Author Archives: femmefrugality

Myth Busting Women’s Banking for Women’s History Month

Pair of blue Aldo high heeled shoes with floral print. One is resting on a large white block. The other is hovering above against a light blue wall.

I keep seeing articles and some allusions on big financial sites that say something along the lines of, “It was illegal for women to have bank accounts in their own name before the 1960s.”

And this just isn’t accurate.

While I’m all about pointing out the financial barriers women face — and banking was and is one of them — I’m fairly certain this one isn’t true.

Let’s talk about what really happened in the 20th century and prior to get a better look at women’s banking history.

Not all women

Let’s be perfectly clear with something upfront: Discourse around women’s rights in American history most often revolves around white women’s rights. Some of the laws we’ll cover today date back to a time when slavery was still legal. Some of them were influenced by people who used blatantly racist arguments to prop up the rights of white women.

And we can see the residual effect of that racism even to this day. Black individuals and other marginalized populations are still being denied credit or being given access to less credit than white individuals in 2023. Some offenders over the past 10 years include:

  • Wells Fargo
  • Hudson City Bank
  • Associated Bank
  • Bank of America

On top of limited credit, systemic poverty enforced by redlining and a million other racially-charged laws means that you’re more likely to be unbanked if you’re not white.

If you’re unbanked because you’re in Chexsystem, you might have ended up there because of the predatory fees banks are allowed to charge on low-income client accounts. If you’re in Chexsystem that effectively means you still can’t open a bank account at most financial institutions to this day.

Further reading: Kassandra Dasent’s review of The Black Tax

Colonial America & Post-Revolutionary America

Women could participate in the economy — including banking —  in Colonial America. To be fair, the percentage of women that did participate in banking in particular was minuscule compared to total populace because there were still so many societal obstacles. Though a much larger portion of the population did engage in small business endeavors.

It was a little more complicated for married women. When you got married, you were typically subject to coverture laws, which essentially means you merge into the same legal being as your husband. In most colonies, that meant your husband could conduct business relative to your shared estate without your consent, but you could not do the same without his consent.

You could, if you were monied and powerful enough, become a feme sole trader, which was a legal allowance that let you evade coverture. In this way you could get married and still maintain your own legal estate as if you were single.

While things got marginally less good after the Revolution that established our new country in terms of banking and property rights, as pressure to raise the first generation of American men fell on mothers, by and large these same rules applied to women in the early days of America. Things were particularly favorable to women (at least in the context of the times) in the Northeast, and New York state in particular had some progressive laws in this rite.

The Constitution did disbar women from voting. So while you could theoretically hold economic power if you were among the privileged few, you couldn’t wield political power directly.

FUN FACT: Wanna know something that was widely accepted in early America? Abortion.

When things started to change course

Things started to change for women in the Victorian age leading up to and including the Industrial Revolution.

Why did they change?

Ironically enough, because of the rise of one specific woman to power.

Queen Victoria of England is purported to have some pretty strong views on women’s roles in society, which included unpaid domestic labor and motherhood as a divine calling. ‘Proper’ women weren’t meant to work outside the home. Her philosophies spread to the States.

This was also the era when women were considered to be morally superior, and had to take on the burden of amending men’s iniquities while being discouraged from building their own independence.

In many ways, this was a rebellion against the relative gains women’s rights had experienced in England in the 1700s.

How much of these popular thoughts of the time can actually be ascribed to Victoria’s opinions is a little cloudy. While she is on record saying women shouldn’t pursue certain professions, and after her death some comments she made casting the women’s rights movement  in a negative light surfaced and circulated, she was also used as a foil by both sides of women’s rights movements simply because she was a woman in power.

A lot of women who weren’t rich still did work. Things weren’t equal towards them, and there was a lot of workplace harassment. (Arguably while things have gotten better, these circumstances still exist in 2023.)

Rich women often passed from being an attachment on their father’s estate to merging into their husband’s estate, without building up any assets or savings they could truly call their own.

Early laws for women’s property and banking

It’s interesting that the number of laws protecting women’s financial rights rise exactly when those rights were effectively being further restricted because of shifting societal norms.

Most of these laws applied to married women because, again, if you were single or widowed or  divorced, you were still allowed to hold property or open a bank account. At many, though not all, banks, you might need a male family member’s consent, but this was  a bit less common than if you were married.

Just because you were allowed to manage your finances independently if you weren’t married didn’t mean you didn’t face discrimination. A bank might refuse to lend to you or allow you to open a bank account based on your gender, though a lot of the culture around those laws varied in different states.

