SheSharp: Laura Nelson
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
I'll be honest, "financial health" is often the last kind of health I think about. Healthy relationships? Of course! Healthy food? Yup. Healthy outlook? You bet. But ever since our founding member and financial femme Laura Nelson, shared that term, it's been frequenting the top of my mind (and showed up in my IG feed). We need more women teaching us about wise financial choices, so I am so thrilled to have Laura in this edition, offering us essential tips and teaching us new ways to think about our finances.
Adulting is hard, so is being a business owner (especially during a pandemic!) Your financial health has control over every other facet of your life, so make sure that you are taking care of it and yourself. Money shouldn’t be a scary topic to openly discuss, so let’s start talking! Here are my money suggestions for any young woman, especially those starting out or paving their way in entrepreneurship.
1. Track your spending habits The first step to understand where all your money is going is to track it. There are many ways to accomplish this so find a method that works for you. You can keep a small notebook in your bag and write down all purchases when you make them or keep an envelope in there to collect receipts and write them down at the end of each day. Or, if you prefer using your phone find an app to help you track your spending. Doing this will make you aware of any unnecessary spending that is occurring. It will also give you an idea of how to set up your budgeting categories. 2. Control what you can control Sometimes it’s easier to just avoid the stress of finances and be blissfully unaware of what’s going on. The problem when you do this is that the bliss is short lived and the likelihood of running into a financial crisis is inevitable. The best thing you can do is set budgets for yourself and your business. You can have as many spending categories you need and can keep track of your budget via pen and paper, excel, or an app. Note that a budget is fluid and will change with you from month to month based on what’s going on. For example, your shopping habits in April will be different than those in December. It may take a couple of months to feel like you’ve really mastered how to put your budget together but stick with it! Taking control of your financial health will empower you more than you can imagine. Seriously. 3. Look for Opportunities Look over your expenses. Are there things you can trim right now till cash flow improves? Are there things that you can try to negotiate the cost of? Can you compare shop your materials? If you have a good relationship with your vendors, you can also try to ask them for a longer invoice period. Next, look over your cash flow. If you’re preforming services or selling goods, you can ask for a deposit when scheduling a project to cover the associated expenses plus some profit for you. You can also shorten your invoice time from 30 to 15 days to tighten up your cash flow. 4. Don’t give away your hard-earned money Money may be tight right now but don’t rely on credit cards to build your business if you can avoid it. The average credit card rate is 17%, which means that if you use your credit card to purchase inventory or cover expenses and don’t pay it off at the end of the month the credit card company will charge you interest on your full balance. You’ve worked too damn hard to just be giving away your money lady! If you can’t avoid using credit cards to help you cover expenses, make sure to have a realistic goal written down to pay them off as soon as possible and adjust your budget towards this goal.
5. Taxes Make sure you’re paying quarterly taxes as a small business owner. Do research or reach out to a tax professional to see how to estimate the payments. If you wait till you file your taxes to pay you potentially may be hit with penalties. 6. You are important Remember, above all it’s important to pay yourself first and build up an emergency savings if you don’t have one! No one else will do this for you, so make taking care of yourself and savings a priority. Start with saving a set amount of every job/sale/paycheck you make. Try and reach a savings amount of $1000 and work your way up to at least three months worth of expenses.
Laura Nelson is a Financial Coach at Emerge Financial Coaching, with almost a decade of experience in the banking industry and another five years as an entrepreneur. She loves all things having to do with credit building and personal finances, as well as spending time outdoors with her family in beautiful North Idaho. You can find her at The Hive, and on the web at emergefinancialcoaching.com.
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