It’s not popular, I know. It is out of fashion to be thrifty. Your considered weird if you go out for dinner once a month instead of several times a week. If you have a steady income – it’s almost expected that you would buy yourself a little something every week or so. This has become normal. Women are under such pressure to shop, consistently change our wardrobes, toss last year’s skirt length for this year’s trend. It is relentless and the reality is that none of the spending will make us great. We won’t become more stylish – style is based on a consistent point of view that is the very opposite of following this year’s trend. In fact, the surest way to become stylish is to severely limit your clothing budget, focus on a limited repertoire and be consistent and loyal to that repertoire. Work it, as they say.
For the youthful great woman I say start investing and do it now. Do it with $100 bucks a month a look for opportunities to save that money – learn how to make a decent cup of coffee at home – give up pantyhose, whatever.
For those of us in mid-life or just beyond, do the same thing. You might be surprised at what is waiting for you in your closet; that you actually know how to make a great smoothie with any one of the multiple frothing implements you’ve accumulated over the years. Take a fresh look at your heaps of stuff, dust them off and put them to good use. We’re very fortunate – women just get better with age and we live a long time so imagine just how great you can become and how wonderful it will be to watch money accumulate, even if it is slowly, to help secure your independence and real quality of life through each of those glorious years.
The thing about saving and investing is they are accomplishments. Like making the bed in the morning, it’s an easy win. You will (trust me on this) be more confident because you are quietly accumulating money, even in small batches. In fact, the small batches are imbued with greater value because you are carefully nurturing them.
A few resources to get you started:
Thrifty: Living the Frugal Life with Style, by Marjorie Harris. Written in 2010 and still a fun and inspiring read.
Get Rich Slowly, Personal Finance that makes cents, a personal finance blog by William Cowie and a great resource to keep you thinking about money the right way
Mr. Money Mustache, Early Retirement through Badassity, more than a finance blog, it’s sort of a thrifty lifestyle blog that calls into question a lot of assumptions we make about money, work, lifestyle and what we need to be happy. A bit extreme, but makes you think.