Kumiko Love is the founder of the popular personal finance blog The Budget Mom.

Episode Number: 168

Episode 168- How To Live A Life You Love & Can Afford w/ Kumiko Love

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Jamila Souffrant 0:00

You're listening to the Journey to Launch Podcast: How to Live a Life You Love and Can Afford with Kumiko Love. She bought her dream home in cash and paid off over $77,000 of debt. Find out how here.

Welcome to the Journey to Launch Podcast with your host Jamila Souffrant. As a money expert who walks her talk, she helps brave journeyers like you get out of debt, save, invest, and build real wealth. Join her on the journey to launch to financial freedom in five, four, three, two, one.

Hey, hey hey journeyers welcome to the Journey to Launch Podcast if you are brand new to the podcast you're a journeyer now it's too late you listening already journeyer means you listen to the podcast, you follow my content, and primarily you want to reach financial independence. You want to reach financial freedom. So you're on this journey with me and thousands and thousands of other journeyers right we're in this together. So that's what I mean when I say journeyer. So I am happy that you are listening in today.

I have a really special guest and I'm really excited you guys to hear her story I have on the podcast Kumiko Love. Kumiko is founder of The Budget Mom. Now if you are an Instagram and in the debt free community you may know of Kumiko she has hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram and has a lot of subscribers on YouTube and a lot of people in the community use her Live Rich Planner, which helps you budget. And so I met Kumiko you'll hear in our little conversation. You know I met her in person and she was super sweet, super nice a couple years ago and so I'm really excited that I get to bring her now on the podcast to dive deeper into her story, which I think is amazing. So Kumiko was able to pay off all her debt. She lives debt free, including her mortgage. Get this. She has no mortgage, she bought her dream house in cash. And she's a successful business owner. She's a mom to a seven year old son. So this is just I think an amazing inspiring conversation for anyone to listen to. I know I was super inspired, listening to it. Now I also recorded the video to this so if you want to check out the video interview with me and Kumiko The Budget Mom, go to my YouTube channel that's youtube.com/journeytolaunch then make sure you're following me on social on instagram, twitter, facebook at Journey to Launch because I'll be dropping some clips there. I know some people actually like to see the video sometimes with me interviewing guests. So this is a treat. Check out the video if you can.

Okay, journeyers I'm really excited because I have the one and only Kumiko on the podcast The Budget Mom. Hi, Kumiko.

Kumiko Love 2:58

Hi. Thanks for having me.

Jamila Souffrant 3:00

So Kumiko, you know, I just want to tell a little backstory, how I met you. I'm not sure if you remember, but we sat together or next to each other at a conference at a personal finance conference. Yes. And we were up for some awards. And honestly, it was like the first time like, that was like me first realizing kind of like who you were, and you were so nice and down to earth. And I remember looking up your brand when you said, like we weren't. And then I was like, Oh my gosh, like your story, your platform, like it was so impressive. And the fact that you were so cool and down to earth at the same time, like in person was awesome. So I just want to say that so everyone can hear that.

Kumiko Love 3:33

Thank you.

Jamila Souffrant 3:35

So there are a lot of people who know about you, maybe if some of your people are coming to listen, they're getting excited about who you are. But then there are some people who don't know who you are some journeyers. So that's what I call my crew who listen to the podcast. So can you just give like a brief or just rundown and we'll get more deeper into things about who Kumiko is like The Budget Mom, how did you start this platform that you have and what is it?

Kumiko Love 3:58

Yeah, so you know, The Budget Mom was really created out of my own personal struggles with money management, especially as a single mom. So I started The Budget Mom to really find a community of other single moms or other people who really understood what I was going through. And as I went searching for them, they were searching for me. And that's how this absolutely amazing community was born. But it really started with just me not really knowing what I was doing. It was my journey of trying to figure things out, you know, I had my son and I knew things had to change drastically with my finances. And so that's really where The Budget Mom started.

Jamila Souffrant 4:40

Can you give us a sense of where you were financially at that point? I know you said you had your son and that like helped you really realize what you wanted to do. But how were you with your money before?

Kumiko Love 4:51

I was the typical person that played the game of if I don't see it, I don't have to deal with it. But I was very good in the sense that all my bills are being paid on time. All of my minimum payments were being paid on time. But I, I was not looking at the big picture. I didn't see the overall balance of my debt. For me financially, I was basically living paycheck to paycheck. I had a ton of student loan debt, a ton of credit card debt. Right before I really got into my journey and started The Budget Mom, I was in a severe motorcycle accident. It was a hit and run that left me in the hospital for three days with a shattered risk of bruised pelvic bone and a pretty beaten up face with no medical insurance and no motorcycle insurance. And so I really started this journey dealing with medical debt. So that's kind of financially where I was.

Jamila Souffrant 5:53

Do you remember how much like debt like total all together you were in?

Kumiko Love 5:57

Yeah, back in 2011. I started around about $50,000 in debt, about 35 of that was student loans.

Jamila Souffrant 6:07

Yeah. And do you mind sharing kind of like proof? Because, you know, it's funny people listening to this, they have different professions, right? Like they have to come from different backgrounds of professional work. And I always think providing context maybe on what you did previously before, like, you know, you became an entrepreneur like what you did so people can get a sense of your journey to where you are.

