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The Rise and Fall of Miss Mazuma’s Empire

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martinis and your money

The Rise and Fall of Miss Mazuma’s Empire

As I shared on previous shows my team at The Financial Gym, the company I started, has set a major goal in an effort to attract venture capital investors and we need your help to accomplish it. In two months, we plan to sign up 165 new clients of The Financial Gym. If you’ve ever thought about joining or know someone who could use the personalized attention of my financial fitness trainers to achieve their financial goals, send them to financialgym.com/friends to sign up today.

We launched this effort two weeks ago and so far we are quarter of the way there with over 40 new clients! Thank you so much for your support! Let’s keep this momentum going! And the listener who refers the most new clients between now and the end of May, will win 3 free months of financial training from me personally which is an over $600 value. So go to or send friends to financialgym.com/friends and get started on achieving your financial dreams today!

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I am talking to Bianca, founder of the blogsite, Miss Mazuma, about her journey from owning 3 homes to barely being able to rent an apartment on her own. Her rollercoaster experience in real estate is chock full of lessons to be learned, and thankfully, it has a happy ending. Listen and enjoy! Cheers!

What are we drinking?

Bianca — Bloody Mary

Shannon — Bloody Mary

Podcast Notes

  • Mazuma means money in Yiddish!
  • Bianca is a flight attendant and has been for 15 years.
  • She considered her job as a flight attendant to be a transitional job, but she still loves it today!
  • She started her blog to help make sense of finances for younger professionals and also to discuss real estate.
  • Bianca purchased property in 2005, 2006, and 2007.
  • She rented two of her properties but was still losing money on them.
  • She and her ex-husband then purchased a home in 2010.
  • She decided to short sale her other three properties because she could no longer afford them.
  • Bianca felt like she did everything right with her real estate investments but accepts she couldn’t change certain factors like the market.
  • When she started the short sale process, she had stopped paying the mortgages on her properties.
  • She ended up paying cash for another unit in the building of two of her properties and still lives there today!
  • Bianca says don’t buy a property if you plan to sell in two to three years.
  • Owning property doesn’t make you any better than those who rent!
  • Shannon says she frequently advises against purchasing a home.
  • Owning property puts you on the hook for repairs and other things that go wrong with them.
  • Bianca’s last short sale was in August 2013 – almost 4 years ago, which is important because she can get a new loan since no one will give you a new loan until 4 years after a short sale.
  • Now that she owns her home, her savings rate is 75% and her financial picture has completely turned around!
  • To do so, she started hustling, working harder, and saving more.
  • She wants to own another property soon.
  • She has gone from a 620 credit score to a 789.
  • Her salary when she first started purchasing real estate was $45,000, and it is now $75,000.
  • Bianca’s story is proof that a financial low won’t last forever!
  • Shannon and Bianca agree acceptance is key to transform your situation.
  • Your friends and family want to help you – you just have to let them.
  • TAKEAWAY: Anything we do financially can be undone. With time and dedication, anyone can rise from the financial mistakes of their past just like Bianca.

Random Three Questions

  1. What is your favorite flights to do?
  2. What is your biggest budget-buster?
  3. Would you rather read a book or watch tv?

Connect with Bianca:

Website

Twitter

Have you ever had to deal with a foreclosure? What’s your biggest financial regret? 

Shedding Pounds and Shedding Debt

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Shedding Pounds and Shedding Debt

This blog post is part of the Pay Down My Debt (PDMD) blog tour, sponsored by US Equity Advantage. PDMD is a solution that accelerates debt payoff and helps consumers monitor their credit and make smarter purchasing decisions. If you’re looking to pay off debt find out how they can help.

I have always struggled with my weight. From the moment I went through early puberty at 10, I always had curves and needed to keep an eye on my eating and activity levels. I did a good job of keeping my weight under control while I was in high school and college because I had side hustles that kept me active and on my feet.

Then I graduated from college and took an investment banking job that was not only sedentary, but also consumed 90 hours a week leaving me with little to no energy to work out before or after work; and this is where the weight started to creep on. It was only two or three pounds a year, but the weight was coming on and not going away.

