In this episode of The Feel Good Effect, we’re diving into habits for financial wholeness with Tiffany Aliche (aka The Budgetnista)!
Listen to the episode or read the article to learn Tiffany’s bite-sized shifts for better budgeting and planning for your financial future.
get good with money: creating habits for financial wholeness with tiffany aliche
Ready to get good with money? I’ve actually never had a financial expert on the show! That industry can feel really intense & hustle-based. But today’s guest, Tiffany Aliche (aka The Budgetnista) is the exact opposite of all of that. She’s an award-winning educator & best-selling author, creating a safe & shame-free space to learn. Her proven tactics have helped over 1 million women transform how they think about their finances. I have a feeling you’re going to love her (and all the bite-sized shifts she shares).
meet guest & financial educator: tiffany aliche
Tiffany’s approach stands out in her industry and is firmly rooted in her experience as a teacher. She taught preschool for ten years and reminds us that you can’t get a child to write their letters by motivationally yelling at them. Instead, you provide a safe space for them to learn & grow and give them the tools they need to succeed. That’s Tiffany’s approach to teaching the people she serves with her books and financial education work too.
As adults, we so often feel that once we reach a certain age we should just know about money, but that’s not how it actually works. We have to be taught how to manage our money. Tiffany’s father was a CFO and an accountant, so she learned about money growing up, but she knows that’s not the norm.
“We have to be more gentle with ourselves and give ourselves space and the grace to grow into this learning”.
looking at shame around talking about money & our finances
Growing up, Tiffany’s family had family meetings every week where they would talk about homework and chores or play games together. Every week, there was also always some sort of conversation talking about money. Her parents integrated money into being part of everyday life – it wasn’t scary, it was part of family conversation. When her mother lost her job one year around Christmas time, they held a family discussion about solutions, ultimately agreeing to celebrate Christmas in mid-January to allow time to find a new job. Money discussions were never shame- or fear-based.
Tiffany was nearly financial-perfect until she was 26. Then the world taught her to be terrified of finance and it took another five years to unlearn the bad money habits she picked up outside of her family. At 26, Tiffany had been saving money, had bought a condo, and then she decided to go back to school for a master’s in education. At that time, she had asked a friend who appeared to be doing well to help her learn to invest. He recommended she take it off her credit card, then proceeded to rob her instead of investing it. Leaving her $35,000 in credit card debt with a condo she had to pay a mortgage on, student loan debt, and credit card debt.
Then, the 2008-2009 recession hit and she lost her job as a teacher. Quickly, Tiffany went from not owing anything to owing everyone, $300,000 in total debt. She was about to turn 30 and had to make the decision to move back home. Her condo was foreclosed on, debt collectors were calling daily, and she could feel anxiety and despair starting to creep in. It felt like it was never going to get better, but what it took was an injection of kindness.
After avoiding her best friend for months out of shame, she finally broke down and told her what had happened. Her friend validated her experiences, helped her laugh a little, and Tiffany realized that “the antidote to shame is voice”. She had to give voice to the things she was hiding and ashamed about in a safe environment.
“Shame thrives on silence. The antidote to shame is voice”
Tiffany felt lighter after sharing her shame. That’s when she was able to apply her knowledge about financial wellness that she learned growing up. She started putting one foot in front of the other and then when she could, she started helping other people around her.
When you teach, you learn twice. The more people she helped, the more she taught, the more she reestablished her knowledge for the basics of budgeting and saving, getting out of debt, fixing her credit. Although those times were really, really hard, Tiffany is glad for them because it’s allowed her teaching to come from a place of empathy.
The first thing she says to the people she is working with is, “tell me your story” – the first step is providing a space where you feel safe to give voice to your shame. And from that place you can start to explore the most impactful solutions.
“Serving and giving activate abundance”.
shifting towards a holistic view on finances
Publishers had reached out to Tiffany before, but she doesn’t believe in doing something just to do it. She decided a long time ago that she wanted to live a life of service, so she didn’t want to write a book until she felt like it was really going to be of service. She started writing it in the beginning of 2020, right before everything changed.
