A new study of Census from market research firm, Reach Advisors, shows that unmarried women without children under age 30 are earning 8 percent more than their male counterparts, yet only one in 10 women ages 25-34 has a financial plan in place. Too many of you tweet me saying I’m 30 and in debt, I have no savings or I take care of everyone else. It’s time to stop the madness. Here are 8 money tips that have solidified my plan. #1 Start saving. Whether it’s $5 or $500, I’ve been saving consistently since I started working more than 15 years ago. Do the same and watch the dollars and cents add up. #2 Read, read, read. If you’re unsure about the path to proper money management, study how the pros and regular folks, just like you and me, do it. Some of my favorite finance books are The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. It was here that I found out that wealthy people: (1) Own businesses; (2) Buy American cars; and (3) Shop at Wal-mart. It’s how they grow and stay rich. #3 Build multiple streams of income. If you’ve been doing your girlfriends hair, cooking dinners on Fridays, or planning parties for the family for free, then stop it! At least until someone starts paying you. Other ways to make some extra money? Sell your extra stuff (read clutter) on eBay, partner with a consignment shop, get a part-time job (go to indeed.com for positions in your neighborhood) or tutor a neighborhood child. #4 Build an emergency fund. I started this fund about 10 years ago and it continues to grow nicely. These funds should equal 3 to 6 months of your income. Stash the cash in a separate low-interest bearing account that you can access quickly if necessary. #5 Shop like a frugal fashionista. Yes, ladies. You can be fly on a dime. If you want to rock the latest coach, for example, rent it for $5 at www.bagborroworsteal.com <http://www.bagborroworsteal.com> . For fashions, shop sample sales at shefinds.com, snoop around TJMaxx, Loehman’s, Macy’s clearance racks, even Target for the latest deals. And for up-to-the-minute news on all things cheap and chic, visit Kathryn Finney’s site www.thebudgetfashionista.com <http://www.thebudgetfashionista.com> . #6 Watch your bank account. Debit cards can zip money out of your checking account in a flash! Ever pay your cell bill through your phone? I did that this morning and the money is already deducted. Dang. The best way I stay on top of too much cash coming out of my checking account is to bank online and watch my balance like a hawk. Here’s a Tanisha’s Tip: Take it old school and start using your check register to actually track your spending. #7 Use cash. I love, love, love this one. In the 2010, cash is definitely king again. For me, it’s the best way to keep a good count of what I have and what I don’t. Using cash forces you to think first, spend second, instead of the other way around. Put cash in your pocket more often, and it will put an end to over-the-limit fees, bounced checks and mindless spending that can come easy with a debit card. #8 Invest in yourself. Ok, if you’re taking care of your mama, brother, daddy and your man, I’m talking to you. One big reason why our wealth numbers are not as high as they could be is because we are investing our dollars, time and energy into someone else’s success. Instead of spending thousands on pookey’s back-to-school, invest more money into your company’s 401k plan or open an individual retirement account. Doing so will help you leave your little a legacy and break the destructive cycle in our homes of leaving our loved ones in debt. For more tips on financial freedom visit ESSENCE’s Women’s Conference, click here.
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