Credit Creep Is Real

I see this happen to clients with their credit cards. They’ll buy an $80 dinner one night and then a $200 plane ticket the following week and each transaction doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s adding up on the card and cumulatively becoming difficult to pay down. Each month the card balances will roll to the next month and the client will assert that the next month the balances will come down.

Another problem I see is that the client’s monthly spend balances continue to grow, so instead of only having $1,500 on their credit card every month, they’ll have $2,000 and then $2,500. Clients will pay these off in full every month, but it’s easier to pay down $1,500 then $2,500.

Rationalization Is Our Enemy

This happened with my weight situation. I started gaining the extra weight and then I not only didn’t try to lose it, but I just accepted that I was a higher weight. I rationalized that 160 wasn’t that bad or that a size 10 was fine when I had been 135 and a size 6 only two years before. I continued down this path until I began to accept that my “new normal” was 200 pounds and a size 14. I stayed this weight for years after my son was born and just accepted the reality that I would be a “fat girl” forever. I assumed I couldn’t change anything at that point.

Until I got tired of not looking at myself in the mirror and hating myself when I got in the shower. I decided to make a change and used Weight Watchers to help me begin my weight loss journey. I paid a monthly fee for the tools and resources that Weight Watchers offered, and for the first time in years, I began getting results. The process just clicked for me.

Change is not Overnight

The weight didn’t come off overnight and in fact many weeks the weight loss was negligible, but I had a goal in the system and I stayed focus on that goal. Part of the reason why I created my company, The Financial Gym, is because I saw a lot of similarities in my weight loss journey with client’s journeys to get financially healthy, specifically in paying down debts.

Just like you can gain weight over time or in large amounts quickly after you have a baby, you can gain debt over time on credit cards or in large amounts quickly in student loan debt. Either way you gain the debt, it sucks, but just like physical weight, getting rid of debt is going to take you time. It’s rarely an overnight process and in most cases it’s easier to tackle it when you have tools.

Find Resources that Help

I was so thankful to have Weight Watchers when I started losing weight and I think of Pay Down My Debt like the Weight Watchers for your debt. It’s a tool to help you understand how you can pay down your debt and then help you implement the most strategic repayment plan to repay it efficiently. I think the best thing Pay Down My Debt helps its users with is automating their debt repayment plan.

We all lead busy lives and sometimes forget to take care of certain financial areas; however, when it’s on autopilot it’s one less thing for you to think about. Weight Watchers helped me understand a good meal plan that worked for my body and once I figured it out, I went on autopilot with my eating. When I stuck with my meal plan, I knew that every week I would lose weight; and if I slipped, I knew I would fall off track. The great thing about Pay Down My Debt, though, is that once you set up your plan, you really can’t fall off track because your payments are in place.

There’s a monthly fee for the service just as I paid a monthly fee for Weight Watchers, but if Pay Down My Debt helps you pay off your debt quickly and efficiently, then it’s money well spent, just like my Weight Watchers membership was. I really never could have lost 50 pounds without a tool like Weight Watchers and I know that many people feel the same way about Pay Down My Debt for losing debt.

I tried a number of different weight loss solutions over the years after my son was born, but none of them worked like Weight Watchers. If you’re struggling with the right debt repayment solution for you, I encourage you to check them out and let me know what you think. There is not a one size fits all solution for debt repayment and I encourage you to try any and all options until you find the best one that works for you; and maybe it’s Pay Down My Debt?

Are you on a debt repayment journey? What tools or resources work for you?

Military Money

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martinis and your money

Military Money

On last week’s show I shared with you that my team at The Financial Gym, the company I started, has set a major goal in an effort to attract venture capital investors and we need your help to accomplish it. In two months, we plan to sign up 165 new clients of The Financial Gym. If you’ve ever thought about joining or know someone who could use the personalized attention of my financial fitness trainers to achieve their financial goals, send them to financialgym.com/friends to sign up today!

