Building a budget has huge benefits, for women in particular. Here’s some help if you find it a little bit scary.
Budget. The “B” word. How many of us cringe when we hear it? The word budget elicits different reactions: fear, anxiety, or indifference. Rarely, though, does the word make us jump with joy.
As women, we hear many myths relating to our ability or inability to manage money. One of these myths is that women don’t know how to handle money, or anything related to finance. Global trends, however, indicate otherwise: in the Asia-Pacific region, the vast majority of entrants into the accountancy profession are now very much tipped in favour of females.
In Canada, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants reports that over a quarter of its current membership is female and that number is growing – while the gender breakdown is 50/50 among its accounting students. The Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau in the U.S. cites, “accountants and auditors as 61.8% female, tax preparers as 65.9% female and tax examiners and collectors as 73.8% female.”
Why then does the myth persist? Because women also believe it. As a result, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when women get into debt because they claim they don’t have enough money. In reality, one reason why women don’t have enough money is the inequity of salary between women and men. Men are still paid more than their female counterparts. According to an article in Hong Kong Business, the wage gap between men and women here in Hong Kong reached 22.2%!
Another factor is that women are usually the default money handlers in the home. Often, they are the ones who see the bills and pay them, all while allocating and juggling their monetary resources. As a result, women are the ones who experience the anxiety and stress of managing the household finance and debt.
Create A Budget
Creating a budget can bring you great benefits. Some of the benefits are: 1) a budget helps you organise your spending and savings, and 2) keeps you focused on your money goals. According to The New Savvy, the average Hong Kong household spends per month (approximately): $9,473 for housing, $7,539 for food, $2,205 for transportation, $887 for clothing and footwear, $738 for utilities, $149 for alcohol and tobacco and $984 for miscellaneous goods. And that’s an average. Your family may spend a lot more (or less), but knowing just how much is key to being able to save for your future.
Start to create a budget by using a simple budget planner. Just input how much money you have, what your expenses are (this includes rent and utilities, along with other items) and soon you’ll have a general idea of just how much money you can spend on everything from food and drink to transport and more.
Get The Family Involved
Although you and your partner will oversee the budget, it’s good to get the kids involved. If they get an allowance, explain why they are given that specific amount and how they can also get themselves on a budget. You’ll raise some wise spenders by doing so!
Input real numbers into your budget. Don’t forget entertainment, travel, medical expenses and other items that you don’t want to be surprised by. Hong Kongers should always includes taxes in their budget, as the final bill often comes as a surprise to many. Remember to include clothing and school expenses (uniforms, new shoes, sportswear and more).
Life brings changes, and often times that includes raises, bonuses and more. Don’t let a tight budget depress you; nothing stays the same forever!