Alyssa Davies 0:02
When I started my money journey, and when I was repeating my money journey, I was doing everything by the book. I was restricting my spend to the extreme. I wasn't letting myself spend any money on on non essentials. I had nothing to enjoy. I was driving to work every single morning driving home, staying home because I needed to save money paying my debt. And that was it. That was my entire life. And so like, I just felt trapped. And it didn't feel good enough. And I was like, completely struggling with this idea that I'm doing all this right. And why do I still feel miserable?
Jamila Souffrant 0:39
T minus 10 seconds. Welcome to the journey to launch podcast with your host jameelah. So frogs as a money expert who walks her talk, she helps brave juniors like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real Whoa. Join her on the journey to launch to financial freedom 4321
before we hop into the episode, I have some great news for you. Today's guest Alisa Davies will be talking all about her book financial first aid. And guess what, I have a special treat we have five copies of Melissa's book to give to Lucky podcast listeners like yourself and fans of Journey to launch. So here's what you have to do to be entered to win. For Apple podcast listeners. leave a review for the journey to launch podcast on Apple podcasts. That's the purple app on your iPhone, and or follow me on journey to launch at journey to launch on Instagram. So for those of you who don't listen in Apple podcast, follow me on Instagram at journey to launch. Then from there, go to journey to launch.com/win and enter your name and email that is a must you have to do that to be entered in so we see the list of people who are entering into this giveaway. The giveaway will be live from Wednesday, June 8 to Monday, June 13. And we will announce the winners on June 15 via social media and the weekly newsletter and we'll reach out to you personally. But to enter a chance to win go to journey to launch.com/win Make sure you leave a review on Apple podcasts for the journey to launch podcast. Follow me wherever you're listening to this podcast by the way, and follow me at journey to launch. Alright, good luck.
I f you want the episode show notes for this episode, go to journey to launch.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 in OG journey 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, so listen to stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources and so much more. You can go to journey to launch.com/jumpstart to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.
Hey, journeyers I have a special guests. Oh, my guests are special. But you know, I've been following this guest for a while now. And I just love her content and her vibe online. It's so creative. And once we start talking, you'll be able to check her out and see what exactly I mean. She's the author of a new book called financial first aid. Her name is Alyssa Davies. She's also the founder of mixed up money. She's a Content Manager for Zolo and has been featured numerous times on award winning sites and publications. She has an award winning Canadian Personal Finance Blog, mixed up money. And again, her new book is called financial first aid. We're going to talk all about it. So welcome to the podcast, Alisa.
Alyssa Davies 3:50
Thanks so much for having me. I'm pumped to be here because Yeah, huge fan of yours as well.
Jamila Souffrant 3:55
Oh, thank you. So with your content, like and I just your visual elements, right? I know. It's like funny starting out the conversation this way. But I do think like it matters because there's so much content online about personal finance. And a lot of it looks the same, you know, like ads, I think when you can create strong content, but it's also backed with education, but like strong messaging, but then it's visually appealing, like that matters. Whether you know if you're if someone's listening, that's a business owner or even in the personal finance space. So I'm really curious, like how you came up with the concept for your like your brand, and how you thought through kind of like the visual element and if you want tell everyone where they could find you Instagram so I can see how pretty it
Alyssa Davies 4:38
is. Absolutely. My Instagram is at mix up money. I'm on everywhere at mix that money so easy to find. But yeah, the illustrations, I actually, it was kind of a fluke, to be honest. Like I sat down and 2020 Right after the pandemic had started. And I hadn't been on Instagram very much at that point. I have I was really focused on Twitter. And I was like, you can only do one thing at a time. Like, I don't have the time for this. And then I started to fall back in love with Instagram. And I realized that mostly every influencer or financial account that you found on there was all the face of someone. And that was intimidating to me. It made me feel uncomfortable. And so I was like, How can I still put myself out there, but remove that discomfort. And so I just started doodling on my iPad. And wow, they started out rough like they were stick figures. And then I started to spend hours every single night watching YouTube videos and learning how to draw and then I bought all the equipment to do it. And yeah, I fell in love with it. And so did everyone else.
Jamila Souffrant 5:50
Oh, my gosh, wait, so did you know how to drop you must have had an artistic background? Did you know how to jump before?
Alyssa Davies 5:55
Not at all, like I was terrible at art. I mute musical background. So I was like, I can make this work. And yeah, I've learned a ton. Like there's so many great tutorials, so that was definitely helpful.
Jamila Souffrant 6:07
Now I feel like this conversation in so many ways because I'm so impressed. This like speaks directly to learning something like that you may not have had, you know, experience and you don't think that you're that good at I'm telling you people you gotta go look at Ellis's Instagram except money and the illustrations she does. So the fact that you said that you are an art because I was expecting you to say yes, I was an art major I did. I drew as a kid, like I was really good at that. And I just took my talents and merged it with personal finance. But it's just like, I'm so impressed that you were able to teach yourself this. And so inspiring. Because literally, like if we put our mind any one of us like, if we put our mind to something, think about like what we can create. It's beautiful.
