Financial Eduation is important for everybody regardless of their demographic, and yet it is frequently overlooked by both the young and those who are just trying to get get by.
Tiffany Aliche is passionate about financial planning, and shares that passion, as well as a lifetime of information and practice, on her blog, The Budgetnista.
Tiffany took a moment to tell us about The Budgetnista, how anyone can benefit from sound financial education, and how that education can enrich your life.
Can you briefly describe The Budgetnista for people who aren’t familiar with the site? How did you get started? What differentiates you from the other financial blogs out there?
The Budgetnista is an award-winning financial education firm established in 2008. We specialize in the delivery of financial literacy through seminars, workshops, curricula and trainings. The Budgetnista has been a brand ambassador and spokesperson for a number of organizations, and has served as the personal finance education expert for City National Bank.
My love for financial education began at at home. I grew up in a financially-literate household, receiving weekly financial lessons from my CFO father. These lessons paired with my fun personality helped me create a fun, financial blog that resonates with thousands of women.
Who is your regular audience? What are some specific challenges they face, and how do they inform the things that you write about?
The Budgetnista’s audience is women aged 25-45. Their biggest financial issues are debt management, credit, and budgeting. When writing my blog, I focus on offering step-by-step guidance for these specific financial issues. In addition to women needing assistance, they also need encouragement. I try to not only be a source of information, but a source of inspiration as well.
What are some of the financial services The Budgetnista offers? Who is likely to utilize your services?
The financial services offered by The Budgetnista are keynotes, workshops and seminars on the following personal finance topics: money mindset, budgeting, savings, debt and credit. Many colleges, non-profits, and corporate entities utilize these services.
Each year, The Budgetnista also offers the LIVE RICHER Challenge; a FREE, online financial challenge created by The Budgetnista to help 10,000 women achieve seven specific financial goals in 36 days.
Your motto is “Live richer. To create a measurable lifestyle shift, through financial education.” First of all, can you briefly define financial education, and relate why it is so important? Secondly, how much of a noticeable shift has there been in your own lifestyle since you implemented this education?
Financial education through The Budgetnista provides participants with the tools they need to make sound financial decisions. It is essential because it grants people the power of choice, not just with their finances, but in other aspects of their lives as well.
In my own life, I’ve seen the power of financial education first hand. After a devastating job loss during the recession, I was able to create a business (The Budgetnista) and design the life I always dreamed of.
In the long version of your bio, you’ve written, “By beginning to educate yourself, you’ve taken the first step towards financial empowerment.” How does that information translate into daily life? If this is the first step, what’s the next?
Education is the first step on your financial journey. The next step is to take action. Once you know how to manage your money – budget, save, reduce debt, and fix credit – you can use these skills to navigate your daily life.
One of the goals of The Budgetnista is to give someone a clearer understanding of how to more skillfully manage their money. What are a few basic tips people can use to get started?
Here are The Budgetnista’s top 3 tips to get started on managing your money.
- 3) Open a Bills Account: This is a FREE checking account (if possible), where you allocate your bill money each month. Separating your funds will help you to avoid “accidentally” spending money designated for bills.
- 2) Give and get an allowance: I bet you never thought you’d get one again. After creating your budget, decide which items you can pay for with cash each month and add the amounts up; then divide the total by four. That’s how much your new weekly allowance is. If you take weekly cash allowances, it will help to curb your spending. Also, give yourself a CASH allowance when shopping and leave the cards at home. This way when the cash is done, so are you.
- 1) Automate: By taking out the “flawed” human element (aka you), you’re more likely to stick to your budget. I’ve automated EVERYTHING; payments, bills, saving, investing, even giving to charity.
You recently wrote a blog post about how to start planning for retirement now. First of all, why is this important? Secondly, does it seem like this is something that young adults are neglecting?
Retirement is critical for anyone who wants to maintain their lifestyle after they stop working. Many young adults neglect this because there is a disconnect between their present self and their future self.
You also recently wrote about a budget trip to Jamaica you get to take. What are some fun things that you’ve gotten to do simply by getting your finances in order?
My favorite thing to do, as a result of getting my finances in order, is travel. In the past few years, I’ve been to 16 different countries. Learning to master my money has given me the freedom to actively design and live my life.
You’ve talked about how to make a budget for people who don’t have a regular paycheck. What were some of the basics of that article, and do you feel this is a reflection of the changing economy we’re living in, and if so, how?
Budgeting on an irregular income can be difficult. Here are some tricks to help you.
- Calculate your Financial Baseline: Your financial baseline is how much your life costs you each month without the bells and whistles.
- Be Like the Squirrel: Squirrels are super-smart savers. When acorns are plentiful, they work their hardest and gather as many as possible. Squirrel away your money when times are good, and live off of your stash when things aren’t.
- Pay Yourself: Once you identify how much you spend each month, pay it to yourself from your business/savings account. Your clients/income provider should “pay” your savings account, then you pay yourself a regular income from the money that sits in that account.
- Live by Percentages: Those that receive a regular paycheck can live by exact amounts; but for those of us with irregular incomes, we have to live by percentages. Allocate a percentage of your income to different categories: bills, savings, investing, spending, etc.
- Separate to See: The best way to gauge how close you are to achieving your financial goals is to house your money in different bank accounts.
- Systemize: Automate everything: transfers, bills, saving, giving and investing.
You’ve also offered some travel tips for traveling on a budget. What are some ways people can save while they’re traveling? How possible is it to have fun on the cheap?
My top 3 Budgetnista travel tips are:
- Be flexible: Sometimes travel deals spring up on sites. The more flexible you are about your travel destination and timeframe, the more likely you’ll be able to take advantage of those deals.
- The right sites: My favorite deal sites are: theflightdeal.com, jetradar.com, europeandestinations.com and airfarwatchdog.com
- When to book: The best day to book a domestic flight is Tuesday at 3pm (this is when the sales hit). The cheapest day to fly domestically is Wednesday.
Financial education is not a one-off event; it is an ongoing process that requires practice to perfect. For more education and inspiration, like The Budgetnista on Facebook , connect on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter, and subscribe to The Budgetnista YouTube Channel.