Tiffany created and runs a Facebook group called Dream Catchers: Live Richer with the Budgetnista, all about learning, community, and accountability. She realized that her service through the Dream Catchers was effective, and people were succeeding. But she also saw that many were not prepared for the financial challenges that 2020 brought. She saw that while she was doing okay, many of the Dream Catchers were struggling. Tiffany reflected on what was missing from her teaching, and it turned out to be a holistic view of finances.
This is where Get Good With Money: 10 Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole came from. There are ten steps that work together to create the strongest financial foundation possible so you can create a life that works for your greatest good.
what does financial wholeness mean?
Financial wholeness is a ten-step plan for finding peace, safety, and harmony with your money.
No matter how big or small your goals are, no matter how much you make or what you do for a living, these steps help you from where you currently are. Anyone can reach financial wholeness. The issue with programs that work toward financial freedom – ones that focus on having enough money not to work anymore – is that it’s simply not accessible to everyone. It’s not a concept that not everyone can master.
Tiffany’s ten components to financial wholeness are:
- Learning how to earn
- Your money team
- Net worth
- Estate planning
Every single person can see movement in those ten areas no matter your income. It’s a framework where everyone can achieve financial wholeness.
seeing working toward financial wholeness as self-care
Tiffany helps us to see financial wholeness as a form of self-care. When you are financially whole, when these ten aspects are working together – it can give you a sense of inner calm and peace about your personal finances knowing that if something happens, you’re going to be okay. It gives you the tools and the resources to know that you’ll be okay.
Financial stress is so prevalent. Tiffany’s goal is to help everyone live a richer, more fulfilling life. Money seems to be a blocker, so she uses financial education to unblock that.
“I don’t know that there’s any better present you can give to yourself than calm, peace, and ease”.
common mistakes when creating a budget
Tiffany recommends thinking about your budget as your “say yes” plan; it is there to say “yes” to you. Sometimes, it says “yes, if”, “yes, or”, or “yes, when” (for example: “yes, you can go on a trip when you save more money”).
A common mindset mistake in budgeting is approaching it as saying “no” to yourself instead of saying “yes”.
Another common mistake is overcomplicating it. A budget is super simple and can be done in 20-minutes.
a four-part budget:
1 | Money-in and money-out.
The money-in list is what you take home from all your income sources. The money-out list is everything you spend money on and how much it costs per month. Create these lists for a 30-day span.
2 | Subtract money-out from money-in. And figure out if you are over or if you have savings.
3 | Make choices about what you’d like to do with your money. You can see at the end of the month if you have a spend too much issue or not making enough issue; you don’t want to focus on the wrong solution.
4 | Start to make adjustments
The simplicity of it doesn’t mean it’ll be easy, but it is doable, tangible, and you’re not doing it alone.
Teachers always teach with the student in mind, and Tiffany’s book is reflective of that. As she was writing, she would think about specific people she had worked with and if what she had written would make sense to them. There are also a lot of breaks, not super-long paragraphs, it’s easy on the eyes, and there’s homework to check for understanding.
You have to pause along the way to absorb information, and she lays it out along the way like a lesson plan. It’s broken up like how she learned to lesson plan as a teacher: plan, do, review.
These are also topics in there that people don’t talk about often. For instance – no one talks about how much you need insurance, what type of insurance, or what it might cost you. So Tiffany wrote an entire chapter on it. You might be good at budgeting and credit, but what about net worth? What about insurance? Are you estate planning?
There’s always more to learn and more to add. And you don’t have to do everything all at once, you can walk through it step by step. Rushing through it makes everything very difficult. Give yourself the grace and space to get things done. One thing at a time and celebrate those little accomplishments!
what does it really mean to be healthy?
“Health is joy. Health is friendship and solid relationships. Health is knowing your purpose and living in that purpose every day”
Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche is America’s favorite personal financial educator (thebudgetnista.com), and Author of Get Good With Money. Through her Live Richer Movement, she’s helped over 1 million women save, manage, and pay off millions of dollars.
A former teacher for ten years with a Master’s degree in Education, Tiffany was instrumental in getting The Budgetnista Law (A1414) passed in January 2019, making financial education mandatory for middle school students in New Jersey.
Become a Dream Catcher: Join Dream Catchers: Live Richer with the Budgetnista
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