There were often ‘Ladies Waiting Rooms‘ at banks that were friendly to women. Depending on the state and the individual bank, these rooms were meant for you to wait while your husband conducted business, or for you to wait while someone in the ‘Ladies Department’ prepared for the meeting concerning your own, independent finances.

1839: Married women can hold property in their own name in Mississippi. But like…

Mississippi is often credited as the first state that passed laws allowing married women to hold their own property. But the story is messy.

Remember how I said women’s rights were often advocated for in a racially-charged way?

This story is no exception.

Both legal cases that culminated in the passage of the Married Women’s Property Act of 1839 centered around a woman’s right to own a slave as her own property.

The other aspect of this story is that while Mississippi was the first state to feel the need to pass this type of law, Louisiana Civil Code may have had some modicum of influence on the case. And Louisiana Civil Code already allowed married women to maintain their own property.

Please note that I do not condone the language used in the following piece, but you can take a deeper dive on the history of this specific law here.

1848: Married Women’s Property Act in New York State

In 1848, New York State passed a law that gave married women the right to own their own property. It should be noted that despite being a Northern state, slavery did still happen in New York. So it’s not like that element was taken out of the equation.

This law gave married women the right to:

  • Not be automatically liable for her husband’s debts.
  • Enter contracts independently.
  • Collect rents in her own name.
  • Receive inheritances in her own name.
  • File a lawsuit on her own.

Every single other state followed suit over the next 52 years, with similar laws on the books across the country by 1900.

1862: First state allows women to open bank accounts regardless of marital status.

That’s right. Alllll the way back in 1862, California became the first state to pass a law that explicitly allowed women to open a bank account in their own names — regardless of marital status. So even married women could participate independently.

Something to note, both with New York and California, is that these laws were impacted by people involved in the Suffragist movement. Many in the Suffragist movement were notably racist, using the rights that Black men technically but not always effectively gained after the Civil War as an argument for why white women should be granted political power and the right to vote.

Banker of Note: Maggie Lena Walker

1862: Homestead Act

In 1862, Abe Lincoln signed the Homestead Act. There’s a lot to say about the Homestead Act, but there are two pertinent points in today’s context.

The first is that it pushed cultural norms by not requiring a male cosigner for single women to participate in homesteading in their own name. While it wasn’t a banking regulation, the fact that this policy was included was of influential note.

The other thing to note with the Homestead Act is that, once again, systemic obstacles made it difficult for Black people to participate regardless of gender. Kassandra keyed us into the fact that while former slaves were eligible, the application fees were high enough to be prohibitive to an already economically disenfranchised people, resulting in 99% of the beneficiaries of the Homestead Act being white.

So, what happened in the 1960s, then?

To be real with you, I’m not 100% sure what people are referring to when they say something in the 1960s happened to make it legal for women to hold a bank account. All I can find are unsourced declarations parroted across finance sites over the past couple of years.

There were laws passed that protected women against (certain types of) pay discrimination when it came to the minimum wage, and against certain cases of employment discrimination. White women did piggyback their way into the Civil Rights Act of 1964, too, though this law didn’t apply to banks.

What I can tell you is what happened in the 1970s.

RBG and credit

Okay, so we know that at least since the mid-1800s if not prior, women could open a bank account in their own name. Whether they could do it as a single woman or a married woman varied by state. And even in states that allowed it, there were cultural practices that effectively ended in discrimination.

Credit was even more of a problem, and it was becoming an increasing concern as Americans started relying more heavily on credit in the 20th century. In these instances, married women were often still considered to be one legal body with their husbands, and banks often required the husband’s signature and assets to be considered on the application.

In this space, single women also faced discrimination, especially if they were younger and of marrying age. The assumption was that once they got married, they’d no longer work or have an income, and therefore they’d be bad accounts to take on.

Perceived fertility wasn’t the end all and be all, though — we were still holding onto some Victorian values that women were the weaker sex, more emotional and incapable of handling practical, logical matters on their own. Like money, and more specifically, credit.

In 1974, after a lot of great work from RBG while at the ACLU, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act passed, which, among other things, required banks to consider credit applications in a woman’s own name regardless of marital status, and only allowed banks to require the consideration of a husband’s finances if it was a joint application.

My understanding (I am not a lawyer) is that these regulations applied to anyone who issued credit, and because banks and financial institutions are the ones that tend to offer credit, they also could no longer make these requirements of those applying for deposit accounts, either.

