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Episode Number: 254

Episode 254- Find Financial Fulfillment & Create a Financial Plan That Works With Kumiko Love, The Budget Mom

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Kumiko Love 0:02

People look at their debt numbers and they get so overwhelmed and they think, "I don't make enough money I'll never pay this off." So let's focus on something else. Let's focus on what you can control right now. That's yourself and the income that you have currently. And I am 100% believer that anyone, no matter their income or financial situation, can find a life of financial fulfillment and make progress where they are currently.

Intro 0:35

T-minus 10 seconds. 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.

Jamila Souffrant 1:02

Journey To Launch is supported by First Republic Bank. Relationships really matter in your life journey AND financial journey. A lot of banks have great offers to attract new clients, but what about their existing clients? First Republic is always focused on creating and nurturing long-term relationships. Devising strategies, not tactics, and master plans, not transactions. That’s why every client gets their own personal banker — a single point of contact to call, text or email at any time for any reason. I love that I feel valued and supported as a First Republic client, long after I’ve already opened up my account. They value their customers and it shows. First Republic calls it, "banking beyond the offer," and it’s part of their commitment to extraordinary service. Isn’t it time to discover what a long-term banking relationship can do for you? Visit firstrepublic.com today to learn more. That’s firstrepublic.com. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.

If you want the episode show notes for this episode, go to journeytolaunch.com, or click the description of wherever you're listening to this episode. In the show notes, you'll get the transcribed version of the conversation, the links that we mentioned, and so much more. Also, whether you are An OG Journeyer or are brand new to the podcast, I've created a FREE Jumpstart Guide to help you on your financial freedom journey. It includes the top episodes to listen to, stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources, and so much more. You can go to journeytolaunch.com/jumpstart to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.

Hey, Journeyers. So I'm really excited to be welcoming this return guest back on the podcast. I have Kumiko Love, aka, The Budget Mom. Kumiko was previously on episode 168 of the Journey To Launch Podcast, where she shared her amazing debt payoff story, buying her dream home in cash. That's right, in cash. And she has literally millions of people who follow her and watch her and are inspired by her, just, amazing way that she manages money. She now has a new book coming out called, "My Money My Way,' by the time this episode drops, it should be in store. So, I can't wait for people to be reacquainted with your story, Kumiko, and learn more and that we just catch up. So, welcome back to the podcast!

Kumiko Love 3:33

Thank you so much for having me!

Jamila Souffrant 3:34

So, for those of you who have not heard about Kumiko, I do want her just, to like, give a brief overview of her story, because it's pretty incredible the way that Kumiko manages her money, and she shares everything online in terms of how she does that. And her debt payoff story. So, Kumiko, can you just, like, quickly give us a run through of how you got into debt and how you were able to pay that off as a single mom?

Kumiko Love 3:56

Yeah, so my first experience with debt actually happened in 2011. And that's when I got my first student loan bill in the mail. It's funny, because when you're going through college and you're taking out financial aid, and they're cutting you a check, you don't really think about how that affects the future you and that was really my first experience with accumulated debt. When my son was born, and there was other, of course, other life things that happen in my life from, you know, my severe motorcycle accident, where I didn't have motorcycle insurance or medical insurance, to going through a divorce and feeling a lot of negative emotions when it came to, you know, being a mom and the mom that I thought I was and and going through that divorce, which also caused me to overspend. All of that got me into debt, but when it comes to paying it off, that really big "aha" life-changing moment was the day my son was born. It's like all of a sudden, you go from only wanting to be better with your finances to needing to, right? I had a little boy that was depending on me, and that really changed everything for me. So I started experimenting. I literally tried every budgeting method out there known to man. And none of them work for me. I fell short every month. I found myself more confused than when I started. I wasn't able to stick to what I wrote down on paper. It was very frustrating, but because it was no longer just a want, it was a need to really learn how to manage my money and manage it well, I stopped with the mindset of, I can't do this," and instead, I started with a new mindset of, "Okay, this isn't working. Let's figure out why. What the heck is happening here," what I recognized was that I was blindly following all these steps, doing all this robot work, because I was being told that's what I had to do, instead of focusing on myself, and what really works for me. And that's how the Budget By Paycheck method was born. And that's what I've used throughout my entire financial journey. When it comes to paying off debt, I started where everyone starts. I started by making small payments. $20, $25, whatever I could do. I actually found extra income, and that's really hard to do, I know as a single mom, because it's more expensive for you to go out and get additional daycare than it is for you to go out, you know, and stay home. So for me, I had to find a way to earn extra income to pay off my debt faster. And for me that looked like, I got into the real estate business taking real estate photography, on the weekend. I would pack my one year old son on my hip. And off we went. No daycare-- I didn't need any extra daycare, it was just, like, this side hustle. That was my first experience of making additional payments on my debt, beyond the minimum. As I started sharing my debt payoff story online, my business grew. At that time, I didn't know it could be a business, right? I didn't know you could make money being on the internet. I had no, no idea. You know, my business was started very unintentionally, but as I started sharing my story, I had more and more women reach out to me and say, "I want to use that! What are you using in your life? It seems very helpful!" And I started selling my Budget By Paycheck Workbook, and my business has, had grown tremendously during that time. And I was able to throw more and more money. But not only that, yes, being able to make larger payments as an entrepreneur and making money off a side hustle was really important, but was even-- what's even more important that was, by the time I started making extra income in my business, I learned how to manage the money that I already had, right? Anyone can go out and get, get a million dollar check, but they could also turn around and spend that in 10 minutes. So I was lucky in the fact that I learned how to properly manage the money that I did have before being blessed with this business and being able to make additional payments.