Kumiko Love 6:26

Yeah, it's so funny. My background, I actually graduated with a finance and accounting major and I minored in economics. I got out of college, and I stepped into the real world and I got my first job working in the financial industry in a financial advisor firm. And the funny thing is, it was then that I realized that my finance degree I did not learn a whole bunch about personal finance. It's kind of crazy to think about that. But I learned corporate structure finance, I learned analytics. I learned, you know, economics, but it's not like anyone ever stopped me down and said hey Miko, you need to create a budget. That didn't happen in my life until my my actually the financial advisor I work for sat me down and told me to do it. And that's when the big realization happened. So I was actually in the financial advisor space for about eight years when I ultimately quit my full time job to work for The Budget Mom full time.

Jamila Souffrant 7:24

Yeah, it's interesting because I find that you know, I I also majored in business and with a specialization in finance, but you don't like you said, you don't learn about this stuff. And then I went to work in the corporate field in the corporate world and investments. And I know people who worked at my job who are very good at the spreadsheets and the corporate side of things and investing like millions of dollars, right. And then I know that personally, it was like a mess. So I think it's interesting how, you know, we can be so smart, right? And that just to show people that it doesn't matter about like how smart on paper you are with anything like that. Your finances are totally different. So you don't have to be numbers smart. You don't have to be any of those things that you think maybe you should have before you could like, tackle your personal finances.

Kumiko Love 8:09

Right. You know, I think it's funny because you don't have to be that textbook smart. Right? I thought that if I was textbook smart, when it came to finance that I would be okay. And the reality was, it's more about a true self discovery of who you are. And that's the hardest part.

Jamila Souffrant 8:29

Yeah, and do you think also income plays a role in it? So like it because I know I was on a trajectory when I started working. If I stayed at my job, got the bonuses and raises that I'll have enough. And so the way I figured that in the beginning was like, I'll just earn enough to pay for the things I want, like, getting the big picture like with your money was more about like, I have enough money, like I'm bringing in money, so I should be okay. Do you think sometimes people who earn a decent amount are not thinking about the bigger picture because they're just like, I can work and just pay my bills forever. Like, isn't that what you're supposed to do?

Kumiko Love 8:59

It's funny that you bring that up because I, when I was going through that, I always thought to myself, well, if I could just earn more, if I could just earn more, and it gets you get to a point where you finally are earning more, but the progress isn't coming. At least not the progress and that type of value in your life isn't there? Because that value in your life definitely comes from other things other than just earning more.

Jamila Souffrant 9:28

Yeah, yeah, definitely. So you had your son and and I think for especially myself and probably people listening, when you do start if you have children, that helps you a lot because it's just like, Okay, I have another mouth to feed and I don't want to like, mess things up. I want to give more for them. But what were some of the first things you started to do like practically to get on track?

Kumiko Love 9:48

So the first thing was was just awareness. It was just literally making that decision in my life. Okay, no more. This is not the life. I want from me and my son and I have to make a change. And even getting to that point a lot of the times is really hard for people because you have to have that underlying almost a rock bottom. You have to get to that point where you literally just, it's not what you want. And you know that. And that was a huge driving force for me on my financial journey. Another thing was really becoming in tune with my spending. It's another part of awareness that was brought into my life. You know, it's funny because people say, I'm good at budgeting, or I'm financially well off and they say that for the pure fact of they're paying their bills on time. When they think about budgeting people automatically think about bills. And budgeting is so much more than just paying the bills. People say I'm fine. I'm one month ahead on my bills. I'm doing really good. But there's also other aspects of our lives, the things that we are truly searching for that also need to be filled and they go so often they are forgotten. So I think awareness was key and just getting to that point of my rock bottom and realizing that life change needs to happen.

Jamila Souffrant 11:16

Yeah. Back then did you call yourself The Budget Mom? Or did you like evolve to that? Like, did you start out like saying, All right, I'm just gonna stick to this budget and start this platform to help show what I'm doing. Like, how did you build that?

Kumiko Love 11:29

Yes, it was so funny because I sat down to write my my first blog post. And, you know, I had no idea what I was doing at the time. I had no idea what a blog was. But I'm sitting here, you know, working on it, and I'm like, Well, what do I call myself? And I thought to myself, well, I'm talking about budgeting, and I'm a mom. So it kind of kind of just work it worked out that way. And I'm really glad that I did that because budgeting and finances is obviously all I'm passionate about. But people ask me all the time when Miko, you're a mom, I get that. But there's another reason why mom is really important in The Budget Mom brand is. This is a generational change. And I know that if I help the moms if I help the adults, I'm also helping the children in some way some form. And so that's another meaning that it's kind of progressed to over time.

Jamila Souffrant 12:32

Right, right. I love that. For you. Were you still working full time in your career and doing Budget Mom on the side?

Kumiko Love 12:40

Yes, I actually worked about the equivalent of two full time jobs for over three years. Now. The funny thing about my journey is I could have left my full time job a year after starting The Budget Mom. A year after I started The Budget Mom, I was actually making just about what I was at my normal job which was a goal of mine. But I stayed because one, I loved my job. I absolutely loved it. I loved the work I was doing with people. But at the same time, I knew that just making what I was making at my full time job wasn't enough. I needed to be financially prepared if I was going to take my business on full time. And for me, that meant having an emergency fund established not just for me personally, but for my business. Because I knew that I was taking a risk. And if my business failed, I had to be able to take care of my son and fill those needs. So I had to do it in a very responsible way.

