Get Good with Money

For the longest time, I was a budget-resister. As a minimalist, I don’t buy a lot of stuff so I didn’t think I needed a budget. But I was wrong–moving towards a consistent, air-tight budget has been one of the most intentional changes that we have made in our family. Today I’m chatting with author and financial educator Tiffany Aliche, also known as The Budgetnista. She’s sharing her tips and resources to ‘Get Good with Money’.

Tiffany’s Resources

New Book (for Grown Ups): Get Good with Money

Kid’s Book: Happy Birthday Mali Moore

More Resources:

For a very long time. I was a budget resistor. I wanted nothing to do with having a budget as a minimalist. I don't buy that much stuff. And I consider myself to be pretty responsible with my money. So I didn't think it was that necessary for me, but I will say of all the things that my family and I have done to move towards a simple, more intentional life over the past several

Years, creating a consistent, reliable budget has been one of my favorite changes. And I've definitely never thought that I would say that, hi, this is Denaye. I'm the founder of Simple Families. Simple families is an online community for parents who are seeking a simpler more intentional life. In this show, we focus on minimalism with kids, positive parenting, family wellness, and decreasing the mental load. My perspectives are based in my firsthand experience, raising kids, but also rooted in my PhD in child development. So you're going to hear conversations that are based in research, but more importantly, real life. Thanks for joining us. Hi there. It's good to be back. I took a two week break from the show. My kids were on spring break. We drove North to Lake Placid, New York and spent some time skiing, hanging out outdoors,

Getting a few breaths of fresh air in a new zip code. And we came back to a beautiful spring. So today we're talking about money and budgeting and things that might sound kind of boring or kind of scary. I know I have felt those things before, but I have to say that the further I get into minimalism and intentional living, the more I find that financial literacy and money management is an integral part. And on your journey towards living a lighter life, getting good with your money is a big part of that. Now this is not my area of expertise by any means. So today I'm bringing on Tiffany Elicia Tiffany, otherwise known as the budget needs. Sta is a New York times bestselling author and financial educator. And one thing I love about Tiffany is before she started her work in financial literacy, she was a preschool teacher.

So she speaks very well to all the adults out there, and she can also help us to bring our kids into the conversation. Tiffany is the author of a lovely children's book called happy birthday, Molly Moore. And she also has a brand new book for grownups called get good with money. I'll put the links to both of those in the show [email protected] slash episode 258. I hope you enjoy this conversation with Tiffany.

Denaye Barahona: Hi, Tiffany. Thanks for joining me.

Tiffany: Thank you for having me. I'm excited.

Denaye Barahona: So I've been hoping to talk about this topic more and more. I think there'ssSuch a connection between minimalism and intentional living and financial literacy that we don't often tune into it enough.

Tiffany: I totally agree. And as a former preschool teacher, I think it can start as early as three years old. Honestly, maybe even younger if your child was already speaking.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And so I was reading a little bit more about your history and growing up, and I just love hearing that you grew up with financial literacy in the home. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Tiffany: Sure. I was fortunate in that. My, I think my father, when he was a very young man actually used to be a teacher like in his early twenties. So he and my mom did a very good job of showing my sisters and I like financial education and action. So he was more, the I'm doing the budget. Do you want to use my calculator? And he had, cause he was an accountant. And so he had the calculator with the paper that came out the back. So to me, I associated budget with fun.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. I love that calculator. So I know exactly what you're talking about.

Tiffany: Right. But that was really smart because it wasn't like I'm doing the budget. It's a bad time. It was like, look how much fun I'm having using the calculator. We want to just press the number two for me. And so he associated fun things with learning about financial education and my mom, she was more, so my dad was like more academic. Like, let's go over your budget. The first budget I ever made for myself was when I went with a bike, I was about, I think I was like nine going on 10. And I, if you you've got little ones, you know exactly the age where I remembered exactly what my oldest sister got. And I was like, when she was 10, she got a bike. So what I'm saying, I want a bike. She got, she got a Teddy bear. So now that I, I wanted the Teddy bear, kids remember everything except for the things we want them to remember.