Alyssa Davies 6:49
Oh man, I talk about that. In the book, I talk about how we're all so afraid of learning new things, and we're immediately expecting to fail. I speak to my kids. It's like my daughter, how long it takes her to before she gives up on something. And just like making that feel more normal in our household. Like it's okay to be bad at something, you're never going to be perfect at something right away, especially when you're comparing yourself to someone who has years and years of progress over you.
Jamila Souffrant 7:14
Yes, and I mean, this is a perfect kind of segue into money. Because the name of it is financial first aid and being ready in financial preparedness. So it's the sub Texas essential tools for confident secure money management. And it's interesting because you talk a little bit about your like background, like growing up and how you were secure, like really secure with money. And it was a privilege. And I want to go there. And then we can kind of jump into like what you do now and how you got so interested in this lane. But how was your security? Like you would think the fact that you were so secure and you had things provided to you? Or you grew up like a middle class, would you say lifestyle? Sounds like you didn't really have any, like horrible money memories. But that still didn't equate to you being fully confident or understanding money as you grew up. Can you talk a little bit about
Alyssa Davies 8:05
that? For sure. Yeah, I feel like I'm an advocate. And a lot of people are now finally for saying like, this is my privilege, this is how it impacts my money journey. And you may not be able to resonate with me because I have different experiences. And I feel like it's important to acknowledge that. But yeah, I grew up in like a normal in air quotes, household. And I didn't worry about money. But at the same time, we never spoke about money. And so when I finally went out on my own, and wanted to be independent, I realized really quickly that I had no idea what things actually costs, how to actually manage my money. And I was just living my life, as if I had all the same foundational tools that my parents had, which you absolutely do not when you first go out on your own. I was just filling out my credit card living in the moment, not thinking about my future at all. And I quickly got into the living paycheck to paycheck cycle, unable to pay my bills, a massive amount, like a bunch of consumer debt. And it was the first time I'd experienced any sort of scarcity. And I didn't have so much shame that I didn't want to ask for help. And I didn't feel like that was okay to ask for help. Because I shouldn't be in that position.
Jamila Souffrant 9:22
Yeah, you know, I do feel there. So yes, there are so many people who grew up in poverty or who have the memories of money, like it's distinct. It stands out, it becomes like their origin story when they're talking about like their financial journey. And then there are so many other people where, you know, money was like in the background, it wasn't a big conversation. And so I almost feel like they don't feel like they have like an equal kind of, I don't know, right to the problems that they are incurring like granted, maybe, you know, yes, they may be cool for more privileged if they never had to worry about money, but I just feel like there's almost like a hero's journey for everyone when it comes to money. Even if you do grew up with it or have a lot of it, because there's still like this coming to terms woman about how you deal with it, the shame with it, managing it properly, all these things. So I just, I just like so many people more than we know can probably relate to your story of Yeah, we had money, money was not really discussed. But we were okay. But I really didn't understand it. And that's what got me in trouble as I got older.
Alyssa Davies 10:23
Yeah, I wish that it was more spoken about. And not not that it's not spoken about, but more in a comfortable way so that everyone feels like they have a part to play. Like so many people are looking for the perfect expert to break down the situation for them. And it's like, sometimes you just need a friend who can be like, Yeah, I'm, I'm really struggling right now. And like, I need someone to talk to about it.
Jamila Souffrant 10:44
Right? It's really sometimes not always looking for like the answer. And but just hearing that you're not alone, which you talk about a lot about. So again, this is all about like preparing yourself. And you talked a lot about like anxiety and dealing with money. So I want to like go back and talk about like foundationally what people can do to help build their financial aid kit, I know you talk a lot about emergency funds, which I love, like you're very specific about what to do in certain situations, you know, like what to do with a job loss, what to do if you have medical debt, or if you need to deal with debt or financial abuse even. But let's go back to just the foundational what you think people need to start doing if they want to start building that toolbox. And it sounds like emergency funds are big and high up on that list for you.
Alyssa Davies 11:30
Yes, absolutely. I think that when you're starting from scratch, emergency funds, and saving for anything is extremely intimidating. It's like you hear people saying, you know, you need three to six months of expenses. And for a lot of people that's like 1000s of dollars. And so it's it's intimidating, and it's like, where am I going to start, but the first thing I always say is, well, everyone's starting with $0 in their emergency fund. So it doesn't matter how small, the transfer that you make is, as long as you're making that transfer, because if you don't have any sort of backup plan for your finances, that's when you'll continue to stay in the cycle of financial struggle or the inability to pay your bills on time. Or just like having that fear that exists with the unknown. And that's something I really struggle with no matter how much money I have saved, I still think about like the what ifs. And so I think like that's the best place to start is just set up a small transfer no matter how much you have. And then once you start to build the fund, you can look at diversifying those funds into more compartmentalized ways. Like that's how I make myself feel better.