Jamila Souffrant 8:00

Yeah. And so one of the things I know that you talk about, you have this in your book, you said, more money isn't a problem, more strategies or more money, it's not going to solve your problem. And I think we should stay there a little bit in terms of, like, why that's so important, because I know a lot of people listening, they may not be at the level that you are, in terms of the income, where your business is doing so well, to have the additional income to pay for, like, off their debt or to invest? And they're, like, literally, like, still maybe at minimum wage or not making a lot. And they're like, "Well, that, that," they could say to both of us. "That's easy for you right now that you said that, but you just shared that even before you had the money, like, you were really intentional about it." And what I really love about following your Instagram and your page is that even though you're doing well for yourself, like, you still have the mentality that you had when you weren't, because you're literally tracking every dollar. So, let's talk about that for the people who are saying, "Well, like, I don't have a lot of money, like, what's the point? When I get more money, then I can do better." Let's stay there for a little bit.

Kumiko Love 8:58

Okay, let me say this right now, I started my financial journey as a single mom making $24,000 a year. Okay, I was sitting there, in a 500 square foot apartment, making the decision: Do I keep my lights on or do I put food on the table? So I know exactly where a lot of people, a lot of women, are starting. Especially single moms. And what I have to say is this: Your circumstances do not dictate how big you are allowed to dream. If you want something different for yourself, you have it in you to absolutely reach whatever goal you're wanting to reach. That said, like you said, even now, I'm a lot more privileged, I'm a lot more blessed, right? I have my financial situation is very different, but what was the most important, yes, paying off my debt was important. Buying my dream house in cash was important, but I always say the most important thing about my journey is all of the amazing things I learned along the way and I'm not just talking about money here. I'm talking about myself. The things I learned about myself, the hard questions that I finally had the courage to answer honestly, about what was happening, why I was spending the money that I was. Why I was out there swiping a credit card, knowing in my heart and gut, I could not even afford the minimum payments. All of these things come down and boil down to one thing, one common denominator. This journey that you are on, and if you are here listening to this podcast, it starts and ends with you. People look at their debt numbers, and they get so overwhelmed and they think, "I don't make enough money, I'll never pay this off." So let's focus on something else. Let's focus on what you can control right now. That's yourself, and the income that you have currently. And I am 100% believer that anyone, no matter their income or financial situation, can find a life of financial fulfillment, and make progress where they are currently.

Jamila Souffrant 11:09

You talk about questions that you were finally brave enough to answer for yourself. What were some of those questions, rather, what were the answers that you found when you really dug deep?

