When it comes to money, women really have come a long way. But on average, women's financial experiences are still different from men's. Change won't happen overnight, but in the meantime women can still support and learn from each other — which is why we recently asked women in the BuzzFeed Community to share the financial advice they would give to other women.
Here's what they had to say:
1. "My high school teacher told me this: do not plan for another person's income to reach your goals."
3. "Have your own checking account!!! For real. Ladies, don’t slip up and let men take over the finances."
4. "Always have a separate, private bank account that you put a few dollars here and there into — even if you're single. Treat it like a savings account."
"When I was married, I had an account that he wasn't aware of. He was incredibly abusive and that account saved me and allowed me to get out. The same account years later sent me on vacations and helped me get through other life hurdles. It's amazing how quickly money can add up when you're saving a few dollars here and there."
5. "Be in charge of your finances (or be as in charge as your spouse, like a proper team). This will make you more knowledgeable and feel in control, therefore making it less stressful and even fun!"
6. "When combining finances with a partner, if there is a big gap in your salaries, combine a percentage of each income rather than a specific number."
"If one of you earns a lot more than the other and you both say we’ll put X amount into a joint bank account, someone is going to lose out. Either one of you will be putting in more than you can afford or one of you will be putting in a small amount with the other is shouldering the responsibility. Agree on a percentage of your salaries such as 50% to go into a joint bank account and budget your lives (housing, savings, holidays, bills etc.) around that amount. Keep the rest in your own account so that you have freedom to buy things you want without feeling guilty that you’re spending your joint money."
7. "Don't feel like you need to buy a ton of personal care products just because they’re marketed as 'necessary.' There are so many products for skincare, haircare, makeup, etc. that are not useful for every person."
8. "Buy a Mooncup, or Thinx [if you have periods]. Thinx were an investment and weren't cheap to begin with, but I've since made my money back three times over, and have saved a ton of landfill."
"I feel a lot better about my contribution to helping the planet, plus they're SO much more comfortable than other period products."
9. "When you feel your mascara is starting to get a little dry, add two to three drops of saline solution or eye drops in it, and continue using. You can do this a few times before fully giving up and moving onto a new one."
10. "A lot of sanitary product companies will try to trick you into thinking, Oh this is the bigger pack it must be more cost effective to buy that one. But (at least in British stores) if you look at the price tag, it should show you how the price you would pay is being divided. That way, you can find the cheapest way to purchase at the time."
11. "This is kind of basic but it helps me save a little every month. I subscribe to the $8 Ipsy bag. I get a makeup bag filled with sample size beauty products every month. I’m always so excited to see what I have that I rarely end up buying any others."
12. "Buy everything you can in the men's section: razors, basic shirts and shorts, running shoes, etc. Not only will you pay less, but depending on your body type, stuff may fit better."
On average, women pay more than men for similar products and services — aka the "pink tax." There's often no difference between the product marketed toward women and the same product marketed toward men — think about a simple, single-blade razor for shaving; one is pink and one is blue, but the pink one costs more. Self-care products like deodorant, lotion, and shampoo can cost around 13% more for women. And that money you save can go toward an emergency fund, a retirement account, and more!
13. "Don't buy extra food; cook what you have in the house."
14. "If you think you need/deserve to get a raise, ask for it. Don’t wait for it to be offered to you."
15. "The first time I interviewed for a full-time job, I wasn’t prepared to negotiate a salary or even give a ballpark. The interviewer, a woman who was the head of the department, encouraged me to research salaries for similar positions and experience, then be prepared to know my worth in my next interview."
16. "Apply to the jobs you think you're unqualified for. They're not requirements; they're a wishlist."
17. "Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues what they make. This is the best way to determine if you’re making what you are worth."
18. "Run an amortization schedule for whatever debt you are paying — school loan, car loan, home loan, etc. Make your regular payment, and an extra payment of the principal for that month."
"If you can't afford it on all your debt, do it for the debt with the highest interest rate. This will pay off your loan in around half the time, and save you a significant amount of interest."
If you're considering applying this ~wonderful~ piece of advice to your finances, there are a few small things you should know first: amortization means paying equal installments over time. This can lower the life of a loan, which means you can save on those interest charges. You can use a formula to calculate your amortized monthly payments, or you can plug your numbers into Bankrate's amortization calculator. Also, be sure to let your lender know that you want your extra payments to go toward principal, not next month's interest.
19. "If you can afford to, start putting extra repayments toward your mortgage from day one. It's especially important to do this in the first few years of your loan because the quicker you reduce the principal, the less interest you'll pay over the life of the loan."
20. "If you have student loans, pay them twice a month instead of once. This way, you are tackling compounding interest faster. Usually by the end of the year, you’ve saved at least one whole payment."
21. "To progress toward getting out of debt, pay as much as you can each month on your highest interest debt, even if it means you are only paying the minimum on your lower interest debts."
22. "Once you’re done with your debts (except your house) start saving your money and learn how to invest wisely. Don’t put your money in something you don’t understand."
23. "Have open credit accounts to help boost your credit score, but ALWAYS pay on time and DO NOT make purchases that you can't pay out of your bank account."
24. "If you work in a place where you receive cash tips, save 10–50% of it from each shift (depending on your situation). This will add up super quickly and you can use it on a trip or whatever you deem worthy!"
25. "START CONTRIBUTING TO YOUR 401(k)! If your employer offers any matching, max out that matching (free $$ for your future!)."
26. "This is more appropriate for UK audiences, but start paying a decent percentage into your pension as soon as you enter employment. Don’t wait until you’re in your thirties."
"People always underestimate how long they’ll live for and what they will need or want to live off when they do retire. You could be retired for 30+ years and potentially need £20k a year to live off, depending on your circumstances. That means you’d need a pension pot of £600k! Start saving now. Your future self will thank you!"