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September 12, 2022 55 mins

In the same way that being able to read is a critical component of learning and furthering your education, budgeting is essential to managing your money well and building wealth. It’s foundational! And that’s why we’re pumped to have Sarah Wilson joining us on the podcast today. Today we discuss why the Budget Girl started publishing her own budget for the entire internet to see, how granular you should be getting with your budget, as well as some of the lowest hanging fruit everyone should consider. And we also hear how Sarah paid off all of her student loans in just 3 years on a meager income, her foray into house hacking, charging her boyfriend rent, the future of her very successful site and YouTube channel, plus a bunch of other topics as well!


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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to How the Money. I'm Joel and I am Matt.
Today we're talking building wealth on a tiny income with
Sarah the budget Girl. That's right, Sarah Wilson is joining

us on the podcast today. Um, and yes, we're most
definitely going to talk a ton about budgeting. Sarah is
the budget girl, after all. We'll discuss how she got
started budgeting. We'll talk about best methods, the biggest mistakes
that that folks are making out there with their budgets.
But you know who knows after that what else will
end up talking about. Because Sarah is basically like a

personal finance Swiss army knife. She does it all. She
she paid off her student loans in just three years
on quite a meager income. She's getting into investing in
real estate. She's also financial wellness advocate and speaker, as
well as a content creator, as she has posted weekly
videos up on her wildly successful YouTube channel. So we're

excited to talk about all of that and more today. Sarah,
thank you for joining us on the podcast. Thank you
for having me, and I am absolutely stealing that. I'm
a personal finance Swiss army knife. Put that in your
marketing material, Sarah, that's what we're here for. I like it.
That was a freebee. I appreciate you got it anything
for you. Our first question for for everyone who comes

on the podcast has to do with what they like
to spend money on, because you can. You can learn
a lot about someone by where their dollars go intentionally,
and Matt and I we intentionally spend money on good
craft beer while we're also saving and investing for the future.
So our question for you is what is that in
your life? What do you like to support john while
you're also making smart moves with your money. Well, I've

got a bit of a weird one where a lot
of people say, wait, really, the weirder, the weirder, the bed. Yeah.
I like to buy vintage campers and trailers. Over the
past couple of years, I've I've spent about close to
thirty thou on three different ones with various end results.
But it is it's something that you wouldn't think of.

And if you had asked um, the version of me
that started you know, YouTube eight years ago, who was
in so much debt, if I would ever just spend
money on campers and renovating those as a hobby, I
would probably think you were dumb, but I definitely do
that now. And it's it's weird, but it's it's a
huge splurge. I mean that tells me that you enjoy it. Right.

If it's a splurge, that means you wouldn't do this
thing if you didn't enjoy it. So is it, like,
what is it specifically about these I mean, is it
the fact that they're vintage? Is it because they're kind
of old and timeless? You're talking about air streams or
kind of an air stream I've almost bought several air streams,
and there's always been like some major thing where I
was like, no bad idea. So I have always loved

like Vin Titch Campers and very much things like the Shasta's,
the old air streams. I think there's something incredibly cool
about them. And I love the entire tiny living movement movement. No,
I do not live tiny, have a three bed, two
bath house that's full of crap, but I have always yeah,
the the idea of tiny living spaces, incredibly curated spaces,

and so I'm also into real estate that you guys
might know, or people might know if they've seen my
channel little um and after I paid off my debt.
I bought a duplex and that's been a wonderful investment,
but it actually didn't need that much work, and so
I like to um, I'm a bit of a masochist.
So I then bought a vintage camper that was way

too big of a job for me and had to
sell it. And then I bought another vintage camper and
I spent four months renovating it, making it into an
airbnb and it is now a entirely cash paid for
pro pretty essentially that I own own and I do
a short term rental with it's called the Agwagon. And
I loved every single minute of designing and fixing that

thing up. I love how for for nerdy frugal people,
something that can be as splurged can also make the money,
right Like that's that's that's one of the coolest things
about It doesn't have to be something that only if
you can if you could take pride and and and
find joy in the thing you're spending money in, that
can on that can generate revenue, that's that's the best
of both worlds. Absolutely. I often when people ask me

about my my journey to paying off debt, I say,
just as an overarching thing, I traded all of my
hobbies that cost me money for hobbies that make me money.
And that's kind of a mindset shift. And it doesn't
mean you can't have hobbies that you enjoy and that
just kind of you spend money for the love of
getting to do that thing. But if you have some

