Event: Empowering Women Through Personal Finance

We're hosting our very first event in New York! Join She SpendsBrooklyn PlansDebt Free Denae and Moneysplained for a happy hour and panel discussion about women and money. Grab a drink, network with other women interested in talking about money and hang out for a panel on ways women can disrupt the finance space. 

- Alicia 🐶

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Travel Money Diaries: Amanda in Montreal

Bonjour!

My weekend trip to Montreal felt more like a brief stint in France. From the French architecture to the actual language spoken, the seven-hour drive could have just as well been a seven-hour flight. Of course, the accent is different -- my friend Carly had spent a year in the south of France and was surprised to learn French-Canadian words that were dialect specific -- and people spoke English, but Montreal felt foreign. I became very good (read: people continued to speak to me in French) at saying “merci” and “pour moi."

Most of the trip was pre-booked, such as the Airbnb we slept in for three nights ($60) and the Osheaga concert tickets ($100), so I needed to budget for spending money. I figured I’d spend about $30 to $40 on gas to and from Montreal and maybe $40 a day on food. I was pleasantly surprised that I spent about $85 for the three days, including food, souvenirs ($48) and gas ($38).

The highlight of the trip -- food-wise -- was going to the Jean-Talon market, which is one of the biggest farmers markets in Montreal. We sampled incredible fruits, saw beautiful flowers and tasted unspeakably good oysters ($2). I asked for the briniest ones available, which come from Ireland. It tasted like I had a giant gulp of salt water, but in the best way possible. We also stopped for tacos at El Rey del Taco for authentic Mexican food ($8). I was so excited to speak Spanish at the restaurant but everyone spoke French! Mon Dieu! Another incredible stop we made was at Le Pain dans les Voiles, where I had the flakiest almond croissant with mediocre filter coffee ($5).

The low point of the trip was when we returned to her car, which I had parked on a street at midnight, to find a parking ticket. It was dark when I parked and I didn’t see the street cleaning sign, and we made the mistake of not checking on the car in the morning. The ticket will set us back about $38 each.

To keep track of how we spent our money, I wrote down every purchase in the notes section of my phone. Carly had Canadian dollars with her, so she would often pay for the small purchases. I paid for our one swanky dinner, a BYOB sushi joint, and a bottle of wine I picked up at the convenience store nearby. I added up her purchases and mine and then divided them in half to determine how much we spent per person. With the original total, I divided that by two to see what the average should have been. For example, if Carly spent $90 and I spent $70, the real cost would have been $80 each. So I would have owed her $10. When we did the math on the way home, we discovered the difference was about $2. Because she brought cash and saved me from the foreign transaction fees, we called it a wash.

Thanks for following my trip. Have you tried any apps for budgeting trips with friends? Let us know at @she_spends on Twitter or @shespends on Instagram.

Au revoir!

-Amanda 👡 

amandamoneydiaries
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What We Can Do In the Wake of Charlottesville

As three white ladies, we’re feeling an immense amount of shame, disgust and fear watching the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, unfold. The election of President Donald Trump legitimized long-hidden feelings of white supremacy, misogyny, and general hatred of POC, LGBTQ+ folks, Muslims, Jews and a whole slew of Others in much of this country. Maybe you’re feeling paralyzed watching the news today, or you’re numb to another act of hatred being committed on U.S. soil for the sake of Making America Great Again. Watching from a distance has been especially hard for us at She Spends. What can we do? How do we make a difference? We don’t have the answers, but we wish we did. What we can do is direct you to organizations that are doing their best damn effort to help make the world better, or at least assist those going out and doing it.

A whole slew of organizations need financial help. The DSA of Charlottesville has set up a GoFundMe account to cover the medical expenses of those injured in the attacks. The ACLU of Virginia is doing good work protecting the rights of citizens in Charlottesville. So is the Southern Poverty Law CenterBlack Lives Matter is constantly protecting the rights of people of color, as is the local NAACP. More localized organizations like the Jefferson School African American Heritage CenterCreciendo Juntos: Latino Community Network in CharlottesvilleSONG: Regional Queer Liberation Organization and the Islamic Society of Central Virginia need assistance too. Some journalists were injured during the protests and counter-protest, so consider showing support via donations to the Committee to Protect Journalists. 

-Alicia 🐶 , Amanda 👡  & Jemma 🦄

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On Creating She Spends

I used to be really bad with money. As a business reporter, it’s hard to admit, even now that I’ve gotten it together.

By day, I would write stories on how stock pickers could mindfully invest in the market; yet by night, I would spend up to my credit card limit on shoes, bags or drinks out. After a year of living in New York, I had no savings, let alone extra cash to invest in the stock market I was writing about.

I knew something had to change, so I started talking about money with my friends and co-workers, most of whom were women and dealing with similar struggles. I was relieved to finally wonder out loud if I was really being paid too little or if having no money in my savings was normal. 

As I slowly began to get my own finances together, I knew I wanted to share what I was learning with others, especially other women. The women’s personal finance media market, though, is woefully lacking. Most books or websites use infantilizing language like “bawse bitch” or feature roundups suggesting readers buy more stuff to create the perfect workspace. It’s maddening, and quite frankly, much of that content is useless to women looking for real information on money and finance. 

At the same time, I had about a year in the financial journalism industry under my belt. I talked to so many men as sources for stories, but very few women. The few conversations I had with women who were analysts or lawyers in the industry left me feeling excited about my work, rather than frustrated that I had been talked down to, again. I, frankly, was tired of the boys club. I wanted to make it so that Wall Street would be more welcoming down the road. 

This is how She Spends was born. It's a blend of personal finance and the big money picture. In creating She Spends, I hope to create a community of women who not only want to work on their own bank accounts, but also to tackle the major issues keeping women from achieving financial parity. 

Women, especially us millennials, have specific needs when it comes to both financial news and personal finance. Women are more risk averse than men and invest at a much lower rate. As a result, a huge part of what She Spends does is introduce women and nonbinary people to ways they can test the stock market’s waters without a ton of risk. We also break down major quarterly earnings to familiarize our readers with stocks traded on the public markets. 

Women also experience sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. So we highlight macro solutions to these problems (think: new laws and regulations) while offering solutions to our readers to tackle these problems every day. 

Women face cultural expectations to spend more money on our looks (a phenomenon also known as the pink tax). What’s more is that many of us spend extra money to have a menstrual cycle (why are tampons so expensive?) and to either avoid or bring on pregnancy. These cultural phenomena contribute to our understanding of money. We’re more likely to spend more on clothes and other “unnecessary” items. And yet, if we decided to take time off to have children, we have less time to save for retirement. In response, we offer actionable information for our readers to slow their roll when it comes to shopping, while funneling that extra cash into a retirement fund. Additionally, we highlight discrepancies like these on a policy level.

Because women are rarely seen as equals in the workplace, we are still unable to reach the upper echelons of Fortune 500 companies. Just 31 of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women. In the words of Marie Wilson, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” So we feature women at the top making a difference each week in our newsletter. 

And don’t forget women still make less money than men. White women make 79 cents to every white man’s dollar, while black women make just 63 cents and Latina women make 55 cents on that dollar. This, in 2017, is unacceptable. So we’re talking about it. 

We’re here, working to reduce the wage gap, investing gap and board seat gap, one woman at a time. Our newsletter breaks it down for our subscribers each week.

We have big plans for She Spends. We’re going to launch a podcast and a digital book club in September. We have plans to start an exclusive ambassador program and will soon be hosting events in New York (and hopefully throughout the United States). 

- Alicia 🐶


 

shopaholic

Welcome to #loosechange!

We create a LOT of content here at She Spends, and we just CAN'T fit it all in a weekly newsletter.

We'll be using this space to capture that extra content and post more regular + casual updates on the stuff we're working on.

We've got some preeetty exciting stuff in the She Spends pipeline and we can't wait to share it with you.

Stay tuned! 💕

- Jemma 🦄