Women’s Day

Being a Woman Doesn’t Have to Blow Your Budget

Being a woman can be expensive when adding up money spent on make-up, skin products, clothing, handbags, shoes and a host of grooming services such as hair salons and nail bars.
“Women are often caught in a trap of spending on themselves without taking into account how much it is actually costing them,” said Eunice Sibiya, head of consumer education at FNB.
While it is unlikely that you will be convinced to completely cut out spending on beauty, it is a good idea to review expensive habits and see if there is a way to reduce costs.
These expenditures can cost thousands of Rand every year and the end result is not always obvious.
First you need to understand what you are actually spending on your beauty regime.
Add together all the trips to professionals during the month, which includes your hair, nails and other beauty costs. Also add up the amount of money spent on actual products and clothing.
“Compare this amount to money that you save every month or use towards paying off your debt.
“There is not much point looking after your image now if you aren’t looking after your future finances.”

Here are some expenses that you can cut down on or even cut out completely:
• Clean out the bathroom cupboard. Take a look at the difference between your bathroom cupboard and your spouse’s or even a male friend’s. You will most probably find it overflowing with various products including make-up, facial creams, perfumes and lotions. Make-up, skincare products and perfumes can be very expensive.
“And if you take a close look, you will probably find duplicates, or beauty care products that are half-used or haven’t even been opened.”
It is worth doing a full audit of your bathroom cupboard. If you have unopened bottles consider regifting them.
“Once you have cleaned out your bathroom cupboard, think very carefully before making your next purchase of another lipstick, perfume or lotion,” said Sibiya.
• Ditch the monthly salon visits. Women spend far more money on hair, nails and beauty care compared to men. Monthly trips to the hair salon or nail bar become very expensive.
“Using professionals for beauty is where women really start to rack up the unnecessary bills,” added Sibiya.
Most, if not all, of the professional beauty services can be done at home. This month try buying a bottle of nail polish you like and do your own nails. The majority of people won’t notice and it will help keep your bank balance healthy.
The same goes for hair care. Try choosing a hairstyle that is easy to maintain.
“It doesn’t mean that you should never get your hair done at a salon, but it is worth considering if having a hairstyle that is high maintenance and requires frequent trips to the salon is really worth the expense.”
• Shop smartly. Expensive clothes, shoes and accessories can make a big hole in your budget. The way to stop overspending at retail stores is to have a plan of action.
“Where we tend to fail is when shopping on impulse, which is nipping into a shop and coming out with new shoes or a dress without having budgeted or planned for it,” said Sibiya.
The best way to curb this is to firstly, avoid unplanned trips to retail stores altogether, or if you find yourself there don’t buy the item impulsively but come back the next day.
“Most impulse shopping are items we rarely need so waiting until the next day will more than often stop the buying of unnecessary clothing.”
• Another suggestion is to make use of end of range sales. There is no need to overspend on beauty. Smart planning, budgeting and being organised will go a long way to reducing expenses and start paying off debt or saving, which will have more impact on your life in the long run.

Entrepreneurship and Flexibility: The Big Trade-off for Women

One of the biggest reasons why women leave the corporate world to start their own businesses is the idea of having more flexibility to manage family and household responsibilities.
In “The Hidden Factors: SA Women in Business” research report, carried out by the Sage Foundation and Living Facts, 59 per cent of respondents had bought into the promises of self-employment; being paid to do what they love; to work when they want; and to use their skills to build their own businesses rather than someone else’s.
However, the research also found that, when it comes to entrepreneurship, time is in short supply – at least in the beginning. In fact, 19 per cent of women actually returned to corporate life because a nine-to-five job gave them more flexibility than self-employment.
“Flexibility is one of the drivers of becoming an entrepreneur. However, without adequate support structures in place to manage the administration and the financial side of the business and assist with family commitments, flexibility is eroded and entrepreneurs feel overwhelmed. Corporate provides a more structured environment – with both business support internally and a more defined line between work time and home time, allowing women to better manage their roles and responsibilities,” said Marylou Kneale, founder of Living Facts.
But those who stuck it out and put in the long hours in the first crucial years of business development, said that the hard work is worth it.
Once their businesses were thriving, they eventually got their flexibility back and so much more such as financial independence, a sense of purpose, and an important role in growing South Africa’s economy and empowering other women.
“Many women don’t realise how much time goes into starting and running a business and, often, a corporate job actually gives them more time to spend with their families. Many would-be entrepreneurs find it difficult to strike that balance between work and their personal lives.
“Changing gender stereotypes of who does what in a family and women overcoming their own reluctance to ask for help are key changes that could encourage female entrepreneurship,” said Joanne van der Walt, from Sage Foundation.
Those who have found the sweet spot between entrepreneurial success and flexibility said the secret is time management and prioritisation.

They offered the following advice to women who are considering venturing out on their own:
• Focus on your core business and delegate the rest. If someone else can do something better and cheaper than you could do it yourself, outsource it.
• Buy time by automating as many business processes as possible such as billing and accounts receivable. Streamline payments and accounting processes with reliable, secure online solutions.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Lean on your support network to help manage the household responsibilities. Arrange a carpool with other parents; ask your partner to hang the washing up or cook dinner this week. Everyone wants to see you succeed. Let them help you do that.
Entrepreneurship is hard work. Initially, you won’t have the flexibility you crave, but remember why you’re doing it in the first place.
When you realise your dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and when your empire starts to take shape, it will be so worth it.

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