Jamila Souffrant 12:39
So let's talk about that. So you said there should be like three types of emergency funds. So I'd love to go through that. And then we can discuss more why it's important to start to break out the funds, even if it's just like earmarked in your budget, right? Like you don't necessarily need separate accounts, but you can but I'd love to go through the three that you say people should have? Yes, for
Alyssa Davies 12:57
sure. The first one is I have an emergency fund, that's just for me to protect myself and my relationship. I've been married for six years this year and in a relationship for over a decade. And so a lot of people think immediately that like we're not secure in our relationship, because I have this side fund, but it's super important to protect myself, just in case maybe nothing goes wrong in our relationship. Maybe my husband unexpectedly passes away tomorrow and I need access to money now. So that's that fund. The second fund is just a Family Fund, like a general fund for job loss or if there's some kind of medical emergency or if my kids need something unexpected. And the last one is to protect the four walls around me the shelter that we live in.
Jamila Souffrant 13:44
Yeah, and when it comes to let's go back to like the first one because I find that when we talk about emergency funds like you do here like the general rule of thumb, three to six months, the Dave Ramsey like first step is I think it's 1500 is like a baby emergency fund. Right so some of that can be confusing like you said, depending on what your expenses are your three to six months for somebody could be 5000 or 25,000 but breaking down exactly like what you need those funds for can help alleviate maybe like alright, I'll check off this thing you know, like this bucket of maybe the car expenses so when you talk about like the third bucket of things that are is the second one the second one which is like unexpected when you think about like car emergencies, are you placing car emergencies in that fund? How are you thinking about that and saving towards that on a monthly basis?
Alyssa Davies 14:35
Yes, that fun is for pretty much any emergency that can happen but it's still like I consider them more like plant expenses, you know, those things will inevitably happen like your car will probably break down if it's older, or you might lose your job if we're experiencing a pandemic or recession. So those accounts I keep a flat rate in but anytime I spend that money or spend any of that Money, I replenish it just by doing like a $20 transfer week, I never do more than that, like it takes time to build your funds. And I think it's perfectly okay to take time to do it. So that's just kind of how I use that one. But my other ones like the house, one, that's a constant contributing account, like I'm always putting money in there, because I do spend money every single year. And some years I'll spend less than others.
Jamila Souffrant 15:24
Right? So for example, someone's listening to this. And they're like, Well, I definitely don't have those three buckets, or I have a large chunk of money or some sort of money. How do they go about now thinking about how much they need to put into that? So for the mergency fund for yourself? Is there a rule of thumb that you use for that, like how much money you need, if you have to be on your own? What does that look like?
Alyssa Davies 15:47
For me, it's more so about like covering one month of expenses. It's just like, if I needed to get by if yes, my husband passed away, and I couldn't access our accounts, because a lot of us don't realize that if we're not the primary on our credit card, we might not be able to use that account without them, or just different issues like that. So that's just one month expenses. But other people might feel differently. Like maybe you are in a in a situation where you're in experiencing domestic violence, and you just need an escape plan. Or you just want that feeling of security. If you've experienced domestic violence in the past, then I think it would be good to even just save like enough for a hotel room for a week or a couple of nights so that you can leave whenever you need to leave and have a safe place to go. So there's many different options for like how much and I never want people to feel like they're leaving too much money on the sidelines, because that's not a good thing to do with your money either. So it's kind of just measuring, you know, like, what's your risk tolerance? What would make you feel comfortable? Like what amount makes you feel a little bit less butterflies in your stomach?
Jamila Souffrant 16:49
Yeah, that's bucket one. That makes total sense. And then in bucket two, like for cars, for example, like I always say, like the unexpected expected things that happen, like something is going to happen to your car, unless it's an under warranty or, you know, taken care of by a lease if you have that. But you know, there's oil changes, there's tires as brakes eventually. So consistently, like adding baking that into your budget, like finding a number. I think the typical and I say rule of thumb, but it's just a sample is like $75 per car, which probably is can be upper or lower, depending on the type of car you have. But you know, that's something that we do every month. It's like since we have two cars $150 goes into our car maintenance fund or car sinking fund. Yes. Now it's not in a separate account. So I think that's also what trips people up like, to me, the first bucket you just talked about protecting yourself should be in a separate account, like away from everyone, because that is where you need to go. If you need to help yourself that things like car funds or HOME funds. Where do you put that? Do you put it in your general savings account? Is that a separate savings account? Or do you use air market with a budget,
Alyssa Davies 17:52
I have all of the like car job loss and family emergencies in one high interest savings account. It is that more traditional account, that's like three months of expenses that's comfortable for us, we have dual income, so like it's really unlikely, in my mind that we would both lose our job at the same time. So that's our amount there. But yes, the house one that's completely separate, mostly because we do so much maintenance. And that is just like an additional cost. So it's kind of like a sinking fund. Like you mentioned, we're constantly putting money into that account for those unexpected but planned expenses.
