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Chelsea and Lauren answer your questions in this (not-so-rapid-fire) Q&A

The Financial Diet blog:
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Chelsea: Hi, I'm Chelsea

Lauren: And I'm Lauren

Chelsea: And we are...

Together: The Financial Diet!

Chelsea: And today we're going to be doing something super duper fun... we think, we hope, which is answering some of our reader questions. We really get a ton of questions on the website as well in the comments here on our channel and I actually have a regular column that I do on the site where people write in and ask me stuff. And a lot of the questions are really much more like quick and don't require some like long thought out answers, so we thought we'd take some of those questions and just do kind of like a rapid fire confessional Q&A. 

Lauren: And we actually haven't prepared answers to these questions so you guys are going to get the real honest answers from us. 

Chelsea: So let's just hop right into it! We're both going to be answering each question so hopefully neither one of us has some really embarrassing answer. Number 1, what is something that you learned about money this year that you wish you'd known sooner? 

Lauren: So for me probably figuring out how much the accountant costs, like I didn't realize how expensive that was and then you get the bill for it and you're just like "...Wow, this was totally unprepared for"

Chelsea: With that being said we should also say that the accountant is expensive depending on what he's doing or she's doing, but usually they'll save you like twice as much money as you're paying them. 

Lauren: It's true, it just feels like super shitty to have to pay that up front, but in the end it's totally worth it.

Chelsea: So this year was probably like a big year for us for this site doing a lot of DIY projects and doing a lot of things ourselves and I think we're all used to thinking of DIY as automatically being the cheaper option in pretty much every circumstance. And I feel like this year I really learned that like sometimes it is cheaper both in terms of money and also in terms of like not losing an entire day's worth of work on it to just go out and buy something. It's not always cheaper to do DIY, like definitely weigh out the costs because like the raw materials plus often the paint and tools and the time it will take you, sometimes it's really not worth it.

Lauren: It adds up. The second question is what is the best change you've made with how you handle money since starting TFD? 

Chelsea: For sure the biggest one is put all of my bills through a credit card and then just pay off the credit card so that you get all the points and the miles. And you basically are getting free stuff just for doing the spending that you have to be doing already. 

Lauren: And for me the biggest money change I've made is probably being really diligent about going through each credit card statement every month. Usually I would just kind of pay and really kind of not look through, but now I go through every expense and say "Okay, I remember that charge" so there's nothing that would come up that I'd pay for and it was fraud

Chelsea: Or sometimes it's like self fraud, sometimes you really convinced yourself that you really needed that and you did not. Number 3, what is a big treat yo self purchase that you totally regret making and why did you make it? 

Lauren: So the biggest treat yourself purchase that I've ever made, and I've written about this on the site before, was I spent $1600 to fly to meet friends in Majorca when I was like 21 and it completely drained my savings account and I basically no money left after that. And it's just something that I would never do again and I would never do that nowadays. Like it's just the most destructive financial choice you can make. 

Chelsea: So my biggest treat yo self is definitely when I sold my first book, I was like overwhelmed with just how exciting it was that I made 2 purchases. One was I took my closest friends out to this nice dinner to thank them and I don't regret that at all, but the other thing was I went to like this really really bougie department store where I was living in Paris. It's sort of like the equivalent of like, you know, Bergdorf Goodman or whatever and I bought a designer purse because I'd never owned one before and I bought it and it's like this big and it's Barney purple. I mean honestly with the right outfit it's a cute purse, but the right outfit for that purse is like few and far between, so I have worn that purse like a grand total of four or five times in my life and it was like $500. So I hugely regret that, but it was like I was just overwhelmed with my success and I was like "I'm going to be the girl that owns a bright purple designer purse!"

Lauren: So number 4 is have you ever had a relationship end because of money or a friendship end because of money? 