We launched this effort last week and so far we have 30 new clients! We are off to a great start so let’s keep the momentum going! And the listener who refers the most new clients between now and the end of May will win 3 free months of financial training from me personally which is an over $600 value. So go to financialgym.com/friends and get started on achieving your financial dreams today!

Now onto today’s podcast. I have a number of listeners who are currently or formerly served in the military who have asked questions about military finance so on this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I am talking to Ryan Guina, found of the Military Wallet. Ryan addresses some of my listener questions but also gives us a great insight into managing your finances while managing a military career. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Ryan’s story, and I thank Dominique and Jen for inspiring me to record this episode. Cheers!

As a side note: Please stop by The Financial Gym and have a drink with us if you are in the area or check us out online for tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life! We’ll kick your assets into shape!

What are we drinking?

Ryan — Jack & Ginger

Shannon — Vodka & Tonic

Podcast Notes

  • Ryan joined the military in 1999 – one year after he graduated high school – because he was bored with college and wanted an adventure.
  • He went on active duty Air Force for 6.5 years.
  • During that time, he traveled the world and saw 35 countries, 5 continents, and he also got his degree.
  • When his enlistment was done, he got out and got a job in the civilian world and started some websites to document that transition and what he was doing and learning – Cash Money Life & the Military Wallet.
  • About 2.5 years ago – after being out of the military for 8.5 years – Ryan signed up for the Air National Guard and now serves on a reserve/part-time basis.
  • Ryan explains why he chose to serve in the Air Force instead of the other branches.
  • He says serving is one of the world’s best apprenticeships.
  • Shannon asks Ryan if he rethought his enlistment after 9/11 occurred.
  • Ryan discusses how he was able to earn his degree while he was on active duty.
  • Once he transitioned out of the military, it took him around 6 months to find a job.
  • He ended up relocating to Dayton, Ohio to be near his now-wife and found a job at an Air Force base doing logistics analysis.
  • Ryan says you have to find a way to leverage the different skills you have by combining them to find a job outside of the military.
  • He says people have to look past the exact job description of what they do in the military, and instead, look at the skills and the things you’ve done and find ways to present that to potential employers that says “I can solve your problem.”
  • Shannon agrees and points out that there are many employers that want to hire veterans.
  • Ryan discusses how he prepared to transition out of the military while he was still serving.
  • Shannon asks what financial choices Ryan struggled with while serving.
  • He explains a TSP (Thrift Savings Plan) and compares it to a 401k.
  • He encourages people to leave their money in there because the fees are so low unless they have a very specific reason to pull it out.
  • Once out of the military, you can no longer contribute to a TSP, but you can roll money into it from something else like a 401k or IRA.
  • Shannon asks Ryan what the blended retirement system is and how it impacts people in the military.
  • Current service members have the option to choose whether they want to be grandfathered in to the old retirement system or participate in the blended retirement system.
  • New service members will only have the blended retirement system option.
  • Ryan mentions some military blogs aimed towards achieving financial independence:
  • He says you won’t become wealthy off of the military, but if you can keep your expenses low and have a very high rate of saving, you can become financially independent!
  • TAKEAWAY: Always remember the men and women who make great sacrifices to give us security so that we are free to pursue our financial goals without fear of losing everything we love so dearly.

Random Three Questions

  1. What is the #1 thing you miss about being an active military member?
  2. What was your favorite destination while you were on active duty?
  3. What is your biggest money regret?

Connect with Ryan:

The Military Wallet website

The Military Wallet podcast

Cash Money Life

Thank you Ryan and everyone else serving our country. I salute and toast you for your courage and bravery!

Frugal Friends and Financial Frenemies

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martinis and your money

Frugal Friends and Financial Frenemies

Over the last few months, many of you have asked how you can help me. I’ve always said I would ask when I was ready – well, now I’m ready! Many of you know I founded the company the Financial Gym, and we opened our first gym location in New York City. Earlier this year, I was close to getting some investors to help me open multiple locations; however, that deal fell through, but I continue to search for other investors!