hobbies that also make you money, then you're going to
end up in a much better financial place eventually, because
we all have time to spend on stuff. Yeah, it's
it's win win in that way. And if craft beer
wasn't a part of our show, who knows if we
would even have a podcast if we didn't find some
way to channel our love of craft beer into creating

a podcast and talking about personal finances. Um, but let's
kind of start at your origins. What is it that
made you start posting your budget on the on the
internet way back in the day, Oh so many moons ago.
I graduated college with twenty seven thousand dollars in student
loan debt, which is actually not even that much, especially

compared to now. I mean this was over a decade
ago at this point. Um, I got a job at
a newspaper I was making twenty four grand a year,
and the government told me I didn't make enough to
pay on my student loans. So I worked that job
for a couple of years and my loans ballooned up
to thirty three thousand UM just from interest. I then

got laid off from that job because they found someone
who could do it even cheaper than me. So I
was on unemployment terrified. Had you have worked at who
made it was like comfortable making less than two dollars
a year? Was at a piece of software? Like what
was it a literal money or what? How did I
know it was? It was one of my employees. Yeah,

So I had someone who I had just hired to
do like a weekly column in that section of the
newspaper that I ran. I was the lifestyles editor of
the paper, and she apparently decided that she could do
my job. And I no hate to her, no hate
to my boss at the time. I understand the bottom
line of that business. But I had spent like two
years creating this lifestyle section for this little kind of

like crime rag newspaper, and it made them a lot
of money because then you could put ads in for
things that didn't want to be next to you know,
the meth bust. Uh. Yeah, I was not making much money.
I was working so many hours. It was not a
great job, and yet it was still very devastating when

I got laid off from it. So I was on
unemployment for like five months. And I decided that once
I got a new job, no matter how much I
was making, I was going to figure this money thing out,
because I knew that I could support myself just like
waitressing or doing whatever. But I couldn't then tackle my debt.
And that was really like a huge weight on my
shoulders and it felt like I couldn't. It was just

devastating and very scary. And I know a lot of
people are in that place with money too, so I
I remember it well, sure, I mean that's I mean,
that is how you learn, right, Like, like you have
some folks who are who are saying, well, this is
something I want to start doing. But when you have
necessity causing you to you know, causing you to invent,
you're going to quickly learn how to budget and how

to handle handle your money. Well, you'll become the next
Benjamin Franklin inventing all sorts of things. Because you're forced to.
And I don't know. I think back to those days
when I was right out of college and I took
a similar career trajectory Sarah, where I was in media,
and the realit the is that most media jobs don't
pay very well. It's not it's not a great recipe

for a longstanding, stable, well paying career um. And my
first job paid almost the exact same amount as yours,
and it just it forces you to kind of learn
some frugal habits um. But yeah, that can that must
have been scary to see your debt rising every single
month and then your income to kind of drop out
from underneath. At the same time, it was very much

I look get up or give up moment, and I
decided that I was going to get up and do
whatever it took to kind of make a future for myself,
regardless of the low income, regardless of being on my own,
and it was it was going to happen. I was
going to be the only one that was going to
make it, And so was starting budget girl. Was that

part of like it was it was it just to
keep you account of accountable? Was it to document your
story for other people? Like? What was the reasoning behind
kind of making a public It started as a way
for me to talk about money without annoying my friends
to death. So I got a new job. Eventually I
had to move to Louisiana. I didn't know anyone. I

got a job in a newspaper there, making like thousand
pre taxs, and uh, I decided that I was going
to become obsessed with like budgeting, figuring out how it
was going to fix this thing for myself. And I
knew that I needed someone to talk to and I
didn't want to you know, remove all of my my

online friendship, so I just constantly wanting to talk to
them about money. So at the time, there were three
personal finance YouTube channels aside from like Dave Ramsey, and
he was just kind of getting started on YouTube at
the time. He was, you know, putting his podcast on there,
his radio show on there, but not really doing a lot.
So there was Lydias in a frugal, debt free life,
his and her money, who still have a hugely successful

business and a channel called Debt is Dumb that's no
longer around. And these were all hir income people than me.
They were all multi income families and they all had kids,
and so I couldn't really relate to them. It's so
wonderful now that there's so many different personal finance channels
and people who are talking about money out there that
you can find someone that's in a similar situation to

you that you can relate to. But at the time,
there wasn't anything, so I just decided to start talking
about it. That's good. Yeah, you find your people, you
start talking to them specifically about about budgeting. I mean,
we're we're big fans of budgeting in particular. I'm kind
of a budget nerd myself, Sarah. But you said before
that budgets that they're kind of like the secret sauce
when it comes to building wealth. Why why is that?