Jamila Souffrant 13:43

Yeah, I love that you're bringing that up and how you had to delay jumping ship also love that you talked about loving your job because not everyone hates their job. And you know, it's just like, running from something. I think, if you do love your job, and we're going to talk more about entrepreneurship, too, because I know I have a lot of people who they're in debt or they're trying to reach financial freedom and independence. So part of that too, is like doing something on the side. So whether that's kind of like a simple side hustle of selling things and you're like, I have no, like, desire to do this full time, or they're like, you know what, I'm really good at this thing. And I may want to take it full time one day. So I think I'm being real with people about like, that's a process to be prepared to do that. Right. Like you just especially when you have responsibilities, like a mortgage and kids, right?

Kumiko Love 14:26

Right. It's a very scary thing. But for me, leaving my full time job was probably one of the most scariest things I've ever did. And that's the honest truth because you're going from a guaranteed W-2 paycheck to being completely dependent on your business that is absolutely terrifying. Knowing that the food you put on the table and the clothes you put on your child's back is coming from you and solely you. I think that's another reason why I took financially preparing myself so seriously, is because of that reason.

Jamila Souffrant 15:03

Yeah. And I think about it too is like, I guess we should say at the time, you know, you it was just you, right, raising your son or being more sweetly responsible.

Kumiko Love 15:12


Jamila Souffrant 15:14

So and I do want to just bring that up because you know, everyone has a different circumstance and situation and sometimes maybe you do have a partner. So I know for me right when I jumped ship, like part of my life best even though we have three kids we live in New York City was my husband's still worked. So you know, my advantage in that was his income doesn't cover everything. So we still had to be really prepared for all our bills, you know, and taking my income away. But that was still something to consider, right? And I think, especially if you're like you're a single mom, or it's just you, you have to be just extra careful about the steps you're taking.

Kumiko Love 15:45

Yeah, for sure. It's almost like a two edged sword because it's terrifying. But at the same time, I knew that it could absolutely change me in my son's life. And I knew knew that we could also change other people's lives and that passion. I went to bed every single night thinking about how I could help people. I woke up every single day like running to my notebook. Like this is how I can help people today like this is like this is it. And so I think that passion also was a driving force for me as well.

Jamila Souffrant 16:24

Yeah. And it's it's kind of cool to think about it in that way in a way where when your back is against the wall when there is no other option and like you have to make it work. Sometimes I find that as a motivating factor, like of course sure, it's great to have assurances and you know, emergency fund like still do it the smart way. But sometimes when you are like faced with like, listen, I have to put food on the table and pay this bill, pay these bills so I can provide for my son and I want to help as many people you get that courage you get that like by any means necessary, right? To do what you have to do.

Kumiko Love 16:57

Oh, for sure. Definitely. Yes, definitely.

Jamila Souffrant 17:00

So as you start to grow The Budget Mom platform and you jump into like full time entrepreneurship with The Budget Mom, were you thinking more about like product based helping service based business because we're in the personal finance space and there's so many different ways like you can help people. What made you pick because I know you right now you focus on products are made you pick that versus like coaching and maybe you did that before. But what made you pick that?

Kumiko Love 17:24

Like I said, when I started The Budget Mom, I did it to build a community, never to start a business. For me. My passion and drive was making sure that another single mom out there didn't feel the way I did at one point in time to make that journey a little bit easier for them a little less scary, a little less lonely. However, when I started sharing my journey with the rest of the world, what I was doing in my real life to help me I so many people were coming and saying, hey, this could really help me. Is there a way you could provide that for me. And once we started providing those things which were free in the beginning, I realized the absolute overwhelm of demand. And time after time I was hearing people say this changed my life. And I thought to myself, we have to get this out to the masses. We absolutely have to make sure that we can offer this amazing product in the most affordable way at the best quality and that's kind of how it came about.

Jamila Souffrant 18:31

Yeah, and you know, we should talk about to like so obviously like all your social channel, especially your Instagram account there because what I love about what you do is that you actually use your products use your like, and show it like in your everyday life. So you're not only just like selling like you know, your your budget book and binder and concepts but you're also you're using it and showing your audience like how to use them. I think that's like pretty cool. So I think sometimes it's nice to see that from like someone because Sometimes, you know, you'll see you'll see a product or a service and the business but you don't really see like the person using their own services and products. So can you talk through about like, because you're really disciplined, which I think is good because then it makes your audience like want to be more disciplined, but like you literally show up every day on Instagram. You're always sharing tips. And I'm like, geez, I need to be more like The Budget Mom, like I need to show. I need to show more background of like what I'm doing and like, I was just like, what, um, share your like, how you manage your money, right? Because that's how you help your audience manage their money. So how do you do that? Like in terms, I know you envelopes and the binder and all that.

