I have a great interview of you today. Alyssa from Mixed Up Money took the plunge a little over a year ago and started a personal finance blog. She has been rocking’ it ever since. Make sure to give her some love and check out her site after you check out this great, and often hilarious, interview.
(p.s. If you are interested in being interviewed for this series, send me an email at andrew (at) familymoneyplan (dot) com )
Let’s talk a little bit about who you are and where you are coming from. Tell me about your money journey? What got you started in learning about personal finance?
My first experience with personal finance came from my current job. Upon graduating from college (for the 3rd time) I got a job working at a credit counselling agency. Working in the Marketing department meant that I would have to do training in all departments.
The next day, I sat in on a client’s first phone meeting where they spoke about their debts and how their financial struggles began. At that time, I had over $10,000 in consumer debt, and the story hit so close to home I started to tear up.
I went home that evening and started to plan my personal finances right then and there. I was sick of sleepless nights worrying about money, and knew if I kept on the road I was on I would end up like the lady on the phone. $50,000 in debt with no savings.
What would you say the biggest money obstacle has been for you to overcome?
The biggest obstacle for me has absolutely been cutting back on some social outings I would normally jump at. One of my closest circles of friends loves to go out every single weekend to experience a new restaurant, nightclub, or event. I unfortunately had to start saying no and change a bit of my hobbies. It’s actually been the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
How has overcoming that obstacle changed you?
It 100% has changed me. I no longer feel the need to let FOMO get to me, and I now live a healthier and more enriched life. I have things that I love and inspire me. I think it helped me find my passions.
Are there any obstacles you are still working on ?
I am always working on ways to better my financial situation. I don’t think anyone is ever truly settled in their money management. I’m still not making as much income as I’d like to, which is hard to change quickly. But I am slowly moving towards side hustles that elevate that aspect of my financial struggles.
There’s a moment in the Godfather 3 when Michael Corleone is trying to get out of the “Family Business”, and he says: “Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in.” What is one bad money habit you just can’t seem to shake?
(I’ve never seen any of the Godfather movies, is that bad?) One bad money habit for me is all of the junk food in the world! I love to snack, and on the weekends when I’m having chill nights after a busy week I always turn to my fiancé and ask if he wants to go to 7-11 to grab some pretend food. The only thing that will break this habit is my metabolism (so please never).
If you were to start your money journey all over what would you do differently?
Starting over would be absolutely crazy considering the knowledge I have now. I obviously would have made a more conscious effort to save money for goals, retirement, and travel. I would have never allowed myself to use a credit card before the age of 20. However, I would never want to give up some of the memories and lessons that all of these bad financial decisions have given me. Just don’t do what I did, kids.
What is your proudest money accomplishment?
My proudest money accomplishment was paying off all of my consumer debt in under 1 year! I set a goal and I actually completed it in the time that I said I would. Because of this accomplishment, my confidence has gone way up, and I am no longer afraid to take risks with goal setting and business opportunities. It’s been a huge blessing, that’s for sure!
Who is your money hero?
Is it totally and completely lame for me to say Bridget from Money After Graduation? She probably thinks I’m a total dork, but she is actually a huge inspiration of mine – and one of the reasons I started blogging to begin with.
What was your worst money mistake?
My worst money mistake was moving into an apartment that I couldn’t afford. The rent was too high, and I had already maxed out two credit cards prior to moving in. That one year seriously damaged my credit, and I wish I had known better than to make a decision that would so greatly affect both my mental health and finances.
What was your first money lesson?
I think my very first money lesson was learning the difference between wants and needs from my parents. But the first money lesson that actually stuck? Living within my means. The importance of this one over-used and cheesy phrase extends far beyond what most even realize. Spending money because you have it – not living within your means. Saving money and balancing your budget – definitely living within your means.
What money habits do you see in yourself (or others if you are perfect) that make you cringe?
A lot of my good friends still to this day spend a ridiculous amount of money on clothing. I am totally and completely understanding of being fashionable and having a passion for appearance, but sometimes I question whether they understand how much they blow on clothing they’ll only wear once or twice, because duh? Social media. I was basically cringing the entire time I wrote that omg.
Would you classify yourself as a Spender or a Saver?
These days I am 100% a saver. In a perfect world, I’d be able to balance both. But the struggle is real once you cut yourself off (cold turkey) from all of your favorite things to spend on.
What’s the one personal finance book that had the biggest impact in your life?
I may actually be the worst personal finance blogger in the world, because I have hardly read any (okay, I’ve read none) personal finance books. I go to buy one every single time I need a new book, but I always end up choosing a true crime or a biography. My bad. *wipes shame from forehead*
Ok the money stuff is out of the way, now for some non-money questions. Let’s give our readers a glimpse of what makes you who you really are.
Give me a list of your top 5 foods?
- Chocolate covered strawberries
- Apples (I eat like 8+ a week)
- All green vegetables. Seriously, all of them.
What is your favorite drink (alcohol or non-alcohol)?
Water. What a thrill, hey? I also like a good cider, or vodka-water.
What kind of daily traditions or habits do you have?
I wouldn’t say I have any traditions, but once every two weeks I have a reminder in my phone that goes off telling me to be nice. You can’t tell through a computer screen, but apparently I am intimidating, and hard to read. So I try to remind myself to soften up sometimes. I also workout 4-5x a week, and play soccer 2x a week to clear my head.
Which group do you fall into:
Apple or Samsung? Apple forever.
Coke or Pepsi? Neither. I hate pop.
Coffee or Tea? Can I just choose option 3, which is always London Fog?
Night owl or morning bird? I’m much more productive in the mornings.
I’m a huge music fan, what’s one (or more) of your favorite albums?
I don’t really have a favorite album, but my favorite song is “Do You Realize” by The Flaming Lips. I love all music, but I swap between genres’ seasonally.
What’s the one movie you could watch over and over again and never get tired of it?
American Beauty. Kevin Spacey is my dreamboat.
What book are you reading right now?
I just finished “Why Not Me?” By Mindy Kaling. Her humor is to die for.
Finish this sentence with the first thing that comes to mind.I would rather __ , than __.
I would rather punch myself in the face, than spend money on a new vehicle.
Do you have a favorite quote?
No, but I have a mantra! “Nothing less”
Where can people find you online if they want to get ahold of you? (Think social media accounts)
There you have it! Let me know what you thought of the interview in the comments below. For more of Alyssa make sure to check out her site Mixed Up Money.