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In this video, Chelsea chats with Erin Lowry AKA Broke Millennial all about money saving tips and how to get good with money. In this 3-Minute Guide Erin will teach you the two easiest ways to pay down debt:

Broke Millennial

The Broke Millennial 'Origin Story:'

The Broke Millennial Book:

The Financial Diet blog:

Hey, guys.

It's Chelsea. And I'm here today with friend, foe in the industry, competitor, and fellow personal finance person, Erin Lowry, AKA Broke Millennial.

And I should specify here that while I talk about money in a more general way, I am still a writer by profession, whereas Erin is like an actual real personal finance expert. Well, thanks. So long story short, Broke Millennial, very similar to The Financial Diet, is a personal finance site where Erin teaches you everything you need to know about getting good with money, particularly if, like most of us, you have some debt.

And now, after four years of being an awesome personal finance site, Broke Millennial is now a book. Ah! So I thought that on the eve of this book coming out and hitting stores everywhere, I would bring Erin in to talk a little bit about money.

So first and foremost, tell us a little bit about what money was like for you growing up, like your parents, your family, et cetera. My mom and dad talked to us a lot about money. And one of the stories that I share in the book and I share online, and it's kind of my origin story like I'm some sort of money superhero, is that when I was seven years old, on a hot North Carolina summer morning, my mom was having a yard sale.

And my parents from the time I was really little wanted us to pay for 50% of anything we wanted, outside of Christmas and birthday presents. And so I knew if I wanted to buy something I had to have money for it. So my friendship bracelet business had kind of failed.

And I was occasionally cat sitting for the evil cat next door. But I wanted another way to make money so I thought I would sell donuts to all the Haggard shoppers coming to my mom's yard sale. So my dad agreed to stake me.

He went and picked up the Krispy Kreme donuts, brought them back. I enlisted my little sister to help me sell them. We sold out.

And at the end, I'm thinking like, yeah, I can buy so many Nerf gun Super Soakers at Toys R Us. And then my dad walks over, looks at my earnings, and he's like, well, you have $20 here. And it costs me $8 to buy the donuts.

And your sister worked for you, so why did you pay her $2. And then your net profit is $10. And I was seven.

And so this was really kind of my intro into learning about money. And then, from then on, my parents were just so open and vocal with how to handle money, discussing it. And it was never taboo.

It was never dirty. It was never something that should cause you any sort of tension. Do you have like a piece of advice that you give to Broke Millennial readers for like, I literally never talked about money growing up.

How do I deal with that? The first thing that I always recommend doing is addressing your psychological blocks. And everybody has them.

Even me, growing up in a household where we talked about money a lot, there are certain things that are just hard for me to get beyond. I was raised in a very frugal household. So every once in a while it's hard for me to spend money.

And I have to talk myself up or into it. And so I think the first thing is to address where you're coming from. The next thing is to find something that speaks to you.

So maybe it's reading Broke Millennial. Maybe it's reading The Financial Diet. Maybe it's listening to podcasts.

Maybe it's watching shows on CNBC. But there is something out there that will speak to you about how to learn and understand more about money. So obviously, you're someone who grew up with a better money dialogue than most of us did.

But I have to imagine that, like almost everyone else, you went to college and were then like a dumb broke student who had to figure everything out, almost from zero. I mentioned earlier that my parents made us pay for 50% of anything we wanted. This went all the way through college.

So I ended up picking the college where I got scholarship that was going to be able to pay for 50%. And I am very privileged and fortunate that my parents not only could, but were willing to cover the other 50%. So I went into college knowing I would graduate debt free.

That's huge. Yes. But I still had to make money while I was in college.

I'm not sure how I created this idea or metric in my head. But I decided I wanted to have $10,000 saved by the time I graduated college so I could move to New York City and I wouldn't have to ask my parents for money. I started saving.

Well, first I got a job as a resident assistant-- nerd. And so I started saving very aggressively, very early on. And I would just pick up any odd job I could find.

During the summers, if I was able to work, I would. And I would just save, save, save, until I actually did end up saving about $10,000. So a big part of it was actionable goal setting.

So $10,000 sounds like this big intimidating lofty number. Honestly, even to me today, that sounds like a lot of money. So I broke it down in terms of, all right, $2,500 a year.

That sounds a lot easier. I knew that RAs got paid $6,000 a year in order to be an RA. And since my cost of living and my tuition expenses were covered, I could pocket that money.

So a little bit of it did go towards going to the bars, and going out, and doing what college kids do. But I also started putting a lot in savings. And the other thing was setting a baby gates for me, not only in my mind, but so I physically had a harder time getting to my money.

And one of the very strange things I did that certainly not everyone can do, because it depends on your relationship with your parents, but I started sending my dad the money I wanted saved. So instead of putting it in my own savings account, I transferred it to my dad's savings account. He kept a ledger.

I kept a ledger. If I wanted my money, he would send it to me, no questions asked. So I could always get to it.

But I had to think through, all right, so if I want to go visit my friend in Michigan and it is going to cost me $400 to get there and I have to ask dad, do I want to do it that way or do I just want to penny pinch a little bit in the next couple of weeks and save it up out of money I normally would have spent in my everyday budget. And it's something I still do today. I have my savings account in a separate account or a separate bank than my checking account, so that when I log into my checking account, I don't see all the money I have in savings.

