Common mistakes women make with money

August is National Woman’s month, and taking control of your finances is the best way to celebrate being a woman.

“Woman need to take responsibility and be financially smart with their finances,” says Eunice Sibiya, head of Consumer Education at FNB.

“Women sometimes don’t have the confidence or think they don’t have the knowledge to be involved with the family finances,” says Sibiya. “This is a big mistake, you need to get involved, understand what debt your family has as well as what policies, insurances and savings.”

It is also a good idea to understand what has been put in your name, be it the house or the car. This will give you far more control over and understanding of what is happening with the income that is coming in.

“One important aspect is savings; you should never rely on someone else to provide for you later in life. If you are single start a savings plan as soon as possible, and if you have a partner, understand what savings you have as a family and what you can do to contribute.”


Don’t feel pressurised to spend

Women are a soft target for impulse and emotional buying. Before buying anything, take the time and ask yourself, do I really need it and why do I want it. There is no need to spend money on yourself every month, maybe treat yourself once every couple of months.

Put yourself first

“Whether it is your children or your family, women tend to put other people first and their finances suffer as a consequence,” says Sibiya. “Remember that children don’t understand the value of money, unless you are disciplined and teach them.”

The same goes to lending money to family and friends, rather send them to a financial planner or help them set up a budget and financial goals.

Understand your household spending

Studies show that in sub-Saharan Africa women’s earnings are more likely to be spent on basic needs for family survival*. Men were more likely to spend their earnings on alcohol, tobacco, music system and other personal items.

“Along with your family, find out what you as a family are spending and then draw up a budget,” suggests Sibiya. “You will be surprised to see how small purchases can add up and where, as a family you can save. It is also important to note what you are spending on groceries and food for the family. Budgeting as a family will certainly help you realise your financial goals easier since there’ll be a collective effort from all the family members.”