Hey, this is Alison and welcome to the Inspired Budget Podcast, where we talk all things budgeting, debt, and saving money. Today’s episode is gonna be a little bit different than usual. In fact, this is my 100th episode of the Inspired Budget Podcast!

To celebrate, I want to take you on a little personal life and business update and just kind of pull back the curtain and let you see behind the scenes so you all can get to know me a little better! One thing that I love about one of my favorite podcasts for online business owners is that she shares information about herself every now and then so you as the listener can really get to know her as a person. And that’s what I what I want to do today for all my amazing listeners!

I want you to feel like you know me. I want you to feel like we’re friends and that you see behind the scenes of my life and business, just like I would share with some of my best friends. So that’s what we’re gonna do. And before we dive into those updates, I wanna ask you to please, if you’re enjoying this podcast, it would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or review wherever you’re listening and if you would share it with someone that you think would also like this podcast. Those ratings and reviews, what it does is it actually tells podcast players like Apple or Spotify, “Hey, people like this podcast!” and it could actually start recommending it to other people just like you who can find it that way. So it means so much to me if you could do this! It’s a wonderful way to support this podcast. And I read every single rating and review. I would love to hear from you!

Okay, let’s go ahead and dive into this shorter episode that’s gonna give you a business and life update.

Business Updates

I Wrote A Book!

For Inspired Budget, my business, my book, Money Made Easy, has officially released.

Now I’m recording this a week beforehand, a week before it releases, so it isn’t out in the world yet, but by the time this episode drops, it will be out! It will have been out for one day. So I cannot believe that it’s out in the world. I can’t believe people are getting it in their hands and reading it.

If you have not ordered your copy, please do so right now! It’s called Money Made Easy.

Money Made Easy Book

It’s a really helpful book that is wrapped up in stories. I know that reading money books probably isn’t the most interesting thing around, so I really try to make it interesting by sharing stories within every single chapter. All of it’s wrapped up in stories and helpful information.

I’m a big believer that personal finance is personal, and that what worked for me might not work for you (and that’s okay!). There isn’t just this cookie cutter answer to all of life’s money questions. So I’m a big believer in everybody knowing their options and picking and choosing what is best for them.

So that’s what this book is all about. It’s about know, what your options are to make money easy for you, and picking and choosing what you can stick to consistently in your life. So think of it as a choose your own adventure book. I love it. I can’t believe it’s out in the world. If you have it, if you’ve already bought it, take a picture of it! Tag me in social media at @inspiredbudget on Instagram and your stories. I will share it! And yeah, I’m, I’m blown away that this thing is out in the world. I worked on it for what feels like forever. It’s really amazing to see that something’s out there that I put so much effort in. It’s very vulnerable because I can’t go back and change it.

So it’s vulnerable in the sense that people might disagree and that’s okay. I don’t think that we should all agree on everything when it comes to money, but it’s very exciting because it also acts as a way for me to further establish myself as an expert in this personal finance space. So it’s a wonderful accomplishment for me as a person and then also for my business, Inspired Budget.

Investing Course Updates

Another thing that I have been working on in my business this year in 2023 is actually a free investing class and then also an investing course. So I started investing what felt like too late. Honestly, I started investing when I was probably about 28 years old, which I see now is not too late. But back then I felt like I was really behind and my husband and I handed off our investments to a financial advisor.

And after a couple of years, maybe like two or three years, we realized, oh my goodness, if we continued to let this financial advisor manage our finances based on what they were investing in, our fees were so high. We would end up paying over $200,000 in fees over the course of our investments, and I was.

No, that’s not okay with me. So I went on a mission to learn more about how I could invest on my own, kind of like a DIY approach in a way that was simplified, manageable, and easy for me to understand. And that’s what I wanna share now with my listeners, with my readers and followers, is really that, number one, you can invest for yourself.

You don’t have to hire it out. Mean, some people that might have more complicated situations might wanna hire it out, but for the everyday person like me and you, you don’t have to hire it out. You can. It just comes down to learning how to do it and having a teacher break it down for you in a way that’s easy to understand.

And that’s exactly what I love doing. One of my skill sets and talents is teaching, and so in this new investing course, I’ve been recording or creating a module every week and releasing it to my first batch of students, and I’m taking their feedback and making changes and making it even better. And so I’m enjoying it because it’s something different that I get to talk about that I’m very excited about because it’s also where I am in my financial.

My husband and I, we do have a mortgage, but we don’t have consumer debt. And so while I love talking about becoming debt free and writing budgets that work for you, I’m also spending a lot of my mental energy personally thinking about investing, finding ways to invest more. And so it’s just something I’m really into right now and I’m excited that I get to share that with people that might be in the.

Position as I am and might be on the same journey and just want to demystify investing and kind of just have someone break it down for them. I will be actually holding another class live in May, so be on the lookout for that because it’s really, really good.

Podcast Updates

Another thing in my business is the podcast.

