Some women seem to have it all together. Their lipstick never smudges, they’re never late for work, and they know all there is to know about their 401(k) plan. They throw out words like “interest rate,” “savings account,” and “direct deposit” without a hint of fear in their voice — they’re smart about their finances, and they know their stuff when it comes to making financial decisions.
Okay, so maybe we can’t help you out with your lipstick and commuting woes, but we can help you out with your money. You too can be knowledgeable about every aspect of your financial situation, regardless of where you are monetarily. Whether you’re interested in building a fortune, paying off your student loan debt, or you’re somewhere in the middle just trying to figure it all out, there are simple steps you can take in order to take control of your financial situation once and for all.
Not sure where to begin? We get it. There’s a lot to keep track of. But there’s one simple place to start: find a bank that understands you. That’s why we love Radius Bank — it’s the perfect bank for the modern woman, the kind of Everygirl who understands that a life well lived is a life well financed. Radius Bank allows you to manage all of your banking needs online — so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of waiting in lines or having confusing conversations with a stranger. Radius Bank understands that you’re busy and that you’re smart — so they’re not going to treat you like you’re not. Want to get in on the action? Read on for the lessons you should know when it comes to your finances (and how the right bank can help you get to a place of financial security once and for all).
1. They stick to a budget — always.
First things first, you have to know your own necessities and how much they cost. Even those who have lots of disposable income know how much they can afford to spend on what. We’re not here to tell you how much to spend on rent, on groceries, or on fancy specialty cocktails — but we are here to tell you that you should decide what’s the best amount for yourself. Once you’ve factored how much you can afford to spend on something, STICK TO IT. An easy way to hold yourself accountable? Use an app to maintain your self-set restrictions. With Radius Bank’s mobile banking app, you can set up alerts to remind you when you’re spending too much and when you need to pay your bills, — and you can even pay those bills (and outstanding IOUs from your friends) right there in the app. Goodness knows I have trouble talking myself out of making big irrational purchases, but now I have no excuse but to stay on top of my necessities — which is the first step to becoming financially secure.
2. Their financial goals are lofty yet attainable.
There’s a pretty common rule in financial planning called the 50/30/20 Rule. This states that you should spend 50% of your income on necessities like food and rent and 30% on discretionary and incidental purchases — and that the remaining 20% should go right into your savings. But when you put money into your savings, what is it there for? It’s important to note that those savings are not meant to be a rainy-day fund or a big splurge. Theoretically, you should have enough money saved to feel comfortable and taken care of should disaster strike — should you lose your job, become seriously ill, or experience some other life-altering situation that would cost you a lot of money. The necessary amount of money you would require to live on is different for every person — but a good place to start is to calculate six months’ worth of living expenses (everything from rent and car payments to groceries and utilities — and don’t forget the small monthly tabs for things like Photoshop subscriptions, monthly parking or public transit fees, and that Spotify account), then keep that much in savings.
That being said, once you have that portion of your earnings saved for emergencies (and retirement), it’s also useful to save up for more exciting things as well. Whether you’re saving for the down payment on a house, a big trip to Europe, or just the financial freedom to feel confident ordering guac on your burrito bowl, it’s important to always have something to work toward. Having something to reach for is important because it will force you to save, to give special consideration to certain purchases, and to build toward positive assets for yourself. But here’s the catch: setting too outrageous of a goal may cause you to lose patience and digress. Make yourself a goal you can attain within the year, then don’t stop til you get there! There’s no better feeling than checking a major item off of your #adulthood to-do list.
Additionally, something all financially savvy women know is that one of the best ways to save extra money is to do so “passively.” While we don’t all have investments that pay off without us lifting a finger, choosing the right personal savings account can provide passive income as well. Radius offers users who have savings balances of $2,500 or more to earn 1.20% APY — so your savings account will grow without you even trying.
3. They don’t waste money.
Do you really need that $4 latte? Did you get fined for forgetting to put more money on the parking meter? Do you honestly use both Netflix and Hulu? While some small charges are super necessary, others fly by without you even noticing. Avoid unnecessary charges (for things like tickets, forgetting to cancel certain services, or allowing companies to charge you automatically) by staying on top of everything that costs you money. Eat out less (I know, I know), check your accounts to see what apps and services you’re paying for without realizing it (I once paid for 6 months of an HBO subscription that I never used — all because I wasn’t paying attention), put auto-renew dates in your planner, and get in the habit of making small changes to your lifestyle in an effort to avoid unnecessary fees for violations (Re-load that parking meter, stop canceling already-requested Uber rides, walk instead of taking the bus…) — all those small charges will add up, and you’ll be saving before you know it. Think ATM fees are one of those stupid unnecessary charges? Yep, you’re not wrong. Radius will let you withdraw from any ATM and will always reimburse those pesky ATM fees for you. So feel free to cash out, girlfriend — free of guilt!
4. They always know where they stand.
Your entire life is managed on the go. You call a car at the push of a button (#ThankYouUber), you can order lunch delivery without leaving your desk chair (I once ordered McDonald’s to the office twice — in the same day #ThankYouUberEats), and now, thank goodness, you can check your bank balance on your phone as well. If I can find a boyfriend on my phone, I sure as heck should be able to do other more practical things on there as well. I’ve always wanted an app that gives me everything I need to know about my personal balance without having to visit a physical location or swipe into an ATM, and now I have one. Log in from anywhere and from any device — not only can you make transfers, check balances, deposit checks (my personal favorite), AND scroll through all your recent transactions (Yes, you really did spend $40 on margaritas last night…), but you can also find nearby ATM locations too. So grab your cash, drink your margarita, and stop stressing — Radius has got you covered.
5. They know that every person’s situation is unique.
Your salary, debt, and rent are all different from those of your friends and family — so why should you act like everyone’s situations are the same? It does no good to compare yourself and your finances to anyone else’s, so customize your experience to fit your own needs. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t stress about loans the way your friend does, but also don’t feel embarrassed when you need to clarify what exactly it means to get a Roth IRA. The most important thing you can do to be financially intelligent is to admit there’s always more to learn, always more to save, and always room to grow.
Not really sure where to start when it comes to tackling all that growing room? Check out Radius Bank’s online class, Money Management Academy, to learn to become more financially savvy and aware of your own financial situation. Sections of the class take less than 10 minutes to complete, so you can fit financial strength into the morning commute, those few minutes while your coffee cools down, or that awkward time waiting in line for your takeout order.
Financially smart women know that the right bank should fit into your life, not the other way around. Interested in learning more about the many benefits of Radius Bank’s personal banking services? Check out www.radiusbank.com — you won’t believe you didn’t switch over sooner.
What are your best tips and tricks for staying on top of your finances? What’s the best financial advice you’ve ever received?
This post was in partnership with Radius Bank, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.