So we master what we manage. If you don't know
what money is coming in, if you don't know how
much you're making and you don't know how much is
coming out, then you're absolutely losing opportunities to do things
intentionally with that money. Um, even if you make a
great income and your expenses aren't that high and you're
not making goals for your money and pushing that money

that you have towards things that are going to enricher
life and make your future what you want it to be.
You're you're just losing out. So I use a zero
based budget. I recommend that to everyone, and I don't
care whether people use an app, pen and paper, a planner,
a spreadsheet. I'm a spreadsheet girl. It's just whatever works
for you. But once you start actually seeing on paper

where your money is going, you're going to make different
choices and you're going to be able to cultivate the
life that you want, or at least get closer to
it using that to the best of your ability by
giving it. A job with a budget, Yeah, sometimes people
get hung up on the details of a budget, So
I guess from your experience, how granular should people be

getting and how much maybe time should they be spending
on their budget. I think sometimes people think of budgeting
as this like hours long endeavor and that that that
it's it's just this massive pile of drudgery that's going
to take every Wednesday night instead of watching shows or talking,
hanging out with their significant other or a good friend,
they're gonna have to budget for hours on end. Like

how Yeah, talked to me about the granularity and maybe
the time piece of budgeting. Those are great questions, and
that's it's a completely legitimate fear because your first budget,
if you haven't been budgeting and you don't know like
where all your accounts are and what's coming in and
what's going out, and really what you spend on things
like groceries or car insurance, it's going to take a
while for you to get all of that down on paper.

But once you create that first budget, most of the
work I think is mostly over. Yeah, you're gonna have
to update it. You're gonna have to reconcile your budget
every month. I spend a couple of minutes a week
and then about half an hour a month at the
end of each month to close out my budget push
money to where it's supposed to go. It's not that bad,

but I've also been doing it for years. It might
take you a little longer. There are things like apps
where you can have your you know, debit card transactions important,
and then all you have to do is press a
couple of buttons to send those to each category. It
doesn't have to be an hour's long thing, and if
you're doing it right, it's not. There's also the matter
of you know, maybe this takes an hour a month,

or when you're first starting, maybe a couple hours a month.
You spend a lot of time working for somebody else.
If you're the CEO of your own life, you might
want to consider dedicating an hour or so to your
money each month, because that's it's a very important part
of your business, the business of you. So Joel's kind

of talking to a big talk You mentioned um the
zero some budgeting, But I know that Joel's kind of
he's kind of like a big numbers kind of guy.
He's I don't get very granular. Yeah, I'm very overarching.
I I save and invest a huge chunk of what
I make because I live frugally, But I don't spend
a lot of time with the specific And so I
guess I bring that up start is because do you

think for a lot of folks that even just kind
of starting, they're kind of starting with like a general
idea of of how much like a percentage of their
income that they're investing or saving or a percentage of
their income that's that's you know, going towards their uh,
you know, expenses every single month. Is that better than nothing?
I like, do folks need to go kind of like
whole hog with it right off the bat, or uh,

you know, might folks be able to kind of gradually
work their way into budgeting. I think it very much
depends on how many resources you have. If you live comfortably,
you have more money coming in then you necessarily need
to spend. Then. Yeah, you could absolutely do a bucket
budget and just say all right, I'm gonna put about
my income into investments and another like five percent. Then

I'm just going to spend whatever is left in this category.
And some people do where they have part of their
income every month go to an account and then they
can just spend freely out of that account as long
as there's money. Um. That is still budgeting. UM, you're
still planning for your future and making sure things are
growing where. I will say that most people do not

have enough resources coming into where they can be that
law's a fair most people who get into personal finance,
it's out of necessity. And if you have months where
the ends don't meet, you're going to have to go
more granular because that's how things are going to change.
Either you're going to have to figure out ways to
lower your expenses. UM, you're gonna have to figure out

ways to increase your income in some areas, and it's
very much about the details. And that's how I got
out of debt because I was I was making sixteen
hundred dollars a month. That was what my paycheck every
month was. So after you know, rant, food, car insurance
and everything like that, I was dealing with very small
margins and even doing things like switching which grocery store

I went to, or just other very small weekly things
that we might not think about so much and I
might not think about them so much anymore, would make
a difference over the month, and it determined how much
I could spend on um paying off my debt. And
those first few years making sixteen hundred dollars a month
post tax, I paid off tin k year of debt. Yeah,