Kumiko Love 19:36

Yes. It's funny that you talked about, you know, I made a promise. And I set out on a mission, to not just tell people how to budget their money and manage their finances. I wanted to show them and the only way that I knew how to do that was what it looked like in someone's real life. And that was my life. I think to showing up every day for my readers, which I've done the last three years. It's my way of showing that I care. It's my connection with my readers. That is so so absolutely important to me. It's one of the ways that I do that. You know how I manage my money with the budget by paycheck method. It was literally created out of all of my failed attempts in the past, it was literally a mindset shift that said, Okay, I may have failed in these areas, but I was also really successful in others, and I picked it apart, I learned more about myself. And ultimately, it's the calendar method. It's the paycheck method and it's the cash envelope method all rolled into a series of steps on creating not just a budget, but a realistic budget that actually works in people's lives.

Jamila Souffrant 20:51

Okay, so those that have no clue, right maybe they're just like finding out about budgeting can you like quickly describe what the calendar budget is? What the paycheck budget is?

Kumiko Love 20:59

Yeah. So the calendar method is essentially listing all of your bills and expenses on a monthly calendar and writing down your pay dates on your calendar, so you know what expenses need to be included in your paychecks. It's almost like an overview of the month all on one sheet. The paycheck method was absolutely the life changer for me. It's budgeting when you get paid. Now, I know when a lot of people go out and they search on Google how to create a budget, what is the number one thing they're thrown, they're thrown a monthly template, we automatically assume that we are budgeting our money monthly, but in my mind, my mind does not work that way. So I struggled. And so I was paying my bills when I got paid. And one day I'm like, wait a minute, if I'm paying my bills, when I get paid, why aren't I budgeting the rest of my money when I get paid? And it clicked for me. It was an absolute life changer for me. So the patient Check my budget method is budgeting your money every single time you get a paycheck. Now, the envelope method is essentially all of your variable spending the things that fluctuate up and down every month. It's gas, it's food, it's fun purchases, it's clothing, all the things that doesn't have necessarily a set amount we spend with cash and cash envelopes for dedicated categories in our budget.

Jamila Souffrant 22:27

Yeah, I love that breakdown. Thanks. And the cash envelope. And I do want to talk about that because I have never really tried that system. I'm debt free, other than our mortgage, but I tend to use my credit cards for points. So I would love to hear to understand your position on that. And because I know there's some people listening though that they don't need to jump into credit cards right now. They need to do the envelope system.

Kumiko Love 22:48


Jamila Souffrant 22:49


Kumiko Love 22:49

Yeah. So it's so funny because I am that person, and I am I will be 100% truthful and admit it. I've been budgeting my money successfully for the last nine years. I am completely 100% debt free, including no mortgage, I am still telling you I'm the person that should not use credit cards. I know that about myself. I am the type of person that spends on a credit card and says, hey, I'll just pay it off later, my spending gets out of control because I'm a spender at heart mixed with being a brand junkie. Okay, that is a very dangerous formula. And not only that, I just got done paying off all of my debt at the end of 2018. And debt is still a very, very scary thing to me. It still terrifies me. And so I'm not ready to use the credit cards. However, I'm also the type of person that knows the benefits that could be possible with using a credit card and I always say go for it. If you are responsible. You are paying off your credit cards every single month before interest hits, and you're you know You're doing it in a responsible way. Why not get the points? I wish I could. But the cash envelope resonates with me and I think almost too I've been doing it for so long that when I'm not using and being an all cash spender my motivation decreases. That's where I get my motivation it's what allows me to bring creativity into my budget it was it was what makes budgeting fun for me. And so even after nine years I'm I think I will always in some sense will be an all cash spender. I don't think that will ever change with me. However, I'm hoping one day at least my business I can jump on with a business credit card to at least earn travel points.

Jamila Souffrant 24:46

But I love I love that you're, you know yourself and that's the first step. It's like knowing that Know thyself, right, and it looks good. And the thing about it too, which I think is pretty interesting is that you can follow like people like maybe you know, you like my style and how I talk about budgeting and financial independence, you might like Kumiko style and but you are still different in the sense right? Like I can you can have people that follow you and like your your whole style but are say, listen, I'm going to get those credit card points, right? And I can ask people who like my style was just like I still the credit cards not my thing. And so you I think it's important to understand that you can pick and choose the things that work for you like it's not just all or nothing but that to know yourself as the first step. And to be honest.

Kumiko Love 25:31

Oh yeah, for sure. You have to ask yourself the hard questions and then give yourself grace to answer those questions honestly. Ask those hard questions. And I always have said from day one, a debt payoff journey is not about the amount of debt you're paying off. It's not about the debt payment, okay. It's not about paying off debt. It's a self discovery journey. The hard part starts with you and what I mean by that you will learn more about yourself on your financial journey than you will at any other time in your life. And that is a guarantee if you are doing the hard work. And it's that hard work that isn't only going to create change right now. It's going to create lasting change where you get out of debt, and you stay out of debt.

Jamila Souffrant 26:19

Yeah, it's the person you become on the journey.

Kumiko Love 26:22

Oh, for sure.

Jamila Souffrant 26:23

Yeah, right. The habits, you pick up discipline you pick up, it's the person, right? Not just the milestones. That's what's important. You talked about brand junkie, which I think we should just touch upon. Because I think for a lot of people, that's what they are in certain areas, and that causes them to spend, do you want to like, share a little bit more about that?

