Month: March 2020

For years I have been the “CFO” of my household. Over twenty plus years of marriage, I have paid the bills, done all of the investing, monitored the family budget and net worth, negotiated mortgages, and even have power of attorney for my husband, so that I can execute trades on behalf of him. We both have charities that are near and dear to our hearts, but we normally write a check for all of our donations from our joint account. Often, the thank you card we receive from the charity is addressed only to my husband. Ouch!

Over the past year I have had two charities which responded to our charitable donations with thank you cards made out only to my husband. Meanwhile, my name is listed first on the top of the check and I have a different surname than his. In addition, we continued to get mail from one of the organizations and, you guessed it; my name wasn’t included on that mailing either! Meanwhile, my husband does not even have his own checking account nor was he the one who originally decided to give to the charity. I had been the one who starting contributing and asking for information.

When I complained to the charity, it took them over 6 months for them to include me in their subsequent mailings. Still, even though I am the one who signed up for ongoing electronic communication, they only address my husband in the salutation of the correspondence sent to my email address.

As a female CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional, I respect that not all women want to take charge of their finances to the extent I do, but I believe that it is extremely important for women to be aware of their financial situation. That is why I insist that each spouse (or partner) is involved in the financial planning process and that they both provide feedback on my questionnaires as well as participate in ongoing discussions. If anything, women have a greater need to feel secure about their finances as the majority of females become solely responsible for their finances due to death, divorce, or choosing to stay single. The financial services industry often is derided for their treatment of women, both toward employees as well as clients. I can totally understand how women can feel disenfranchised by these institutions and society at times. We need to think about the subtle and not so subtle messages we send out to them that may be turning them off.

We are no longer living in the 50s. More women than men are graduating from college and obtaining graduate degrees. We are choosing to work even after we have children, and we often make most of the buying decisions for our households. With the growth of internet communication, we need to ensure that our databases are capturing the correct client data and responding to both spouses. It is essential that women not only feel they are being acknowledged, but that their input is being solicited in a proactive way.

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When it comes to couponing, my mother has instilled in me plenty of ways to save money across a variety of platforms. We did not have a ton of money growing up. My siblings and I each played a couple of sports each, there were three of us. Grocery bills were expensive, because we were growing and ate everything in site. So couponing at the grocery store was a big deal for us.

Another way my mother has instilled couponing in me is through apps. There are so many apps on your phone now that allow you to get some cash back for the shopping you do everyday. These are so easy for me now because it is at my fingertips. The other way I have learned to save money from my family is through online websites, just at Retailmenot. This allows me to do online shopping as I normally do, but get some money back in the process.

Whenever I think of the grocery, I think of coupons. When I was younger, we just had a Meijer card and we got coupons every time we went to the store at the checkout. My mother saved these in a file that was separated by category. We always looked in these when buying things we needed/wanted in order to see if we had a coupon.

Couponing for Beginners

However, nowadays it is a lot easier to access because there is an app on my phone that allows me to clip coupons and apply those at checkout. This has been incredibly helpful when I go grocery shopping, especially now that I pay for my own groceries. I am incredibly conscious when I go shopping at the grocery store to my coupons that I clipped before I went. Even if I do not have a coupon, I tend to buy things on sale. This allows me to save money even if I did not have a coupon. Since I grew up couponing with my family, I have continued to do it now that I pay for groceries on my own. I have even helped my roommates find ways to coupon at their favorite grocery store as well. Couponing has helped me keep a budget when it comes to my groceries, because I am on a limited budget.

The app that I consistently use is called Ibotta. This app allows you to scan any receipt and receive a small amount of money back from it. The money you get back is a small amount (sometimes only $0.01), but it is so easy to use. Any receipt you get from anywhere can be scanned, and this includes gas receipts and retail ones. It is a small way to get back some money from the things you already spend on. If you think about the amount of receipts you get, it is a simple one step way to get a small amount back. To me, anything I can get back for myself is a win. One that I do not personally use is called Coupons.com. It is similar to Ibotta, but you get points instead of money back. These points allow you to pick out gift cards after a certain amount of points.

Websites such as couponvario.com allow you to get rebates on online shopping. This is helpful because a lot of people shop through Amazon, etc. The rebates you receive depend on what you buy and how much it costs. However, the way I see it is anything you can get back is helpful. Especially for a college student like myself.

Other Way to Save Money

The biggest way I have learned to save money is by moving into an apartment my sophomore year of college. When I was younger, my parents used to get on me about turning lights off, and keeping the AC/heat down. It used to bother me how much they got on me about it, but then I started paying for those things myself. I learned how to manage my money and cut down costs in my apartment by experiencing what it was like to live how I thought I needed/wanted to. It opened my eyes to how much everything costs in the “real world”. Since living on my own, I have learned how to turn off lights when not using them, keep the AC/heat at a reasonable level. It taught me that by saving money on things like that, I could do things I really wanted to do.

Don’t buy everything at face value

Money was not highly discussed in my household growing up. We couponed at the grocery store, but we still did fun things. I played sports, so did my siblings. We went on family vacations occasionally. Since getting older, I have taught myself how to manage my money based on what I want to do with it, bills, and how much I make. I feel like my mother gave me a good foundation of managing money by showing me that you do not have to buy everything at face value.

Couponing is an easy way to save money, and still get what you want. The biggest tip I have learned in college is allowing yourself some give and take. For example, if I were to go out to eat on a Tuesday, I could not buy myself a shirt until my next paycheck. If my bills were a little bit higher this month, then I stayed home instead of going out one night. This allows me to do the things I want, while still being responsible with my money.

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