Tag Archives: money

Knowing Your Value

There is a Women’s Empowerment Network in my office that holds various events and offers a variety of forums for communication between women in my field. A while ago, someone posted a link to a book calledĀ Knowing Your Value on the group’s internal social media page and suggested that everyone should read it. So, I ordered a copy online and decided to finish it before we got to this year’s performance reviews, which are coming up in the next few weeks, so I could be more prepared to positively represent myself during the discussion.

The book focuses on the pay gap between men and women in the same job and, similarly to what I’ve heard about Cheryl Sandberg’sĀ Lean In, suggests that part of the reason women don’t get paid as well is because they are less likely to ask for raises. And when they do ask, they ask poorly and are less likely to succeed than men who ask the same thing.

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Discretionary Expense of the Month

When I linked to my budgeting spreadsheet in an earlier post, I mentioned that I had several color-coded categories. The large majority of these are expenses I can’t or shouldn’t avoid – some are adjustable and some aren’t, but there was only one category of spending that I could completely eliminate if I wanted or needed to, and that’s this one:

Discretionary Spending Budget

All those things are nice, but they aren’t necessities in the same way that gas, groceries, and rent are. However, that doesn’t stop me from wanting things that require spending in those categories; quite a few things that require spending in those categories, in fact. The problem is that wanting all of those things now doesn’t mean I should or can afford to buy them whenever I feel like it, and that’s what led me to my new idea: discretionary expense of the month.

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Developing a Budget

I like to believe that my parents raised me to be pretty responsible with my money. I’ve always been careful about spending and big on saving – when I was ten I decided to open my own savings account to make sure I wouldn’t spend too much. However, ten year-olds have way less monetary responsibilities than adults do, and I started to notice a fairly big problem through my junior and senior years of college: I have no idea what I spend.

While the habits that I learned when I was younger still stand – I’m careful about making big purchases, I try to avoid buying things that are unnecessary, and I have a savings account intended for use in college that I haven’t even touched – I have not been doing a good job at tracking my smaller purchases, and those add up.

So, to solve this problem, I decided to develop an budgeting tool to help me figure out how much I’m spending and on what, and then, if necessary, reduce my spending in areas where I might be a bit reckless. Enter Excel.

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