We can thank Megan Thee Stallion for reminding us we are deserving of a #hotgirlsummer—full of fun, adventure, and self-acceptance. But what’s better than a set of “hot girl summer” memories? A matching set of “hot girl summer” money goals, of course. Because as we all know being carefree isn’t synonymous with being careless.
Here are a few money moves every #hotgirl should make before summer 2019 wraps up.
1. Learn a budget shortcut that works for you.
Budget shortcuts come in handy to self-assess how well you’re managing your income without complicated spreadsheets and diagrams. These two budget shortcuts can help you make smarter spending and savings goals for the rest of the summer.*
50/30/20 shortcut: This shortcut instructs you to divide your monthly or yearly income into this ratio: Fifty percent of your income is earmarked for your needs, which include food, housing, transportation, and medicine. Thirty percent of your income goes toward your wants—all of those experiences and items you consume for pleasure. You can use this money to pay down consumer debt and student loans as well. And finally, twenty percent of your income focuses on saving and investing.
70/15/15 shortcut: This budget shortcut divides your needs, wants, and money goals into different ratios. With this ratio, 70 percent of your income serves your basic needs. This shortcut may make more sense for you if you live in an expensive city or have a big family. Then, the first 15 percent goes toward retirement and savings while the second 15 percent pays for entertainment. As with the 50/30/20 rule, money for wants are used to repay debts. In this case, 15 percent of your income will go toward paying off debt if you have outstanding balances.
2. Put your youth to work.
If you’ve just entered the labor market, the idea of saving for retirement can seem so abstract and far away. But saving for retirement when you’re young is key to building a sizeable nest egg when you’re older because when you start savings is just as important as how much you save due to the beauty of compound interest. Essentially, compound interest amounts to earning interest on both the money you save and on the interest that money earns. So, an investment left untouched for a period of decades will be left to compound more times than an equal amount placed into savings later down the line.
To make compound interest your new bff, schedule a meeting with your human resources director within the next 48 hours to learn about employer-sponsored retirement options. Be prepared to listen, but also arrive prepared to ask about matching employee contributions, setting up automated deductions, and asking about financial education around funds in which they invest.
3. Sign-up for credit monitoring.
Earlier this summer, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other agencies reached a settlement with Equifax about its September 2017 data breach; this data breach leaked the personal information of over 147 million people making them vulnerable to identity theft and cyberthieves. Even if you were not one affected during this breach, it’s worthwhile to consider an extra layer of cyber protection. Generally, a credit monitoring service tracks your credit report and credit scores at all three national bureaus and notifies you of changes to your credit activity, such as the creation of new accounts or the type of hard credit inquiry necessary to make large purchases.
4. Have a summer sale.
Sell what you don’t need and use that money toward any of your end-of-year money goals (i.e. credit card debt, student loan debt, emergency fund, #travelnoire). To make your summer sale a success, here’s a quick game plan:
Plan with two sets of dates in mind. Consider holding your summer sale across a weekend with each sale day lasting at least six hours. Keep alternative dates in mind in case of inclement weather.
Presentation matters. Displaying items in an organized and thoughtful way gives the impression of higher price and value. Adding simple yet powerful details like price tags and quality bags for your customers to carry their items away in can add dollars to your bottom line.
Expect hagglers and prepare your responses. It’s normal to be firm on prices at the beginning of your summer sale. By the end of each day and certainly by the end of your summer sale, however, be open to reducing prices so you don’t have to worry about storing and hauling away unwanted items.
Be ready to receive cash or credit. Make sure you are prepared to say yes to every sale by offering options for payment. You can use a Square reader on your phone to swipe all major credit cards. Venmo and CashApp are great options for receiving money in real-time. As for cash, ensure that you have at least $50 dollars in singles at the start of your summer sale to avoid leaving money on the table because you couldn’t break a big bill.
Let everyone know. Social media has made it easier than ever to market your events for free. Devise a pre-summer sale social media strategy that clearly articulates all of the important details of your summer sale: date, time, location, items for sale, and accepted methods of payment. During your summer sale, jump on a live stream to give a real-time rundown about why you’re holding a summer sale, and encourage viewers to shop with you.
If you commit to executing at least one of these #hotgirlsummer money moves, you will witness your pockets grow, your savings account swell, and your financial life come all the way together in a short period of time.
Kara Stevens is founder of The Frugal Feminista, a personal finance site committed to helping black women heal their relationship with money, save for the fun and the future, destroy debt, and live life on their own terms.