Jamila Souffrant 18:32
Right. And I do want to clarify because maybe when I say budget, let's just say you have $10,000 in a high yield savings account for things that come up right like your emergency fund. When I say it's allocated or budgeted out, that means like you're keeping track of via a spreadsheet or a budgeting app, like it's showing what's allocated to that 10,000. Like, it may be just easier to say, Oh, I just have 10,000. So anything that comes up, I'll just take care of it from that fund. But I know for me, and we could talk about like just how people are different. And what helps anxiety with money is that I know 1000 of that is for the car. And I know like 2000 of that is for another you know that the house. So 3000 of that is for the house. So that way when I spend money on the car, I'm deducting it and kind of like tracking it. And so that's what I mean when I say like allocating it via a budget, like it doesn't necessarily have to be all like 10 Different savings accounts for each different fund. But you can you can tag it right, you can mark it in a spreadsheet or in your budgeting app.
Alyssa Davies 19:32
Yeah, I love that I'm the exact same way that compartmentalizing like, I need to label my money. So I know why I'm spending it. Because if I don't know why, then I have this anxiety of like, well, I shouldn't be spending it then because it's this isn't really an emergency. And so like it's giving yourself the permission to spend that money to
Jamila Souffrant 19:51
write because you know, like I have this was earmarked for this this is the exact reason why I need to use it and then you don't feel bad about it or not that you don't feel bad but at least it helps You're exactly right. There's always something? Well, it seems like because I've spoken to people at different income levels and net worth, and even financial independence levels, like people who are completely financially independent people who are still trying to get out of debt. And you know, I just feel like the people who even still have money, worry about money and worry about if it's enough. So I'd like to talk a little bit about that, like, how can we alleviate no matter where we are on this, like financial spectrum, like our fears around having enough and money?
Alyssa Davies 20:30
Well, first of all, I like to address that like, that is literally how our system is built, it's nearly impossible to move through life without feeling like you're not going to have enough whether it's money time, or like experiences, like, it's always going to feel like it will never be enough. That is that is capitalism. And so existing in the system is very hard. There are a lot of broken pieces. And so you have to find a way to make yourself feel comfort in the best way you can. And like, that's a really hard ask for anyone to do. But I do ask people, like, put a number down that would actually make you feel good. And a lot of people immediately their gut responses like, well, a million dollars or $2 million.
Jamila Souffrant 21:17
Do you mean like how much we would need to have like invested in a taxable account or just our net worth?
Alyssa Davies 21:23
I think just like your emergency fund, like how much money on the sidelines for like, when something goes really wrong, would make you feel good. If you lost your job tomorrow, there's absolutely no worry in your head, like you would be okay to cover your bills. And you know, you'd be able to recover, because so many of us are looking for like a rule. And you can't find the perfect rule because we're all individual people. And we all have different mindsets and different experiences and invisible scripts about money. That's what we all talk about. Right? So it's like, What Is that realistic number, like a tangible number that actually works for you? It might be like $100,000, fine, at least you have something to work towards.
Jamila Souffrant 22:06
And one of the exercises you can talk about, it's almost like writing down like the worst that can happen and problem solving through that. So can you give some examples of what that looks like?
Alyssa Davies 22:16
Yeah, so I actually started doing this just for my mental health in general, it was a tip for my therapist, and it has helped immensely. It's a practice where you just sit down, you write out 10 things that are really stressing you out right now. So what if something like this might happen? And then you kind of ask yourself, like, Can this actually happen? Is this actually a reality? And if it is, then you keep it. If it's not, then you have to move on, you kind of just sit with it and move on, then the ones that you can control, you actually start to put together a solution. Because if there is a way to like give yourself back the power, then there are going to be solutions.
Jamila Souffrant 22:56
Right? So basically like thinking about if you know what if I lose my job? Yes, what do I do, then what's happening to is we're talking about saving and emergency fund for these events. But these events can happen before we have enough money saved in the account. Right? So then it's thinking about, okay, if that happens, and I do not have enough just yet, what do I do? Right? So I know some of the things you talked about in the book, which I love. It's just like, What is your network? Like? Is there what's your access to family, like really thinking through what the solutions can be? Right?
Alyssa Davies 23:26
And a lot of us feel so much shame again, and judgment and fear about asking for help or looking at those options. Like a lot of us have community options, whether it be a food bank, or a woman shelter, and some of us probably feel like so much. I can't do that like that this that's not for me, that's for someone else who needs it more. And it's like, but is it? It's okay to accept help and ask for help if those are your options, and if you need to put food on the table, like you have to do what you need to do to get by?
Jamila Souffrant 23:56
Mm hmm. Yeah, and I think writing down because sometimes, in our mind, we can turn things in up to a lot more of an issue, right, like, create more drama than we need. And it also the likelihood of things happening, like of course, especially with the pandemic, a lot of things are happening that we never expected to happen. So kind of those everything on its head about what's possible. But sometimes, like you think of things you're like, alright, is that really, is that really going to happen? Like, okay, like the chances of it are so slim. It's not that you shouldn't worry about it, but it's not something you should focus your energy on.