Tiffany: So she got a bike when she was 10, so I wanted a bike. And so my dad said, well, I want to let's I want to show you the families a budget. I'm going to show you like what we save. And I want to show you what's left over for your bike. So there was already joy there. I was like, okay. So I got to see kind of the first time the numbers, although I didn't really know, you know, I didn't have any, there was no relevance as far as, other than big and small, you know? So it's like, Oh, this is what you and mommy make every month. Okay, sure. Oh, this is what you spend. Wait, what's the mortgage. What would we pay for the house every month? Oh, I didn't know that. Oh, I knew we paid for the water bill. Cause I would hear them talk about electricity and water, but you don't realize all the things.

Tiffany: And there was like the w now I understand what he was doing. He was trying to get me to see, without saying life costs money. You know, it was just, we're working on your bike budget, but let me just show you real quick, how we get to it. And so once we subtracted the expenses, I realized there wasn't as much money left over. Like I thought, and I realized that money, wasn't just for cookies cake in the corner store. And then I started to worry. I said, well, maybe I shouldn't get it back. He said, no, no, you absolutely should. But let's just be mindful about kind of bike you get. And I really wanted this Barbie bike. That was just my size. And I started to really think, cause I'm one of five daughters. And I thought, you know, when something's just my size, I grew out of it.

Tiffany: My dad coached me obviously to this type of thinking and did I want to go out of my bike in a gear? And I didn't. So instead I opted for this bigger bike that I can grow into, but that that's like, that's how you coach mindful spending in a way that's not scary in a way that's enjoyable because I got my bike, but I understood the flow of how we got there. The financial flow of how we got there. And my mom was more, so we would go food shopping, we would go clothes shopping with her and we would see her navigate, you know, like, which one do you want? Do you really want this one? Or do you really want this one? Cause remember I said, this is our budget today. And so we got to choose. And so yeah, I was just really, really fortunate. And so I took that and that's what that was the basis of the budget needs to, how do you teach from a place of joy from a place of no shame, no judgment of laying out the choices or really laying out the resources so that you can be free to make the choices on your own.

Denaye Barahona: I think that the way you just described your parents approach to money in the home as a child is different in one way, especially from the way that I was growing up. I feel, I feel like my parents did a lot of it in their head. I didn't, they weren't talking about it. Right. And I find myself doing that with my kids too. Like if I'm at the store and I'm comparing the crop, the cost of these beans versus this beans, I don't say these beans are 99 cents. These beans are a dollar 99. I'm going to choose the 99 cent ones because I'll save a dollar that all goes on up here. And I think the more we can take it from our brain out our mouth. So we're putting words to it. So it's not just kind of all happening and it seems kind of like magical decision-making that our kids don't know is going on. Right? Yeah.

Tiffany: Yeah. So in, in, in school speak, right, the teacher speak, they call that modeling. So like when I used to teach preschool, I would say things like, you know what, I think I should wash my hands because I was just outside and outside could be pretty yucky. So I looked, you would talk through the thing that you're doing. So I do that, like I have a bonus daughter she's 14 going on 45, but I gave it to like, I could give it to her life when, when she was six years old. And so we would do that. So I would cause she is, she loves crafts and she loves staples, you know? So I would talk through, I'd be at staples like, Hmm, I really need some new markers. I'm not sure if I should get this set of markers. Cause I kind of already have some of these colors are this set, but I love markers.

Tiffany: And so she would watch me navigate and then I would say, well, what do you think? You know? And so, and then after a while I started to give her her own money. If we were going to staples, like maybe two or $3, but I would call that money, her budget because I wanted to give her the language. You know, it's like when you have little ones in these speak baby, and then your kid talks baby talk. And so, because they can only mimic what you've given them, you know? And so, and that's okay, but you want that, you know, you have to always remember that what your child is only ever going to give you back kind of like what you give them, especially in the beginning. And so with, with I called I called my, my stepdaughter super girl cause I call her, her my my husband Superman.

Tiffany: So with Supergirl, I would say, I'm going to staples and she'd be like, can I come? And I'd say sure. And she then started to ask, well, what's my budget and I might say $3 and then we would go and then to see her navigate, I would see the language that she heard me using. Huh? I really want these sticky notes, but I also want these sticky notes, but I kind of have some of these colors at home, which ones should I get? So I was like, wow, look at like instantly she's taking what she's seen and she's, she's applying it to the world, you know? And then watching her learn about taxes at the register, which is hilarious because she would get something that costs exactly $3. And like me, I wouldn't say anything. We go to the register, she'd go to pay it.

