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According To The Budgetnista, The Secret To Becoming A Self-Made Millionaire Starts With One Seed

It's up to us to plant it.

Finance

When we were little, our parents constantly reminded us that money doesn't grow on trees, and while this is somewhat true, it's also somewhat… not.

According to Tiffany Aliche, best known by the internet as The Budgetnista, we are all in possession of every seed we need in order to harvest true financial freedom, but it's up to us to plant them.

Courtesy of Girl Trek

Tiffany is the founder of a movement that has helped over 800,000 women worldwide save more than $100,000 and pay off more than $700,000 in debt, but according to The Budgetnista, it all started with one seed. We recently caught up with Tiffany at Girl Trek's 2019 Stress Protest, where she reminded us that true wellness means getting your financial health in alignment, too, sis.

The Budgetnista's road to success hasn't been linear, but she picked up a few gems along the way that have helped women all over the globe dig themselves out of debt and into better budgeting. In an intimate conversation about leveling up your mindset and becoming a self-made mogul, Tiffany put us on game and told us everything we truly need to know about money management.

Here what we learned:

Money Is A Tool

Courtesy of The Budgetnista

As the daughter of a Nigerian CFO and accountant and one of five girls, Tiffany says that she was introduced to the concept of financial wellness early-on in her life. She explained, "[My dad] taught us about money because he wanted to make sure that who we chose to marry was not as a result of what we needed from them; that we can take care of ourselves."

Although Tiffany had grown up in a household where financial wellness was a priority, before she was the money-saving mogul that she is today, life threw her a number of curveballs that her father's financial proverbs couldn't have prepared her for. Shortly after buying her first condo at the age of 26, Tiffany found herself broke, unemployed, and drowning in more than $35K worth of debt due to an irreversible credit card scam. After being laid off and forced to move back in with her parents, the one-day online financial expert felt defeated and depressed.

Cash rules everything us, and at this point in her life, Tiffany had none, leading her to believe one of the biggest lies ever told: that she was no longer the master of her finances nor her destiny. Tiffany shared, "Sometimes we feel like we don't have control; that we are not in charge when it comes to money. [We feel] that money is sitting in your purse at night, conspiring against you."

But in reality, Tiffany said, this way of thinking is not only self-defeating but wrong AF. It was then that those proverbs and analogies that were given to her by her mom and dad truly came in handy. The Budgetnista recalled:

"He reminded me that your money is like a hammer. You have a hammer in your hand and you can use that hammer to build your financial house, but that same hammer can be used to destroy that very safe financial house; that who decides what the hammer does is you, you do it. It's the same thing with money."

Tiffany continued, "You picked up that hammer. So it's like, the bad news is, it's you. But the good news is...it's you. And so,when it's you and you take ownership of that, at any moment in time today, you can decide that you're not going to be in bondage to money anymore because you truly aren't. That's your hammer. You get to decide."

Money Is A Seed

According to Tiffany, the first mistake that you're making when it comes to money management is believing that you don't have any. She told us, "You don't believe that it's already there. Like literally, we could be sitting right now, the sky could open up and a million dollars could fall through this roof right now. That could happen. At any moment in time, money's going to come to you."

The odds of winning the lottery are only 1 in 275 million, yet, 11.8 million households in the U.S. net more than $1 million per year, proving that wealth isn't about luck, issa cultivation game.

"We think that in some lump sum, wealth is going to drop into our lap. No, wealth is earned. $5's, $10's, $20's right? $10 has come your way, $20 has come your way. Those were seeds to be planted."

Less than a decade ago, Tiffany says that she was out of money, options, and hope. $1.1 million dollars and 271K loyal followers later, Tiffany realizes that both the hammer and the seed that she needed to grow her financial house were in her possession all along, she just needed to learn how to use them. "I used to be [a] preschool teacher for 10 years, making $39,000 a year, which in New Jersey meant I was broke. It's not much. And yet I sit before you now a self-made millionaire."

She shared that by using this simple rule, you can reach mogul status, too. "Seeds come my way. I'm going to put up 20 of them in the beginning. You think to yourself, well 20 is not a million, but just wait. You eat up 80 put up 20, eat 80 put up 20," she explained. "After a while, you have enough of that 20 so that you can plant those seeds. That's called investing."

By using the 80/20 rule, Tiffany says that you can develop an entire ecosystem for your money that will set you on your way to true financial freedom. "Putting up the 20s, it's called savings. Eating 80 is called budgeting. The 20 that you have is called investing, and over time, if you watered the seeds, if you give it sunshine and you look after it, that is called increasing your knowledge as it relates to investing."

Money Is Abundant

Courtesy of The Budgetnista

You have everything you need to be successful, sis. Let that sink in for a minute.

But don't just take my word for it, Tiffany's journey is a reminder that being broke is a mindset, and the key to becoming a self-made mogul is changing your perception. "[Having financial freedom] looks like knowing that money is not the goal, it is merely one of the tools that you can use to achieve the goal."

You often hear people say you have to have money to make money, Tiffany came to debunk this myth with a vengence. Securing a bag might make you rich, but planting a seed can make you wealthy. She explained, "Let's just say we're planting apple seeds. So these seeds have now grown into this tree. What happens when you cut open an apple? [There are] seeds. From one seed comes 200 apples. From those apples come millions and millions of seeds. You don't need to have $1 billion to make $1 million. If you just plant the seeds that you are given, you can grow to that."

Tiffany also noted that investment capital isn't always monetary and in some cases, your sweat equity can be more valuable than any number in your bank account. "I took like my skill set as a teacher and I planted it and I invested it. I invested in myself. I grew into a business. Now, I'm a self-made millionaire."

The Budgetnista also reminded us that her story isn't unique, and by using this formula, you can level up your income and your net worth, too. "I just want you to understand that you have the power within you. The money is coming your way. What will you do with it? Are you going to be someone that's going to eat every seed that comes [your way] or [are] you going to be someone who's going to set some aside?"

Tickets for Girl Trek's 2020 Stress Protest go on sale Oct. 1, click here to learn more about how you can be a part of next year's experience! To keep up with Tiffany, follow her on Instagram @TheBudgetnista!

Featured image courtesy of The Budgetnista.

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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