Kumiko Love 26:42

Yeah, you know, when I first had to say that out loud, it was really embarrassing, cuz I'm like, wait a minute, I am not that person that like buys things because of the brand name, but I am. And that was that was one of the things that I learned about myself. And notice that I was doing on my self discovery journey. I gravitated towards certain brands, I paid more than what I had for certain brands. And I bought things because of the brand logo. Simply put, I was actually sucked into sales a lot easier because of the brand. Being a brand junkie isn't necessarily a bad thing I've learned. But it is if it's not if you're not aware that you're doing it, and for so long, I was not aware that I, I had these emotional connections to brands that I did. And now learning to be a patient spender, I can still get the brands that I like, even though they're fairly more expensive because I've also developed the whole motto of quality over quantity on my journey. But I'm a patient spender, I can sit back and save for what I want rather than impulse buying because I have this straight emotional connection with brand names.

Jamila Souffrant 27:59

Yeah. Yeah, and so many people may be nodding like Yep, I think that's what I was doing before what I continue to do and it's no shame like you said, like, this is the point like you have people very, very brilliant people in high up executives in rooms like knowing exactly like what colors to put what advertising to use to draw you in and hook you like, that's the point, right? Like.

Kumiko Love 28:23

Yeah, and the perfect example of this is Nike. They grab an emotional connection with their readers at a very, very early age, and how do they do that through sports. So for me, my brand junkie like obsession was Nike, because even throughout middle school, I associated the brand Nike with being a good athlete. So when I was in sports, all the major athletes were wearing Nike but I also associated it with the cool thing, okay in my school, the cool thing in you know, grade school and middle school was having a pair of new Nikes. So at a very early age, that emotional connection and tie, that psychological trigger was established. And it's something that I've carried the last 34 years, you know, 35 years. And it wasn't it's funny, it wasn't something I even realized until just four or five years ago.

Jamila Souffrant 29:22

Yeah, yeah, it's really amazing too. And it's like, how you perceive other people will perceive you because you have this thing.

Kumiko Love 29:28

Exactly. Exactly.

Jamila Souffrant 29:31

Which, you know, and, and at the end of the day, like, as long as you're consciously doing it, it's like, yeah, sure, like, I like this because I feel better in it. And yeah, it's a statement to everyone else. That's okay. Right, like, as long as you know what your goals are, because you've set them and you're following along with whatever budget or financial plan you have. And so you can do both. It's just that you're recognizing when you're you're making those trade offs and decisions.

Kumiko Love 29:52

Right, you know, that that's the freedom that budget budgeting gives us it's a freedom for us to choose how we spend our money. And if we are in love with a certain brand, because we love the material, or we think it's good quality, or we like the logo or whatever it may be, if you have a budget plan in place, you have the freedom to choose to do that. And I think that's also really important to mention.

Jamila Souffrant 30:20

Yeah, yeah. So you're able to do something really amazing. Recently, you were able to buy your dream home in cash. Like I said, again, Kumiko was able to buy her dream home in cash. She has no mortgage. I love to hear the journey to that, like how you made that possible. Like, that's amazing.

Kumiko Love 30:41

Yeah, you know, so all along my home journey. People always told me Miko, you know, you don't have to buy it and cash. It doesn't have to be this wonderful dream home. Your home is where you hang your hat, but for me it had a much deeper meaning. And when I got divorced in 2011 I was lost everything. And not just I don't mean I walked away from the home I bill or the life built. I mean, I lost who I was to be and have the strength of an individual, what it meant to be my own person. I lost all confidence in my abilities and myself. I was very lost after my divorce. And I had this dream that one day I wanted to provide and have this home where me and my son can grow up but not just any home, our dream home, I didn't want to relocate again. I didn't want to have my son pack up and move again. It was just a personal decision that I made. I realized that dream it right after my divorce, and that was at the end of 2015. And when The Budget Mom started to grow, I realized that I had the opportunity to absolutely not just change our lives now but our entire future with my son. It gave me the chance to retire early. It gave me the chance to travel with my son before I'm too old to do so, to seize opportunities that I wanted to in this short life that we are given. So what happened was, I saved every penny of income that I could from my personal income. The time where I was was working both my day job and running The Budget Mom, and also every single dollar that I could from my business. It's just yeah, it's remarkable to think back now that that long journey, but it was, it's so worth it.

Jamila Souffrant 32:45

How long did it take when you were consciously saving for this dream home? How long did it take you to be able to have enough to do it?

Kumiko Love 32:52

From 2015 to 2020. So it was right after my divorce, I started saving a little bit. Was it a lot? No, you know, back in the day when I was still struggling with my money and my budget was tight, and you know, I was just working my day job, you know, it was 50 bucks every paycheck. A hundred dollars a month here hundred dollars a month there. But I was very blessed and fortunate that I did have a business that was successful on this journey as well. I get a lot of people who say to me Miko, I don't have a huge earning successful business. Is this dream a reality for me as well? And I always tell people, don't leave the big dreams to the millionaires. This dream, anything that you want in your life is absolutely attainable for anybody. I had this dream when I was a single mom making less than $24,000 a year and I still had the dream. It was one of those things where I had to learn how do I manage my money just not personally, but also in my business area as well.