Kumiko Love 11:22

Okay, yeah, so I mentioned a story in, in my brand new book, "My Money, My Way," where I was standing in H&M, now this is what I call, like, "A slap in the face moment," okay? It's very hard, but I was standing in the H&M line, literally, new clothes, all this stuff, that I was gonna buy. And I went to the mall with an excuse of, "As a, as a mom that stressed out, I need me time," right? I was gonna go do some window shopping. Of course, I ended up in a completely different place. I ended up in the H&M line, but I had all these new clothes from, literally, from my arm all the way up to the top my head. And when I was standing in the checkout line, there was a mom and daughter behind me. And the daughter asked the mom for her credit card. And in that moment, so many things were brought up for me, like, I remember, as a kid, going back to school shopping with my mom and my mom giving me her credit card. Like, okay, JC Penney's, I remember this very specifically as a childhood memory, but in that moment, I'm looking down at all this stuff, and the realization of, I can't afford this. The money is not in my checking account, okay? I know full, full stop, I am going to that checkout line, I'm going to be using my credit card. I'll figure it out, paid off later. But it made me ask, "Why am I here right now, specifically, in this checkout line with these very specific things in my hands?" That led to the self discovery that I did not feel comfortable in my own skin. I would never felt like I fit in. I never liked the way that I looked. And so what I did is I went out and spend money on all these clothes, hoping that fixing my outside appearance would fix what was happening on the inside. For me clothing and the way you looked, was everything. I thought that was a representation of who the person was. Not only that, their status. How well they were doing, right? This facade, this mask of, everything's okay, even though I'm screaming on the inside. And that's what I... that was my band aid. Clothing and beauty appointments and all these things. And yeah, I had to ask myself, like, "Why these specific things?" and they all had to do with my outside appearance. Not only, the person I was-- that looked back at me in the mirror, but how others perceive me as well. And so, it took me four years to say out loud, that the reason I overspend is because I do not like the way that I look. I do not feel like I fit in. I do not like the person who's looking back at me in the mirror. And for some people like, "Well, that's really easy to say." It's not easy. It's not and for me, it was not an easy thing to admit and say out loud, and it took a long time for me to come to terms with that discovery about myself.

Jamila Souffrant 14:25

Hmm. So after realizing that, this is at the start of your debt payoff journey?

Kumiko Love 14:30

Yes.

Jamila Souffrant 14:31

How did you come to terms and stop that behavior to where you are now? Like, what were the things that you could you worked on internally that could potentially help someone else listening?

Kumiko Love 14:42

It starts with self work. I call it the hard work. So, to combat my shopping problems, I went an entire year without buying any new clothes. Whoa, what a game changer, because it made me recognize, when I go up and went into my closet, I had all these clothes with tags still on them. And I realized I didn't buy things because I liked them or valued them, or they brought me joy, I bought them because everyone else was buying them, or because they are on sale. So I was the type of person, like, when I saw a shirt for $3.99, I bought it in every color possible. I would wear one color, and either, it would go kaput on me and it would, like, unravel within a week. And then I would leave all the other colors in my closet, with the tags still on them. And this was a pattern I recognized when I was forced to wear the clothes that I already had. And to recognize, holy crap, the articles of clothing that were still in my closet, with the tags still on them, which was, like, 55% of my closet. I forced myself into an uncomfortable zone of not buying new clothes, and instead of the trigger, and then what happened afterward, the spending on clothing, I found a new hobby that I could enjoy in my life. I became a long distance runner. And I always say, long distance running saved my life. And the reason I say that is because, it taught me that I could bring something that brought me true joy. And I could replace it with, maybe, a bad habit that I was falling back on as a band aid. So not only did I do no clothes for a new year, I found a new hobby that I could then you know, when I was feeling sad, depressed, guilty, I had shame, I was having a bad day, my son was stressing me out. Okay, we've all been here as a single mom. Instead of giving my, myself the excuse of, "I'm going to the mall for some "me" time," I would put on a pair of running shoes and I would go for a run, absolutely free, but oh my gosh, psychologically and mentally, how therapeutic that was for me. Also, after that, I had to do something very difficult. I had to embrace my natural self. What I mean by that, is I had to get rid of the tanning appointment, the lash appointments, the eyebrow appointments, the nail appointments, my hair salon appointments, I stopped. And instead, I started focusing on loving who I naturally was. So we all get to the point where we're looking in the mirror, we're like, gosh, my natural skin looks horrible. I'm going to put on some makeup today. Not, that's not what I did, instead, I said, "You know what, this is who I really am. And I love myself, no matter the flaws." It's literally, like, these affirmations. And I had to look at myself in the mirror while I was doing this right? I had to really look at that reflection of the person I was talking to. So I did. I got rid of all of my beauty appointments, all of this. And I started focusing on learning to love myself in the way that God made me. When I started doing that, there's a bunch of things that I've discovered that I love about myself. And those are the things that I focused on. And that's really what built up my confidence and the ability to be able to say, You know what, I love the person that's looking back at me.

