This Entrepreneur Found A Hack To Manage Her Finances Better

Last updated 5 Sep 2017 . 5 min read

Traditionally, women have always been assigned the role of managing ‘household budgets’ but as more women become financially independent, women are also seeking new ways to invest and save their money. Swati Bhandari of The First Leaf, shares some of her experiments with personal finance management and independence.

Born and brought up in Jaipur, I studied in an all girls school throughout and I got married pretty early in life, at the age of 21! I was a copywriter in the advertising industry for six years after which, I embraced motherhood. Today, I am a mother of a 3-year old and a newly minted entrepreneur of my own venture, The First Leaf. I have found my passion as an urban farmer, who grows and supplies microgreens to retail outlets, and am passionate about educating people on the health benefits microgreens come with.

Tasting Financial Freedom

In college, I took up modelling and would make decent money to bear my own expenses, like mobile bills and partying with friends. I never had to ask my parents for money.

But as I got married immediately after college, I never had the opportunity to leave home for work and lead an independent life. However, my husband was quite liberal and encouraged me to build my own identity. So, I started working immediately after we moved to Delhi from France.

I was hired as an intern in Leo Burnett, without any payment. After 3 months of no pay, I was confirmed as a full-time employee with a salary of Rs 11,000. Even though this was less than what I used to earn through modelling during college, I was super happy to be recognised and paid for my work in advertising. I was now valued for my creativity. I’d say, this was the second time I found my independence. I would save all my money for my personal expenses!  

I Chose Motherhood Over Career

Soon, I was pregnant and after my daughter was born, I left my job for good because I wanted to take care of her. I firmly believe that a mother’s love cannot be replaced and hence, I was ready to take a break from work.

When my daughter turned three, my current venture’s idea occupied my thoughts and I had all the motivation in me to make it work. My husband’s support plays a major role in making The First Leaf a success. I grow and supply microgreens as ‘power food’ to retail outlets and individual customers. I also take part in an organic fair, The Earth Collective, where I go every alternate Sunday to sell my produce.

Everyday, I see my venture taking shape brick-by-brick. I believe it’ll start reaping profits very soon and I am determined to contribute to the household expenses and share the expenses. In fact, someday I plan to invest my profits into my husband’s venture too.

My Personal Finance Management Tactic

The First Leaf is more than a hobby that I’m pursuing. It’s an enterprise that I’m running and for an enterprise to function smoothly, all its verticals should be organized, including finance. But my understanding of finance is weak. Moreover, in a business, opportunities often come without knocking and I had to invest capital in these opportunities to optimise the growth of my business. Typically, I would compromise on them based on my financial position and understanding at that point in time.

It was then that I decided to try out The Money Club, an app that can be very useful as you start off with personal finance management. The app let me reserve some money aside at regular intervals so that I could benefit with a lump sum later (which was usually multiples of what I had saved up till then).

I discussed this concept with my family and seven of us decided to pitch in a small amount of INR 1500 a month, each. We now create a pool of INR 10,500 every month and one of us, based on our respective needs, gets a chance to take the entire amount home. While my niece and my mother-in-law used the money for personal expenses, I used the money to procure raw materials for a big festive season order! On the other hand, my sister-in-law waited till the end of the cycle and made decent returns in the form of interest.

Financial Savvy-ness, A Must For Women

In this day and age, when technology is prevalent in our lives, The Money Club provided me with a platform to build a community of like-minded people, who can fulfill each other’s financial needs, as and when required, without the hassles of paperwork. The most important thing is to choose people you trust, to be a part of your club.

Women need to enjoy their financial independence and be savvy with personal finance management, not fearful. Learning how to save and invest allows us to relax yet be on our toes in terms of financial security. It’s all about being smart in handling all that moolah!

This is a personal narrative by Swati Bhandari, Founder - The First Leaf, a microgreens production venture. Do you have any money management hacks up your sleeve? Do share them in the comments below!

SHEROES - lives and stories of women we are and we want to be. Connecting the dots. Moving the needle. Also world's largest community of women, based out of India. Meet us at @SHEROESIndia

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