Tiffany: And they'd be like, that'll be $3 and 20 cents. And she's like, w what? 20 cents. And I'm like, there's something called tax. And she's like, I didn't, I never heard of tax before. Of course I would put in the chip in the 20 cents, but I wanted her to see like, wow. And I would tell her the reason why you're able to go to that school. Some of this 20 cents gets, goes to your school, goes to the road that we drive on, you know, goes to taking care of the city that we live in. So she'd be like, okay, so your kid is never too young. Once you're usually around three year old starts saying, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, whoever can you buy me? Not just, can you give me once they use the word buy, they've made the connection between money and things. You want to make sure it's the right connection or the connection that you'd like them to have. And so once that language starts to be used, then, then you start using that language in a way that is age appropriate for, for your, for your young child.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. I think in many families and not just families, I think in individuals talking about money in general is taboo. Have you found that?

Tiffany: Yes. And surprisingly like I, so my parents were both born and raised in Nigeria, in Africa and it would have been, have been, but I think because of their backgrounds, my dad, as a CFO and an accountant, my mom, I think just kind of just having five daughters, you're just like, look, we have to talk about money because I don't know how we're going to manage without it. It normally quite honestly, is taboo even in the culture that I come from. And because the reason why it is taboo is because the adults is already bringing negative emotion to the money. Because imagine saying, you know, talking about haircare is taboo, who said, just haircare, it's not good or bad talking about, you know, how to tie your sneakers taboo. It's not like, so money is not taboo. It's not good or bad. It's, it's the emotion that the person brings to the table.

Tiffany: And really your job as the adult is not to know everything because you're not gonna your job as the adult instead is to present what you do know in a way that doesn't generate fear or judgment or shame, you know, more matter of fact, I can remember my dad saying, you know, mommy lost her job. And I remember looking at him to decide, is that good or bad? Because I'm taking cues. Like, especially like, if you have like a, like a toddler, you don't see a toddler, like then they like run and fall and they look at you like, should I cry kids don't do that. Like your teenager is still doing that your third year old, quite honestly, if you ever got so like your child is still doing that, even though it's not as obvious when, when you're like toddlers, if you don't have toddlers anymore, they're still looking to you to say, how should I feel about this thing? And so your job is not to know everything about money, but it's to try not to bring fear to the money conversation.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And money is scary for so many of us because we haven't had the background in it. We haven't had the education in it. And I know you've played a role in changing that in New Jersey where you live. Right. Can you tell us about that?

Tiffany: Yes. It's something like, honestly, probably one of my proudest moments. I, I a friend of mine is an assembly woman and she came to me after being elected and said, I really want to write a law about financial education. And I said, well, that would be awesome. There's already a law in place in New Jersey for high school. It's been there for some time now. And I said, but I believe after teaching 10 years in preschool, that it should start younger. And so we work together to write this bill and the bill. And at first it was really for elementary and middle school and we got a little pushback. So I was like, okay. I met with all these educators and, and principals and superintendents and stuff like that. And so we, we said, let's, let's roll out for now just financial education for middle school.

Tiffany: And if you're a teacher and you're listening, you'll appreciate this. And that sometimes when some new initiative is rolled out, they do so without thinking about the person that actually has to teach it. And it's very frustrating, you know, I can, I remember I was a teacher being loaded with all these new initiatives. So I wanted to make sure that this law didn't do that. Then instead of saying, we have to stop and teach financial education during this time, during the day, which is overwhelming toward an already packed day that we asked teachers instead to try to integrate financial education into their day. So what that looks like for example is okay, you're going to do an art project anyway. Why not make a savings box where it's just the shoe box. The kids get to glue all these pictures of things they want to save for them.

Tiffany: If you're going to read a book, why not let it be a book? Like my, my, my children's book, happy birthday, Molly Moore that teaches pre financial education lessons. So the budget needs to law in the state of New Jersey makes it mandatory to integrate financial education into middle school, every single public middle school classroom. It didn't hit me that it was a law until a friend of mine, Rihanna lives around the corner, her husband and her, her her eight year old daughter, Olivia. And I was just over like, I am almost every day. And she said, she calls me auntie Tiffany, Tiffany, can you help with my homework? And I said, sure. So I'm helping her with her homework. And I was like, Olivia, they're teaching you money in school. They're teaching you money in school. So it was like the law and action. And here is Olivia this beautiful little girl who is like doing her homework and it was age appropriate financial education. And like, I just got tills and it was just the best thing ever. And it's just the legacy that I'm so excited. I got a chance to leave.

