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Today’s episode features Gina from The Frugal Convert.
Gina has a powerful story of being alone and broke at age 19 with a child to take care of.
She didn’t let her circumstances define her and took control of her life.
Then over time, things began to slip again and she realized she needed to change at a more conscious level.
Now she’s a full-fledged frugal convert and closing in on financial independence.
Listen, learn, and let us know what you think about Gina’s wild ride.
Gina’s “Jar of Pickles” Moment
- Gina found herself 19, newly married, and pregnant and totally broke.
- Her then-husband took her phone, car, credit cards…everything
- She was hungry and alone in her home and had nothing to eat but pickles
- Then she found herself on the floor crying
- Gina then started going through all the bad decisions she’d made in her life that led to this
- But then she decided she could take control
- She divorced him and life moved on
- Now she’s married to the man of her dreams
Gina takes steps back again
- Things were going well for a while after her wake-up moment
- Then Gina got comfortable and started racking up credit card debt
- She and her husband were happy and well employed but her habits hadn’t changed
- Then they found themselves in over $100k in debt
- Earlier in life, she had racked up debt
- She had done this because her rent was $1150, she was going to college, had a kid, and only earned $1200 per month
- Gina would get a loan to consolidate her debt but then keep racking up more with the new limit
Making Habits Stick
- Gina realized that she would have to really change her habits to turn her life around
- Her first step was to start really tracking her spending
- It wasn’t cold turkey, she just lowered the frequency of disposable spending
- Eating out once a week instead of three times a week, etc
- She admits she tried to make a budget before she tracked her spending
- That is generally a big mistake and leads to failure
- Without a point in time, it is hard to make reasonable projections
- She also says that a budget should be a living document
- It can’t be something you set and never adjust
- Gina utilizes an excel spreadsheet and breaks it into four categories
- The first is survival – food, utilities, rent
- The second is debt
- The third is extras – Netflix, eating out, etc
- The fourth is fun money – even if you still have some debt to pay off
- It’s not about deprivation, it’s about reprioritization
- It is fun and rewarding to be frugal
- You become picky about what you spend your money on and only focus it on things you’re excited about
- She also began to realize that she was actually just buying things because it was a habit
- It wasn’t that she needed them or even wanted them long term
- Now she’s much more into decluttering and keeping things simple
- Finally, Gina walks us through how this is all possible in Los Angeles
- She also shares budgeting with her kids
- They don’t feel deprived, they are just getting educated and comfortable with money
Leaving A Legacy
- She really wants to follow her passions full time and step away from traditional work
- Gina also wants to get more into real estate and having extra streams of income
- In 2007 they had bought a condo, then the 2009 crash happened
- Her husband lost his job because it was tied to the mortgage industry
- She was furloughed due to the turndown
- So her focus will be on diversifying their income streams
- Her real passion is going out and being hands-on with moms in the welfare
- She wants to develop programs they can use to take control of their finances
- When Life Hands you Lemons: Gina had every right to be down on life and never crawl out of her low spots, but she always learned and improved herself.
- Behind Every Paycheck is a Passion: Gina acknowledges that her day to day job isn’t her passion, but she has a plan to make that passion come to life
Call to Action
We often talk about what we NEED to retire, as an exercise, calculate out what your Survival portion of your budget is (Rent, food, utilities, etc). It will help you identify your trade space when working towards financial independence
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Gina’s Website: The Frugal Convert
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