Tiffany Aliche did almost anything with her money. By the time she was 26, she had saved $ 40,000, more than her annual teacher salary. At another point, she accumulated $ 87,000 in debt. After losing everything in the Great Recession, she took on the daunting task of building her finances from scratch.
For Aliche, the goal was never to get rich. She just wanted to get her finances in order. But sometimes a call cannot be ignored. When people saw Aliche take control of their money, they asked for help in accomplishing the same. Before she knew it, she trained women around the world on how to save money, buy a house, and other topics in her Live Richer Challenge, a series of popular online courses. At that point, she became “The Budgetnista,” a popular podcaster and social media personality.
Now that she is thriving financially, Aliche is expanding her mission. In her new book, “Getting Good With Money: Ten Easy Steps to Becoming Financially Whole,” Aliche reveals the key to understanding and mastering personal finances – regardless of where you are in life.
To find out more about her journey, we asked Aliche what inspired her to write Get Good With Money and what it takes to get tough financially.
Q: Why did you start your business, The Budgetnista?
My father was a CFO and accountant, so my sisters and I learned about money at home. As a result, I felt very comfortable talking about my finances. I shared the details with college friends, roommates, teachers, and parents.
I never thought I’d make a living from it. But when the Great Recession hit, things changed. I lost my teaching job because my school lost its funding. When I was getting out of debt, my friends – and friends of friends – asked me to help them with their finances. Then The Budgetnista was born. Pretty soon I started working with various organizations and universities.
Q: How did you overcome the emotional side of debt to improve your finances?
It was really hard. Money is mostly emotional and mental, and I’ve been full of shame. To get over that, I had to tell someone about my financial crisis. That person was my best friend, Linda. After hiding the situation from friends and family, I just cried and told her everything. Her answer was, “Is that it? Everyone struggled financially. It’s not that bad. You didn’t steal someone’s puppy. “
The more I talked about my finances, the stronger I got. I realized that I know how to get out of debt. I know how to budget and save.
That’s one of the reasons I wrote Get Good With Money. So many of us struggling with our finances, the reason we keep fighting in all honesty is because we hide from shame. People need to find a safe place to share what they are afraid of.
Q: Would you consider this book your greatest work?
I would. This is the climax of my life’s work because I was trying all the time to turn the code into money.
People work and get paid, but what’s next? What do you say to someone who doesn’t know what to do with their money? That is the question that Get Good With Money answers. It’s a step-by-step guide to mastering the basics of personal finance, including budgeting, saving, debt, credit, and learning to earn. Then it will help you build the rest of your finance house – investing, insurance, wealth, your money team, and estate planning. It’s the ultimate guide to achieving what I call financial wholeness.
Q: Some experts focus on financial freedom. Why did you choose to write about financial wholeness instead?
Financial freedom is not the answer for most people. Not everyone is going to make a huge pile of money so they don’t have to work anymore. That applies to a small part of the population, so I had the “aha” moment. Financial wholeness is for everyone. It’s about all 10 aspects of your financial life working together for your greatest benefit.
Q: How did your background as a teacher help you write this book?
I taught preschoolers and learned to teach from a place of empathy. Financial literacy can seem scary, much like when a 3 or 4 year old starts preschool. In this book, I immediately knew how to allay the readers’ fears. I used my superpowers as a teacher to make sure people weren’t afraid of being alone or being judged.
Q: Salaries and personal debt are not often discussed. How did it feel to open up and share your money problems?
I am now used to talking about what once embarrassed me. I like to share these things because if I can make all these mistakes and still be financially whole, so can others. I know a lot of people will think this is easy for me to say. But I’ve made all the big money mistakes – foreclosure, forfeiture on credit card fraud, high student loan debt. I lost everything and had to build from scratch. I enjoy sharing these lessons and teaching in a place of empathy and understanding.
Q: In your book you say that there is no small financial choice. How did you come to this conclusion?
It happened when I was 9 or 10 years old. Then I made my first conscious decision about money. My birthday was just around the corner and instead of getting the purple Barbie bike I wanted, I opted for a big blue bike. It was so big that I got to drive it through middle and high school. 30 years later, that purchase is still relevant. The bike is in my parents’ garage and my father went out to do sports a few years ago.
Everyone has a blue bike that they lug around, good or bad. Is it your choice to pay for any streaming platform? To never learn how to style hair? These money decisions may seem small, but like my blue bike, they will follow you for the rest of your life. All of your decisions are important and they pile up.
Q: Do you still have financial goals to work towards?
Of course! That is the advantage of financial wholeness. It’s not a one-time solution. I’ll give you an example. When I was 27, I had $ 300,000 in insurance and a $ 220,000 condominium. If something had happened to me, this policy would have covered my mortgage and debt. But 41-year-old Tiffany? I have a stepdaughter, husband, nieces and nephews. I also have some stores. My insurance policy has to be in the seven digits to cover everything.
I am financially whole today. But as I get older the financial wholeness will look different for me.
Q: Do you have any plans for your next book?
I always feel like you should write when you have something to say. If I feel like there’s a second part, I’ll be sure to lean into it. Maybe I’ll dig deeper into some of the sections in Get Good With Money. Or maybe I’ll write a book about business. It depends on the value I can add to other people.
Q: What would you like to take away from readers of this book?
Financial wholeness is for everyone. Even if you never become a millionaire, you can be good with your money. You can live a great financial life of peace, security, and abundance.
This article originally appeared in the May / June 2021 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Selected image by © Tinnetta Bell
Photos courtesy of Tiffany Aliche
Lydia Sweatt is a freelance writer, bookworm and bass guitar enthusiast. When she goes outside, a bike goes with her.