"Hi, I'm a shopaholic"
"This is a perfect time to re-evaluate where you're spending your money. Fixed expenses are increasing at tremendous paces," says Stacy Francis CFP, CDFA, president of both Francis Financial, Inc, a financial advisory firm and Savvy Ladies and Empowerment Circles, which run groups across the country that empower women to become knowledgeable about money. In fact, her empowerment circles promote the ability to talk about finances, create a supportive environment and even offer calls directly into Stacy one day per month for free input.Her overall advice? Start asking yourself key questions and keeping track of everything you spend (and we do mean everything
). "This is a great time to ask yourself where am I spending money? Could I be doing the same activity in a less expensive way?"
Get your game on
In order to figure out how the cash is going out the door, you need to evaluate your own spending patterns. One way, says Francis, is to keep track via your computer -- or even try the retro envelope way our grandmothers used to do it. Here's how it works: An envelope will contain a certain amount of cash representing your budget
for that particular month. "You'll automatically spend less
," she says. "When you've already spent the $300 in the envelope, you're not able to eat out any longer. Another method is to keep cash in an envelope or keep a piece of paper and cross it off."Another idea is to keep a notebook by writing down the date, what you bought and the amount. Write down absolutely everything down to the latte and even the parking meter." She also recommends financial software like Quicken or MS Money. "They can be fantastic — make sure it's easy for you to use." They only drawback? They can be expensive, but beneficial in the long run.
Show me the money!
Another way to not only watch your spending habits
is to increase your income. "The sky's the limit!" says Francis. "Ask for a raise. Create a little business idea such as making jewelry. Ask for money from your family instead of birthday gifts."And when you're looking to not only rake in some cash but get rid of the clutter, think eBay, consignment shops, and yes, ventures like Recycle Your Riches (recycleyourriches.com). This a new endeavor that provides savvy women with the ability to purchase high-end designer bags and accessories (think first floor of Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman) and sell their high-end accessories without having to deal with buyers, taking pictures or any other hassles. For instance, RYR are collecting items to be sold for upcoming private sales occurring in Manhattan. (Also see our article "Consider consignment."
Stay the course
Above all, you need to think about your long-term goals and what you want most, not what you want in the moment. "One key of making it work is being enthusiastic — focus on what you want," Francis says.Dream big!More good stuff: