22 Financial lessons I've learned from the women I've interviewed

As the year comes to a close, I like to look back on all the lessons that I've learned. And through the interviews that I did with various women, I learned a lot about my own financial habits and style.

From the interviews, there were a lot of gems, so many that I keep rereading the interviews so that I can absorb their truth.

If you've made bad financial decisions this year, I promise you, you are not alone. But instead of feeling sorry for yourself, why not use some of this quotes as a stepping stone to better habits.

Here are the 22 financial lessons I've learned from women I've interviewed this year:  

Friends and Money
Money gets in the way of relationships and causes fights. If I do lend friends money I expect them to keep their word and pay me back. I hate debt so I always make sure that I pay it back. I'd rather keep my friends than fight over money - Lerato Tshabalala

On building Wealth
Start small and work your way up.  Things won't happen immediately. I try to be patient knowing that what I put in now I will reap the benefits later.  And save save save. Even if it's a few rands, just keep saving - Kia Johnson

Confidence talking about Money 
Talk from experience, have faith in your own insights and intuitions…in most cases you are the one buying the groceries, buying the new tennis racket for your son’s birthday, buying the dog food and making it all add up at the end of the month. Don’t question your own understanding of money! It’s more than a budget, a spreadsheet, it is the everyday experience of financial freedom or concern - Helena Conradie

On Comparison 
I have learned to stop comparing myself with people around me and to get it out of my head, that at a certain age one needs to have achieved X,Y,Z. That is unrealistic because we take different paths as people, and thus cannot expect to achieve the same results - Katleho Tsoku

Do what you love 
I think when you do what you love, money always comes, but in my industry where income is not fixed, it is imperative to invest wisely whenever you earn. I love to travel and treat it as an investment, putting away money every month into my travel fund, so that when the opportunity arises, I can pack my bags and go without a second thought. Everyone should have a travel fund - Taryn Louch

On giving  money 
I must believe in the cause in order for me to give. This philosophy doesn’t only apply to charity, but also to giving money to family and friends. It’s important that it comes from my heart and that I don’t feel forced  or guilted into giving. Giving should not only make the receiver happy, but also the giver - Nonhle Berryl

Living beyond your means
I once racked up quite a lot of debt on my credit card because I was living beyond my means. It was when my husband and I (then boyfriend) had first bought our house and I wasn't used to all these new expenses that came my way. It's the little unexpected things that burn your wallet - Roxy Burger

Women talking about money 
We do. Often we talk about how we save and where we can save throughout the month. Most of my friends are young working adults, we don’t have serious debt. And we look out for one another, send each other specials when we come across them - ZoĆ« Brown

Why as women we should care about our finances
Because we have different risk appetites to men! It’s as simple as that. Honey, don’t relinquish the financial health of your life or home to your partner, always give your input and direction. Single ladies don’t postpone your wealth creation activities until after you are married (which is not guaranteed) or have kids (which is also not guaranteed). Start creating a legacy NOW. Set up your own family trust, establish and define your own investment philosophies. Every individual is ultimately responsible for his or her financial health and outcome. You can’t blame anyone else later in life if you are in financial distress - Samke Mhlongo

On buying shares 

Because of my age, I’d say shares are a better option for me. I have seen many friends who invested in property or who are home owners, which is great money, but never took the extra costs and interest you have to pay into account. I am sure I’ll eventually get to the point of buying a home, but as of now, I am, wrapping my head around investing in shares - Mishka Patel

On financial mistakes and shame 

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn – and not just regarding finances – is to forgive myself. Make mistakes, learn from them, and get back on track. Don’t get caught in a shame spiral. That’s the worst thing you can do - Janine Jellars

On family budget 
We have a budget and therefore we have control over our expenditure.  I have clear financial goals in place to achieve financial freedom.  This helps me to put good investments in place and to keep my eye on my financials - Marlene Bester

On splurging a little bit 
Life is short, live each day like it’s your last – by that I mean eat what you want and travel when you can. There’s so much to see and do in the world! We can’t be saving all the time, sometimes we just need to celebrate and be thankful for what we have achieved thus far. We work hard so we should be allowed to play hard too - Shaney Vijendranath

On Personal Care 
Shoes and bags, and spa treatments.  I am a firm believer in the idea of self-care and most of my indulgences are for self-love.  I do a lot of work with patients who require post trauma assistance and some with  relationship issues and it is important for me to debrief so I am energised and able to do my work well.  Self-care is also good for longevity as an activist for sexual health and reproductive justice, the work is much and ongoing - Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng

On believing in yourself 
I truly believe that my financial success will come from me doing what I'm most passionate about. If I stay on purpose, and make sure I follow my gut, then I know I will stay on course for financial success - Claire Mawisa

On learning financial lessons 
I went through a tough financial time a few years back and it was an incredible stress in my life, but it was also a great life lesson! As a freelancer, I didn't have the financial stability that comes with a full-time job, but that taught me to always have some money in my savings, to spend responsibly and to not put all my eggs in one basket. I had the faith that I won't always be in that situation and it was true! I created an opportunity for myself and other opportunities opened up! Luckily, I haven't been in that same situation and I’d like to think I learned an invaluable lesson - Bailey Schneider

On overcoming fear
Honestly I struggle with this. As a woman, I feel like I deeply desire security and unfortunately I think that this is largely tied to money. Knowing that you’ll always have a roof over your head, knowing you have good medical cover; knowing that you can survive retirement without leeching off others. These things keep me up at night. But my husband has a really good calming effect on me and I’m slowly learning to just be diligent, work hard and make good decisions, but to not let fear or money rule my life. It’s a beautiful place to be, even though I still frequent crazy-money-lady town every now and then - Seline van der Wat

On being financila independent 
It takes time to become financially independent, but as long as I know I am taking the steps, every day, to get there, I don’t feel so overwhelmed. I also surround myself with women that have achieved financial independence and I reach out to them should I need reassurance. Surrounding yourself with mentors is crucial -  Gwen Serrotti

On investing in personal development 
My best decision has been to invest on my personal development – not just qualification but knowledge about money and wealth. I practically have spent over R150 000 in the past 24 months. The worst decision was not using my knowledge to structure assets for tax efficiency i.e doing tax planning for the family - Khosi Mvulane

Not worrying about the future 
I try not to let any financial situations overwhelm me. There’s nothing worse than stressing over money you don’t have! I take everything one bill at a time. Nothing will change if I worry about it - Farah C Fortune

On living within your means 
I would take into account what my finances are able to afford. I have to live within my means. Currently, we are facing some of the darkest times in our economy and we are going to see some people struggling to meet their bond repayments. It might be a better decision to invest in shares and unit trusts, etc, until you are in a better position to be able to meet your bond repayments comfortably - Mabale Moloi

Owning property

I own property which was a good investment. I’m currently saving towards hopefully buying more property in a few years, and I have a retirement annuity in place. I once read a study that said South Africans spend more per year on satellite television than retirement annuities and while I understand how that might happen and where that consumer behaviour comes from, it made me immediately evaluate my own financial position - Lize Hartley

Remember, the path for financial freedom is never ending. It is a work in progress. In fact, it’s never too late start improving your financial habits – start today, and know that your past mistakes have helped to make you a better person.