Month: April 2020

  • How to Create a Minimalist Budget to Manage Your Money

    For years I avoided budgeting because of how restrictive it felt. I didn’t want to feel guilty every time I spent my own money.

    Then I discovered the concept of a minimalist budget, and it was a total game-changer. Rather than spending money on things you don’t really care about, you can spend more money on the things you care most about. 

    You’re probably familiar with the concept of minimalism, but minimalist budgeting might be a mystery to you. It’s the same concept — You’re eliminating the non-essentials to make room for the things you truly value. 

    In this post, I’m explaining what a minimalist budget is and how you can create one to help you manage your money without the guilt and restriction that often comes with budgeting.


    How to Create a Minimalist Budget For Your Money


    What is a minimalist budget?

    Minimalism is the practice of eliminating the non-essentials from your life to make more room for the things you truly value. Most people use the term minimalism in reference to physical belongings, but you can apply the concept of minimalism to any part of your life. 

    I particularly like to use it as it applies to budgeting. A minimalist budget is one where you eliminate the non-essentials and the clutter from your budget to leave more money for what you value most. 

    A minimalist budget can help you to reduce your monthly expenses, simplify your financial life, and get out of debt. 

    It’s important to note that budget minimalism isn’t the same thing as frugality. A minimalist budget isn’t necessarily about spending less money. It’s about spending money on fewer things, so you’re only spending money on what you truly value.


    How do you create a minimalist budget?

    Like many things, creating a minimalist budget is easier said than done. I’m not going to lie – this doesn’t come naturally, and you’re going to be hesitant to make cuts to your budget. Here are a few ways to help you create a minimalist budget that actually works for you.



    One of the key benefits of a minimalist budget is that it allows you the freedom to spend money on the things that are truly important to you. To do that, you first have to identify what your values are. 

    Identifying your values and priorities is an important piece of the puzzle. Consider how often you allow yourself to spend money on something because it’s a “necessity.” Maybe it’s hitting the bar with your friends or that new outfit you’ve been eyeing online. 

    Sure, those things might seem like necessities. But what about when you compare the importance of a new outfit to being able to afford to fly home for the holidays? The outfit doesn’t seem like such a necessity when you identify your real priorities, one of which is that annual trip home for Christmas. 



    One of the first things I think everyone needs to do when it comes to setting up a new budget is to take stock of where they’re currently spending their money. To do this, you need to make a list of all of your expenses. 

    The easiest way to do this is to literally go back through your last three to six months of bank and credit card statements and document every single expense.

    Yes, it sounds exhausting. But I promise you’ll get so much clarity from this one exercise!

    I remember the first time I set up a budget for myself. I really had no idea how much I was spending on anything each month. I set up a budget and was honestly shocked to see how much I’d spent on take-out every month. It was a LOT.

    Not only is this step important to figure out where you’re spending too much, but it also helps you to identify how much you should expect to spend. It’s simply not realistic to start budgeting $200 per month for groceries when you’ve been spending $600. 



    Alright, you knew this part was coming! Once you make a list of all of your expenses, it’s time to start cutting. Go through that list and figure out what you didn’t need to spend money on or what you could have spent less on.

    Some of these will be easy, as with my example of eating out. As soon as I saw how much I was spending, I knew I had to cut back. Others will be more difficult because lots of things seem like necessities. 

    If you’re struggling to make cuts, refer back to step 1, where you identified your values and priorities. If something doesn’t fit within your values, cut it! 

    For example, suppose you’re spending way too much on food, partially as a result of regularly grabbing lunch and dinner out. If friendship is one of your top priorities, then you probably don’t want to cut that weekly dinner with your best friend. 

    But you could reduce your food spending by bringing lunch to work instead of ordering out. You’ve managed to cut your food budget without sacrificing one of your most important values. 

    Here’s the good news: Only you get to decide what spending is necessary and what isn’t. You can decide you want to splurge on eating out or clothing, or anything else. Something that will seem unnecessary to someone else might feel necessary to you, and vice versa.


    USE A 50/20/30 BUDGET

    One of the toughest parts of setting up a new budget is knowing how much you should be spending on everything. After all, there’s no handbook that you get when you become an adult that tells you how much to spend on groceries. You just have to figure it out as you go. 