Alyssa Davies 24:29
Exactly. I have high functioning anxiety. So it's like, a literally can't go through a day without. In the back of my mind. I'm always thinking about 20 things that will go wrong in that day. And so something I've really learned is just to like bring myself back to what's happening right now, instead of focusing on the what ifs because it's like, even something as small as being like, I'm drinking my water right now. It's like just a reminder, like, No, you're actually like you're existing in this moment, not this made up moment that doesn't really have a future
Jamila Souffrant 25:04
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Can we talk a little bit about the anxiety portion of this? Because especially for someone who may be listening, who's like, do I have anxiety? Do I have high functioning anxiety? How did you know that you had that? Like what did that show up? Like tangible things like if you can share if you feel comfortable sharing in your life, so maybe someone else can say wow, like maybe that's also me, I need to go get some assistance?
Alyssa Davies 26:25
Absolutely. First off, I didn't realize that anxiety can actually lead to depression. So unfortunately, I found out that I had depression before I found out that it was actually from having anxiety. So that was really not a great time in my life. And I do talk about that in the book. But as far as understanding what anxiety was, it actually took my husband telling me like that it wasn't normal for me to be thinking that way. Not that it's not normal. We all have our own versions of that. But it was when I had my daughter, I was dealing with postpartum anxiety. It was like an extreme version of any other anxiety I had experience. And you know, I take her to the park, and she'd be on the swing. And I'd be like, okay, she's gonna fall off this way. What am I going to do when she falls off this way? Okay, she's gonna scrape her knee. And like, I realized, I'm actually not even here. Like, I'm not focused on what's happening. I'm not getting to enjoy this moment with my family. I'm so worried about these. What ifs, that I am no longer even myself because I'm existing in like a completely different place in my mind. And I said to my mom, I'm like, oh, man, like, I'm just so worried like, this is what's going through my mind. And she's like, that's totally normal. Well, maybe you have anxiety, too. And that's where and that's where I got it. And I think so many of us, like, we grew up in a household that maybe didn't speak about mental health. So then it is hard to approach other people and ask, because so many people are like, no, no, that's completely normal. But it's like knowing you actually don't have to go through your day, constantly feeling like the sky is falling, because it's uncomfortable. And like it's exhausting.
Jamila Souffrant 28:11
Yeah, so how did that go in terms of which, by the way I feel used, sometimes you'll go online, and you'll see like, it shouldn't just it's like trying to be funny, like, threads. And some of it's not like they're trying to be funny, but they're saying something like, Oh, I didn't know like, this wasn't normal, and they'll share like, an experience. And then so many people will be like, Oh, I think that all the time. I think the last thing I saw was like a thread on Twitter. It says no one talks about when you become a parent, like how afraid you are everyday that something may happen to your children. And then like there was a thread of like all these like concerned parents, I'm thinking about like all the things I start thinking about, like, there's so many other people experiencing what you've experienced what we all kind of experienced at different levels. So when it came to money, how did you handle that? So like, now, I'm curious to see like how you evolved into like, mixed up money? What made you start like a Personal Finance Blog and account in the first place? Was it like strictly from trying to get to a better place? Or what was your motivation behind that?
Alyssa Davies 29:06
So I originally started my blog, because I had amassed a bunch of consumer debt. And I had no idea how to get out of it. And so when I started to go home and Google, like, how do I get out of debt, which is what so many of us do. When we're first starting in our journey, I found a bunch of people and a community of people that I could resonate with. So instead of these experts are going to the bank and feeling like humiliated because I wasn't perfect. I was like, Oh, this seems so much more safe. And how hard is it for people to find safety in any part of their life? And so like, that meant the world to me and I just started writing about money to hold myself accountable. But it grew into this community of people that are either where I used to be or are much like lightyears ahead of me and I think it's really cool to see different experiences around money. I actually started to rains depression, because I think when I started my money journey, and when I was repeating my money journey, I was doing everything by the book, I was restricting my spend to the extreme, I wasn't letting myself spend any money on non essentials, I had nothing to enjoy. I was driving to work every single morning, driving home, staying home, because I needed to save money paying my debt. And that was it. That was my entire life. And so like, I just felt trapped. Even though I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing. Like I had the job I had, I was paying my bills, I was saving for retirement, I was paying off my debt. And it didn't feel good enough. And I was like, completely struggling with this idea that I'm doing all this right, and why do I still feel miserable. And so I've really learned a lot about what I would change in my experience. And I'm trying to provide those solutions to other people who aren't where I used to be Now,
Jamila Souffrant 31:01
this is what it means like to be in the thick of it, like in the journey, because so much of it is surface level, like we talked about, okay, you paid off debt, and you stop going out to eat, or you cut this out your budget, and then like we move on to like the next segment, right? Or part of the question. But it's really like, how did you feel like, some people are fine, like they actually enjoy kind of like, the struggle, which is like fine, and spending less and, and the restrictive nature of it. Um, it's like almost like a competition or game with themselves. But I found that for me, like, I found it to be like, not something I wanted to keep up and I had to like change the way I looked at money and spent money. But so many people we don't talk about, like how it's not like it's not fun. It doesn't feel good. And so what for you? Would you have changed? Looking back? And would you have sacrificed the length of time it took you? Because sometimes it's kind of like if you got out of debt by doing that, and it feels so good to be out of debt? Would you then have said to yourself, I know what if I would still be in debt now. But it certainly will take me longer to do it. But I'd be more happy. I'll take that other route. So what would you have done differently?