Though, again, depending on where you lived, you may have already been protected from that discrimination by state law for deposit accounts in technicality if not practice.

Why is this important?

Were things harder for women in regards to banking prior to the 1970s?


But it was not illegal for a woman to hold a bank account prior to the 1960s. Some women did, and some women also held mortgages and other financial products in their own names. Some women were independently wealthy of their spouse or lack thereof.

A lot the women who did hold bank accounts were single — whether they be single mothers, never married, or widowed. Overall, they faced a lot of financial obstacles particularly when it came to workplace and employment discrimination. But when they were allowed to earn money, some were allowed to manage it, and many of them deserve some props for doing so.

It’s not just the erasure of women’s contributions that’s important. When we pretend like nothing was allowed for women in the financial sector prior to the 1970s, we also erase the systemic racism built into our legal history. Many of these laws were passed in favor of white women’s whiteness, sometimes in direct and vocal opposition to the rights of Black citizens and other marginalized citizens.

We continue to see the remnants of these ideologies passed on through our laws and the practice thereof today.

All this said, I do not have a PhD in History. I am not a lawyer. If I’m missing nuance, if I’m missing laws, let me know in the comments. This conversation is open to discourse.

Compensation for Maritime Accidents: Assessing the Challenges and Solutions

Today’s post — brought to you and contributed by an outside writer — comes to you with big Chareth Cutestory energy.

Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park. Flowers blooming in the background.

When it comes to maritime accidents, there are all sorts of compensation that maritime injury victims are entitled to based on the circumstances of their accidents. Click here to read more about them. Though victims might face specific challenges in their personal injury claims, a maritime accident lawyer can help them navigate the whole process regardless of where the accident occurred and who is responsible based on admiralty law.

Whether you are a passenger or a crew member that suffered injuries due to a lack of training, the process for receiving compensation might differ. Let’s examine the challenges and possible solutions for maritime accident compensation claims.

Challenges in Maritime Accidents

Establishing the at-fault and negligent parties is the first challenge in any maritime accident claim. In some situations, there might be more than one party responsible for your injuries, and, in some instances, you can file more than one type of claim against them.

If you are a seafarer working on any sort of ship, there are various laws to protect you or your family in case of injury, sickness, or death. In many instances, ship owners are the prime liable party regardless of where the accident occurred. In these instances, ship workers who suffer injuries can file their equivalent of a workers’ compensation claim by pursuing damages under the Jones Act.

Harbor workers, longshoremen, or shipyard workers can use the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act to pursue damages. If the maritime accident victim isn’t a crew member — or if other parties were responsible for your injury — you can pursue damages by filing a personal injury claim.

The challenging part in both cases is gathering evidence and seeking medical aid as soon as possible. Even though medical staff might be readily available on the ship, they might not have your best interest at heart or lack the medical expertise to assess and treat your injuries properly. Seeking a second opinion once you arrive on land is vital.

Another challenge regarding compensation for seafarers suffering injuries is that they might need help with where the claim is pursued, as workers’ compensation might differ in some countries. Victims might be susceptible to compensation schemes, and insurers that work on behalf of the ship might try to prevent them from filing a claim.

These insurers often attempt to resolve the issue with a premature settlement, offering the victim low financial compensation for their damages. In other instances, ship owners might not operate with insurance or other forms of financial security for their workers, making receiving proper compensation even trickier.

Solutions in Maritime Accidents

Speaking to a maritime lawyer is the best solution, no matter what type of maritime accident you suffered and how complicated your case might be. They can handle your case, pinpoint the at-fault parties, and work according to international maritime laws and port or at-sea accidents attempting to ensure that you are rightfully compensated for your troubles in the form of economic and non-economic damages. They can also negotiate with insurance firms on your behalf and help you initiate a lawsuit if the at-fault party doesn’t settle the matter outside of court.

Money News: 2023 Edition

It’s 2023 and we’re all very busy pretending the sky isn’t falling.

I hope that so far this year has been a little easier on your finances. Today, I wanted to take a minute to provide you with updates on some of the topics we’ve discussed on Femme Frugality in the past.

Some of the updates are great news or good hacks you can use to make your money better.

Some of them are straight bummers.

But if we’re aware of the negatives, we can plan better for them and ultimately make our financial lives a little less rocky.

Getting Grants for Disabled Family Members

Today is launch day for Season 3 of Mom Autism Money!

Joyce and I were super psyched to sit down with Sheletta Brundidge to learn about how her family secured over $200,000 in grant funding for her Autistic children’s needs.