Denaye Barahona: Oh, that's so cool. I can't even imagine that must've brought you so much joy. So I heard you say in an interview that you didn't have a sweet 16, you got a bank account instead. And that kind of brought up some thoughts for me, thinking about it's hard to set boundaries with our kids and it's hard to deal with disappointments when we have to say no. Or maybe when we don't have to say no, your parents didn't have to say no to the sweet 16, right. They chose to, can you speak to that about boundary setting and the fact that our kids aren't going to get it. They're not really going to grasp that underlying importance of this at that age, but it's still important, right?

Tiffany: Yeah, it is. And it's okay. I think you have to erase the notion that your child is going to be super mature and say, I totally understand, because you have to set for college. And even though I want the PS three, four, five, whatever's out right now. Your eight year old is not going to do just not going to get it. I mean, there's a rare eight year old, six year old, seven year old who might get it, but they're not going to, and that's okay. I think that's the component that sometimes parents struggle with is that is that okay that my child is upset that we're not doing something and it is, you know it's okay. Also to offer the alternative, you know, so one of the things my, my, my my parents were really good at was really simplifying the, the consequence or the reward of a thing.

Tiffany: So I remember, I guess our light bill must have been too high because, you know, kids, they were like, even if I'm not in the room, I really would like the light to be on because my Teddy bear needs the light. Right? So my parents would trying to figure out how to get us all five of us to stop leaving my light. Like the house was lit up like a Christmas tree and our Layfield was super high. So they simplified the consequence and the reward. They said, you know, we've asked you guys to turn off the lights, but I see you're having a hard time. I instead going to bring the electric bill every month and I'm going to highlight the electric bill from the month before in the current month. And if we save money, we're going to put money in our vacation jar.

Tiffany: And that means we might be able to go on vacation this summer. You know, now I know 20 or $30 saving. Like then I didn't really understand that 20 or $30 savings was not going to buy a family of seven vacation, but they simplified it in a way that made the light bill important to me. So now all of a sudden you should see, as we're fighting over, you left the light on, this is why we're not going to go. We're not going to go horseback, riding, whatever we wanted to do, you know? So it's okay as a parent that if you're saying no to a thing, not just stopping right there, but showing how you're saying, you know, no or not right now to a thing. So you can say yes to something that really is going to bring a greater benefit. So that allows a child to be like, Oh, okay.

Tiffany: Like, we're not gonna be able to get the PS two, because remember you said you wanted to go to Disney, you know, you and feel free to make loose connections, look bigger to your child. That's okay. You know, like, like I said, the light bill didn't pay for our vacation, but it does impart fall into how we pay for vacation. So feel free to make those connections because just saying no for no sake, sometimes can be very abrupt. And it's hard for children because we're trying to teach them to reason for themselves. So that's another way to model good behavior that I'm not saying no to the video game. I'm saying yes to the thing that we really said, bring us, brings us joy. That is that essentially that's minimalism, right. That we've clear out the things that really don't add to our lives. So we can really amplify the few things that really do. So give your child that language.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that even as adults, we deal with that disappointment when we can't get what we want when we want it. Right. That's not unique to our kids and our kids experiencing that. Disappointment is something that they are going to have just have to get used to as they grow, as we all have to set limits with our spending and put ourselves within these parameters.

Tiffany: Correct. That I like, for example, I don't say I like it's a budget, but I think people think of budgets as restrictive. I look at my budget is my say yes plan. But my budget is I call my budget, like my mom, right. Mom, could I have dessert? Yes. When you finish your dinner budget, can I go on vacation? Yes. When you pay off this debt, mom, can I go play outside? Yes. If you, or can I play outside? If you finish your homework budget, can I buy this new coat? Yes. If you reduce your, your, you know, like take one of these streaming platforms off your budget, you see. So like, you have to think about like, your budget is like your mom. That, it's a, yes. It's your say yes. Plan if your yes. Plan, but, or sometimes just playing. Yes. So your budget, literally, your mom is literally there to look out for your best interests. She wants to say yes, but you also have to sometimes do things to make the yes. Easier, you know, like, Oh, you know, I can trim this. I can cut this back. I can make more here. I can be tighter when it comes to this so I can get my yes. Your, your budget is your yes plan.

