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The Savvy Girls’ Guide to Budgeting
Ashely Feinstein was on a path of many other finance graduates. Fresh out of Wharton, she entered investment banking, but quickly realized it wasn’t for her. So she reinvented herself, re-imagining personal finance to make it relevant and fun. In 2013 Feinstein launched knowingyourworth.com, to help people understand how much they’re worth comprehensively, not simply the sum of their bank statements and pay checks.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started” said Mark Twain, and so Feinstein started budgeting. Budgeting is intrinsically related to the value you assign to each expenditure: how important is it for you to put your money into this specific item or project? To every budget is a goal, an end in mind. Feinstein’s was to increase her savings. She started asking herself questions, such as “At what level of savings would I be most comfortable?”; “How much should I maintain in my emergency fund?”; and “What do I consider an emergency?”
As a result, Feinstein developed the following experiment. Identify 10 expenditure keywords out of the many in the given list that speak to you. As simple as it reads, it helps you prioritize the most essential expenses in your life. Online, Feinstein entertains her followers as The Fiscal Femme. Armed with sparking infographics, Feinstein shows you, for example, how to create your happiness allocation chart enabling you to distinguish your wants from your needs. You figure out what habits need changing and what are the necessities you can get rid of.
Once expenditures are determined, it’s all about putting the money where your heart is, and getting to the bottom of what you really want. Strategizing becomes essential, as this pulls together all available choices for you to reach your goals.
When planning to achieve a goal, determine how each strategy affects your budget and the level of investment these require. Comparing your options allows you to figure out what is it that you’re giving up in order to fulfill a certain need or desire; you evaluate your opportunity costs.
Once strategies are defined, negotiating becomes your vessel to ensure that your vision comes true. Successful negotiation stems directly from knowing exactly what you want, and having guts to always ask for it. As she poses it: Ultimately what’s the worst that can happen? What have you got to lose?
Negotiating compensation is often considered among the trickiest of tasks. Before throwing yourself into the fire, research. Arm yourself with the necessary information to empower you against the person on the other side of the table.. In doing this, Feinstein encourages pushes you to think about the bigger picture, which includes your comprehensive net worth and the entire value you bring to the company and therefore what you should be receiving in return.
Feinstein’s website and blog encourage budgeting-strugglers to appreciate the wonders of compounding interest, which she says is arguably ”the eighth wonder of the world.” The earlier you start saving and accumulating interest, the more you can get creative with your happiness allocation. A penny that doubles every day is always a more profitable option than receiving $100 every day- precisely because of compounding.
If you trust the benefits of compounding interest, you will inherently become more diligent about your own expenses, especially monitoring and adjusting them accordingly. Keeping track of your expenses on a frequent basis becomes essential, in order to keep your cash flow under control. She recommends a “spending journal.” By recording your expenses, this in turn allows you to modify your budget, so that you can make the most out of your earnings.
The ultimate goal, beyond handling your personal finances successfully, is to ultimately make your overall happiness pie grow. The more you are in control of your expenses, the more you prioritize your wants and needs, the more you appreciate the frugal joys. Knowing what your worth is overall is really about increasing your overall happiness.
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