While money may not make the world go ‘round, it certainly helps. For womxn of colour especially, having financial literacy and being financially independent are key to leading our own lives and feeling secure.
As Octavia Ramirez, Founder and CEO of Paper & Coin, says, “Without finance, there is no real well-being.” Physical endurance. Mental health. Financial fitness. They’re all equally important.
Not only is having sound finances sure to deter stress, but also many of the things we look to to care for ourselves and expand our wellness require some form of financial backing: food for nourishment, rent for our own space, and therapy to fortify our mental health, to name a few.
Like many of us, Octavia grew up in a household that didn’t discuss money or finances openly, so when it was time for her to begin managing her own money, it was a big wake-up call. Some of us, whichever stage of life we’re currently in, are still trying to figure it out. She shared her top tips for spending, saving, and taking control of your money.
Everyone needs a budget, regardless of income.
Budgets are for everyone. In fact, the more you make, the more you need a budget to keep track of your money. And that’s what a budget is: a way to organize your money, not a restrictive practice that makes you feel like you’re pinching pennies.
Organize and plan your budget every paycheque.
Doing this will keep you from obsessively checking your budget—being on top of your finances is healthy, but clicking into your spreadsheet every 20 minutes is stressful. When you choose to organize and delegate your money on the day it comes in, you know where everything is going, and you don’t have to worry about updating anything until the next paycheque.
Take care of your essentials first.
It may feel like getting your nails done is an essential, but it’s not. Make sure you’re covering your cost of living first. That’s rent, groceries, phone bill, and things like that. This will help to highlight what exactly it is you need to survive, and how much money that takes to maintain. It’s important to be aware of this baseline.
Be intentional with where your money is going.
Have a plan for your money. Perhaps you’ve determined 50% of your income will cover your cost of living. From here, perhaps you can commit 15% of your income toward savings. Create a system of intention with your money so you always have a place for it to go. There’s peace of mind when you know where your money is going before it’s even gone there.
Financial wellness requires practice.
Full truth: finances are intimidating. But once you dive in, begin gaining knowledge, and best, know where your money is and where it’s going, you’ll gain confidence and comfort. Start your budget, tweak for your goals, and absorb everything you learn along the way.
Money is a scary thing, but it can also be empowering. What do you want your future to look like 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years down the road? You can control that. Start with these small tips and ways today and soon you’ll feel knowledgeable and in control of your finances and your future. Just like putting savings away, every little bit counts.
Are you ready to take control of your money? Here are some resources for you.
Paper & Coin offers a free digital seminar on How to Budget, complete with a budget template. They also have other free and useful financial resources worth looking into.
A range of tools and calculators, like credit card and bank account comparisons, to help you make informed choices about your finances.
Some beginner tips for saving, like what the difference between saving money and investing is.
Learn more about financial stress and how to manage it.