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Denaye Barahona: All right, Tiffany. So I ha what, well, let's say past tense, I was a budget resistor for many years. My husband works in finance and manages budgets as part of his job, and always said that we need a family budget. And I always resisted because I was like, you know what, we're minimalists. We don't buy that much stuff. Like we're responsible. We're. And finally, the beginning of last year, we started a family budget and I love it. It's the funniest thing. Cause I was just like you said, you know, it felt like it was going to be really restrictive, but it has had the opposite effect. For me. It feels incredibly freeing that I don't have to feel guilty about spending money because I've allocated money for a certain thing. And it's just, it's a total mind set switch for me. And it's been so empowering. Do you hear that a lot?

Tiffany: Yes. Well, those who are actually like using their budget, you know, because I think that if you're kind of have like this mental budget, like, Oh, I won't be, I'm not even going to do the math. I'm not going to be able to do it. But once you put it down on paper, you're right. Because once you spend, like, I finally got my husband onto a budget, he used to just be like, no, your budget needs the bullying. Leave me alone. If people only knew you mentioned this, the book, just like, whatever dude, like come on, be like, so, but now he loves it because he knows for a fact that our savings are saved, the bills are paid and the money that's left over. He can use it without being like, Oh wait, okay, wait, okay, wait. It's like, no, all we've taken care of our responsibilities.

Tiffany: And we've only left. Like, you know, we each get like kind of like our own personal allowance and he can, you know, if you want to get a haircut, you, you know, you want to buy those new sneakers. If you, whatever that is. It's not like if I see new sneakers and I'm like, Oh, we're supposed to save. I already know we've saved. You know? And so it's just really a budget is truly freeing because it allows you to spend with knowledge that things are taken care of. It allows you to lean in, into using money for joyful things, knowing that the things that you must take care of are taken care of. So I'm so glad that they, that that's been your experience because that's how I feel about budgets. Budgets are Bay.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And I actually get excited every month. I usually do it like two days before. And at first my husband was doing it because he's the designated finance guy in the family, but I took it over because I do do most of the spending, you know, I buy the household stuff and I'm the one that's really doing the planning. And it just makes sense for me to, we do it together, but it makes sense for me to kind of lead the way and set it up. Usually I set it up and then he kind of looks it over and figures out anything that might be missing. But yeah, it's been such a great experience for me. I can't, at this point, I can't imagine living any other way. But do you feel like everybody needs a budget?

Tiffany: Yes. To some form. So some people like when I was a preschool teacher, I had to be really granular because there was not a whole lot extra, you know, so I really needed to be super specific. Now I still have a budget now, now that I make much more, but I'm not as I don't go down to the nitty gritty like I did before, because there's more space there. Even if you're Oprah, there still needs to be some sort of budget in place or you, I mean, I don't care how much money you make. It's possible to overspend, even if you're a millionaire, even if you're a billionaire, you know, because you can, you know, you can, you can purchase yourself that private Island and it puts you $10 million over, or you can purchase that dinner and it puts you $10 over. So yes, everyone should have a budget. How it looks though, it's going to look different depending on where you are in your financial life.

Denaye Barahona: I read somewhere that the top 5% of income earners in the U S are living paycheck to paycheck.

Tiffany: See that because what happens is you over leverage yourself and you over promise and deliver with your external life. Like, there's nothing better than when I taught preschool because no one had any expectation that I was going to like, have like a Lamborghini and like a, you know, like a palatial mansion. I drove at the time, a 99 Toyota Camry. And it was like 2001 or 2002. I, you know, I lived in a, in a two bedroom condo and I had a roommate, my sister, you know, like, thankfully for preschool, they, they actually made us wear a uniform, which was just like nurses, scrubs. So the kids, you know, you could get dirty and not have to worry about your clothes. So, but nobody, nobody needed me to look fancy. So I didn't. So instead I was really a great saver and almost like the first two and a half, three years of teaching, I saved, I was making $39,000 a year.