Alyssa Davies 32:07
First off, I totally agree. I think it's like everything we do with our money is invisible. No one else gets to see the progress we make. So it's like you're, it's completely internalized celebrating, and like excitement. And so it doesn't feel as good as we may be hope it does. Because there's just not to space to do that with your loved ones. Not in every community. I wish it was more acceptable. And like I think we're getting there. But I don't know if like I felt good about the time it took me, I'm like happy it only took me it took me less than a year to pay off my debt. How much debt was it? It was $15,000 of consumer debt. And I had some student loans as well. So it wasn't like extreme compared to other people. And so I only took 10 months, and I only had to stop living my life the way that I wanted to live my life for one year. But the reason I would change it is because it took me up until like, a year ago and I'm still working on it. It created such a bad scarcity mindset for me. And such a fear to spend. And such this like desire to be frugal, and like feel shame about doing anything for myself, that it's almost like I'm doing more work to fix those emotional parts of my relationship with money. And that's why I'm so passionate about like, no money and finance and your relationship with money and your, your mental health. deeply connected.
Jamila Souffrant 33:46
They are. So when you talk about the scarcity mindset, it's almost like we use it as a superpower to like get to a goal like not spending money. Or if we have like income coming in, like put it towards like responsible places investing, saving. And then so how did you come out of or how are you still dealing with spending money in a responsible way or in a way, let's say not responsible? Because even sometimes using that word, because it's so subjective, what I think is responsible, you know, or you feel judgment, because what if I don't want to be responsible? What if I just want to be careless with my money? You know, like, I just feel like sometimes I can do some of that and like so all right for me right now, depending on when this comes out. We're spending a lot of money right now because we're renovating our basement. We just booked our 10 year wedding anniversary trip it's like the most money we spent on a trip and my husband and I look at what like my husband I look at each other like can we do this like is it you know, there is a part of me that's just like of course you could have used this all this money you just spent could have been like investing in like growing and all these things. Like I know that we will be okay like we have enough money to cover things really, you know, going through like the list of what could go wrong. We have enough money to like pay for things still. And we're okay we have our All those things, but it still doesn't alleviate like this thought of Wait, who am I to be spending all this money on these things? So I'd love to hear how you're working through like spending money, like how does someone not get rid of the scarcity mindset? Is there a way to use it in a positive way? Is there a way to where you're not going too overboard? Because what if you say, Alright, um, it's all about abundance, money flows to me, I'll get the money tomorrow. But then it's like, it's easy to kind of teeter to a not so great place there, too.
Alyssa Davies 35:30
Yeah, finding balance is so hard. And I don't even know if it's possible to find complete balance in life. But it really started to shift for me when I became a mom, because like, you know, it's so hard to like, treat yourself when you're a mom. It's like, you constantly feel guilt. I had read a book, it's called burnout. And they talk about human giver syndrome, which is like we're women are basically we grow up knowing that we are supposed to give our entire selves to everyone else, like we are supposed to be the caretakers and be the one that provides in like domestic labor. And so I like wrote that book. And I was like, this is alarming. Like, this is totally how I live my life. And like, it's definitely connected to the scarcity mindset of like, well, if I spend money on myself, like, I won't have enough for my kids, and like, they're so important, like, I need to put them first. So what I've really learned just in the last, like 10 months, is I've given myself permission to be selfish. Just saying, I love this, like, I love spending money on coffee, not even the coffee, it's more just like the going out grabbing a coffee, having something to hold like, it's just it's an experience for me. And like, it makes me feel happy, like, every like three times a week. And so I don't budget for that anymore. I'm just like, I can spend as much as I want on coffee, because like, I've done the math years back, and it's only ever amounted to 1% of my entire budget, which is like nothing in the grand scheme of things when it makes me happy. So I'm like finding small things like that to say, I don't need to track every penny, if it makes me happy. And I'm going to be selfish in this moment and do something for just me.