Inspired Budget Podcast

The podcast you’re listening to right now has almost hit 500,000 downloads in its lifetime. I think it’s. 490,000 downloads, so very soon, maybe in two weeks or. Less, it’s gonna hit that 500,000 download mark. It’s very exciting for me. I started this podcast truly as a way for me During the pandemic, I felt very lonely.

I felt very isolated. And if I’m being completely honest, I started it as a way for me to intentionally set aside time to meet with other people. I said, I’m gonna do it through a podcast I need. It’s good for my mental health, it’s good for my business, it’s good for me as a person. Have these designated times where I’m talking to other people because I was just working by myself all day, every day.

It became very lonely, and any conferences I was going to were canceled, and I really just kind of fell into this funk. This. Just depression. And so I created the Inspire Budget podcast, honestly, as a way to help me. And I said, Hey, if it helps other people in the process, like that’s a bonus. But I’m so happy to say that there have been almost 500,000 downloads.

It’s incredible. It’s, we’re coming up to two years on the podcast, so that’s really great for a new podcast. I just value everyone who listens. So if you’re listening now or you are listening now, thank you. Thank you. Being here. Thank you for supporting me and this project that has turned into something that has been able to just reach so many people and help others.

My 4-Day Work Week

Another thing with my business that I have started to do in 2023, which is new for me, is I have been taking Fridays off. This is something that has actually been hard for me because I do enjoy my work. I only have a limited number of hours where I can work because I have kids that go to school. I. Try my best to only work while they’re at school, which means I’m limited to about 8, 8 30 to about three every day in that kind of time period.

There will be some times in the evenings, maybe a couple of times a month that I work, but I really try to limit it. I’ve gotten much better at taking time off in on the weekends, and so now, Trying to take Fridays off. I think that it’s been good for me just mentally to disconnect from my job on that day and just kind of have some time by myself while my kids are away.

I realize it is a total privilege and it’s taken a lot of time to get there, but so far I’m loving it. So that’s what’s been going on for the first three months, really, of the year in the upcoming months. In the next, I guess, quarter or the next three months for Inspire budget. I’m gonna be working on really refining my investing course, finishing it up, completing it.

Gathering a whole bunch of feedback from my first set of students that have gone through it so that way I can add, edit, make it even better, and then get it in the hands of more people to really make investing easy. And then I’m also going to be. Trying my best at balancing work and life over the summer.

And actually that’s a good segue for some life updates because the summertime really is very heavy on family for me. And finding a balance between work and life is always a little more difficult when my kids are outta school and my husband, who’s a teacher is also at a school, I start filling this pull to not work and only spend time with him.

For them, and I start having this guilt. When I do have to work, which is a wonderful thing that I, I want to work. I like to work.

A Personal Life Update

Let’s move into a little life update.

A family

Changes to My Husband’s Job

One of the biggest things in our life and in our family that’s changing is my amazing husband, Matt, he has been a band director or middle school band director since I met him. That’s been his first job out of college. He’s been teaching. Gosh, I wanna say 16 years.

And he has made the decision to actually leave middle school band and take a job as an elementary music teacher. Now, this might seem like a very, like, easy transition, or it might seem like a, a one-to-one transition, but this is very big for our family and here’s. Right now as a band director, he does work about 45 minutes away.

So he’s up very early in the morning at 5 15, 5 30, he leaves, he goes to school, he’s there. He’s doing sectionals in the morning, starting at like six 30 or something at his school. He’s doing sectionals in the morning. He’s working all day. Sometimes he has sectionals in the afternoon, or he has different concerts or events than he drives the 45 minutes home.

So he’s gone for probably. Anywhere between 11 to 12 hours a day, which is a, a long time considering he’s being paid for essentially this like eight hour workday. So he’s gone for a long time, which is fine. We manage okay. Uh, me working at home allows for that flexibility. But he decided to make a move to an elementary music teacher position, which means that he actually got a job that is four miles from our home.

So his commute will go from essentially an hour and a. A day down to 20 minutes a day like there and back, which is amazing, but it also comes with less money. So while he’s gaining more time back in his day, he doesn’t have these weekend band events. He won’t have these e all of these evening events. He won’t have a ton of before and after school events.

He might have some here and there. While he’s gaining back time, he is taking a pay cut. But let me tell you that when he decided to make this move, it was easily a heck yes for me. And for our family. You see, I am the breadwinner in our family, but even though he’s making less money, like it’s a, it’s a significant amount, it’s probably about seven to $8,000 a year.

However, we have tried to be very mindful in our spending while we have succumbed to lifestyle creep to an extent because, hello? I mean, who doesn’t inflate their lifestyle as they make more money? We have really diligently tried our best to make sure that we are not inflating our lifestyle in a way that we can’t handle.

We have been very diligent in making sure that, okay, we’re aware of what we can cut back if that’s what we need to do. We’re not really like signing on to these monthly commitments for years at a time. Like for instance, I wanna get a pool, and I was like, let’s finance it. Right? Who would like, of course, Alison, you don’t wanna do that.