    One of the best ways I’ve found to break up the budget is to do so by percentages. More specifically, I recommend the 50/30/20 budget

    The 50/30/20 budget is a framework that says you should break down your take-home pay like this:

    • 50% for needs, such as housing, transportation, and groceries
    • 30% for wants, such as eating out, entertainment, and hobbies
    • 20% for savings and debt

    Remember, this framework is just a guide, and it’s not going to be right for everyone. For example, when Brandon and I had $150,000 of debt that we were paying off, we would spend more than 20% of our budget on savings and debt. 



    Listen, I know it’s popular advice in the personal finance community to have separate bank accounts for your different savings goals. At some point, though, it all becomes more work than it’s really worth. And if you have a good system in place, you don’t need a bunch of different bank accounts. 

    First, popular online banks such as Ally (the one I personalize use) allow you to set up “buckets” within a single savings account where you designate different cash for different purposes. 

    Additionally, budgeting apps such as You Need a Budget (YNAB) allow you to budget money for certain purposes. My banking app might say I have $10,000 in my savings account, but I can look at YNAB and see that I have $X budgeted for my emergency fund and $X budgeted for our new car. 

    Another popular piece of financial advice is to shop around for the savings account with the highest interest rate. But then what happens is you’re constantly obsessing over whether your current bank still has the highest rate and constantly moving your money as banks change their rates. 

    Here is some honesty for you — The difference between a 2% interest rate and a 1.75% interest rate on a savings account can literally come down to a few dollars, depending on how much money you have in the account. Just pick a bank with a high-yield savings account and let it go. 

    Finally, credit card hacking. Far too many people take out loads of credit cards with different types of rewards, and then only use their favorite. Credit card hacking might be effective if you do it right, but for most of us, it just adds extra unnecessary credit cards to our wallets. 



    I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of monthly bills. Every month I pay bills such as my mortgage, car insurance, utilities, phone bill, and more. We also pay off our credit card each month so we never carry a balance. 

    If I had to manually log onto my various accounts throughout the month to pay my bills, that would be a huge pain. In fact, I would probably forget once in a while, and that would cause a whole different set of problems. 

    These days, you can automate just about everything having to do with your finances. And I recommend that you do just that. Automate your bills, transfers to your savings account, and anything else you can. 



    One of my biggest pet peeves about life these days is that everything is based on a monthly payment. For some things, it makes sense — I’ll happily pay my Netflix bill every month. 

    But now, there are buy now, pay later apps that allow you to take out mini loans for large purchases. That way, instead of paying the total amount upfront, you’re paying it off over six months or so. 

    But here’s the thing. Those services encourage you to buy things you can’t afford. If you can’t swing the cost of the shoes in a single payment, you can’t afford the shoes. 

    These services also cost you more money. Nothing comes for free. If someone is lending you money, they’re getting something in return. Usually, it’s an astronomical amount of interest. And even if that’s not the case, they’re normalizing debt, which is not okay. 

    One important component of getting out of the monthly payment mindset is getting out of debt. It’s easy to think about your debt only in terms of what it costs you each month. 

    Your $5,000 credit card debt might only have a minimum payment of $85 per month. Or your $25,000 student loan might only have a minimum monthly payment of $150. And while those numbers don’t seem all that high, they’re costing you so much more than that. 

    Let’s do some painful math real quick. Suppose you have $5,000 of credit card debt with a minimum monthly payment of $85. If you only pay the monthly payment, you’ll pay over $7,900 in interest before you pay the card off. 


    You’ll pay more in interest than you had in credit card debt in the first place. All because $85 per month seemed like a perfectly reasonable amount to pay to have credit card debt. 

    Here are some rules to live by when getting out of the monthly payment mindset:

    • Prioritize paying off existing debt
    • Don’t take on any additional debt
    • If you use a credit card, only spend what you have in your bank account and pay it off each month
    • If given the choice between a monthly subscription fee and an annual one, pay the annual fee. It’s almost always cheaper. 



    When you’ve been spending money on the same things for years, it’s easy to see those things as necessities. One of the adjustments you have to make for a minimalist budget is to start questioning every purchase. 

    Minimalist budgeting is about spending money on fewer things, even if it means spending more on those items. It’s about focusing on quality over quantity. 

    Maybe you have a go-to pair of shoes that you buy, but the heels wear out in just a few months. This was me for a long time! I would always buy the same $25 pair of high heels for work. When the heels wore out a few months later, I’d replace them. I didn’t think anything of it because they were only $25. 

