About Better With A Budget:
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a mom of two fabulous kids and two cats. Living in Utah, I love to read, garden, and talk about money. Oh, and I love chocolate. Of course I do. One of my favorite things to do in life is to learn. I love learning new things – it keeps me young.
When did you get interested in personal finance?
I’ve always been fascinated by money. I’m one of those people that loves rolling my own coins, and have done it since I was 5 years old. I was always the kid in my family taking my siblings’ chores so that I could earn more. I also understood the value of a dollar whenever I had a spider that needed killing and a brother who needed a buck. :)
Why do you believe learning about money and caring about personal finance is important?
Let’s face it…the world revolves around money. Health care, shelter, food, clothing – it all costs money. Whether we like it or not, money makes the world go round, so to speak. As such, it’s incredibly important for us to learn how to manage it, so that it doesn’t manage us.
What inspired you to create personal finance content?
I was inspired to create personal finance content just as a way to hold myself accountable and keep myself motivated. As time went on, I received comments from friends who wanted to tell me about their financial “wins”…they were so excited to have someone they could tell who they KNEW would be pumped up for them!
What is your ideal audience, who are you hoping to reach with your content?
I think my ideal audience is me…5-10 years ago! :) In other words, someone who may be fairly new to the whole personal finance world. Someone looking for simple tips and tricks to saving money here and there without uprooting their entire lifestyle. A person who wants to level up financially and take the next step (whatever that step may be – we’re all in different places in our journeys). Someone who wants to live a better life, but not with bigger expenses.
What are your top 3 pieces of advice about personal finance?
- Build an emergency fund. Start with $1,000. I don’t care how many times you have to dip into it and replenish it. Get yourself $1,000 in savings as soon as you can.
- Recognize your priorities. It’s okay if your goals are different from what you’re seeing on social media. Figure out your priorities so that you can create your budget based on YOUR personal values.
- Learn to love your budget. A budget is not a way of controlling you – it’s a tool to control your money and to free you. Find ways to make it fun. Make a chart with goals, create a spreadsheet, use software…whatever it takes to motivate you and keep you motivated to budget.
What are your top 3 financial mistakes you can share – how did you grow and improve?
- When I was newly married with no kids, no mortgage, and extra money, my husband and I spent. We didn’t save, we didn’t invest. We just spent money. That came back to haunt us over the years when things got lean.
- At one point in our marriage, things were extremely tight. Our debt (medical bills and house repairs) was high and we couldn’t keep up. We re-financed our home. Big regret. Refinancing and throwing your consumer debt onto your mortgage is not good. I wish we’d worked harder to save and increase our income to pay down our debt rather than adding several years to our mortgage.
- For a few years, I gave up on trying to keep a funded savings account. I was sick of replenishing it whenever an emergency came up. Duh! That’s the whole POINT of an emergency fund! Sure enough, we had plenty of emergencies that ended up on our credit card because we had no savings. Never again!
If you received $5,000,000 tomorrow, what would you do with the money?
Oh man, I’ve imagined this too many times! I could give you a detailed breakdown of every last penny, ha ha. In the interest of time, I’ll keep it simple:
- Set aside tax money. I don’t want regrets come tax day.
- Set aside 15% for tithes and other charitable endeavors
- Purchase a few multi-family properties (I love fixing up houses and I would love to be able to rent out properties for low-income families, or host AirBNBs)
- $1,000,000 each in funds for my two kiddos
- Probably go out to eat somewhere fancy :)
Rank the following from most important to least important – Saving money, Increasing Income, Paying down debt – Please explain why you ranked them this way?
This is a hard one, because I truly believe it depends on where you are in your journey. For me personally, I’ll rank them accordingly:
- Saving money
- Paying down debt
- Increasing income
The reason for my ranking is that saving, even if it’s just $1,000 in an emergency fund, gives you some breathing room. One way to avoid stress, even if just a little. Paying down debt is second for me, simply because it’s the order in which I did things. Personally, I think debt payment is most quickly achieved when combined with increasing income. It really depends on the kind of time you have, though.