And he has to remind me, Alison, no, we don’t wanna sign on to that lifestyle inflation that puts more stress on you. And I’m like, yeah, you’re right. That’s probably not the be the best idea. So because of that, it’s been very easy for us to say, okay, we would rather trade time for money in this situation.

He would rather, and we can make that happen because we can afford for him to make less money. That’s okay for us. However, that was not always the case. Years ago when we were working to pay off debt, when we had so many expenses because of our debt, there’s no way we could justify him taking a pay cut to have more time at home, that it just wouldn’t have made sense.

Finding we, we wouldn’t have been able to justify it in our mind emotionally and it. Left him to be stuck in that position. And that’s what I feel like managing your money well gives you is it gives you these options, it gives you these opportunities. It gives you freedom to not feel stuck in a position that you’re in that you might wanna get out of.

Not saying that he’s always wanted to get out of it, but this opportunity arose and we jumped on it. So, So over the moon excited. It means that he will get to sleep in later. He’ll have more sleep every night. He’ll get to actually see our children in the morning before he leaves for work, which he hasn’t done in forever.

And he’ll get home probably about an hour sooner than he was every day. So, I cannot wait for August to come around when he starts that new position. Another update is that Matt and I together read this book called Die With Zero. I had some pushback on different parts of this book, but I enjoyed reading it and I, I enjoyed having my, my mindset kind of stretched a little bit.

But I will say that our takeaway together, cause we. At the same time simultaneously on audiobook, and there was actually a time where we were listening to it and a long car ride as well. It really allowed my husband and I together to really ask ourselves, okay, or I guess I should really say it. It really helped us prioritize and remind ourselves what is it that really matters?

What is the point of working and working and working, working to just make more and more and more and more money if the trade off is losing time with your family and not having those experiences and not creating those memory. So it really just helped us actually rethink our retirement numbers, which was a very big stretch for me because I’m the person that I just want to be able to invest as much as we possibly can, so that way in eight years we can kind of stop investing and let our money just grow until we need to tap into it.

Whereas he’s the person that’s like, chill out Allison. Let’s spend more of this money. Let’s take more of these experie. So it’s really stretched me in a way that is helping me rethink our retirement contributions in a way that we can kind of find a balance and then also ask ourselves when we’re willing to make sacrifices like, Driving a used car or not buying the Pottery Barn sofa that I would love to have or replacing the kids’ upstairs sofa that I would love to spend a thousand or $1,500 to replace that.

It really helps to know, like I’d rather spend that type of money on experiences with our children rather than the stuff and. I wasn’t always like that. There’s been times in my life when I wasn’t like that. So it really helps me. It really helped us as a family as, as a couple, I guess I should say, not the kids.

Kids weren’t involved in these decisions, but it really helped us as a couple, make sure that our priorities are aligned and our priorities for our family, which is totally different if there’s, these are not your priorities. Our priorities for our family are really intentional time with our children and as a family unit together.

As a husband and wife together as a family, and making sure that we are just having those experiences in life that we might not be able to have later on based off of if our health declines or our age takes a toll. So we’re really trying to live life to the fullest, I guess.

A Surprise Trip For My Son

Which brings me into another life event we had, which was I picked up my oldest son from school on a Thursday afternoon and surprised him with a trip to Universal Studios in Florida, just the two of us.

So it was just me and Evan. We went for three nights, two full days in the parks, and it was really great bonding time for us to spend time together, create those memories. Have fun, go on all the crazy roller coast. And it was just amazing. I’m gonna do the same thing for my other son when he is also around that same age, so he has that to look forward to.

He won’t know when it’s happening, but it’ll be a surprise trip. All of that to say, I think it’s a wonderful thing to do with your children. It doesn’t have to be a big fancy trip where you get on an airplane and go to an amusement park. It could be something small, it could be a staycation. It could be just picking your kids up and saying, okay, we’re going to go get snow cones and I’m picking you up 30 minutes from school, because it’s just that like special, surprise one-on-one time with a parent.

Let’s Connect!

That’s pretty much it. I hope you enjoyed my little business and life update for me for our 100th episode of the Inspired Budget Podcast. Once again, thank you so much for listening. It really means the world to me – and I want to hear from you!

So if you’re listening right now, I want you to send me a DM on Instagram. I want you to DM me, and I just want you to share with me with me something that you are looking forward to in your life. I ask all of my guests this question: what’s one thing you’re looking forward to? Well, I wanna ask you, what’s one thing you’re looking forward to? wWhether it’s a trip you’re going to take, whether it’s a money goal you’re going to reach, whether it’s just the weekend and having time to sleep in, send me a DM on Instagram @inspiredbudget with one thing that you’re looking forward to. Thank you so much for joining me. I’ll be back with another brand new episode of the Inspired Budget Podcast next week. I’ll see you then!