Not only has Sheletta gotten the money, but she now teaches workshops to parents who want to do the same. She shares tips and tricks for the grant search and application process in this episode.

Even if you don’t need this episode, I promise there’s someone in your life who does. Insurance hardly covers the cost of disability, and grants can help individuals and families fill in the gaps. Please share it with the people in your life it could help.

ABLE Age Adjustment Act passed!

In December 2022, SECURE 2.0 passed. Inside of SECURE 2.0 was the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, which pushes the eligible age of onset of disability from 26 to 46, opening up the accounts to 6 million new Americans effective in 2026.

Here’s where you can get all the details on the changes and implications of this bill’s passage into law.

If you don’t care about ABLE accounts, you need to look into SECURE 2.0 period. Especially if you’re not Daddy Warbucks. There are massive changes to retirement plans in there, and most of them apply to low- or middle-income Americans. For once, the changes can tip things in our favor if we’re paying attention.

Your tax refund is prolly gonna be a whole lot smaller.

I know. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you haven’t filed your taxes yet, you need to be prepared for the fact that your 2022 refund is likely to be a whole lot smaller this year. Here’s why. Of course, a lot of things depend on which of the income tax brackets 2022 you fall into as well.

You might even owe!

Inflation isn’t done with the grocery stores yet.

Overall, inflation is on its way down. It’s still incredibly too high, but at least it’s headed in the right direction.

One place where it’s NOT headed in the right direction?

The aisle of your grocery store. The USDA is predicting an overall hike of 8%, though prices may go up way higher than that depending on item, and some products are actually predicted to have a price decrease.

Here are some of the things you can expect to spend more money on in 2023. The piece is specific to Costco, but aside from the bit about membership fees, the same general idea can be applied to any store.

How to Score High-End Perfume for a Whole Lot Less

This post is brought to you and written in part by an outside writer.

Picture of pink and white flowers arranged around a perfume bottle on a marble table. Black text reads 'pay less for luxe scents'
Friends, you know we have been all about fighting inflation around here lately.

That means looking for extra ways to make money.

It means negotiating and reducing your recurring bills in any way possible.

And, of course, it means shaving back the costs of the consumer goods you purchase.

Today, I want to show you a way I recently found to get the quality of luxury perfume without getting hit with a massive sticker price.

Luxury-adjacent perfume for less

Those who know me know that perfume is not something I’m likely to shell out full price for. It’s just not important enough for me to have luxury in this portion of my life on a regular basis.

So you know when I do buy luxe, there’s gotta be some kind of sale or deal involved.

I think I might have found the biggest deal of all when it comes to perfume. Dossier is a perfume company that offers scents that mimic the original luxury lines. The name on the bottle is different, but the scents are nearly identical and high-quality to boot.

Think brands like Versace, Dior, and YSL, except in a simpler bottle and at a fraction of the price.

For example, you could pick up a bottle of 50 mL bottle of Floral Honeysuckle, engineered to mimic Gucci’s Bloom, for just $29.

Bloom comes in 100 mL bottles for $155. If you really needed the whole 100 mL, you could purchase two bottles of Dossier’s Floral Honeysuckle for just $58 – or 63% less.

Eco-conscious perfume

One of the biggest benefits of Dossier perfumes is that the company tries to conduct business ethically. Their products are 100% Vegan and Cruelty-free. This means that the fragrances are made without using animal-derived ingredients, and that the brand does not conduct any animal testing.

The company goes further with its environmental consciousness by making their bottles out of 100% recycled glass, and their boxes out of 100% recycled cardboard.

Perfume etiquette for time and place

Okay, so I’m not gonna lie. I didn’t know there was such a thing as perfume etiquette or best practices – other than don’t ever wear AXE and try not to lay anything on too thick.

But someone wiser than me cued me in to the things you should consider before wearing perfume on a trip, so I guess it’s important to think about before you buy!

Here are the tips. Lemme know what you think:

  • Climate and weather: The climate and weather conditions of your destination can greatly impact your perfume choice. For example, a heavy, musky scent may not be suitable for a hot and humid climate, whereas a light and fresh fragrance would be more appropriate. Similarly, a floral scent may be more suitable for a spring or summer destination, whereas a warm and spicy scent may be more appropriate for a fall or winter destination.


  • Cultural and social norms: The cultural and social norms of your destination should also be taken into consideration when choosing the right perfume. Some cultures may have different attitudes towards fragrance, with some preferring more subtle scents, while others may embrace stronger, more pungent fragrances. It’s important to be mindful of the social etiquette and customs in different destinations, such as avoiding strong fragrances in religious spaces or in public transportation.