Jamila Souffrant 18:24

Wow, okay, so those are such practical things that anyone-- or can think through what they can do, but I love that you talked about channeling your energy, like, when you felt, like, that impulse to go shopping, to do something else. I think anyone right now, maybe, if they can dig deep and see, like, "Wow, this is a pattern or a negative behavior that is not helping me reach my goals. What is something else that I can do to help switch that out," is amazing. The other thing, you know, as you were talking about, like, loving your natural self and embracing, like, not getting your hair done, or your nails done, eyelashes, all that and I just feel like we live... it's, it's such a mixed messaged society that we live in. I mean, you know, I think just ultimately, we are taught, as women, we need to look a certain way and have to be something or be more, right? But I find that it's almost like when I first got into, like, the personal finance space and learning about this stuff, like, I wasn't into that. It was about spending less and I was fine with that. And I find that depending on where you are in your journey or how secure you feel, right? Like you get this messages now that, "You know what you should treat yourself," because, you know, we have been oppressed or sold messages that we can't enjoy the things that we like, because someone may be listening and saying, "I like getting my nails done," and, like, it's not maybe from a place of I don't like-- self loathing-- it's from a place of, "This makes me feel good." So how does one distinguish and, like, really lead into the things that, like, they do love, the femininity things. Like, most of those things, thank god, like, I'm not into, because then I would spend a lot more money, so part of it is I'm just like lazy. So I get to save money that way. It's like, "I don't want to go to the salon." So, you know, but for some women, that's a big part of their life and they don't want it to be taken away. So how does someone reconcile, like, it's their self worth, they deserve, versus stripping away all of that, you know?

Kumiko Love 20:13

Yes, I totally understand that. So let me say, right now, first, first and foremost, I am wearing eyelash extensions right now. Okay. Okay. So I will just say that right now. But here's the thing, in order for me to understand, truly discover, the underlying reasons that were affecting my bad spending, I had to strip it all away and start at the beginning, okay? Now, this was in the beginning of my journey, right? Since then. And, by the way, I was spending on all of these appearance-type things for all of the wrong reasons. Not because it brought me joy, but because I felt this made me look better. Okay? I was doing it for the wrong reasons. And it was affecting my budget in the wrong ways. And at that time, I hadn't learned how to properly plan and prepare for spending on things that bring me value and joy in my life. It was on a whim, it was, "I do not care if I go into debt for this. I need this and I need it now, because it is my band aid." Since then, I budget. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see, in my beauty budget category, I budget for my eyelash extensions, and something else that I value and really prioritize in my life, tipping. Okay, I tip very well for the services that I do go to. And that's important to me. And because it's a value, I put it in my budget. But, what I meant when I said I had to get rid of all that in the beginning, it's because, one, it wasn't-- I wasn't spending for the right reasons. And two, I had to strip away every layer to get to the true cause of my spending. And that, for me, meant getting rid of all of these things I was spending to create this band aid in my life.

Jamila Souffrant 22:09

And it's important that we talk about, like, this is-- a lot of this is temporary, or in the season, or for the season to get you to the next level. So, if you're at a place, where you know you're not reaching the goals you're setting for yourself. You're in debt that you can't get out of and you also are enjoying and indulging a bit in life. It's not to say that you don't deserve or can't ever have those things. It's about setting, maybe, a time period that you're going to challenge yourself. So, I like you know, you had, like, a no spinning here, but I also say for people, like, "Okay, even if it's a no spend week, right? If you really feel like you need to make a change, and you're not making that change, then do something more radical." And again, don't think of it as long term, I'll never be able to enjoy my favorite things again, but challenge yourself in a way, because once you strip those things out, then you can see, "Okay, what do I put back in? What is serving me? And how can I plan for those things in the future?" So I love that.

