Do I have a treat for you this week. Mel from brokeGirlRich is in the house! We’ve got a excellent interview and let’s jump right in!
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?
Hahaha, boys. I really kind of lucked out – two different boys I dated in my mid-twenties were super into personal finance. They were both musicians so it was kind of weird to me to see anyone who worked in the arts making responsible decisions like saving and investing, but they both made me feel like a goober for not being super on top of my spending. The first boy nagged me about opening an IRA until I did it to pretty much shut him up. The second was all over to me have a plan for the future and pay off my student debts and he was super frugal.
What would you say the biggest money obstacle has been for you to overcome?
I think I struggle with the idea of making more, which sounds so weird. I’m pretty comfortable with frugality and cutting back and taking time to clip coupons or do whatever to scrimp and save, but it’s only recently that I’ve really started to embrace the earning more side of things.
There’s a big part of me that always feels like a crazy imposter whenever I start working on a side hustle – especially with freelance writing. There’s a small part of me that never stops asking why would anyone really care what I have to say?
My mind has all sorts of road blocks up that keep reinforcing the idea that I chose to work in the arts, so I’ll always be kind of broke… and that’s stupid, but it is a constant struggle to remind my mind to shut up! ;o)
How has overcoming that obstacle changed you?
I was always told I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up, and I guess I really kind of believed it. I know with my day job, I don’t really accept the idea that there’s anything I can’t do in that realm. But overcoming that side hustling/income road block in my mind has changed me for the better. It’s made me realize there’s more to what I can do than I’ve even come close to realizing yet and that my biggest road block is probably always going to be me – which is stupid and I should just get over myself!
Are there any obstacles you are still working on?
I think trying to plan for an uncertain future can be a real obstacle. I don’t really know where I’ll be 5 or 10 years from now or even 20. In a way, no one really does, but I sort of actively embrace that chaos, which makes my savings plans pretty fluid.
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?
Food. Convenience food. I am the worst meal planner and I hate cooking. I spend way more than I should on grabbing take out.
If you were to start your money journey all over what would you do differently?
I’m not sure I would’ve gone back to school for an M.A. in Theatre. It’s not the most useful degree and between expenses and lost earnings, it probably cost me close to $60,000. Unless I go on and get a PhD someday, it was pretty much useless (although living abroad for a year was amazing and I loved what I learned there).
What is your proudest money accomplishment?
It’s a toss up between paying off all that grad school debt and opening my IRA at 25. To be fair, financially savvy boyfriend #1 should probably take a lot of credit for that IRA, even if saving up the $2,000 to open it back then was brutal and all me. I think that since paying off the grad school debt (about $30,000) in two and a half years on an annual salary of about $35,000 was all me, I’ll claim that one!
Who is your money hero?
I was really kind of impressed by my grandpa. He managed to save enough and invest well enough to retire in his 50s very easily. He and my grandmother were constantly jet setting around the world and they really seemed to nail what everyone wants retirement to be. I’m hopefully that I learned enough about frugality and smart money decisions from him that I’ll be abele to do the same.
What was your worst money mistake?
I decided to go to grad school on a whim. It wiped out about $10,000 of savings I’d amassed and put me $30,000 in debt by the end of it. There were a lot of awesome things about that experience, but I think if I’d really thought it through, I would’ve done it very differently.
What was your first money lesson?
My dad always seemed near miserly with money, but there was actually one weird lesson from my childhood that I remember really well. We were food shopping and he told me to go grab the Heinz ketchup, so I ran off to get it, saw the store brand was cheaper and grabbed that instead – I thought he’d be proud. When I got back to him, I got a lecture that some things are worth paying more for and Heinz ketchup was one of them (to him at least and actually, I agree, lots of other ketchups do taste funny). So sometimes it’s worth it to pay for what you really want.
What money habits do you see in yourself (or others if you are perfect) that make you cringe?
I’m totally an impulse food buyer – especially drinks. I can not be hungry or thirsty at all, but if I’m shopping, I’m totally likely to swing into Starbucks for a drink or buy a soda in the check out line. It’s really mindless and there are much better ways I could spend that $2-5.
Would you classify yourself as a Spender or a Saver?
I think I’m more saver than spender, but I’m pretty well balanced, I think. I’ve kind of got a travel bug, so I’m willing to spend on that, which can be pretty pricey, but I also really prioritize my savings. My job is always a little up in the air, so I feel like I need a solid nest egg to feel comfortable with my career choices.
What’s the one personal finance book that had the biggest impact in your life?
Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich by Laura D. Adams. It was the first personal finance book that didn’t feel condescending to me and had a bunch of really clear, actionable steps to start sorting out my finances. I read it years ago, well before I started blogging, and it really inspired me to start paying more attention to where my money was going.
Ok now for some non-money questions. Let’s give our readers a glimpse of what makes you who you really are. These are optional but I really, really, really want to know.
Give me a list of your top 5 foods?
Chocolate Chip Cookies
What is your favorite drink (alcohol or non-alcohol)?
Chocolate Milk. Or Jack and ginger ale.
What kind of daily traditions or habits do you have?
Haha. None, really. My life is pretty chaotic. Every month I make sure I track my net worth and look over my monthly spending and every year I set new financial goals, but that’s about it.
Which group do you fall into:
Apple of Samsung? Apple
Coke or Pepsi? Either, especially if pizza is also involved.
Coffee or Tea? Either.
Night owl or morning bird? I want to say night owl, but in reality, I’m way more productive in the morning – especially if I get up early… I just hate doing it. ;o)
I’m a huge music fan, what’s one (or more) of your favorite albums?
The Point by Harry Nilsson – which is some music and some story.
What’s the one movie you could watch over and over again and never get tired of it?
The Brave Little Toaster.
What book are you reading right now?
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Finish this sentence with the first thing that comes to mind
I would rather have adventures, than stay comfortable.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” CS Lewis
“You aren’t doing it wrong if no one knows what you’re doing.”
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