Jamila Souffrant 34:05

I love that. And I love how you you're saying like, it's not just the millionaires. I know income for a lot of people is the thing, obviously like and not having enough of it and if you're just trying to stay afloat, some of this sounds like, far fetched like, that's not me. And, you know, I do believe though, like, if you have a thought, I've always been one of those people, if you have the thought, like thoughts don't occur to everyone. dreams don't happen for everyone, like your dream of buying a home in cash. Like that's not everyone doesn't think that and so if you have been blessed to think of something or envision something, it's for a reason. It's, it's because it's possible.

Kumiko Love 34:40

Yes, that is so I love that so much. That is so true. You know, I didn't believe it was possible. In the beginning, my dream was to only buy a home. Did I know how I was going to fund that? No, but I knew that dream was there. The dream to do it with cash, actually wasn't realized until 2018 when a friend of mine came and said, Miko, why wouldn't you do this in cash? And I'm like, wait a minute, that's not possible. And she sat me down and she like walked me through it. And I at the end of it, I'm like, Oh my gosh, maybe I can do this. With maybe there is a way for me to actually do this. Okay. How do I do it? What steps do I take? What changes do I make in my life? And the funny thing is, when I made the decision to buy my dream home with cash, I slept better than any other night. Because it was a sense of peace, knowing that is the path I'm supposed to take. And I was going to fight for it. I didn't care if it took me 15 years, 20 years. I was going to do it. And I've just been extremely blessed that it was something I was able to accomplish in my life.

Jamila Souffrant 36:04

Yeah. And you know what's interesting, right? So some people, like if you really crunching numbers say, well, you could have took that money. And I don't know if you share how much the home was I don't.

Kumiko Love 36:12

We haven't revealed the cost of my home only for privacy and security reasons. But you know, I told my readers I, in the beginning of my dream, look, I'm going to save $400,000. That was my first initial goal I, but then again, in the beginning, I didn't have a dream of just buying a home, I had a dream of building a home. And it's funny how that journey changes when you actually start living it and I realized that building on raw land was not my journey. It was not meant for me, because there's just too many unknowns for me to go into that path and into that journey. So we started with the $400,000. And that's initially where we started with it. As far as goals.

Jamila Souffrant 37:01

Yeah. Oh, I love that. Thank you for sharing that because, you know, some people crunching numbers right now it's just like, well, you know, if you put that money into an investment account, you know, that grew over time you'd have, it'd be worth way more than what you purchased your house for. And that's the same argument when people are just like, Why pay down your mortgage if it's like a lower rate versus like being able to invest it? So I'd love to hear your thoughts on why you chose like that route for people just listening.

Kumiko Love 37:28

Right now. Are you talking about the route of buying it with cash?

Jamila Souffrant 37:31

Yeah, versus like you could have you know, you put money down on it and then been able to pay the mortgage and then invested that money somewhere else?

Kumiko Love 37:38

Yes. Yes. So there was a big reason. I was self employed. And I did not want a huge mortgage payment hanging over my head. It's literally peace of mind. Peace of mind was my biggest thing because peace of mind you can't put a value on. And I knew that if I was going to feel 100% comfortable going 100% in my business, I could not do that with debt hanging over my head, especially a mortgage payment as big as they are. It was very scary for me. I felt like if I were to have a mortgage, I would be stuck. I would have limitations on what I could accomplish in my life with what I wanted with my business and the experiences I wanted to make with my son.

The funny thing is, is when we make decisions around our finances, sometimes it's not always just about the numbers. You know, when I first came out and said, I wanted to buy my home with cash. We got hate mail from days, we got people saying, well, it's an investment. You're, you know, the equity and all this stuff. I didn't care about all that. In fact, I went down to my credit union and I sat down with a home broker and he basically listed out all of my expenses. All of the things I have to pay when you know financing a home, but he also said something that was had a big effect on my decision. He said, as an entrepreneur, someone who is self employed, hundred percent self employed with a business that is less than two years old, it's gonna be really hard for you to get financing for the amount that you want. So being and having self employment income with a business that was less than two years old, also was something that was stressing me out as far as financing is concerned.

Jamila Souffrant 39:37

Yeah, I love that you brought that into play because you're right, like our mortgage is our biggest expense. And when you have like a fixed expense like that, and your income does not meet that every month and as an entrepreneur, it fluctuates, that is stressful, that can be stressful. So and you know what, I'm sure this this is helpful for you as a business owner because it allows you to make decisions to choose what you want to do, it's not like oh, I have to, like, make this money to do this, you know, and take maybe jobs or sponsorships or things I don't want to do, right? Like I can literally choose what I want to do based on the fact that it works for me not just for money, which I think is amazing.

Kumiko Love 40:17

Yeah, that's so absolutely true. You know, I run a debt free company, we do everything with cash. I mean, I run my business very, very similar to how I do my personal life and debt debt and personally still scares me debt in my business makes me even more scared. I've just seen too many small businesses rely on financing in the beginning and they fail because of it. I want the freedom to be able to offer my readers things for free. Okay, one of the number one things that frustrated me so much in the beginning is because all the products that I knew could absolutely change my life or make a difference in my life. I didn't have money for in the beginning. And that's that was just the honest truth. So we focus so much time and energy here at The Budget Mom, providing low cost or affordable or free products that bring true value and impact to our readers lives. It's a passion of passion of mine. And I'm able to do that because of the decisions I've made not just in my business, but personally as well and and buying my house when in cash was one of those things.