Kumiko Love 22:59

Yeah, you know, one of the hardest things and it's gonna sound silly. One of the hardest questions I had to ask myself, "What makes me happy." For a really long time, I didn't even know what made me happy. Not as a mom, not as a sister, not as a friend, not as a daughter. But as an individual. As a woman. I literally could not tell you the activities that made me happy. This was such a self discovery journey, because the reason why that question is so important, is because we spend money on the things that we value and bring us joy, and we spend less on the things that do not do those things for us. But if you can't distinguish between the two, it's going to be very hard to accomplish that goal in your life. So if you're sitting here with debt, if you're sitting here in a financial situation, you're like, "I don't want to live like this anymore. I know. I want to live a different life, a better life. There's all these things that I see for myself and I'm not getting there. I'm not making the progress I want." Then it's time to strip away everything that you know to be true, when it comes to yourself, okay? We are getting down to the true essence of what you want to accomplish with your money and to be able to do that, you have to understand and know yourself more than you have ever imagined.

Jamila Souffrant 24:21

What did you discover? What does make Kumiko happy?

Kumiko Love 24:24

Oh my gosh, I learned so many things. I learned that not the materialistic things that I used to put a bandaid on, to tell myself I was a good mom, all the things that I bought my son, but I learned that this small, intimate, quiet, behind the scenes moments with my child is what made me happy. Like, it's gonna sound silly, but, like, the smile on his face, like when we're playing Legos upstairs, like, when the sun's going down or watching him do Parkour, and like waving, "Mom, come here, Mom, come here!" Those are the things that bring me this deep. It's so hard to explain this joy that you get from discovering these themes. And like I realized, I'm a summer person. I love the sun. My favorite time is being out on a paddleboard, with a Red Bull, watching the sun go down at the lake. You know, reading a good magazine, while I'm sitting in a beach chair. These things are the things that I learned about myself. But not only that, like, I learned, I cannot live without and I absolutely love, like, the nightly conversations I have with my mom. All these things and all these you can see, like, all these things that I'm saying, they don't cost a dime. You have to look at it as, "What are the things that bring me joy?" I really positioned it as, "What are the experiences? The people that surround me. the people that I care about. The people that I love. What are the things that bring me joy that revolve around these people, these experiences, these memories." And the reason I get emotional talking about my son is because, for such a long time, I thought that being a good mom meant that I only provided. And that, for me, I found that it's not just about providing, but it's about this relationship, this bond, that we build with our children outside of just providing. Like, my son will come to me, and he'll be like, "Mom, you're my best friend." Or, like, he'll say, "Mom, I want to be like you when I grow up." It's a different perspective. And it's a different way that I've approached happiness, joy and value and determining what those truly mean to me.

Jamila Souffrant 26:59

And knowing that, so, even though like most of that is free, like, in terms of you don't have to pay for that to happen, it's more too that you built a life in which you have the time and energy to make that happen.

Kumiko Love 27:11

Absolutely.

Jamila Souffrant 27:12

And I feel very similar in a way to you, because, I have three kids and I have the flexibility of being home. Just being a bit more present, or being able to pick them up from school, or be here, at least, and even, just, I love how they discovered new things and I love being able to put them in activities that they enjoy doing, right? And not having to like worry about paying for it. A lot of that, too, like if you realize, "Okay, if I spend money on this thing that doesn't matter to me, that then prevents me from having the time, because now I either have to work to pay that back, or I'm stressed about something, so I don't even have the mental or emotional bandwidth to enjoy the moment," like, that then allows you to change your behavior, so that you are prioritizing, like you said, the time or the experiences with the people you love.

Kumiko Love 27:52

Yeah, and one of the first things I had to do when I started my financial journey was discover my why. y purpose for wanting to have a change. My purpose for being on this financial journey. And what I recognize and learn was my why is the ability to live life and seize opportunities with my son without relying on debt or someone else's money. And that encompasses a whole bunch of things. Like you said, the ability to have the time and freedom to really have memories and experiences. Watch my child grow up and be involved in that in every, every way possible. This is what pushed me, in the beginning, and all throughout my journey and even today, to get to a place where I could make my own schedule, so I could be there for his parkour. So I could be there-- you know-- I have so many regrets building this business. There are so many things that I look back on and I, I wish I would have done different, you know? I missed my son's first steps. I missed his first words. I missed his first day of school. All this because I had not set any boundaries in my life when I was telling myself, "I'm building this for something better." If I could go back and do this all again, Yyes, it was important that I was building this busines,s because I was building for a better future for me and my kid, but I could have set boundaries. I could have said, "Work does not take over your life. It's not working 23 hours a day, right? It's not hustle, hustle, grind, grind, grind, grind all the time," which I did for six years and so I wish I would have set boundaries, like, "Okay, five o'clock, it's going from The Budget Mom to mom-mode, Kumiko-mode." That's another thing that I learned. On a-- to get into business really fast.