Jamila Souffrant 37:11
Yeah, even if you're starting a small movie, the bigger thing, but it's also knowing like you won't financially ruin, right? Like, I think going through the exercise of if I do spend this all this money on this thing. Where am I financially? Like Will it be okay? If there emergency comes up? Like if you go for that coffee, if you decided that you wanted to go four times instead of the third time? Like, will it be so bad like to just enjoy yourself? And just like you said, it took you so long to come out of to rectify or to work through the damage that that one year restrictiveness? Did? It's like, that's what we need to consider when we talk about like, it's not just spending $10 on a latte, you shouldn't do that. It's like, what is the return on spending that money? It's not just the latte, of course, that can taste really good, too. But it's going it's getting out of the house. It's like getting fresh air, it's maybe going for the walk, the ripple effects of that matter so much more than just the $10 for the money. Exactly.
Alyssa Davies 38:01
You can invest in the stock market, but you can also invest in yourself and like your life that you're living right now. I don't know if you've read die with zero yet.
Jamila Souffrant 38:10
Yes, he was on the podcast. I loved it. I did a whole episode on it. Yeah.
Alyssa Davies 38:13
Well, if anyone's listening, it hasn't read it. Like that book completely changed my life. And like highly recommend
Jamila Souffrant 38:20
saying, well, it's part of the reason I was just like, let's just do it. Especially, you know, I find myself in a privileged position, you know, and I always like to say that I acknowledge it, I don't understand why so many people don't want to acknowledge it when they're privileged, like in terms of currently, the way that our finances are set up, and what we can afford to do. And I love that in the book, and I think in general, which is why personal finance, it can rub people the wrong way. Because like people are not being upfront about like maybe who it's for that they're speaking to. So I think a lot of the personal finance content or things that people that accreting things like it's not necessarily for, like super poor people who are really like underprivileged, and like, it's systemic, right? Like, you can't budget your way out of it. You can't Montreux your way out of certain things, right. But for a certain level, where like, you do have the income, but you can do more, and you can live like a life, if you just took more control. I think there's a lot of that going on. And I find that for a lot of people kind of listening to not the wrong financial advice, but like, you have to be really aware of who it's coming from, or like what the intention is. And some people may find that they're actually over saving, right, like, and they're over investing, and then they're not enjoying like what they're working so hard for.
Alyssa Davies 39:30
Yes, I totally agree. And I think like I say that all the time, I might be the right person for you to listen to right now. But that doesn't mean I'll be the right person forever. Because if we're both growing apart and in different directions, and you're making tons of money, and I'm still like at my average income, then what's the point like we're not connecting in the way that we used to and like there are enough people in the space now that you don't have to only go to one person for advice.
Jamila Souffrant 39:54
Right. Now, I'd love to talk about how you're balancing like your full time job. So you're working full time. Right, you have you wrote a book. So I'm in the middle of writing my book. And I'm like, Oh, my goodness, like, it's crazy. So hard and you have kids, oh my gosh, how are you balancing that? Like your employer, I'm assuming because you had them in your bio is fine with all of this. So for the people who are just like, well, I have a job, and it'd be great to have a job and still be able to do my side thing to write a book or do what Elissa is doing. How did you navigate that was that by accident, like you just happen to work for a company that got it? Or what's that balance, like,
Alyssa Davies 40:32
I actually landed the job that I have right now, through my blog, they found me and it just happened to be the perfect fit. Like I had the correct education, we both wanted the same things, we had mutual goals. And so it's like an amazing company. And I love working for them. And so like, I'm very fortunate in that regard. And when it comes to having accent money, I refuse to call it a side hustle anymore. This is the first year I actually incorporated as a business. And so I'm not letting myself call it a side hustle this year. But when it was a side hustle, when I started, it was had much less responsibility. I had no kids, and I didn't own a home. So it was just me and my partner at the time. And we just had endless amounts of time to spend on projects and passions. And that's what I did. And so it takes a lot of time to build up a blog, as you know, for like any kind of business. And so like, I originally didn't think it would grow to be what it is today. I was just doing it for fun. And now that I'm where I am today, I'm so thankful I started before I had all of these obligations in life, because it's very hard to balance. And like I said earlier in the podcast, like, I don't think balance is even possible. For parents, like I am very thankful because I have a good community, the solid network, my husband is extremely supportive, and he picks up a lot of the slack in our household. And so those are things that like I wouldn't be able to do the stuff that I do if I didn't have a community of people backing me up and cheering me on. And if I hadn't started at the right time in my life.
Jamila Souffrant 42:15
Yeah. Well, so I'm curious what you did before the full like you got your job wasn't in the same industry? And what did you go to school for it? Did it translate to what you did out of college?
Alyssa Davies 42:27
Yeah, so I went to school for communications and journalism. So I majored in both of those areas. And I had worked in marketing for the years prior to that, and like one awful, toxic workplace that I speak about in the book. And then another really amazing company where I had like such an incredible boss and mentor. And then it was so low, like I've not job hopped as much as other people have, because I'm someone again, who's super anxious and loves comfort. And so like, those are things that I value as much as some other people do. Like, I love stability, and I love permanence.
