$ makes the world go round or so the song goes.

Several blog posts I’ve read in the last couple of weeks have been focused on saving money; either for retirement, for an emergency fund, for my child’s college fund( I didn’t have children so there is savings for me right there), to own my house free and clear, get out of debt, etc.

One of my favorites, Caitlin Kelly’s, The Broadside talked about “saving enough” and where she splurges. She also included a link to an article by Heidi Moore of the Guardian about women making less and living longer and asking the question  “Are elderly women doomed to be poor?” Both made me consider where I splurge; coffee, my dogs and skin care (I figure the good skin care is saving me facelift money later – right) and where I skimp; canned goods, laundry detergent and underwear. There should be a lot more in the skimp category so I can save more, but there you go. They also made me assess my savings and spending habits: verdict = bi-polar.  I do have a pension where I work which I know makes me lucky and provides a bit of security. But I am 20 years from retirement and social security and that provides a great deal of insecurity given the ups and downs of politics. I also have my IRA’s and emergency funds and it still doesn’t seem like enough, especially with the cost of health care and the inevitable increase in its use as I get older.  Some months I am very good and save, spend with intention and feel great and other month I spend recklessly.

Debt is also a problem. I am still paying for some youthful indiscretion with my credit card in my younger days. Ah, but the fun I had and the trips I took.  I read the Get Rich Slowly Blog to keep me focused on paying off those debts and building that emergency fund. But there was an article recently on the site that caught my attention; also about women and money,  Money Mythbuster: Women Don’t Negotiate by staff writer April Dykman. She writes about her experience with trying to negotiate and the results she ended up with, as well as provides some links to studies about women and men and their salary disparity. Particularly disturbing was the negative effect on a woman who negotiates her starting salary vs a man who does.

“If a woman negotiates her starting salary, the employer might hold it against her. According to a 2006 study, when a woman negotiates her salary, both men and women are less likely to want to work with or hire her. The negative effect was more than 5.5 times greater for women who negotiated than for men.”

Some days all of these things can add up and make me want to crawl back in bed and say why bother. But, when I see my retirement statement, check on my latest contribution to my IRA and see my emergency fund grow I know I am working towards a more solid financial future and I am proud of myself, feel hopeful and know that I will be able to take care of myself.

How are you taking charge of your financial future?