Ten Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole
By Tiffany Aliche
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Ultimate Guide To Get Good With Money
In my 20s and 30s, I read personal finance books written by Suze Orman, Jane Bryant Quinn and David Bach. Their books offered the basics of paying debt, saving, investing and retirement, much like the books you see these days. I bought their books and read them back to back over the years. However, I never felt like they were talking to me. They were speaking a language I didn’t understand, because I didn’t grow up hearing anyone talk about money.
But then when I started my most recent personal finance journey, I deliberately sought out different voices. Surely enough time had passed that there were financial experts who were queer, Black, Latinx or with whom I shared some characteristics.
Enter Tiffany Aliche, aka The Budgetnista
There are three intersectional markers that make Tiffany Aliche, or The Budgetnista, relatable. She’s Black, she’s a woman and she’s the daughter of immigrants. Her voice is necessary in financial spaces because of the long history of exclusion of people of color. When I discovered The Budgetnista, I felt like I’d found my financial home. As a Latina, a woman, an immigrant and as someone who has always felt uncomfortable in financial spaces, I felt seen.
Her perspective and experiences with money are different from anything we’ll read by Orman or Bach. “Get Good With Money” is a 10-step guide to gaining financial freedom. It teaches you how to gain and maintain control of your money. Think of it as a map, or as GPS for your finances. I love this book so much that I reviewed it for my financial counseling certification practicum.
Aliche grew up in New Jersey and learned about money from her father, who worked in finance. By the time she was in her 20s, she’d done all the right things. She worked full time, had money in the bank and had bought a condo. After facing some financial mistakes and losing her job and home, she picked herself up and created a plan. And now we’re lucky enough that she’s sharing it so we can learn and be inspired.
The Noodle Budget
Like most books on money, Aliche begins with establishing a budget, but not just any budget. She created the Noodle Budget. Basically, your Noodle Budget is the amount you can live off of if you had to eat a diet of ramen noodles. In an emergency, what is the minimum you need for living expenses? That’s your Noodle Budget and she explains why you should know what that is for your circumstances.
The idea is not to live on a noodle budget, but to know the absolute bottom line. What is the person’s income? How much are they spending, and on what? Once you know that, you can develop a plan.
One of the best chapters is the one where Aliche challenges us to know our mental state when making a purchase. It’s a known fact that mental health challenges can cause or be caused by financial issues. By knowing what you’re thinking and feeling, you can take steps to mitigate any damage to your finances. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy that handbag or that tech gadget. It just means that taking the step of knowing if you need, why you need and if you can afford to spend on it. Chapters address our mental state when making purchases, how to save money and what to look for in a savings account. The chapter that addresses debt doesn’t care why you’re in debt or blame you for mistakes.
My favorite chapter deals with insurance. All the insurance. The best bit is where she gives us the straight facts about whole life insurance compared to investing in the stock market. (Hint: the stock market’s returns are higher over time.)
I’ve done most of the homework assignments at the end of each chapter, as they relate to my own situation. The Appendix contains worksheets, online resources and checklists to help you work through the book’s topics and suggestions.
Although “Get Good With Money” is a financial tool, we get more than the basics of financial literacy. Aliche is gentle, never shaming and never making us feel stupid for our mistakes. Many of us grew up having terrible experiences with money (or a lack of money) and have blamed ourselves for any mistakes. Books like those by David Bach and Suze Orman have contributed to that shaming in finance. Don’t buy that latte. Don’t get manicures. The Budgetnista doesn’t have time for that.
How I Use the Book With Clients
I love this book so much that I wrote a review for my practicum hours for my AFC® certification. As a money coach, this book is the best resource to teach the basics of personal finance. I use it myself in a personal capacity as well.
To become a certified financial counselor, we’re educated and tested on nine core competencies, in addition to learning how someone’s background has formed their beliefs. The book also works toward the future to ensure that your financial legacy lives on for your heirs, thereby creating generational wealth.
“Get Good With Money” gets you started with budgeting basics before moving on to making more money, debt, credit and estate planning. We’re straight up getting information about the important parts of financial stability. Alice’s language is accessible even to to beginners because she doesn’t talk down to her readers.
To sum up, whether you’re just starting your financial journey, you need a refresher or you want to help someone on their journey, “Get Good With Money” will guide you.