The process is both humbling and frustrating – 97% of venture capital decision-makers are men and many don’t understand my unique business model. It also doesn’t help that 90% of venture capital funds go to male-started businesses versus 10% that go to female-started businesses. Nevertheless, I persist – because I know helping people get financially fit is not only the right thing to do, it’s business model that makes sense! So now for my ask…

In an effort to continue to impress venture capital investors, my Financial Gym team has set an aggressive goal of getting 165 new clients in the next TWO months – and I need YOUR help to do it!

If you’ve ever thought about signing up for the Financial Gym services or know friends or family members who could benefit from another perspective on their finances, NOW is the time to join! We have clients who have started with $200,000 in the bank and we have clients who have started with $200 in the bank. We’re in New York but we work with clients virtually across the country – so we know how to give you the financial guidance you need no matter where you are on your financial journey or where you are physically located!

Go to financialgym.com/friends and get started now!

As a bonus, the listener who refers the most new clients in the next two months will win three free months of financial training with me personally – which is over a $600 value! So send yourself or your friends to financialgym.com/friends either to get started on your road to financial fitness or to get the boost you need on your road to get where you want to go faster.

This is a big goal we set for ourselves, and I KNOW we can accomplish it with your help!

Now onto Happy Hour! Today is the last Friday of the month and in case you are new to this blog or my podcast, on the last Friday of the month, I host a happy hour on my podcast where the happy hour ladies and I talk about various money topics while drinking cheap drinks! Today, we are talking about financial frenemies and how we manage friends into a financially fit lifestyle.

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Malbec

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Water infused with lemon as she records this episode with a towel over her head