    It turned out that once I started spending more money per pair of shoes, I started spending less money overall. Instead of buying a budget pair that only lasted a few months, I could buy a more expensive pair that lasted infinitely longer. 

    Think about what expenses in your current budget you could replace with a higher-quality item. Instead of buying coffee out every day, what if you invested in a nice coffee or espresso machine? Instead of buying bottled water at the grocery store, what about buying a nice water filter? 

    The goal is to spend money on quality items that last longer. 

    Read More: How to Reduce Impulse Buying Once and For All



    I know I said that budget minimalism isn’t necessarily about spending less money, and it’s not. But just like any budget, the most important rule is that you have to spend less than you make. 

    It’s easy to rely on credit cards and monthly payments that trick us into thinking we can afford more than we really can. But if the amount you’re swiping on your credit card each month is less than the amount on your paychecks, it’s time to change direction. 



    I think we can all relate to a situation where we set up a brand new budget that we swear is going to change our lives, and then we forget about it in less time than it took us to make it. 

    I’ve gotten out of this habit by scheduling regular budget meetings for myself and my husband. We do one budget meeting around the first as I’m planning out the budget for the month and a quick check-in each time we get paid.

    Even if you’re the only person sticking to your budget, these check-ins are still important. Putting time on your calendar will ensure that you’re actually checking in with your budget and noting whether you’re still on track. 

    Read More: How to Create a Monthly Budget


    Final Thoughts

    Whether or not you practice minimalism with your physical belongings, a minimalist budget can be a great choice for anyone! Minimalist budgeting is all about eliminating the non-essentials from your budget to make room for the things that you value most. 

    While budgets often feel restrictive, the minimalist budget is all about freedom — freedom to spend on the things you truly value without letting the less important expenses get in the way.

  • The 14 Best Personal Finance Podcasts for Women

    When I decided to get serious about my finances, podcasts were one of the first places I turned to for information. I love learning from podcasts since I can listen as I’m driving, cleaning, or out walking the dog. 

    Over the years, I’ve found myself drawn to financial podcasts specifically created for women. It’s no secret that women have very different financial goals and financial needs.

    Luckily there’s no shortage today of amazing personal finance podcasts created by and for women. Here are a few of my favorites!

    If podcasts aren’t your style, you can check out these lists too:


    The 10 Best Personal Finance Podcasts for Women


    1. So Money

    So Money is one of the OG female money podcasts and was founded by Farnoosh Torabi. Farnoosh got her start as a financial reporter and wrote her first personal finance book in 2008. 

    Farnoosh talks about issues that are important to women, such as in her book, When She Makes More, where she talks about female breadwinners.

    Farnoosh started So Money in 2014 and, since then, has published over 1,000 episodes. Farnoosh does solo episodes where she answers your biggest money questions. She also interviews top authors and business owners about their financial journey and best money advice. She’s interviewed amazing women like Ariana Huffington, Gretchen Rubin, and Jen Sincero.

    Listen to So Money here


    2. Money Confidential

    Money Confidential is a podcast from Real Simple that’s hosted by the well-known personal finance writer Stefanie O’Connell Rodriquez.

    Stefanie herself is known for her work discussing the unique issues women face in the workplace and personal finances. This follows the same trend and explores some of the aspects of personal finance that people struggle with the most, including saving, spending, earning, investing, and more.

    In each episode, Stefanie starts by sharing an interview with a listener looking for advice on a particular topic. In the second part of the episode, Stefanie speaks with a financial expert who offers advice on that same topic.

    Each episode of Money Confidential has tangible advice you can implement right away, while also acknowledging the role that emotions play in money decisions.

    Listen to Money Confidential here.


    3. Money With Katie

    Katie Gattie Tassin has long been one of my favorite women talking about money on the internet, so you can imagine how excited I was when she started her podcast.

    Katie’s podcast, Money With Katie, is created for – as she refers to her audience – #RichGirls. In her podcast, she addresses topics that are important to women, including spending habits, smart investing, tax strategy, and more.

    One of the things I love about Katie’s work is her transition from solely tactical advice to a broader look at the challenges facing certain demographics and some of the societal issues holding us back. Don’t worry, though – she still shares plenty of the tactical tips.

    Listen to Money with Katie here.


