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We recently spoke with Peita Diamantidis, author of ‘Finance Action Hero’ and winner of the 2016 AFA/TAL Female Excellence in Advice Award. When asked about ways to start getting on top of your finances, this is what she had to say!

In my 20+ years in finance, I have been lucky enough to work with women of all ages and from all sorts of backgrounds and qualifications. Interestingly, no matter how educated or successful they are, women often have a distinct lack of confidence when it comes to money stuff. In fact, they convince themselves that finance is ‘not really their thing’ and that they’re simply not a numbers person.

This is a fallacy we need to break right now. Numbers aren’t the challenge. Behaviours are.

So, where should you start if you want to get on top of your money behaviours? Well, let me share with you 3 things you can do to make a difference right now.

1. Cut yourself some slack

As women, I believe we are our own worst critics. We look at our friends and colleagues and figure they are all so much better at things than we are. The truth is, that when it comes to money, most people hover somewhere between ‘no idea’ and ‘just a little bit of an idea’. So stop being so hard on yourself. Procrastination over things like money can often start due to a lack of confidence, so if you are keen to get some things done, then simply acknowledge to yourself you have some things to learn, and then get on with some doing.

2. Learn to listen to your gut

Many women are so in tune with their instincts when it comes to life, love and even business, however we second guess ourselves when it comes to money. There have been so many people’s lives and savings destroyed by money scams and investment schemes gone bad, and if we want to protect oursleves against these we need to listen to our instincts.

What your instincts will often be quietly telling you is ‘This is simply too good to be true’, and more often than not you’d be right. A guaranteed high return that beats every other investment return out there? Probably a scam. A call from the ‘Tax Office’ promising you $12,000 you didn’t know they owed you? Almost certainly fraud.

If you want to better understand the type of scams out there then head over to the Scamwatch website at https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams/unexpected-money

3. Spend less than you earn

This was never really a problem last century when you received your pay in an envelope and you spent it over the week. If you ran out, you simply hat to wait until the next pay cheque. Then along came credit cards and the world as we know it changed forever, and not for the better.

We are now in a world where some people retire on the pension, and STILL have credit card debt.

How do you stop this happening to you? Simply spend less than you earn. Interestingly, by doing this, you will well ahead of most Australians and will little by little start building up that mythical creature … a nest egg 🙂

One of the areas to focus on reducing your spending is by saying NO to waste, and you could simply start with food. The team at OzHarvest tell us that Australians throw out one in every five shopping bags of food they buy, which would equate to at least $1,000 being wasted every year per family. This would be a much larger figure for households with kids, so work towards a zero waste household and you will be saving some serious coin!

Ultimately, what does all this come down to? Taking action.

Check which direction you credit card balance has gone in the last 12 months. Get the family to make a list of all the food they throw out at the end of the week. Commit to getting out all your financial paperwork and file it away.

Just pick a place to start, and get moving. And I promise you, your financial confidence will build with every step you take.

For more of Peita’s tips, follow her on Twitter. Her book, Finance Action Hero: Part 1, is on sale now. We can’t wait until the release of Part 2!