Mrs. Frugalwoods from Frugalwoods.com — Hot cocoa

Shannon — Cavit Pinot Grigio

Podcast Notes

  • Shannon has the conversation about being frugal and keeping friends with her clients ALL the time!
  • She asks the Happy Hour ladies if they have financial frenemies or if they had friends in the past that have pressured them to make poor financial choices.
  • Melanie says she has been definitely been in the situation where she made poor financial choices because of friends.
  • A few years ago while she was still paying off debt, a good friend invited Melanie to her birthday party at a sushi place.
  • Melanie told herself she would only order one roll and that would be fine – but when the bill came around, everyone wanted to split it.
  • She ended up splitting the bill with the group because she didn’t want to be awkward and make a big deal about it.
  • Now, she stands her ground and will initiate the invitation by proposing something frugal and within budget.
  • Shannon says a group dinner is the #1 money trap!
  • Her advice is to just avoid it if you’re not prepared financially or if you don’t want to split the bill.
  • Frugalwoods discusses the time she decided to go to a bachelorette weekend for one of her best friends in Charleston, SC.
  • She made a conscious decision to not stress out and just spend all the money that she wanted to so she could enjoy the weekend.
  • She is so glad she made the decision not to stress about money before each meal.
  • Even though she decided not to act like Mrs. Frugalwoods on that trip, she was able to spend that money the way she did because of her frugal lifestyle.
  • Shannon advises her clients to practice frugality before and after an expensive event so they can prepare for and enjoy the experience.
  • Tonya talks about how she declined an invitation to a bachelorette weekend because has a big trip to Europe coming up.
  • She wants to be less concerned about the money she spends on her trip to Europe which is why she’s saving a lot for it now.
  • One thing that is very challenging for Tonya is seeing her friends traveling and going out to eat a lot – which makes her feel a little left out.
  • She doesn’t feel pressured from her friends, but she does feel like an odd duck by choosing not to do the things her friends are doing.
  • Tonya explains why she doesn’t like the term “you deserve it!”
  • Shannon says if you are one of those friends that tells another friend “you deserve it,” you are a financial frenemy!
  • Frugalwoods agrees and thinks you are also a financial frenemy if you use the term “treat yourself!”
  • Tonya would rather someone say “I know you’ve been saving a lot and I know you’ve worked hard for that.”
  • The ladies discuss the fact that many people are embarrassed about being frugal and do not know how to discuss it with their friends.
  • If you have a friend who is trying to improve their life whether it’s by eating better, working out more, spending less, etc. why wouldn’t you encourage that instead of making fun of their decision?
  • The people that really matter and that you want to keep around for the long-term are the ones that you have fun spending nothing with or doing whatever with.
  • Shannon asks how the ladies handle friends who make poor financial choices and if they ever say anything to them about those choices.
  • Shannon has had light conversations where she offers to do a financial plan for them and very few ever accept her offer.
  • Frugalwoods is happy to talk with anyone about their finances, but she has to look at all of their finances to really help them.
  • She says that is a challenge for a lot of people, and no one has ever taken her up on her offer!
  • Tonya adds that a lot of people are not ready to accept the sacrifices they might have to make or the hard work they will have to put in to make a lifestyle change.
  • It bothers Shannon that people fear living a financially responsible life because they think they will be deprived and live an awful life.
  • You can be financially responsible and still live an amazing life!
  • Frugalwoods says people also believe they can’t do more – they think they don’t make enough to invest or don’t spend enough to save more – and she has never seen that be the case even with herself!
  • She continuously finds new ways to save money, and it makes her sad when people don’t recognize all of the opportunities they have to save!
  • Shannon agrees but also thinks people sometimes need to hear that they need to work harder and make more money either in their current job or from a side hustle to get ahead financially.
  • Tonya asks the ladies if any of their family members have ever made them feel guilty for not attending a family event or for not buying a gift because they didn’t have the money and how they handled that guilt.
  • Don’t get yourself in financial disarray for the people who should love you no matter what!
  • If they want to pay for it, great! But if they don’t, they shouldn’t be mad because you don’t want to pay for it.
  • Shannon adds you can also be brave and suggest a frugal alternative – you might be surprised how many others feel the same way but were too afraid to say anything!
  • The ladies give their tips to anyone struggling with managing a financially-healthy lifestyle and also keeping up with friends.
    • Suggest a frugal alternative plan.
    • Don’t be afraid to say no.
    • Understand people will have to leave your life during your financial journey if their priorities don’t align with yours.
  • Never regret your choice to live a financially healthy life!!
  • TAKEAWAY: If you’re focused on living a financially healthier lifestyle and you lose financially unhealthy friends, don’t fret it! Frugal friends are all around to give you joy and support your life goals!

Don’t forget to refer your friends and family and help us reach our goal in the next two months!  financialgym.com/friends

Do you have more frugal friends or financial frenemies?

The Accidental Baker

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martinis and your money

The Accidental Baker

March is Women’s History Month, and I’m featuring women who inspire and motivate me on the podcast. On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I’m talking to Cheryl Smircich. Cheryl and I attended high school together over 20 years ago, but really got closer over social media the last few years. I’ve watched via Facebook as Cheryl went from creating cakes for fun to starting her company, Cherrypie’s Custom Cakes, as a side hustle to leaving her full-time job to make custom cakes for a living – including making the cake for the grand opening of the first Financial Gym in New York City!

Most of us want change in our lives, but we’re not willing to put in the time and energy to do it. Cheryl’s story is a great reminder of just how much work you need to put in to accomplish something big. I am incredibly inspired by Cheryl, and I hope you are as well! Cheers!

As a side note: the first Financial Gym location has opened in New York City at 226 5th Avenue, 5th Floor. Please stop by and have a drink with us if you are in the area or check out The Financial Gym online for its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life! We’ll kick your assets into shape!

What are we drinking?

