This article examines the complexity and diversity of women’s informal financial practices and circuits using data from surveys conducted in Senegal and South India. An analysis of individual experiences reveals the subtlety and complexity of these practices and circuits: apart from economical constraints, women-led financial practices express, reproduce, actualise and sometimes modify the range of intimate and social relations in which these women are embedded. Our analysis also reflects the weight of existing norms and institutions in each context, especially regarding matrimonial alliances, property rights and access to the labour market. Moreover, our analysis highlights the permanent process of interpretation, adjustment and sometimes bypassing of these norms. Apart from the diversity of positions and status of the women studied here, it is this incessant process of adaptation, that explains the heterogeneity of arrangements and trajectories we observed.