  • Personal preferences and comfort level: Your personal preferences and comfort level should play a significant role in your perfume choice. The fragrance you wear should make you feel confident and comfortable, and should reflect your personal style and preferences. Take the time to experiment with different scents to find what works best for you, and don’t be afraid to try new fragrances and explore new scents while traveling.

And if you’re a newb to this whole perfume etiquette thing like me, you might be surprised to learn there are rules depending on the time of day you’re wearing perfume:

  • Daytime activities: For daytime activities, it’s best to choose light and fresh scents. Citrus, floral, and green scents are all great options for daytime wear, as they are bright, energizing, and not too overpowering. Look for fragrances with notes of lemon, bergamot, jasmine, or rose, which are all light and fresh scents that are well-suited for daytime wear.


  • Nighttime events: For nighttime events, you might want to consider choosing a warmer and more intense fragrance. Spicy scents are great options for nighttime wear, as they are rich and warm. Look for fragrances with notes of cinnamon, vanilla, patchouli, or musk, which are all warm and intense scents that are well-suited for nighttime wear.


  • Special occasions: For special occasions, you might want to choose a fragrance that is elegant and sophisticated. Floral and woody scents are both great options for special occasions, as they are refined and sophisticated. Look for fragrances with notes of rose, jasmine, sandalwood, or cedarwood, which are all elegant and sophisticated scents that are well-suited for special occasions.

Getting Higher Quality Perfume on a Budget

When I shop for perfume, $25 — $50 is my maximum range. So the fact that I can now score a much higher quality product that’s so close to luxury brands, all while still staying on budget? That’s pretty thrilling.

Have you ever tried Dossier? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

Investing in Quality AC Filters

I come from the land of the worst air quality in the country, so this post — brought to you and contributed by an outside writer — hits close to home. Some things are worth investing in if they’re quality, and air filters are one of those things.

Good indoor air quality is a concern for many homeowners. AC filters remove harmful particulates from the indoor air, improving the air quality. Filters also help boost the AC system’s performance. There are several types of AC filters, each with pros and cons. High-quality AC filters typically have a high MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating. While high-quality AC filters can be expensive, they offer many benefits. Here is why you should invest in quality AC filters.

Benefits of a High-Quality AC Filter

High-quality AC filters use innovative technology and are made from high-quality materials for maximum AC performance and filtration. As a result, they do a better job of capturing all types of airborne contaminants—including dust, debris, pollen, mold, hair, pet dander, and bacteria. Benefits of high-quality AC filters include:

Prevent Frequent Breakdowns and Repairs

Flat-paneled air filters are typically the standard AC filters found in residential settings. These filters do not have a lot of surface area, so they get clogged quickly. When an AC filter gets clogged, it increases the strain on other parts of the HVAC system, causing them to work hard to reach the required efficiency level. This can lead to frequent repairs and eventually cause the HVAC system to break down. Using a high-quality AC filter can help minimize the need for frequent replacement or maintenance service and help prevent problems that require repairs.

Improve Indoor Air Quality

All types of AC filters can catch dust and debris circulating in the air, but those are not the only types of harmful particles present in the air. High-quality AC filters can filter out even the smallest particles, such as pollen, mold spores, and other allergens. This would improve indoor air quality, making it comfortable for everyone—especially people sensitive to air quality.

TIP: If you want a filter that catches viruses (like COVID,) look for one that can remove particles as small as 0.1-1 um.

Cost Effectiveness

Standard AC filters require a replacement every one to three months. Still, high-quality AC filters have increased surface area, which allows them to remain effective for several months, helping you save money on replacement costs. High-quality AC filters can also improve the energy efficiency of the AC unit, allowing you to save money on utility bills.

Choosing a Quality AC Filter

There are many types of AC filters, all having different capabilities. For example, there are washable air filters that can save you money on replacement costs because they are reusable. But these filters can be susceptible to mold growth and may be less effective at removing certain pollutants. Washable filters must be dried thoroughly before reinstallation, and even the slightest amount of moisture in these filters can foster mold growth which can also spread to the ductwork.

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are generally regarded as one of the most high-quality AC filters due to their capability of filtering out 80% to 90% of particles in the air. These filters are thicker than other options but may not be the best choice for most residential homes as the thickness of the filter can obstruct airflow. To view various types of air filters and learn which is right for you, visit FilterKing.