Chelsea: So relationships long story short no uh... I've had as I've mentioned before on the channel like relationships where we had a bad dynamic with money, but it was never like the end of it. Like it always ended for other reasons, but the friendships thing sort of. Like I don't have people that I like avoid and I've like cut them out of my life, but I do have people that I won't socialize with. Like I don't ask them to go out, I don't invite them to a lot of things because it's like they have a very awkward relationship with money. Like they will agree to things and then be really like complain about while we're out or like they'll make a really make a big deal at the table about splitting a check or they won't want to like... they'll go to things and then sort of guilt you for having paid. Like they just have a bad relationship with money themselves, so it makes socializing awkward and so I just don't socialize as much with them. 

Lauren: So yeah, I would say probably no to the relationship, but the friendship thing kind of along the lines that you were describing. Like you have a certain group of friends that you'll do certain things with. Like you have your friends that you'll go out to a fancy restaurant with, friends that you'll travel with. Like not every friend you're having in your life will do all those things, so I wouldn't say that the friendships end, but they change as you get older and you figure out what people around consider like worth spending money on. 

Chelsea: Number 5, what has been the hardest thing about starting your own business? 

Lauren: So I think the hardest thing is probably just needing to do a bunch of different tasks well. Like you know, you have to be a really good multitasker, you have to do things like fix the coffee pot if it breaks, like find a printer, also like do your normal job, for me it's designing, but also photographing and

Chelsea: Filming videos

Lauren: Filming videos, exactly! 

Chelsea: We love it! 

Lauren: I think that it's just a much more difficult balance when you own your own business because there is no other layer of upper level management that'll take care of things for you at a normal 9-5 job where you're kind of insulated from the more unsavory aspects of a job.

Chelsea: For me I would say it's like coming up with protocols for things as you develop them. Like every time we add a new person to the team, it's like "Oh, this person needs some sort of guidebook or some sort of instruction, but that person didn't exist before" so how do you create that out of nothing. It's really hard also to decide like you don't realize you need something until you're like "Shit, we needed this yesterday!" And then you're like "Ah, let's have an accountant now" so it's, you know, really just figuring out things as you go along and having to set up an infrastructure where there was none yesterday. 

Lauren: So number 6, what is your biggest insecurity when it comes to money? 

Chelsea: So my biggest insecurity when it comes to money is more like about how I earn it than anything else. Like long story short, nobody thinks that working on the internet is a real job. Particularly not extended family members and especially not- my partner's French and his family... like try talking to an 82 year old French farmer about digital ad revenue. Like there- it's not... it's just not going to happen! 

Lauren: Like there's no common ground there

Chelsea: Even when I was at my old job, which was also an internet job, even then they were like "Chelsea... just like writes words on the internet and people would like" and when you say you run a site people say "I have a blog too!" it's like kittensandhats.tumblr.com or something. And the fact that I feel like I need to prove to people that I earn money and that I do it myself and that I'm- that this is an actual job and not just like us getting together everyday to have fun on the internet is really big. And I know I should be over it and it's like it doesn't matter what another person would think about it, but it's hard to get over that, you know?

Lauren: So my biggest insecurity is probably like not saving enough. I do save money, but I always feel like every birthday that comes around I'm like "Damn, I wanna reach this milestone!" that people around are reaching and I know that it's important to not compare yourself to people, especially with your financial situation. Because everyone's on like a different path, but I think that that's probably the biggest insecurity is not having like a mountain of gold to my name at this point

Chelsea: Like uh... Donald Duck, like Scrooge McDuck diving into the coins. So number 7 is what is something you accomplished financially that you didn't think would be possible? 

Lauren: For me I probably feel like the biggest financial accomplishment was moving into New York City actually because I had wanted to do it for so long. And it required saving up like a pretty big chunk of money because you had to pay for broker's fee, moving costs, stuff like that so it really did feel like when I finally got here like "I made it!" Like big girl in the city, like finally living and working felt like a huge accomplishment.