Jamila Souffrant 43:03
Yeah. And again, it's just really super cool that you were just following your interests. You want to be accountable, you created a blog, and then you got a job that's perfect and fits right in, because you put yourself out there. And so it's like a perfect fit. But how did you decide because some people come to up to this decision point, right? Or like this idea of do I continue to work for someone else? Or do I grow up mixed up money, right, and like create an empire cuz I'm writing a book, and I do have a growing social media platform? What were your thoughts around that? Like, how did you decide? And maybe it's something you're still deciding, but how did you decide that entrepreneurship 100% of the time was not for you.
Alyssa Davies 43:42
For me, it's purely financial, like I am so obsessed with having benefits. And again, that stability piece that like so many people when they leave their job to go pursue their side hustle as a full time career. It's okay, like it's going to be risky and like we'll figure it out and like the roller coaster income like I don't feel comfortable doing that because I have kids and I have a house and like my husband's on parental leave right now. So like I'm the sole income earner for our family. Yes, things are going incredibly well from except money and like Is there potential for this to be full time in the future? Absolutely. I never count anything out. But right now it's like this makes sense for my life and my lifestyle. And I think that's perfectly okay. If if you aren't comfortable, like going off and doing your own thing, because that is such a common theme we're seeing right now in a lot of like influencer accounts.
Jamila Souffrant 44:36
Yeah. And I'm saying like if you can find a create a career or job and depends on yourself, everyone's situation is different, that you actually love. You know, like I always say, entrepreneurship is not for everyone because I didn't take the leap. But I you know, I definitely would have thought about this differently. If you know God, thank God, my husband has the benefits. So that's not something we had to worry about. That's a privilege. But we did have more Ah, we did have kids, like I had just given birth to my third child, you know, but it just felt like and feels like the unsaid things or people are saying it but you know, people are more attracted to like the glitz of it and all the money that you could potentially make. But it's like, it's hard. Like, it's you really have to build a consistent stream of income. It's not always consistent. People don't always pay you on time. Yes, hardly ever, never, they never do waiting on like three brands to pay me Hello, you know? Like, it's really like, it's so interesting. And so there's nothing wrong with loving a job or a career. That's what brings you like comfort, and it's all good. So it's just part of what I think when I think about the financial freedom and independence journey. You have to craft what it looks like for yourself, not based on like what you know, Alyssa, like has done or Jamil you can take it as like maybe like a roadmap, but you have to create your own roadmap roadmap from there. 100%
Alyssa Davies 45:56
I agree. So what is
Jamila Souffrant 45:59
one of the things that you'd want to like, just have for someone to take away like, if they're thinking about picking up your book, financial first aid essential tools for confident secure money management, what's a good takeaway that you're like, Okay, if you feel this way, or if you're having issues, or you need more guidance, pick this book up that you want to share.
Alyssa Davies 46:16
I think it's mostly for anyone who's feeling like they're super afraid, or they just like reject the idea or disassociate from their finances. In general, like, you don't want to log into your bank account, you don't want to reflect and see like, where you're spending your money, and what those potential emergencies could be. Because it's intimidating, like I really try and make it more comfortable. And I try and eliminate that judgment. And that shame that so much of finance used to be rooted in. Because it doesn't have to be that way. It's okay to like, take whatever options exist for you and make them work.
Jamila Souffrant 46:53
And one of the things like I said, I'm, if you're watching this, we should, this should go up on the YouTube, my YouTube channel, but like, again, the illustrations, I'm showing this in the video, if you're watching this on YouTube, it's so light and welcoming. And a lot of finance books, or just in general, like, you know, it's like so boring. Like, what look, it's just I don't know, it's just beautifully designed. And so I feel like it's something that's going to be really helpful to a lot of people, and I can't wait for more people to read it. So Alyssa, please tell everyone where they can find more about you and follow you and get the book.
Alyssa Davies 47:23
Absolutely. So you can follow me anywhere at mixed up money. I'm on all social media platforms. And I'm on mix up money.com If you just want to like quickly type it in and find all my content because it
Jamila Souffrant 47:35
exists right there. And then the book is where
Alyssa Davies 47:37
you can find financial first aid at any major book retailer. So wherever you choose to shop.
Jamila Souffrant 47:42
Awesome, and I'll make sure I put all the links to listed social media website and the book in the show notes for this episode. So it was great to get to meet you finally, and thank you so much for coming on the show.
Alyssa Davies 47:54
Thanks so much for having me. And I can't wait for your book. I'm like really pumped up now.
Jamila Souffrant 47:58
Don't forget, we are giving away copies of Allison's book five copies so you can get a chance to win her book financial first aid by going to journey to launch.com/win. There you'll see how you can enter to win. You'll put your name and email address in and the contest will be live from June 8. That's Wednesday, June 8 to Monday, June 13. All right, good luck.
Don't forget, you can get the episode show notes for this episode by going to journey to launch.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 journey to launch.com/jumpstart.
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