    4. Financial Feminist

    The Financial Femenist podcast is created by Tori Dunlap, the founder of the Her First $100K community. She went viral in the personal finance community for saving her first $100K in her early twenties and has made it her mission to help women do the same. On her podcast and other social platforms, she educates women on the subject of personal finance to help them smash the patriarchy.

    On her podcast, Tori shares tactical advice on saving, investing, negotiating, and more. She also interviews experts about financial issues important to women and some of the societal difficulties women face in the workface (along with how to navigate them).

    Tori also has a new book out with the same name as her podcast.

    Listen to Financial Feminist here.


    5. Clever Girls Know

    The Clever Girls was one of the first finance blogs I really dove into when I decided to get serious about my finances. The Clever Girls founder Bola started the website after successfully saving $100,000 in just a few years and knowing that she had to teach other women how they could save money too. 

    The Clever Girls Know podcast covers all of the financial education and empowerment that women need to help them pay off debt, save money, start growing real wealth, and meet their big financial goals.

    Listen to Clever Girls Know here


    6. The Financial Confessions

    Though you might not be familiar with the Financial Confessions podcast, you’re almost certainly familiar with the company that runs it — The Financial Diet. 

    Founder Chelsea Fagan started The Financial Diet as a personal blog back in 2014. Since then, it has grown into a finance website that publishes great content every day aimed at helping women talk more openly and honestly about money. 

    So it comes as no surprise that Chelsea’s podcast, The Financial Confessions, is all about getting honest about money. On the show, Chelsea sits down to talk to influencers, celebrities, and financial experts in various industries to talk about all things money. They talk about the financial secrets of different industries, how your background influences the way you approach money, and the financial habits they recommend.

    Listen to The Financial Confessions here


    7. Inspired Budget Podcast

    I don’t remember when I first discussed Allison at Inspired Budget, but I’ve been following her for several years now. What first got my excited about her Instagram account was the real people’s budgets she shared. She literally shares a real person’s budget, as well as changes she recommends to help that person meet her goals.

    In 2021 Allision started her own podcast, The Inspired Budget Podcast, which helps women live their best life and reach their financial goals. Allison shares short but meaningful episodes on a particular financial topic. What I love about her content is that every podcast episode has a takeaway. In other words, every episode allows you to walk away with at least one improvement you can make to your finances right away.

    Listen to the Inspired Budget Podcast here.


    8. The Fairer Cents

    Founders Kara and Tanja started The Fairer Cents podcast to talk about all things money as it relates to women. Kara and Tanja are both successful in their own right. Kara is the founder of Bravely, a community that provides financial empowerment for women. Tanja wrote the book Work Optional, where she talks about her and her husband’s journey to early retirement. 

    On the podcast, Kara and Tanja dive into some of the stickier issues around money. They aim to serve those that have been underserved by financial media in the past, and cover issues like the wage gap and exploring how money affects relationships (and vice versa). 

    Listen to The Fairer Cents here.


    9. Journey to Launch

    Journey to Launch is a podcast hosted by Jamila, a Certified Financial Education Instructor who, along with her husband, is on her way to financial independence by the age of 40. 

    On her blog, Jamila shares the steps that she’s taken to save and invest well over $100K in just a couple of years. On the Journey to Launch podcast, Jamila teaches her audience how to set and create and create an actionable plan to go after their own goals.

    Listen to Journey to Launch here.


    10. Afford Anything

    Afford Anything founder Paula Pant started getting serious about money in a desperate attempt to avoid spending the rest of her life working 9-5 behind a desk. She built successful side hustles and saved enough money to quit her job and travel. 

    Since then, Paula has built a successful real estate business and shares her business and financial expertise on her podcast. Paula talks about being intentional in the way you spend your money. After all, you can afford anything, but not everything. 

    Listen to Afford Anything here.


    11. Money Girl Podcast

    The Money Girl podcast was started by Laura Adams in 2008. Like so many other finance bloggers and podcasters, Laura gained her expertise through her own personal finance journey of learning to pay off debt and get on a budget. 

    Since then, the show has gotten more than 40 million downloads and provides short and sweet personal finance tips to women. Laura’s podcast episodes are easily digestible, as many of them are just 15 minutes. Laura covers topics such as paying off debt, saving for retirement, and developing positive money habits.

    Listen to Money Girl here


    12. She Makes Money Moves

    The She Makes Money Moves podcast is put on by Glamour and iHeartRadio and hosted by Samantha Barry, Glamour’s editor-in-chief. In this podcast series, Barry talks about money as it relates to women. 

