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6 Secret Rules Savvy Women Live By

by Drew Allen

What's the smartest way for women to navigate the 2023 lifestyle landscape? When it comes to working out in the privacy of your own home, building good credit, purchasing a car, and other essential activities, it helps to have a few secret rules in your arsenal. From home ownership to manicures and hair care, there are expedient ways of getting the results you want and need. Consider the following.

Workouts: Online Sessions Are Private & Affordable

One of the many worthwhile lessons to come out of the COVID pandemic is there's no need to pay membership dues to a sweaty, crowded, loud gym to get a quality workout. The rapid growth of interactive digital health clubs has completely changed the physical fitness landscape for working adults who prefer the privacy of a living room when jogging, lifting weights, or doing aerobics.

Several companies lead the industry, but you won't have to spend a lot to get or stay in shape. In most cases, all it takes is a decent set of weights, an exercise mat, and a jug of water. For walkers, joggers, and cyclists who enjoy the give-and-take of live sessions, it's helpful to invest in a treadmill or stationary bicycle.

Personal Finance: It's All About Building Good Credit

A good credit score is the foundation of a person's financial life and represents a history of your borrowing. That undeniable fact has been true for decades, but today it is more relevant than ever. No matter what you want to accomplish, credit can help you get across the finish line faster and with fewer hassles. Without a credit history or good score, it's nearly impossible to rent a car, get a mortgage, pay for school, or buy a rental property.

In some cities, you can't even rent a hotel room without having a credit card on file. Lenders use your score and financial history to gain insight into the most important metric of all, the ability to repay. Then, if you need cash for an up-front deposit or special purchase, having no credit means you're stuck.

Credit invisibility is a huge problem for women who have never taken the time to build a financial history. Keep in mind that many lenders are happy to offer loans to such borrowers but for much higher rates. Check your scores with the three major bureaus to find out whether the reports and scores are where you want them to be. If you're invisible or have a weak history, start immediately to set things right.

Car Buying: Use a Broker To Get What You Want

Car dealers know that consumers love warranties that come with new vehicles. That simple fact helps salespeople move brand-new cars off the lot. But anyone who visits a dealership is faced with clever sales tactics, long waits for contracts, and all sorts of illogical excuses about why a particular make or model is not available.

What is the modern woman's answer to that dilemma? In two words, it's a car broker. These individuals are independent search agents who deal directly with multiple dealerships and private sellers. Expect to pay an upfront fee of about $300 for a broker's services.

What will you get in return? The agent will usually find the car you're looking for right down to the year, make, model, trim level, and options. Plus, they can steer you away from high-markup new models that have nothing going for them except slightly longer warranties. Instead, consider shopping for models that are two or more years old.

That way, you get most of the original factory warranty and a much lower price. Be precise when explaining to the broker what you want. Do extensive research about consumer ratings of the vehicles that interest you before deciding on a preferred make and model.

Manicures: Save Nails With 16-Free Polish

Professional nail technicians have been giving manicures for centuries. In the modern era, particularly in the US, it's common for customers to pay for a manicure and nail polish service at the same time. A recurring problem has been the chemical additives in polish. Things like formaldehyde and toluene are not kind to human skin or nails. Fortunately, many of the industry's leading companies are now offering 16-free polishes or formulas that omit the 16 most harmful chemical substances.

Top brands also offer all vegan nail polish at about the same price as their traditional products. Ask your manicurist for 16-free or 20-free polish. If it's not available, find a shade of 16-free you like in a beauty store and bring it along the next time you get a manicure. The new polishes are much less harmful to skin and nails, but their colors tend to be a tad muted. Experiment with a few shades before settling on your new favorite.

Homeownership: Start Saving Now For Your First House

Owning a home might be the furthest thing from your mind at the present moment and there are ways to move out on your own without purchasing a home, of course. Still, it pays to make a long-term plan for acquiring a first house. Don't worry that the current real estate market is volatile, and interest rates are high. That won't always be the case.

But there is one constant of home buying that you need to prepare for, and that's the down payment. Most overlook the point when planning to shop for property, but the typical lender wants to see not only good credit but a down payment of about 20% of the purchase price. That can be a substantial financial burden for anyone, hence the need for a resolute savings plan.

Set up an automatic payroll deduction with your employer or bank. Then, decide on a fixed amount or percentage from each check to place into the account. Use a time-locked Certificate of Deposit or Money Market account to earn a decent rate of interest on the balance and avoid the temptation to pull cash out for random purposes.

Speak with a licensed real estate agent to find out what kinds of down payments local lenders require. There are several federal loan programs, like FHA, that offer competitive interest rates and low down payments for most first-time home buyers.

Related articles: How to Date An Introvert

Hair Care: Color at Home, Pay For a Cut

Since the 1950s, when high-quality home hair-coloring kits arrived on the market, money-savvy women have been saving on high salon fees by choosing their colors and doing the job at home with a store-bought kit. For best results, avoid low-quality and bargain basement products. But what about the cut? That's when you need to invest in an experienced, licensed professional. For busy professional women, finding a stylist is as important as locating a doctor, dentist, or investment advisor. Use your network and get a referral from someone you trust.

Be willing to experiment before deciding on the one. Everyone has their preferences and sense of what looks good, so spend a few weeks choosing the right color kit and personal hairstylist. Be sure to let your hair-cutting pro know that you did the color job yourself. That way, it's easier for them to calibrate length and thickness while retaining the hue that you prefer. Expert stylists can darken or lighten hair color appearance by using angles and layering techniques.


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