Jamila Souffrant 41:28

Yeah. And again, a testament to when you become financially secure, and when you accept the abundance like in your life, right. So I think to having such a successful business, I saw like I think this was months ago, before you know, the pandemic you had upgraded to like a new warehouse, right, like a bigger warehouse and office, like your business is doing well. Right. And sometimes I think people think with personal finance, especially when you're conscious of money that like if you make or earn a lot like that selfish and I don't think that you know. I know you don't think that but you just shows as a testament to when you are doing well you can then give back like you can pour from a cup that's full versus like you know that was empty so it's like don't feel guilty anyone listening right like asking for more doing what you can because the more you can bring into yourself the better impact you can make to your family community like it's okay to earn money it's okay to get your value and your worth.

Kumiko Love 42:23

Yes I love that. Yes.

Jamila Souffrant 42:25

One of the things I just want to bring up because you do run a successful business and you successfully manage your personal finances is the overlap. You already said like debt for you. In either case you don't have right great. Do you budget for your business similar to how you budget like personally? Because I know some business owners right like that's a whole new world like they even if they have their but their personal budget on track. Like maybe their business is like not that way.

Kumiko Love 42:49

Yeah, yeah. The thing for me with my business was learning. No, it wasn't my money. It was my business' money. That was my first thing I had to tackle. And then of course, you know the other things like keeping your business accounts and your personal accounts separate. That didn't happen for me until two years into my business until my accountant said, Stop it. What are you doing? But for me from day one was my business. I know where every single dollar goes. You could ask me today Miko, what has your business spent today I can literally lay out every single dollar. Where did every single penny go. And it's important because it allows me to make financial decisions for my business on the spot. So when I have an employee that calls me and says hey, we need to order this for the headquarters and we need to order for the warehouse I know immediately what position we are and the buying power that we do have. So yes in the fact of awareness is very similar to my personal finances. However, I budget my business income monthly, okay with a business and a business structure, seeing longer timeframes of your budget is actually for me a lot more helpful because I can start to see trends and analytics and all of this, it's a lot easier. So I do run the business a little bit differently just because it's a more efficient, but I still think that we still spend cash. I will make a $1.1 million transaction on production runs, I will pay in cash and if they tell me Miko, like, can you just like swipe your card here, I'm like, I'm giving you a check, take it or leave it, you know, and a lot of the companies that we work with know that I run a cash only business. So as far as the cash and the tracking the awareness is the same but some of the day to day type of management is a little bit different.

Jamila Souffrant 44:49

Yeah, I love that and you know, like the whole like, Yes, I am selling something for $20. I don't ask the business owner don't get that $20 I get a fraction of that because it has to cover all the other expenses for my business? What are your goals? Right? Whether it personally like your personal financial goals? Is there like a next level that you're trying to get to? Are you familiar with the term and you already kind of set it like, you know, financial independence, the FIRE Movement where like literally if you said to you right now that you did not want to work again like you're just like I am done. Would you be set financially for life? Do you consider yourself financially independent at this point? Is that something you're working towards? And then I'd love to know for the business what your dreams and next goals are?

Kumiko Love 45:31

Yeah, so my number one goal right now one to say it out loud. I am not financially prepared enough to walk away today. And that's the honest truth. That's only because I know my situation. My goal is to retire early. I want to retire by the time I'm 40 years old, but I also know that is a huge goal. Here's the thing with me. I look at my son and I see him getting older. And it's a good thing to watch your son grow up. But it's also a very scary thing because you know, time is short. And I watch it every single day when I see my son come downstairs, I want to spend every single moment I have cherishing time with him. And retiring early will give me the ability to put 100% attention on that. And that's what I truly want for myself. I want to be able to pick up and travel with him and experience and do things with him and not have to worry about the eight to five responsibility.

For my business. It's always funny when people ask me, what are your goals for your business? And it's so hard for me to answer that because if you were to ask me that a year ago, I have I would never think in a million years we'd be here where we are today. Our goal is to always stay true to our mission and values as The Budget Mom, but to do it 10 times better next year. So we're always fighting to improve what we're already doing better. We want to do it better. I hope one day to have a bigger facility because honestly, the one that we're at, even though we just got into it, it's not big enough. And I would also like to be able to hire more employees. Do I know what that looks like? No, you know, I made my first hire just less than a year ago, and I'm still figuring that out. But I think that if you can always have your mission, your business mission in the forefront of your mind. And you're aware of that. I think that there's no other way to go but up from there because you're always fighting for that you're always tweaking and perfecting and making things better along the way. So as far as the business, we just hope to do what we're doing. Now but to do it better.

Jamila Souffrant 48:02

Love it. Love it. So thanks so much. Um, can you let everyone know where they can find you on social and then your website and all the all those things?

Kumiko Love 48:10

Yeah, so you can find me I am The Budget Mom on all social channels. So just @thebudgetmom, Instagram is where I share my daily stories and videos. I have not missed a day except for one in the last three years. So I show up every day for my readers there you can find all of my detailed helpful videos on YouTube. And all of my free resources on thebudgetmom.com.

Jamila Souffrant 48:35

And of course, I'll link all of that so you guys can check her out and follow her and really dig into what she's doing. It's great. Thank you so much again. Kumiko.