Jamila Souffrant 29:40

Yeah, love that. Let's go there. No, I, we can, we can stay here for a bit, because I think this is really important for women and working parents to understand.

Kumiko Love 29:47

Yeah, so, I learned, for a long time, Kumiko Love and The Budget Mom were the same. Okay? I associated them as the same thing, but in reality, there's a Kumiko Love and then there's The Budget Mom. And when I was able to separate the two and say, "Kumiko-- it's The Budget Mom right now and then, you know what, now it's Kumiko Love," because what happened was, I stopped focusing on the needs and wants of Kumiko Love, and focused on only the needs and wants of The Budget Mom, because my business is a little bit different. I am the face of my company. Okay? I'm the one out there. I mean, The Budget Mom is, was built on sharing my journey, sharing what it looks like for someone to have a real budget, in their real life. And I do that by sharing my own real numbers, but in that process, I lost who I was as an individual. And this is what I'm talking about with boundaries. Anytime you are, maybe, looking into going into the intrapreneurship road or route or even possibly having a side hustle that could turn into something more than a business, you have to realize that there is a distinguish between your business and who you are as a person. And there's needs and wants and values that are different for both.

Jamila Souffrant 31:16

Yes. So I know, like, hindsight is 2020 and looking back now you feel that way, but do you think you would have reached or gotten to where you've gotten to without the grind and hard work and working overtime?

Kumiko Love 31:29

I think so, yes. I, you know, when I say hustle and grind, there's a difference between grinding and hustling to a point where you are sacrificing your mental health and who you are as a person, versus hustling and grinding for a different reason and in a different way, right? Oh, gosh, my business was so chaotic. In the very beginning, when I look back. I mean, we truly took it day-by-day. And I do think that we could still reach the level of success and where we are today, if I still put boundaries on what it meant to hustle and grind.

Jamila Souffrant 32:12

Right? If you defined it. Now, it's good to know, because it's, like, sometimes you can look back and be like, "Well, like if I did-- I should have did this differently," But then would that have taken you on a different route and maybe that route... It still could have took you to us sitting here today, talking about your new book, right? But it could have been in a more, in a way that, just, was more fulfilling. So, I don't, yeah, I mean, I feel like there's a lot of journeyers who listen, who want to build a business, who want to make money, like, outside of their job, or even-- their, they have nine to fives, and they're not nine to five, they're like nine to nines, that are demanding. And because they have these external financial goals that we talk, we both talk about, they're like working hard to reach them. But one of the things that we talked about quickly, before we press record, was this idea of financial fulfillment. And so I want you to explain what that is, and how we can start to measure our success on this journey with that internal metric, or no metric, but a feeling, versus, like, the numbers?

Kumiko Love 33:09

Right. Yeah. So the whole goal of my brand new book, "My money, My Way," is I hope that every reader of that book comes out with financial fulfillment and what that means to them. You know, I wrote this book, because I felt like I needed to say something. And it really stemmed from, I noticed so many people out there blindly following these financial steps and processes, but not truly understanding why they were doing that. And without defining success and value for themselves. So financial fulfillment happens when we take a deeper look at the thing that this all starts with: You yourself, and it ends with: You and yourself. Financial fulfilment is three different things. It's clarity, stability, and confidence. So financial stability is having options in your life. And the reason this is so important is because a lot of the times when we are blindly following someone else's steps, or, like, you have to do... do it exactly this way. Okay, one through 10. You cannot deviate from this plan. What happens is, is we do not give ourselves the proper financial options in our lives that is personal to our own situations. So financial options, what I mean by, I'll give you an example. For a long time, I was told I needed an emergency fund. Okay, the only thing I was supposed to have was an emergency fund for unexpected expenses, but here's what happened, there were things in my life that would pop up that weren't emergencies, but they were unplanned and unexpected. And because my emergency fund was the only option I gave myself, outside of my credit card, and my extremely tight budget, I was forced to use my emergency fund. And before I even established an emergency fund, my only option was debt. Do you see how you're backed into a corner based on the financial options that you give yourself? So financial stability, the ability and freedom to have options in your lives when it comes to the way that you manage and spend your money.

