is probably not worth the $600 – $2400 spent annually per household or business on landlines.
5. Negotiate a lower phone bill
If they tell that you must be a “new” customer, ask the boss’s boss if you need to leave them to become new again! Chances are, they won’t want to lose you as a customer and will find a way to keep your business and save you a few dollars that you can add to your retirement account.
6. Let your kids help out
Your kids will learn to value work and money from you. Try giving them chores like making their own beds, doing their laundry, or helping with landscaping as a way for them to learn how to earn their keep. This is a great way to build responsibility and add a few extra dollars to the nest egg.
7. Trade meetings for conference calls
If you are a part of a club or sorority that requires regular meetings, minimize the in-person gatherings and conduct the majority of your business via conference call. It’ll increase the available cash you can allocate towards goals by ending the sudden-hunger-because-of-the-environment spending, preserve your time and gasoline, and help you keep a few pounds off in the process.
8. Find your tribe
Get involved in a financial education program and stay connected to people who have similar financial goals. Les Brown says people fail in life because they don’t know what they don’t know and they think they know. So get in the know and join the W.E.A.L.T.H.y movement for free at Thewealthportal.Net and listen to the free W.E.A.L.T.H. Talks on the W.E.A.L.T.H.y World App. The only difference between where you are and where you want to be financially is the choices you make. A penny saved really is a penny earned.
Dr. Lynn Richardson is an author, entertainment executive and celebrity financial coach. She is co-founder of the W.E.A.L.T.H. Experience, CEO of MC Lyte’s Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, and Sunni Gyrl entertainment and celebrity management firm. She is the author of several books including Living Check Beyond Check to Monday: A Spiritual Path to Wealth and Prosperity.