Cheryl — A glass of red wine – malbec

Shannon — Financial Gym house wine – also a malbec

Podcast Notes

  • Cheryl broke her ankle and tore the ligament about a month ago and had surgery a week later so she is sitting on the couch recording this episode in her walking boot that is just for show right now!
  • She didn’t start baking until later in life when she made a birthday cake for her son’s first birthday.
  • Someone saw a picture of it on Facebook and asked Cheryl to make them a similar cake!
  • Shannon remembers seeing pictures of Cheryl’s cakes on Facebook and seeing them continuously improve over time.
  • After almost 3 years of baking cakes on the side, Cheryl left her full-time job to build her business.
  • Cheryl says there are lots of sacrifices that happen when achieving your dreams.
  • Her husband has fully supported her decision to build this business and pursue her passion, and she couldn’t have done this without him.
  • After her surgery, her husband followed her around and learned what he needed to learn about baking and decorating and everything else to help her complete 15 orders!
  • Cheryl made the cake for the grand opening of the first Financial Gym in October 2016.
  • She also made the rubik’s cube birthday cake for Shannon’s son Will this past February.
  • Cheryl has not only made birthday cakes but has also made adult cakes for bachelor/bachelorette parties and a strip club.
  • She still decorates and stores the cakes at her home and keeps them in separate refrigerator outside of her house.
  • She had no investors and zero startup capital when she began this business.
  • She found the refrigerator she uses on a buy and sell Facebook group!
  • On average Cheryl bakes about a dozen cakes every weekend.
  • She often takes Mondays and Tuesdays to recover from her weekends and plan her coming week and orders.
  • She tries to bake as close to pickup as she can for freshness.
  • All of her decorating techniques are self-taught.
  • Shannon asks Cheryl how she figured out how to price herself.
  • Cheryl says that has been a big struggle since day one and, for the majority of time she has been in business, she has been underpriced.
  • Shannon says getting paid what you deserve is big struggle among female entrepreneurs.
  • To market herself, Cheryl joined different local moms’ groups on Facebook and searched who was asking for cakes – she found everyone was asking for cakes!
  • She started posting pictures of the cakes she created and receiving great reviews.
  • Now she receives orders from word-of-mouth!
  • TAKEAWAY: Understand the importance of hard work in achieving your financial or career goals!

Random Three Questions

  1. What is your biggest business regret?
  2. What is the most favorite cake you have created?
  3. What do you do for downtime?

Connect with Cheryl:

Facebook

Instagram

email

If you could start a business, what type of business would you start?

Money Types and Your Worth

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martinis and your money

Money Types and Your Worth

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I am talking to Amanda Steinberg of DailyWorth about her new book, Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms.

As a side note: the first Financial Gym location has opened in New York City at 226 5th Avenue, 5th Floor. Please stop by and have a drink with us if you are in the area or check out The Financial Gym online for its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life! We’ll kick your assets into shape!

What are we drinking?

Amanda — Coffee

Shannon — Coffee

Podcast Notes

  • Amanda is a 39-year-old single mom, and she was raised by a single mom.
  • She discovered software programming at a young age and that she had a brain for it.
  • At the same time, she did everything she could to meet the one and did so by age 23.
  • While that relationship didn’t work out, now 8 years later she runs a company that helps women gain control of their finances and discover what it means to have “agency.”
  • Shannon asks Amanda why she thinks larger companies can’t figure out how to target women.
  • Shannon and Amanda discuss how finance is often emotional for women and not as emotional for men.
  • Amanda wrote her book Worth It because she believed financial services used confusing language, and she wanted to make finance easy to understand.
  • Both Amanda and Shannon are fans of entrepreneurship.
  • Amanda discusses her “roots and wings” philosophy about women and investing.
  • She discusses the MoneyType assessment and advises Shannon and others to take it.
  • This assessment reveals how your values impact your money and gives you insights into how you think about and manage money.
  • It reveals your strengths and your sabotage patterns.
  • Amanda advises anyone financially confused to start with their net worth and start with the idea of moving it positive.
  • Shannon asks Amanda what she thinks about the evolution of money types.

Random Three Questions

  1. What is your biggest money regret?
  2. What is your favorite show to binge-watch?
  3. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Connect with Amanda:

DailyWorth

Book – Worth It

MoneyType Assessment

 What’s your money type?