Number two, financial clarity. This comes down to answering that very important question, What the heck are you trying to accomplish with your money? And not only that-- How do you define success in value in your life? I feel like if people truly, honestly understood this about themselves, their financial plan will be, will write itself. And a plan written by you, for you, is a plan that is meant to succeed. Instead of depending on someone else to give you the answers, you are now going full force on a financial plan that you have built, based on the things that you value and you care about and what you are trying to accomplish with your money, which is the most important thing. And then all of a sudden, this self comparison trap that we find ourselves in like, "Oh, she paid off $5,000 in debt this month, why cannot-- why aren't I doing that? I must not be doing as good as her. I'm not succeeding the way I should be. I'm not," you know, you start doubting yourself, you start with all these negative thoughts that run through your head. All of a sudden, those disappear, because it no longer matters what everyone else is doing, because you have defined what you are working toward and what matters to you. And you will clearly see when that happens in this plan writes itself. You go in with so much financial confidence that you are making the right decisions for yourself, that it does not matter. Other people's opinions, other people's journey, it does not matter. Instead, we use them for inspiration and motivation.

And then financial clarity. We talked a little bit about financial confidence. That's the ability to say and walk with your head held high, that you're making the right decisions for you. And so I really do think that those three things, anyone, anyone can accomplish, no matter their financial situation and circumstance. The thing about my new book, "My Money, My Way," and this foundation of financial fulfillment, and it truly is a foundation. I give you the foundation to be the most successful that you can be, based on who you are as a person, but it's up to you to do the building. I don't want to give you all the answers, because it is not my job and, it will not be the best for you if I answer for you. Or if I give you all the options. All of these things that you have to answer and really build for yourself. You are the person that knows that. No one in the world can give you those answers. And so that's really what financial fulfillment is about.

Jamila Souffrant 38:13

Yeah. You're so passionate. I love it, Kumiko, because this is-- you can, you can, I can feel it through the microphone, how passionate you are about this and how you really care. And I gotta say, like, I've done a lot of interviews, and it really comes down to-- and people who have been really successful on their path to whatever, like, goal they've said-- And ultimately, it all comes down to knowing thyself. And, like, the internal work. Like, the external work is important, but it's that internal work, and really figuring out the right questions that you should ask yourself and being brave enough to do that and being brave enough to answer them, honestly, because I think a lot of us, including myself, sometimes, like, it may it may not always be financially related, but you know, there's something that you're not you don't want to think about, because you don't want to go down that, like, thinking path. I just feel like it all stems, like, from the internal work and there are questions I was saying that sometimes we don't want to, like, go down, like, that path. And, I just, also feel like it's important to note that the journey is, for me, and most people, never ending, because one of the last questions I want to ask you before we wrap up and tell everyone where they can get your book is, like, I said, I'm inspired that you continue to be as diligent as you are with your budget. And I want to understand and know for you, like, what is the ultimate goal for yourself? Like what other financial goals are you looking to achieve? Do you feel like, yourself, you've reached a fulfillment level that you, you need or want? And how much more of this are you going? You know, like in terms of The Budget Mom, in terms of, like, the way you, kind of, show your, your life financially online, like, for you, what is that, like, end goal or is there not one it's just continuous for you?