    She talks about topics such as student debt, divorce, and combining finances with your significant other with financial experts such as Farnoosh Torabi and Stefanie O’Connell, who also have podcast on this list.

    Listen to She Makes Money Moves here.


    13. HerMoney

    HerMoney was founded by Jean Chatzky, a personal finance reporter. Like so many women, she came to the realization that the traditional money media just wasn’t addressing the unique needs of women, so she started a website and podcast to address those needs herself. 

    HerMoney is all about improving the relationships that women have with money and leveling the playing field for financial security. 

    Listen to HerMoney here


    14. Mo’ Money Podcast

    Like so many other personal finance bloggers, Jessica Moorhouse started her blog in an effort to document her own personal finance journey and keep herself accountable. Seven years later, she’s an accredited financial counselor and provides coaching services to clients.

    On her Mo’ Money Podcast, Jessica talks to finance experts, celebrities, and authors to teach listeners about how to manage their money, make smarter money choices, earn more money, become debt-free, and live a more fulfilled and balanced life.

    Listen to the Mo’ Money Podcast here.


    Final Thoughts

    Podcasts have been one of my favorite ways to consume content, especially when I was just getting started with my own personal finance journey. 

    We know that the money needs of women are so unique. And luckily, there are plenty of podcasts out there specifically designed to help women take control of their money and meet their financial goals. 

  • How to Develop a Positive Money Mindset

    Have you ever been at a point in your life where you learn everything you can about personal finance in an effort to get your money shit in order, but you just can’t seem to turn things around?

    Believe it or not, your mindset might be the problem. The beliefs and feelings you have about money play a huge role in the decisions you make and what you make your money situation mean about you. 

    I’ve definitely struggled with a negative money mindset in my life. After my divorce, I spent a lot of time beating myself up about my debt, my lack of savings, and just my general lack of money expertise. 

    I can honestly say that changing my mindset around money has been just as instrumental in changing my circumstances as changing my money behavior was. 

    In this post, I’m sharing what a money mindset is and what steps you can take to turn yours around and develop a positive money mindset. 


    How to Develop a Positive Money Mindset

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.


    What is a money mindset?

    Your money mindset is made up of all of the beliefs and feelings you have about money. People have either a scarcity or abundance money mindset, though, to be honest, most of us probably fall somewhere in between. 

    You have a scarcity mindset if you believe there’s not enough money. You’re constantly telling yourself that money is tight and that you’ll never have enough to meet your goals. 

    If you have a scarcity mindset, you also probably beat yourself up about your money situation. When I struggled with a negative money mindset, I spent a lot of time beating myself up for taking on debt. 

    Not only do people with a scarcity mindset have negative thoughts about money, but they also often have negative thoughts about people who do have money. They might think that wealthy people aren’t good people. They probably also think that the more money someone else has, the less there is for the rest of us. 

    You have an abundance mindset if you believe that there’s plenty of money to go around. You trust that even if you spend the money you have now, more will come around. Everything will be okay. 

    When you have an abundance mindset, you don’t make money mean more than it does. You don’t make your money mistakes mean anything about you, just like you don’t make someone else’s money mean anything about them. 


    How to have an abundant money mindset


    Whether you realize it or not, you already have money beliefs that influence the way you think about money and the world. These beliefs might be a result of something your parents taught you during your childhood. 

    Think about phrases such as “money doesn’t grow on trees.” Most of us have heard it, partially because most of our parents probably said it. But have you ever stopped to think that your parents repeatedly telling you that actually taught you that money is finite and that there’s never going to be enough?

    Or maybe your parents told you that “money is the root of all evil.” If your parents drilled that into your head as a kid, you’re probably going to have some weird mental blocks about earning a lot of money. 

    You probably also have money beliefs based on your past experiences. Have you ever made a really stupid money mistake and then, for years afterward, tell yourself that you’re bad with money? 

    What that really does is convince you that you’re bad with money. And far too many people develop that belief without ever trying to convince themselves otherwise. 

    If you’re struggling to identify what your current money thoughts are, write it out. Sit down with a notebook and just spend twenty minutes writing down everything you can think of about money. Eventually, something is going to come up. 

    Once you’ve identified what your current money beliefs are, you’ll start to identify where those beliefs came from. More importantly, you’ll see that you can change your beliefs.