Food Stamps to Financial Freedom

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martinis and your money

Food Stamps to Financial Freedom

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I am talking to founder of Adaptive Nourishment, entrepreneur, and side hustler, Shanah Bell, about her journey from feeding her family of 3 on $800 a month and food stamps to fulfilling her dream of traveling the world. I found Shanah’s story especially inspiring given a few of my friends and I have hit some tough times recently.

It’s times like these that makes me think of the quote from General Custer – “It’s not how many times you get knocked down that count, it’s how many times you get back up.” I hope Shanah’s story inspires you as much as it inspired me! She also shares a new cocktail recipe with us! Cheers!

As a side note: the first Financial Gym location has opened in New York City at 226 5th Avenue, 5th Floor. Please stop by and have a drink with us if you are in the area or check out The Financial Gym online for its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life! We’ll kick your assets into shape!

What are we drinking?

The Shitty Week (or Blushing Bride) which Shanah created while she was bartending and having a shitty week. Here’s the ingredients:

  • Tanqueray Rangpur Gin (regular gin works too)
  • Malibu Rum
  • Triple Sec
  • Lime juice
  • Pineapple juice
  • Blood Orange Soda
  • Pineapple sage (optional)

Podcast Notes

  • Shanah separated from her ex-husband almost 7 years ago and had to stay home with her two small children.
  • Her ex was so angry when she left him that he refused to provide them any financial assistance.
  • He refused to move out of the home Shanah owned before she met him, so she took the kids and her dog and moved in with her parents.
  • After a few months, he finally moved out and they were able to move back in to their home meaning Shanah had to take back over the mortgage of $512/month with her escrow accounts.
  • Shanah luckily purchased a home she could still afford incase she ever got laid off instead of purchasing a home for the full amount she was approved for.
  • Shannon and Shanah agree you shouldn’t be living to pay your mortgage.
  • After moving back into the home, Shanah was only working one day a week when her mom could watch the kids and earned $800/month.
  • There was only about $25 left for gas and food after paying the mortgage and utilities.
  • She started asking friends what they thought she should do and one friend who worked for Health and Human Services suggested food stamps.
  • Shanah explains the difference between food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) and why she ultimately chose food stamps.
  • She says applying for food stamps was an incredibly humbling experience that took all day to complete.
  • A case worker provided them with emergency food stamps, and Shanah took the card to Whole Foods where she got weird looks.
  • She eventually found if you went to the local farmer’s market at the end of the day they would fire-sell any produce left.
  • Her food stamps monthly allowance was $526/month.
  • Shanah managed to feed her family a healthy diet with that allowance, but she admits some months were very tough.
  • She describes a significant moment that she considers the lowest point of her tough experience.
  • During her marriage, Shanah and her ex-husband accumulated $35,000 of debt.
  • When her daughter went to preschool, she was able to start working two days a week to earn more to put towards their debt.
  • She also received a medical payout from a car crash she was in and used that to payoff the rest of her marital debt.
  • After all of that, she started working full-time at Microsoft and was able to completely pull her family out of the situation they were in.
  • Shannon says when you’re down you need to work hard and get out of it and be an example for your children or your friends or whoever.
  • It is so important to get real with yourself even though it’s not enjoyable.
  • Shanah and Shannon agree you need to check in with your finances monthly to know exactly where you are.
  • Now, Shanah works from home as a nutritionist and blogs at Adaptive Nourishment about nutrition and food.
  • She also blogs about personal finance at Debt RoundUp, the blog her brother runs!
  • She loves to travel and try new food when she travels.
  • Shannon and Shanah agree you can live a healthy lifestyle on a budget, you just have to be smart about it.
  • Shanah says she works with her clients about creating fast, easy meals that are cost-effective.
  • Her current food budget for her family of 7 is $600/month.
  • They discuss the cost of living in North Carolina compared to New York – a martini is $8-$10 in NC and close to $15 in NY!
  • TAKEAWAY: Tough times are usually only temporary although at the time they may seem like an eternity. You may be knocked down now, but you’re still in the ring, so get back up and keep fighting!