Tiffany: And the first three years about of teaching, I saved $40,000, you know, but I also tutored and babysat on the side, but that's because I didn't feel this pressure to externally look like anything, but the preschool teacher, but when you make a ton of money and you're in certain professions, like, you know, people expect that the doctor is going to have that really nice car, whether he could it or not, they're expecting that the attorney or the engineer, maybe their kid is going to private school, whether you want that or not. And so people fall into kind of like those expectation traps. And as a result, you know, I can see that, you know, not, not everyone in that top 5%, but certainly some of the top 5%, those who are professionals, you know, meaning like the engineer, the doctor, the lawyer, I see that a whole lot.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. So we recently downsized, we sold our house and we're renting a much smaller rental and it's been an amazing decision for our family. It's so much less pressure, less stress, more savings, more money to spend on fun things. But when, in the process of moving, when we were telling people that we were selling our house and we were downsizing I remember the first time we talked about it with kind of an acquaintance and my husband and I were together and were talking about it and we walked away and he said, that felt weird that I said we were downsizing. And I wonder how that was viewed. And, and, and we kind of reflected on that, this idea that if we go around saying, Oh yeah, we're downsizing. What is the, what do people think? You know, I think in general, people think, Oh, there must be something wrong and they must be financially strapped, or they must have misused their money, that sort of thing. And I, I think that is a barrier, this idea that it feels like moving backwards when you, when you're making decisions like that.

Tiffany: I think it's all about the language too, right? This is what we teach our children. So maybe it's not that you're downsizing. That sounds like an upgrade to me. So we're removing to a smaller place because we're going to upgrade our life. Oh, really? How so? Well, because we're going to use that extra money so we can vacation and, you know, the kids really love this and I really wanted it, you know? One of my kids really wanted to take lessons and so that's an upgrade. So for example, I remember I stopped telling my friends that I wasn't going to go to brunch with them on Sunday. Because I didn't have it or I didn't want to spend the money because that sounded like downsizing, like, hell no. So then I started to say, because one I started to play this game.

Tiffany: Like I don't drink. So, but it's just like a drinking game, but, but with money instead. So I started to play this game where every time I was invited to brunch, what I think I would spend 20 or 30 bucks, I would transfer it to my savings. So that's like, that was the drink. Like, that was me taking the shot train. So after a few months I had a few hundred dollars and I was like, wow. So I asked a friend of mine cause I'd never been on a solo trip. And a friend of mine worked for the for the, for the fourth airline. And I said, where's a really safe, beautiful place I can go. And you know, I've got like $400. And he was like, definitely. What did I go? I went to Phoenix. He was, no, no, no.

Tiffany: I went to Albuquerque, New Mexico. He said, New Mexico is absolutely beautiful, fairly inexpensive. I think my flight, I found it on Groupon for like three 50. And then I stayed in this really cute, like quaint Airbnb or something like that. So the whole trip costs me under 500 bucks. Cause I use like honey this and, and Groupon. And it was amazing. And I remember after that, realizing that I stopped telling my friends, I don't have it to go to brunch. Instead I started to say, they would say, Tiffany, do you want to go to brunch? And I'd be like, Oh no, I'm saving for Morocco. You know? So it's not like I don't have it. Then there'd be like, wait, what? I want to go to Morocco. I'm again. Well, you know, every time you guys are inviting me to brunch, I put my Morocco money up or I put my Paris money up and these are places I've been, I put my India money up.

Tiffany: I put so all of a sudden it wasn't this because for sure it made me feel bad. And quite honestly it made my friends feel bad when I told them I wasn't going to go. But to hear that I was saving for something amazing. It was like, I'm telling you, I can't tell you how many friends, you know, we'll take a few months off brunch and save and then want to travel with me when we went. And so it's okay to, to shift the language to one. And I encourage it to one that's positive, not just for you, but for the listener, because you have an opportunity to convert them potentially with like, you know what I want to upgrade, you know, which means the downside is this side of my life. So I can like raise up this other and prioritizes other part of my life. That sounds amazing. When I go home, I'm going to talk to my wife about that. Yeah.

Denaye Barahona: And we actually recorded a whole podcast episode on this topic because I felt like it's not an easy thing to explain. Right. I think that that mindset switch is something that a lot of us are not familiar with and it can be hard to kind of wrap our heads around, but I do. Yeah. I think you're right. That absolutely shifting your words can inspire other people to make changes too, because it is a positive, it's a huge positive change for us, but it might not always come across that way without a little bit of finessing and getting people to understand that there's more to it.

Tiffany: I agree. So

Denaye Barahona: I want to talk about your book, happy birthday, Molly Moore, which is your children's book. I love it. Okay. So I read this and interestingly, if I had read this, not knowing that you were a financial educator, I would have thought this was an, a minimalism intentional living book because the messaging is so intertwined. This idea that Molly has this birthday party, everybody's bringing her a bazillion gifts. And she realizes that she doesn't really want the stuff she wants the people and the love and the relationships. And it just, I love how it connected, all brought all these ideas full circle for me, this idea of how, what our kids are actually learning, not just to value the things that matter most, but that they're saving money and able to do things that they really love rather than collecting all that stuff. Right?