So I'm less likely to skim a little off the top. So you're someone who doesn't have debt. But I remember that you said one time-- and, I think, you obviously probably addressed it in the book that your partner has a lot of debt, which I think is something that a lot of people end up experiencing, like even if they don't have it, they end up loving someone who does.

So can you talk a little bit about how you're navigating that, and what your plans are for it, and how you're dealing with it? One thing that my boyfriend and I have done over the years is we come back to the conversation over, and over, and over, probably way more frequently than anyone else really needs to do. But as soon as you realize that marriage could be in the cards for you with your partner, have this conversation and get financially naked with each other.

And what I mean by financially naked is you need to have a conversation about what the debt loads are. I highly recommend sharing your credit scores and/or reports. And you need to have a conversation about your long-term goals, your short-term goals, your vision of the future, and what retirement looks like, all of these kind of things.

You need to know that about your partner to make sure that your mentalities jive, or at the very least you can come to some kind of compromise. It can be embarrassing, intimidating, awkward. All of that's going to happen.

And if you're the one without debt, you also need to share. So I ended up sharing my net worth with him, which I'm not very open with sharing that number. So it was kind of an intimate thing that the two of us could do.

So he shared what he thought his full student loan burden was at the time. It turns out that there were more that later got unearthed further along in our relationship. And once we had a sense of that, we started coming up with a hypothetical strategy about how to handle it.

And that's something that you don't have to do, but I do recommend having some sort of way to implement a strategy in marriage so that-- first of all you're thinking about it ahead of time, but you kind of realize how you two are going to work as a team. He feels very strongly that this is his debt, his problem. I feel very strongly that if we're married, it's our debt, our problem, because his financial situation is going to directly impact mine.

So what we decided to do is my income, assuming that at the time we got married it could support us, my income would pay for the day-to-day expenses and a little bit towards savings. And his income would go a little bit towards retirement, a little bit towards emergency savings, and the rest of his paycheck will go towards his debt. But he feels that kind of control over it and that he's the one paying it down, even though I feel like I'm contributing because I'm covering our living expenses, which, therefore, enables him to pay it down more aggressively.

So one of the things that you talk about in the book and also on the site is navigating a city that is as financially tempting as New York. And particularly in the book, I think you talk about navigating it on not a very high salary, which is, I think, something almost every young person deals with. And I'm curious as to what your strategies were personally to living well in a city without a ton of money, particularly when you first moved to New York.

Full disclosure, not having debt was a huge help. And I think it's important to let people know that upfront. Beyond that, though, I was only making about $23,000 my first full year living in New York.

To put that in context, the poverty line in New York is about $19,000. And that is like an unbelievably low sum of money to live on in the city when you consider just the average rent, average cost of living. And my rent at the time, and this doesn't include utilities, was $950 a month.

So after the money that I had for rent, I had about $400, maybe $500 to live off of. And I didn't want to touch my savings. That was another thing that was factoring in.

I had it, but I didn't want to touch it because I had it. My strategies were, one, I spent exclusively on what I valued. I was very judicious about how I spent my money.

That's not to say I never went out to eat, or I never went to bars, or I never hung out with friends. What I recommend is have the awkward conversation. And especially if it's friends of yours, the other thing you can do, I call it the compliment sandwich counter.

So if your friend says like, hey, let's go to brunch at this like $55 all you can drink brunch situation. And you're like, that sounds great, but I can't afford that, in your head. How about you say, that sounds amazing.

I would love to do that. However, my budget's a little tight right now, or whatever insert reason you can't do it here, and then counter with, maybe we grab a bagel and go for a walk in the park, or maybe you come over and I cook, or some other option that you can give to your friend. You'll find a lot of people are more than willing to compromise with you, especially if they drastically outearn you, which friends are pretty good at figuring out very quickly.

The other part is just being truthful and honest with your friends and about your financial situation. And on the flipside, you can't resent them if they decide to go do the expensive thing and you can't do it. Totally.

You have to be very OK with the fact that if they can afford to do it and they want to go do it, that's OK. So lastly, this is something we talk about a lot on the channel, because I think a lot of people who are not quite good with money want to know what they can do today, this minute, to help them get on the right path. So what is like, if you could do one thing today for your money, you should do it?

I'm not going to say the B word-- budget. But I am going to say cash flow, which is basically budget dressed up. And what I mean by cash flow is you need to know exactly how much you have coming in and exactly how much you have going out.

And the difference is how much you have to spend. Now, if the difference is a negative number, that's when you have to start asking yourself the hard questions. That's when you need to figure out what's getting slashed.

How can I be earning more money? What is it going to take to make my flow look better? But without a comprehensive understanding of your cash flow, it becomes incredibly difficult to be able to make any financial decisions.

Mona masters her cash flow. So that's just a little bit about how Erin does money. But to learn a lot more about it, you should go to and-- not or, and-- buy Broke Millennial, the book that will be in stores.

On May 2nd. Or you can preorder now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, anywhere you can find your books. And if you preorder and send me the receipt at, I will send you a free bonus chapter of the book.

So as always, thank you for watching. And don't forget to go to Broke Millennial. And we will see you guys next week.