Random Three Questions

  1. What is your most productive time of day?
  2. What is your most recent money splurge?
  3. If you were to win a million dollars, what would you do with it?

Connect with Shanah:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Have you ever used food stamps? What’s the lowest monthly budget you’ve survived on?

Time Is More Than Money – Happy Hour

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martinis and your money

Time is More Than Money – Happy Hour

Today is the last Friday of the month and in case you are new to this blog or my podcast, on the last Friday of the month, I host a happy hour on my podcast where the happy hour ladies and I talk about various money topics while drinking cheap drinks! Today, we’re talking about the most precious commodity we all have: time. The ladies joined me for some drinks to share their thoughts on time and how they manage it best. Listen and enjoy! Cheers!

As a side note: the first week in March, I will be recording a ­special listeners’ only Happy Hour with three lucky listeners! If you’d like to be selected, you must:

  1. Enjoy a good Happy Hour
  2. Be a member of the Martinis and Your Money Facebook group
  3. Today – February 24th – you need to post in the Facebook group something you’ve learned or thought about differently since listening to this show.

I will pick the top three responses and schedule a Happy Hour call to record the podcast! The winners will be notified next week!

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Vodka martini

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Chardonnay

Mrs. Frugalwoods from Frugalwoods.com — Boxed white wine

Shannon — Beringer Cabernet

Podcast Notes

  • The most important asset we all have is time.
  • The better we manage time, the better we manage everything else.
  • Melanie is a freelancer and she uses:
    • Asana to keep track of her projects
    • RescueTime to track her time online – she says it’s like Mint.com but for your time.
    • SelfControl (a Mac-specific app) to manage her social media distractions
  • Melanie says managing time and managing energy go hand-in-hand.
  • She knows she is night owl and she tries to avoid early meetings and scheduling things early in the morning.
  • One change she has made in the mornings is giving herself one hour in the morning and at night to not look at her phone.
  • A quote that really resonated with Melanie was “do you want to be a consumer or a creator?”
  • As a working mom, Mrs. Frugalwoods manages her time by following her daughter’s schedule.
  • When Babywoods goes down for a nap, Mrs. Frugalwoods is writing.
  • She is very slow to reply to emails and text messages because she is laser-focused when she sits down to write.
  • Following her daughter’s schedule has made her a very fast writer.
  • She says a routine schedule helps her the most with managing time.
  • Tonya says she is a combination of a free spirit and Mrs. Frugalwoods.
  • The key for her is saying no to doing a lot of things.
  • She has a routine for some parts of the day like when she wakes up (5:30am!) and the rituals she does in the morning.
  • She enjoys a slow morning and easing into her day.
  • On the weekends she sleeps in until 6:00am – 6:30am and then tries to workout around 9:00am.
  • She says she needs to be more efficient about finishing her tasks.
  • She read Essentialism by Greg McKeown and highly recommends it.
  • Her biggest takeaway from it was if you’re not prioritizing your own life, someone will prioritize it for you!
  • Shannon says the ultimate thing about managing time is knowing yourself.
  • Allowing downtime is very important to keep her from getting burned out.
  • Understanding how you function during certain periods of time is extremely important!
  • Shannon doesn’t use a lot of apps but she is obsessed with using her Google Calendar.
  • It is really important for her to put her son Will on the bus to school every morning because her evening schedules are always so hectic.
  • Tonya went from freelancing back to a 9 to 5 and she hasn’t found many challenges besides not being able to workout in the mornings at her optimal time like she used to.
  • Frugalwoods doesn’t think she could ever go back to a 9 to 5 job.
  • Tonya says napping for 20 minutes really helps her during the day.
  • Shannon says napping destroys the rest of her days.
  • The ladies all agree that multi-tasking decreases productivity.
  • Find what works best for you – whether it is an app or a schedule – and manage your time so it aligns with your priorities!
  • TAKEAWAY: Think about time as you think about your money. It’s precious and we need to manage it accordingly because it’s not infinite.

Are you good at managing your time? What helps you do it best?