Tiffany: Yeah. So I wrote it because I wanted to give children. Yes, I, I want the teacher in me was like, okay, there's so many lessons I can teach that are super benign, that the child won't even know cause of the book rhymes. It's, you know, I want it to be very colorful, but it rhymes and folks don't understand that is pre counting. Right. And because if you can keep a beat, you can start to count. If you could start to count, you start to learn numbers. And if you can start to learn numbers, that's math, that's money. And so like, it's the it's there there's pre financial education level lessons that play. So the rhyming, the fact that there is counting of this book, you know, one bike, two balls, six birds, you know, like that those numbers are really important for kids to, to, to learn as well.

Tiffany: But then also the lesson of, you know, like I love my, one of my favorite pictures is like, you could see it's the, it's when it reaches its peak when she's jumping. And she's like, you know, and I remember I gave it to my friend and she's like, I don't, I don't know if I like the way this lesson is going. I'm like, keep reading, like, this is terrible, but that's because this is how kids really feel, you know, I want more stuff, stuff. And then then you start to realize that like, Oh, that the, the picture that's really poignant. And I had it in my head from the beginning is I wanted you to physically see sometimes how your stuff pushes other people away when she's in her living room and all these gifts are on the couch and she's sitting there paying attention to the gifts and literally nobody else can sit down.

Tiffany: And so that's a physical representation of like, when you start to put stuff before people and how you push them away and how they all went outside to have a good time. And she was the only one left the blower, her candle, and it kind of hit her like, wait, what does more truly mean? You know? And then that's why I had the extended lesson activities and, and and questions in the back of the book, because I know you as the adult reading it, you might want to extend the lesson for the child that you're reading it too. So you have the opportunity to do that. And her site also offers additional resources for free to get people in their child on financial track, well and pre financial track. Cause the book is really ideally for ages three to seven, but I was so proud of it.

Tiffany: It was something that I had in my head when I used to teach preschool because when I couldn't find the right book, then I would make it up. I would tell the story or we would make it like do it with like, you know, I would create the book with out of construction paper or whatever. But because story is one of the best ways to get your your, I would say three to seven year old to absorb and lesson, because if you're just saying Alyssa, what did we say about keeping our hands to ourselves? And you know, your three-year-old is having a hard time with what you're really saying. But if it's Alyssa, you know what, let's read a book and it's about a little mouse that pushes his friend. And as a result, his friend doesn't want to come over and play anymore.

Tiffany: And then all of a sudden then Alyssa can see the mouse. Well, the mouse shouldn't have pushed him. That's not nice. And you're like, okay. Yeah. So stories are the best ways to impart lessons. So kids can see themselves outside of themselves. And so I'm excited because the next, the next book, this is, I don't think I've mentioned this anywhere, but I'm, I wanted happy Molly, more to be a series. The next book I found that I did not know this because her name is Molly, M a L I that Molly and Swahili. I just love the name, Molly, but it means wealth. I didn't know. I had posted her, the title. Like I posted her picture on my Instagram and someone said, I live in Kenya and hear some of us speak Swahili. Do you know what Molly means? And I said, no, she's like, girl, it means wealth.

Tiffany: And I was like, how appropriate? And so the next book is going to be called, what does Molly mean where she's going to learn that her name means wealth, but then it's going to give her and her mom the opportunity to explore what does wealth really mean? Wealth is hugs. Wealth is kisses. Wealth is family time, wealth as community and service. So I want each picture to illustrate what wealth can look like. So yes, certainly wealth can be money, but wealth is so much bigger than that. So that's the next book. And I'm just really proud of this this, this new series that I've created because I just think parents need access to tools that are age appropriate and that are joyful. And that really that your kids can enjoy.

Denaye Barahona: Right? And I loved that it is teaching these underlying skills, but it's not so technical. Like, well, first we put money aside for your shoes, right? And because that's not age appropriate for a three to seven year old, actually teaching how to do a budget, but more laying the foundation and planting the seeds of how we spend our money and being intentional about the things that we're bringing into our lives.