Chelsea: Probably my biggest one is from years and years ago when I paid off my defaulted credit card. Like I didn't think that I would ever do that because before that I had been so reckless with money that the idea of writing that big check or whatever seemed ridiculous. And when I did it so many more things started to seem financially possible because I was able to make the good decision. And now I have like a good credit score, which is also something that like, ooh boy... Like at 20 years old I was like "I'm going to live in the woods! Like I'm never going to have credit!" 

Lauren: Who needs it?

Chelsea: Right? Like I really thought that I would live off the grid because I would just never be responsible enough and now...

Lauren: Now look at us! 

Chelsea: Now look at us

Lauren: Look at you! 

Chelsea: Look at me!

Lauren: Number 8, what is the most surprising thing you've learned since starting TFD? 

Chelsea: For sure for me it's how like freaked out people get when you talk about money in real life. I talk about money all the time now and in a very candid way and to like my closest friends and family and stuff it's like they're used to it, so they don't mind. But like I've a lot of more acquaintance level friends that if I bring up money stuff, they're not going to leave the restaurant or whatever but they'll like, they'll get tense about it. And this could be someone with whom like literally 3 seconds earlier we were talking about sex, you know, like so it's not a question of... They can be totally open about things that to me might feel more personal, but people get freaked out about money, especially in a place like New York where everything's so expensive.

Lauren: I was honestly shocked at how many people wanted to learn about personal finance and were interested in reading about it. Before I had started at TFD I really didn't read a lot of personal finance on the internet, but over the last 2 years that's totally changed for me. And I think that it's really interesting to get people writing in with questions, they really want specific advice, they're super passionate about it

Chelsea: Lot of articles being sent in

Lauren: Yeah! So for me that has been the most surprising thing I've learned since starting

Chelsea: Number 9, what is something you still do really badly with money?

Lauren: So for me this is such a guilty pleasure, but I still buy coffee out like several times a week, which is terrible! It's so bad, but it's just something that I have to break. It's like a bad habit because it feels so good to just pop into a coffee shop and get an iced coffee once in awhile and I know that it's bad

Chelsea: "Once in a while"

Lauren: "Once in a while" but I know that it's objectively like a waste of money

Chelsea: It's like the ultimate personal finance sin

Lauren: I know! I know!

Chelsea: It's like stop buying coffee and you'll be a millionaire. Mine is Amazon Prime to be honest with you, like I shouldn't have it because it's just so great. You can buy something and 2 days later it just arrives magically at your door. And it's addictive and you can do it while lying in bed eating Oreos, so I need to use Amazon Prime less

Lauren: Number 10, what are your biggest financial goals? 

Chelsea: You know, like obviously I'd like to own a house and stuff like that. Like I'd like to have a certain amount of savings like all that stuff. But really for me the most important thing financially, like I'll know I'm doing really well when I can travel freely between France and the US because with my partner we've always been either completely away from one side of our friends and family or the other. And we don't get to see all of them very often and it's really taxing and it really makes you feel like, you know, what is any of this worth if I can't even see the people I care about. So to me my ultimate goal would be to be at a place where going back and forth several times a year is totally fine and it's something that we can manage really easily. And don't really have to consider as much, but that's a lot to ask so we'll see if it happens

Lauren: So for me one of my biggest financial goals is probably being student debt free, which is something that's going take a really long time to pay, but once that happens I think that that's going to be like one of the happiest days of my life. Because it's not just me either, it's also my husband who has a lot of student loan debt, so once that's gone I'll feel like totally satisfied and really happy.

Chelsea: So those were our ten rapid fire questions that are maybe a little less rapid fire than we thought they might be, but this is something that we're going to do again. So if you have questions like this that you'd like to see answered send them to Lauren at thefinancialdiet.com and we'll collect them all in a little pile for another video

Lauren: So as always thanks for watching and don't forget to hit the subscribe button and go to thefinancialdiet.com