Kumiko Love 39:53

Yeah, so you know, it's funny in my book, I mentioned that so many of us start this finding actual journey saying to myself, "If I could just do this, then I will have made it." Right? "If I can just pay off my debt, then I have made it." And here's what I've learned. And I talk about in the book that this end finish line that we're all, kind of, quietly searching for. It's not there. That's the truth. There is no finish line for what the journey that we're on. And what I mean by that is, as long as there is money in our lives, we are spending it, we are earning it, we are managing it, all of us will be on this financial journey, including me. Now, when I paid off, I was one of those persons, people that said, "If I could just pay off my debt, then all my dreams will come true. I can, I could do all these things." And it's true, you'll have more financial resources, but what will happen is, you'll realize that you are now capable of having so much more. When I say "have," I don't mean more money, more income, I'm talking about other goals, internal goals that you want for yourself. Maybe it's, you know, more time with your children. Being able to really travel with your children, maybe in retirement. Maybe it is to be a home owner, right? There's other things that you start realizing that you deserve to have those things, and not only to deserve, but you are capable, because look at everything else you have accomplished in your life, right? We hit one goal. And we can look back and say, "Look what I did." Okay, that is very powerful, especially when you come from a place when you start saying, "I'm not capable of anything." So for me, you know, you say that I'm so dedicated every day to work on my budget, and I'm doing all these things. I will tell you right now, it's because I don't see it as work. I don't see it as a job. I don't see it as something that I hate or that I dread. I literally get so freakin excited about my finances. To actually see my budget and be like, "I can put $5 in my $5 Challenge jar today." I don't see it as me putting $5 in my $5 jar. I see it as, "This is my chicken fund, okay. This is what I'm going to use to get my new chickens!" I, for me, it's a different experience because I've I have reached financial fulfillment in my life. And I can see the bigger picture. I can see the things that bring me value, that bring me joy. And when I'm going towards those goals, every day, that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm making progress. Girl, I am making progress, even if it is just by dollars! And to me, that's worth getting excited about. That's what, what's worth me getting up every morning and working on my budget, five to 10 minutes. Hey, it's five to 10 minutes every morning to reach financial success. The financial success I want to see in my life. That is so freakin' worth it. I will tell you right now. Some people are like, "I don't got time to work, you know, 10 minutes on my budget every day." Well, I'll tell you right now you prioritize the things that are important to you. And if living this life that you dream about is important to you. If fighting for the things that you want to change in your life is important to you, then five and 10 minutes is worth it.

Jamila Souffrant 43:34

More than worth it. Kumiko, Oh my gosh, this was electrifying. Please tell everyone where they can find your book and more about you.

Kumiko Love 43:44

So you can find my book, you can find it at thebudgetmom.com/mymoneymyway and there's a bunch of other little goodies that you're gonna get with pre-ordering. Or now, ordering the books and so we'll be out by the time this podcast airs. You can find me @thebudgetmom on Instagram where I share all of my real numbers and what's happening in my lifem as far as my finances. I hope that motivates you, supports you, and encourages you to really find this level of financial fulfillment in your life. And then if you really want the in-depth, you know, sometimes funny, 'cuz we have Ryen on the YouTube, you can also find me at The Budget Mom on YouTube as well.

Jamila Souffrant 44:25

Yes and I will link all of that in the show notes. And if you're not following her on Instagram, you need to. If you're listening to this or watching this, if we put this video on YouTube, tag us! Let us know that you are watching. By the way, Kumiko has over 600,000 followers on Instagram, okay, so if you're not following her, follow her and then tag us if you got something from this interview. If you're going to buy her book. We would love to know. @journeytolaunch and then Kumiko is of courses, @thebudgetmom on Instagram. Kumiko, thank you so much. This was so amazing.

Kumiko Love 44:55

You bet! Thank you so much for having me.

Jamila Souffrant 45:00

Don't forget, you can get the episode show notes for this episode by going to journeytolaunch.com, or click the description of wherever you're listening to this and you can still grab your Jumpstart Guide for free to help you on your journey to financial freedom by going to journeytolaunch.com/jumpstart. 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 are 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 check out 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.

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Kumiko Love, The Budget Mom, joins the podcast a second time to discuss all things debt payoff, money mindset and her new book, My Money My Way: Taking Back Control of Your Financial Life.

Kumiko began her debt free journey as a single mom making $24k a year. After trying every budgeting system on the market and facing a mountain of debt, she decided to create her own. The Budget By Paycheck Method was born, allowing her to pay off $77,000 in just 8 months. 

Kumiko has amassed an impressive following of over 2M devoted fans by being transparent about her financial experiences and has been featured in GMA, CNBC,The New York Times and more.

If you’re ready to tackle your financial mindset and get inspired, this episode is for you.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Kumiko found herself in debt and how she paid it off as a single mom making $24k per year
  • The reason Kumiko overspent and how she faced those deep challenges head on
  • Kumiko’s journey out of being uncomfortable in her own skin to self love
  • What financial fulfillment means and how you can reach it in your life + more

I'm Listening to Episode 254 of the Journey to Launch Podcast, Find Financial Fulfillment & Create a Financial Plan That Works With Kumiko Love, The Budget Mom Click To Tweet

Other related blog posts/links mentioned in this episode:

  • Grab Kumiko Love’s book, My Money My Way: Taking Back Control of Your Financial Life, here
  • Check out Kumiko’s first appearance on the Journey To Launch podcast, here
  • Join the waitlist for my signature course, Map Your Way To Financial Independence, here.
  • Check out my new personal website here.
  • 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.

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