Tiffany: Exactly. That sounds, I mean, you have no idea. This was just like, this was like my baby to make it. It took, I, I secretly worked on it for so many years because I just wanted every picture to just tell the full story that I wanted people to see. Like I wanted you to see that Molly's friends were all different colors and her family and friends when they came to visit her, that was really intentional. I wanted you to see that the adults in her life were different sizes, you know, because I think that's really important for kids to just see that there is there's diversity, the best. But there's the opening line in the book. And I love that. A mom said, it's this little boy with straight hair. And so I wanted, because Molly's hair is like how my hair was when I was a little girl.

Tiffany: And the first blind is Molly Moore has hair like a cloud. Molly is fun, strong, smart, and proud. And this mom wrote me. She's like, this is my son, blonde hair, blue eyes straight here. And he's like, mom, I want to hear like a cloud, but that's the kind of language that you're wanting to use. You know, because when I was little and I had hair like Molly, I was teased, you know, so I wanted to restructure. And if you notice in here, I don't really ever call Molly, although she is pretty and beautiful, but that's what they always tell girls. Molly is fun. She's strong, she's smart. She's proud. So I'm really, I was my soul. There are like higher key lessons. Like here's how you count and Ryan, but then there's these underlying lessons. Like you, you, you, you can have friends that look different than you, that girls can be described something else other than just how they look, you know? And so, yeah, it's just like, I'm just really excited about like where this is going to go. And like secretly I'm also working like on a, like a YouTube channel. I have heard you to channel, but the jazz who helped me to illustrate well, he illustrated the book. I was like, let's make some, a series of videos to take the lessons even further. So definitely keep an eye out for that. And if you're getting the book it's just available at ha Oh, at Molly Moore, M a L I M O R

Denaye Barahona: Great. And I'll put that link in the show notes too. So tell me about your brand new grownup book. Yes. I know. Cause people are like, okay, so what about me? Right? Because we're all still learning. Right? Big and small.

Tiffany: And so I wrote this book called get good with money, 10 simple steps to becoming financially whole, because I started to realize that like financial freedom, honestly, it's kind of a lie. So because financial freedom looks at one aspect of what really should be your holistic financial life, financial freedom focuses heavily on like the net worth aspect. You have a pile of money. You don't have to work anymore, you know, but is that really all that you have to think about? No, like there are other aspects, there's your budget, their savings there's debt, this your credit. There's learning how to earn, learning, how to invest insurance, your net worth of an obviously too, but financial professionals, if you need them and then estate planning. So there's these 10 components that I think that as an adult, if you can master, you will reach financial, homeless and financial freedom.

Tiffany: To me, it's just for a small percentage of people, but financial wholeness is something everyone can achieve. And so I wrote this book, get good with money to walk you through the 10 steps and how to achieve them because I thought to myself, okay, now I'm a successful business woman. Great. So, you know, I, you know, I know that like I'm going to be fine with my money, but what about when I taught preschool, does the preschool teacher, Tiffany get to be strong with her money? So I wrote it for preschool teacher, Tiffany. I wrote it for when I lost everything during the recession, Tiffany was struggling and had to move back home at age 30, Tiffany, I wrote a four 40 year old Tiffany. Now that has a successful business. I wrote it for every range of person, whether you are a mechanic, an NFL player, a business owner, a teacher, you know, whatever that you are.

M,you can reach financial homeless on your own terms and you too can get good with money. So I do have a gift that because I think not enough folks understand where they currently are. So I created this well, one get good with money is out. You can go to getgoodwith Uand also too, there's a quiz there that you can take the good with money quiz and see like what, what are you 10%, 20%, 30%. So you know exactly where to lean in, because I think that we all have the opportunity to live our best financial life. Ubut I want you to do so on your own terms, not through terms that people set for you and that's what get good with money is all about.

Denaye Barahona: Hmm. I love that. I can't wait to get a copy myself and read it. Thank you so much, Tiffany. This has been so helpful and I'm going to put those links in the show notes and definitely share some of those resources, resources over on Instagram too, because I think that your message and all of your materials just have so much to offer for us all.

Tiffany: Thank you. I appreciate that.

Thanks so much for tuning into today's episode. I hope you enjoyed this chat with Tiffany. If you want to find the links to her books and get in touch with her, go to for the links. When you have a moment, please leave a rating or review for this podcast. I appreciate your support. Have a good one.

Denaye Barahona

Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She's a therapist for moms, an author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, Netflix, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Forbes, and numerous other media outlets.