    One of the most important parts of changing your current negative money mindset to a positive one is recognizing that money is neutral. 

    So many people have a belief that money is evil or that a lack of money is holding them back. Money isn’t evil, and it isn’t out to get you. It has no value until we give it value. It has no meaning until you give it meaning. 

    I say all of this because a lot of people blame their money (or lack thereof) or their debt for the problems in their lives. The sooner you can come to terms with the fact that money isn’t out to get you, the sooner you’ll be able to change your mindset around it. 



    It’s easy to focus on all the things that are going wrong in your life. Regardless of your financial situation, you’re probably more likely to focus on the bad than the good. 

    You might spend a lot of time worrying about your debt or about going over budget on your grocery shopping. Yet you give almost no thought to the good things that your money has done for you. 

    Listen, it’s easy to look at your next-door neighbor with the luxury car or your friend with the designer clothes and feel bad about your life. But it might put things into perspective to remember that a huge portion of the world’s population is living in poverty. And if you live in a developed country, you’re luckier than most. 

    Whatever your financial situation, find ways to be grateful for it. Yes, even the things that are easy to complain about. Here are a few examples:

    • I’m grateful for my debt because it pushed me to get serious about personal finance
    • I’m grateful that I make more money in my current job than I did in my last one
    • I’m grateful knowing I’ll be okay even though I went over my grocery budget

    Each of those thoughts takes something that could be perceived as negative (debt, a moderate income, going over budget) and spins it in a positive light. 

    I guarantee that if you think hard enough, you’ll realize you have a lot to be grateful for. I know that for myself, I’m most grateful for the goals my money allows me to have. My husband and I are able to make plans to travel full-time and have adventures because of our financial situation. 



    People are weird about money. These days it’s still a fairly taboo topic. Don’t believe me? Next time you’re talking to someone, tell them that you love money and see how they react.

    Here’s the thing, though — You can’t expect to have a positive money mindset if you don’t have positive feelings about your money. 

    Part of the reason we feel weird about loving our money is that it’s not a topic people normally talk about. It’s weird for me to say that I love making a lot of money because I’m not supposed to tell people that I make a lot of money. 

    Loving money is also a bit taboo because, let’s be honest, it probably makes us seem like we’re selfish or materialistic or bragging. There’s an element of guilt that comes with it. 

    If this is what’s holding you back, just remember that you can be generous and giving and still love your money. In fact, one great reason to love your money is that it allows you to help others. 

    There are lots of reasons to love your money. You can love your money:

    • For the security it provides
    • For the goals it will help you to reach
    • For the good it will allow you to do in the world



    I realize that this post is supposed to be about money mindset and not actionable budgeting advice. But one factor that’s had the biggest impact on my money mindset is getting better with money.

    You see, I used to have a really negative money mindset. Part of this was a result of the fact that I had zero confidence when it came to money. And my lack of confidence was a result of the fact that I just wasn’t good with money. 

    For years I thought I had my financial shit together. It turned out that I was just married to someone who had his financial shit together, and he managed the money. When we got divorced, and I was on my own, it became abundantly clear that I had no idea what the heck I was doing. 

    For the next few years, I threw myself into learning everything I could about managing money. As my knowledge of finance increased, so did my confidence when it came to money. And as my confidence increased, my money mindset got better. 

    The best advice I have for getting started with personal finance is to do what I did — Read personal finance books and blogs. Here are a few to get you started:



    One of the negative money beliefs that many people have is that they’ll never be able to do all of the things they want to do. They won’t be able to go on that dream vacation or buy that dream house because they won’t have enough money. And because they believe it to be true, they don’t really take steps to change it. 

    I can tell you right now that if you don’t actually take steps to reach your financial goals, you won’t reach them. There will never come a day when you just magically have enough money in your bank account to achieve your financial goal. 

    When you actually take steps to set and go after goals, you start making progress on them. And as you start making progress on them, your money mindset gets better and better because you realize what is possible. It’s a constant cycle, and you get to decide which direction it goes!

    If you want to get started with setting financial goals but aren’t sure how, check out my guide on how to set goals and plan your best year ever



    If you need to change your beliefs about money but can’t quite get there, a money mantra is what you need. I know the idea of a mantra sounds a little woo-woo and not like something that actually works, but it really does. 

    First things first, what the heck is a money mantra?

    A money mantra (aka affirmation) is a short but powerful statement that you repeat every single day (preferably multiple times per day) until you believe it. 