Kumiko Love 48:43

Yeah, thanks for having me.

Jamila Souffrant 48:49

Okay, journeyers I hope you were super inspired. Super just how many times can I say super you want to count. I hope you just got a lot from this conversation with Kumiko whether you are in that debt payoff stage, and you want to be focused. Like Kumiko is disciplined when I mentioned that, like she shows up for her community every day on Instagram, which is probably why she has so many followers and dedicated people because she is committed, like you can tell, like she walks the talk, like what she tells her community to do, she's actually doing and I joked in the actual conversation with Kumiko that I need to do more of that myself. Like, I know that you probably would like to see a lot more behind the scenes, which, you know, I'm working on it, you know, like, for me, it's not as easy for me to be super super open. It's part of my personality, you know, believe it or not, I always say this, I am a private person. But then I realized that like when I see other people sharing certain things, right, like just because I'm in quote, unquote, the public eye with this podcast doesn't mean like, I have to show every single thing, but I do think it helps when you can actually see behind the scenes what's going on, which is why I do try to share that on the podcast like, you know, what I've been learning, what's going on with Journey to Launch, how I'm earning money, so there'll be more updates for sure on that.

But I really am inspired by Kumiko's commitment to showing her full journey and being open and it's something I aspire to do in my brand and in my work so that's one of my goals. We'll see if it happens you guys that follow me on Instagram, so I'm on Instagram @journeytolaunch that is you know, the brand page. And then I did create a Jamila Souffrant page, Instagram because I didn't want to just be just kept to finances like talking about money. There's so many more parts of me. And so I created Jamila Souffrant, just as a separate entity on Instagram that you can follow where I share more of the behind the scenes of being a mom and I'm back on my fitness tip. So if this comes out when it's supposed to, I'm going to be in the middle of a fitness challenge.

Your girl's trying to get fit. I was joking around saying listen, if I get fit and healthy the way I want, like I might pivot and become a fitness influencer. Like a whole new lane. Because if you are familiar with the show, you've heard me say like I used to be really, really in shape back in the day before my kids, and I just have not had the time or the energy, or the want to really get back into it until now. And so I'm giving it a try. I'm in a challenge. I'm in the middle of it depending on when this episode comes out. So if you want to kind of follow me on Instagram, check it out at Jamila Souffrant. That's where I'm sharing more of that journey in my IG stories, and all that.

If you want to support me and the podcast and love the free content and information that you get here, here are four ways that you can support me in the show. One, make sure you're subscribed to the podcast wherever you listen. Whether that's Apple podcasts, that purple app on your phone, your Android device, YouTube, Spotify, wherever it is that you happen to listen, just subscribe so you're not missing an episode. And if you're happening to listen to this and Apple podcasts, rate review and subscribe there I appreciate and read every single review. Number two, follow me on my social media accounts. I'm @journeytolaunch on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And I love love love interacting with journeyers there. Three, support and checkout the sponsors of this show if you hear something that interests you, sponsors are the main ways we keep the podcast lights on here. So show them some love for supporting your girl. Four and last but not least, share this episode this podcast with a friend or family member or co worker so that we can spread the message of Journey to Launch. Alright, that's it. Until next week, keep on journeying journeyers.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

(This post may include some affiliate links)

Kumiko Love graduated with a degree in finance but didn’t learn anything about personal finances in school. After her divorce, Kumiko was a single mom, $77,000 in debt, and determined to get her finances in order. 

What started as a community for her to share her financial journey, has grown into The Budget Mom (TBM). Kumiko’s platform, TBM, is now her full-time business where she provides practical, fun budgeting methods and techniques to thousands of women all around the world. She has helped women take control of their finances, pay off debt, save more money, and build a life they love on a budget they can afford.

In this week’s episode of the Journey to Launch Podcast, we are talking about Kumiko’s journey, how she got her finances on track, became a full-time entrepreneur, and purchased her dream home with cash and why. 

In this episode you will learn:

  • How Kumiko went from making $24,000 a year to purchasing her dream home with cash
  • Three budgeting methods to get your finances on track
  • Steps to take before you leap into full-time entrepreneurship
  • How you can adjust your financial habits and still enjoy the brands you love
  • Why it’s all about the journey and not the destination, and more

You can watch this interview with Kumiko Love on youtube by clicking here.

I'm listening to Episode 168 of the #journeytolaunch podcast, How To Live A Life You Love & Can Afford w/ Kumiko Love! Click To Tweet

Other related blog posts/links mentioned in this episode:

  • Check out the other tools that help me with my finances and business here.
  • Check out the Journey To Launch Podcast index here which categorizes all of the Journey To Launch podcast episodes by subject. Now you can binge on your favorite topics or type of episode.
  • Join The Weekly Newsletter List
  • Leave me a voicemail– Leave me a question on the Journey To Launch voicemail and have it answered on the podcast!
  • Watch me on News12  Watch my latest segments on News12
  • YNAB –  Start managing your money and budgeting so that you can reach your financial dreams. Sign up for a free 34 days trial of YNAB, my go-to budgeting app by using my referral link.

Connect with Kumiko:


Facebook: @TheBudgetMom

Instagram: @TheBudgetMom

Twitter: @TheBudgetMom

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