In most African cultures, it has been the norm within the home for the man of the house to be in charge of the family’s finances. The man is usually seen as the one who goes out to work to bring home the meal of the day while the woman tends to the family and all things of the home.

However, in this modern era where women have become financially independent through their careers, pursuit as entrepreneurs, and many mothers are now the sole bread winners of their homes, it is a necessity for women to not only understand how their finances work, but for the sake of future security also make their finances work for them.

So to ensure we are on track with keeping ourselves out of the rat race and heading towards the financial freedom we deserve, here are a few tips that may just help in ensuring financial growth:

1. Making your financial well-being priority:

Women tend to dedicate their time to others, placing their own “me time” at the bottom of the list. This is because usually women are in the position where they must put many others before themselves. This method of prioritising however becomes a disadvantage when it comes to finances, and by not scheduling specific time out during the week or month to learn more about how to improve our current financial position we cannot find ways to move forward. It is important for us to find the time to broaden our minds on how to seize new financial opportunities that could lead to financial growth. So find the time to read an investment magazine, an article on knowing the difference between saving and investing or research on the possible financial reward of a career move you’ve always wanted to make. After all you cannot reap a reward on what you haven’t made a priority to invest in.

2. Creating financial goals:

When the new-year comes around, many of us sit down to think of new-year resolutions. What we want to do differently that will lead to personal improvements or allow us reach a goal we couldn’t quite reach during the previous year. But how many of us create financial goals? Setting goals for ourselves will motivate us to create strategies to obtaining them.What financial position would you like to be in at the end of the year, or in the next 3 years? Write them down and it becomes easier to start planning towards them.

3. Knowing your current net worth:

Ones net worth is simply the calculation of their assets minus any debt incurred. This calculation allows you to know your true current financial position or putting it simply if what you own covers what you owe. In a situation where you may not be able to work, would your current financial position cover any debt you owe or have to continue to pay off?

CNN Money has a good net-worth calculator you should use because knowing exactly where you stand financially will help you plan the improvements you will need to obtain financial security.

4. Spending your money wisely:

As women, one of our greatest joys is the moment we can go on a shopping spree to pamper ourselves, or shop till we drop. But if this spending spree hasn’t been planned or budgeted for, we tend to feel the pinch sooner than later. Budgeting for the current income coming in allows us to make allowance for savings or money we may want to invest into plans that will lead to financial growth such as a business, or education to further our career path. I know at times you walk past your favourite retail store and that little black dress seems like a good idea for your up coming dinner date, but stop to think whether or not buying it will infringe on the financial goals you have set for that period of time.

5. Coming out of your safety zone:

So many of us have dreams we’ve wanted to pursue for a while, but due to the distractions od life and other commitments we just haven’t started pursuing them. The truth is, there is no right time to peruse a dream. You will have to sacrifice and plan, but the best time to start is now. Start your business, further your education, or become a fashion designer. It may not happen right away, but you have to stop putting it off and start taking the steps that will lead you down the road you’ve been so hesitant to take for too long.

6. Balancing the strategic with the tactical:

“A vision without a plan is a dream, and a plan without vision is marching in place”.

It can be tricky trying to balance our focus on the creative side of our dreams as well as the practical, logical and detailed side.  But to pursue an increase in our financial situation through a gift, talent or creative idea we have to make sure we focus on both at all times. A great way to ensure this happens is to surround our selves with people who exhibit both personality traits. Keep a set of close friends who tends to throw caution to the wind when you consult them about creative ways to move your project forward and another set who are analytical by nature and will not over look the little details. This will help your flow of creativity while also allowing you stay focused on the detailed short-term strategies you will need to paint the bigger picture for others to see.

7. Not listening to Nay Sayers:

A lot of the time, out of the care and love those surrounding us have, they will naturally give us 101 reasons why we shouldn’t make any drastic decisions. This will be no different when you start working toward the decision to secure your finances, especially if the decisions made seem abrupt to those around you. But we always have to remember that no one will understand what you need and what is best for you, better than you do. So create a balance by taking into consideration what Nay Sayers have to say but not basing important decisions on their feedback. After all, when all is said and done, those who are for you; will remain for you once they understand your passion to change your current situation for the better.

8. Trusting your intuition:

We ladies are well aware of that little voice in our head that sets off alarm bells when something just isn’t right, and we tend to listen to this voice. But do we listen to this same voice when it is telling us to go for it and apply for that job, start that business or go for that degree? Learn to trust this voice when it wants you to indulge in a task or challenge that will lead to you improving yourself and ultimately your earning capacity.