    Your mantra can be something written on a post-it at your desk that you say out loud. I prefer to write mine in my journal every day. 

    Here are a few mantras you can try if you aren’t sure where to start:

    • Money flows easily to me
    • Making money is easy
    • There is always more than enough money
    • I am financially free

    The first time you repeat your money mantra, you’re probably going to feel a bit ridiculous. After all, you’re probably not going to believe it right away. 

    A while back, I started working on a mantra saying I can make as much money in my business as I want. At first, it felt so clearly false. But now that I’ve been practicing it for a while, I actually believe it. 



    One of my favorite ways to learn about money has been by reading books. Learning about money mindset was no exception.

    I loved Jen Sincero’s first badass book, You Are a Badass. So when I saw she had a money mindset book coming out, I knew I had to read it. 

    In You Are a Badass at Making Money, Sincero shares her personal money journey. She talks about overcoming her bad money habits and her negative money mindset.

    This pulled me in right away because so many of the negative thoughts about money that Sincero said had held her back are thoughts I have had about money too.

    I love that she wrote the book from her own personal experience, and I genuinely think everyone can find something in this book that really hits home with them, from identifying the money beliefs that are holding you back to transforming your relationship with money.

    Finally, I just love Sincero’s writing style and sense of humor, which made it really easy to read.

    Click here to grab a copy of You Are a Badass at Making Money.


    Final Thoughts

    Having a negative money mindset is so hard to overcome, in large part because a lot of us don’t even realize what our money mindset is.

    The things that we believe about money are a direct result of the experiences we’ve had so far. And unless you want your future to replicate your past, it’s time to make some mindset changes. 

    I know that honing in on my mindset and learning to have an abundant money mindset has been seriously life-changing.

    Changing my mindset has helped me to embrace my debt while also paying it off faster than I ever would have thought. It’s helped me to drastically increase my income. Finally, it’s taught me to completely change the way I look at my life and my money. 

    I know that the tips in this blog post can do the same for you!

  • How to Build an Emergency Fund & How Much You Should Save

    There were way too many years when I didn’t realize just how important an emergency fund was. I made enough money to pay my bills every month. But when an unexpected expense came up, I’d have to put it on a credit card or pull money from a different spending category. 

    Having a fully-funded emergency in place is seriously life-changing. It provides so much peace of mind and helps ensure that little bumps in the road don’t rock your financial world. 

    In this post, you’ll learn what an emergency fund is, how much you should have in your emergency fund, and how you can save enough money for an emergency fund. 


    How to Build an Emergency Fund & How Much You Should Save


    What is an emergency fund?

    An emergency fund, just like the name suggests, is a chunk of money that you set aside for an unexpected financial emergency. 

    Your emergency fund has two primary purposes. First, it can help to pay for unexpected one-off expenses that you don’t have room for in your budget. For example, if your car breaks down or you have an unexpected medical bill, your emergency fund can help to pay for it.

    The other use for an emergency fund is a job loss. If you lose your job, your emergency fund can serve as a replacement to your income until you have a new job.


    How much emergency fund should I have?

    There’s a lot of debate as to how much you should have in your emergency fund. If you follow Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, he recommends an emergency fund of $1,000 until you pay off all your debt. Once your debt is gone, then he recommends that you save an emergency fund of 3-6 months worth of expenses. 

    Depending on how much debt you have, I don’t think $1,000 is nearly enough. When my husband and I got married, we were working to pay off about $150K of debt. We knew it would take us several years to get there, and I wouldn’t have felt comfortable going years with only $1,000 in our emergency fund. 

    My comfort level before paying off debt is about three months of expenses in our emergency fund. I feel confident that in our career fields, we’d be able to at least partially replace our income in that time. 

    Long term, I recommend an even larger emergency fund. I feel most comfortable with six months of expenses set aside for an emergency.

    There are other things to take into consideration when it comes to the size of your emergency fund. If you’re single, you might want more of an emergency fund than someone in a two-income household who has another person to rely on in the case of a job loss. Similarly, someone who has children to support might feel most comfortable with a larger emergency fund than someone with no one relying on them financially.

    Read More: Is it Better to Pay Off Debt or Save Money First?

    People are tempted to underestimate how much they need in their emergency fun while paying off debt so as to avoid paying more in interest. However, the lack of an emergency fund can actually end up being more expensive.

    Imagine you don’t have an emergency fund and end up needing a $1,000 car repair. Now you have to put the repair on your credit card, and in addition to paying the initial $1,000, you also have to pay the high credit card interest rate until you can pay off the balance.


    Where should you keep your emergency fund?

    It’s best to keep your emergency fund somewhere easily accessible and highly liquid. If an unexpected expense comes up, you want to be able to get to your money as quickly as possible.

    A high-yield savings account is a great option. You’ll keep your money safe while earning a little extra money on interest. I personally recommend Ally Bank, but there are plenty of options that pay rates far higher than a traditional bank.

    If you’re tempted to invest your emergency fund in the market, I highly recommend against it. The market can be volatile, and the last thing you want is for the stock market to drop at the same time you need to use your emergency fund. 


    How do I build an emergency fund?


    I talked about how much I recommend having in your emergency fund. But you’re the only one who can ultimately decide how much you’ll need. Once you know how much you want to save, you can figure out how long it will take you to get there. 



    This step is where budgeting comes in. If you don’t know how much you can save every month for your emergency fund, it’s probably because you don’t have a firm grasp on your monthly budget. Let’s change that!

    If you don’t already have a budget set up, check out my guide on setting up a monthly budget

    If you already have a budget in place but don’t have extra money left over to put toward your emergency fund, go through and figure out where you can make cuts.

    You may currently be making extra debt payments, and that might be a good place to cut until your emergency fund is in place. Otherwise, find some other discretionary spending such as eating out or a vacation fund you can divert budget money from. 



    I used to tell myself that I would save whatever money I had left at the end of every month after my expenses. And time after time, the end of the month would roll around, and I would have spent everything. There would be nothing left to put into savings. 

    Finally, I changed my strategy. I set up an automatic payment to go through the day after my paycheck hit my bank account every month. Then I could only spend what I had left after savings. 

    It’s easy to have the best of intentions when it comes to saving. But I think we can all relate to a situation where we spend more than we plan to. Setting up an automatic transfer to savings is the best way to make sure it happens every month. 

    Read More: 6 Easy Ways to Automate Your Finances



    I don’t know about you, but I love those cash windfalls that come in throughout the year. Sometimes it’s a tax return (or finding out you owe less in taxes than you had saved). It could also be a little bonus or a raise at work. 

    Another windfall many people don’t think about is that extra paycheck some people get a couple of months per year. If you get paid every other week, then there are actually two months per year where you get three paychecks instead of two. I always look forward to those months, as my husband gets those extra paychecks. 

    While it might be tempting to spend those extra windfalls on something fun, there are probably better uses for them. If you’re still saving your emergency fund, then throw those windfalls in there. Once your emergency fund is fully funded, then you can throw those windfalls toward a different financial goal! 



    At some point, there’s only so much you can cut from your budget. Even if you’re as frugal as can be, the money can only go so far. That’s where extra money comes in. 

    I love having a side hustle. I started my blog years ago and worked on it alongside a full-time job. A few years later, I added freelance writing to the mix. But in the years when I was really building up my financial health, that extra income was a life saver.

    The good news, it’s super easy to earn extra money every month. Some of my favorite side hustle ideas are super easy to get started and can earn you $1,000 (or more) every single month.



    Your financial needs are going to change a lot during your life. You might decide today that $5,000 is plenty for an emergency fund for you. But fast-forward a few years, and your life might look totally different. 

    In that case, you’ll need to reevaluate whether your current emergency fund is still sufficient. In general, the higher your monthly expenses get, the bigger your emergency fund will need to be. 

    The other thing to keep in mind is that something you’ll need to rebuild your emergency fund. Emergencies are bound to pop up sometimes — that’s what the fund is for!

    When you find yourself needing to spend some of that money, be sure to build it back up afterward. It might be that it was a relatively small expense, and you can get the fund back up in a month or two.

    In the case of a job loss where you end up draining the entire fund, it’s going to take you a lot longer to get it back to where it was. 

    Don’t get down on yourself if that happens — that’s what the fund is for! Your life will probably be a constant back and forth of building up the fund and then having to use it. 


    Final Thoughts

    I think we can all agree that unexpected financial emergencies suck. But they’re also inevitable and something we should all be prepared for. 

    If you use the tips in this post to boost your emergency fund, you’ll have a lot more peace of mind next time one of those unexpected costs rolls around.