I mean those those small changes like where you shop
for groceries make a big difference in your ability to
keep more money in your life to reach those other
financial goals. Right, the ability to just shop at all
the instead of publics or something like that is gonna
make is gonna make a meaningful difference in that monthly budget,
allowing you to more quickly reach those goals and I love, like,

um one, that you've lived it right. But you also
you talk about how people can live the life of
their dreams on any budget. That's one of the things
you've said. And as someone who grew up lower middle
classes had who had those years of having a lot
of debt to pay off but not having a whole
lot of income to do it with, can you talk
about budgeting on a smaller income and and why is it? Like,

I don't know, I want to believe what you say
that people can live the life of their dreams on
any income, but I don't know a lot of people
will hear that and they'll say that sounds crazy, that's
not my life. Well, the phrase I usually use this
build the life of your dreams on any income. So, um,
if I'm sure you guys know Paula pant in the
space she she Doesn't Afford Anything podcast and has that brand,

and I really like what she says about you can't
afford anything, but you cannot afford everything. So a lot
of what I talk about sometimes is about value based spending,
and often we spend when we're not monitoring our money
just kind of everywhere. And if you can redirect your

focus towards the things that you actually value then and
just say no, I'm not going to spend on anything else.
Then it can make this huge difference in your budget
and in your life. So you know, maybe you're going
out to movies and bars and stuff like that for entertainment,
but you don't really care about drinking. Or maybe you

spend a lot on a car when you don't really
care about cars. I drive a salvage vehicle and have
for years that I pay basically pennies for it worked great.
I could care less what type of car drive around in.
I'm not going to sign Yeah, so I'm not going
to sign up for a loan on this like gorgeous truck.

But some people really love cars. They love cars, and
they might not like clothes. They don't really care what
they wear. And for that person, I would say absolutely,
if you're trying to build the life that you want,
spend the money on that car. Save for it, of course,
make sure that you can afford it, but don't feel
bad about investing in the things that you really value.

So and on a lower income, that's even more important.
So if you're if your family really loves to go camping,
save money for camping, don't necessarily go to like movies
and other stuff. Replace the things that aren't bringing you
that much joy with fewer things that really really make
you light up totally. Yeah, And oftentimes I think folks
aren't spending enough time, whether that's looking at their budget

every week or every month like that folks and taking
the time they're not sitting that that portion of their
life aside to determine whether or not they're gaining that
value from the money that they're spending. Let's assume though,
that you have identified what it is that you value,
You have identified the things that light you up for
the most part, you know you you want to kind
of find ways to cut back in all of those
other areas that don't bring you that joy. Uh, And

so just kind of like on a practical note, like
like what are some of the like like the lowest
hanging money saving fruit out there that that you think
that most folks probably aren't thinking of? What are ways
that folks can trim their budget while still of course
maintaining what it is that they're they're splurging on their
craft beer equivalent. One of the biggest things for me
when I started is that I didn't do any sort

of meal planning. Um. I would go to the grocery
store much like many people a few times a week.
I would wander up and down the aisles, think about
what I wanted to eat like that evening, by a
bunch of ingredients, bring them home, and then I end
up going out to lunch the next day because even
though I just went to the grocery store, I didn't
have anything for lunch. So groceries and restaurants are always
going to be the biggest categories for most people. Like

we just spend a lot. There's a lot of food
waste in most American homes. We actually end up throwing
away about of what we buy. Imagine what you could
do with your grocery budget back and I will say
that learning how to plan for groceries and eating out.
Planning for food is a longer system than you would think.

Most people cannot switch from having no meal plan to
shopping sales, planning out things doing like freezer meals, figuring
out how much things at the grocery store are and
if there are a good deal. That's going to take
many months to kind of call your grocery budget down,
but it's absolutely worth it because then you're not throwing

out as much food. So, yeah, groceries and restaurants are
probably one of the first things I usually recommend people
start with the majority of my audience or women, so
we usually end up heading the food for households and
it can make a giant difference. Many people spend well
over a thousand dollars a month on food to feed
their families, and if that can be cut down even

by a couple of hundred dollars, that can be what
you build your emergency fund with. That can be what
you start investing with. What about what about subscription subscriptions
because it feels like those are proliferated in a big way.
We've talked about that on the show quite a bit.
There's just there are more and more brands and companies
that want to siphon money from you, not just on

a one time basis, but like repeatedly every single month
on the first or fift or whatever of the month.
So is that one of those things that's often overlooked
to that's costing people money that they're they're not really
aware of. You just reminded me I need to cancel
Paramount plus again. So yes, we help you are twice
here already on the podcast, Okay, Um. Yeah. Subscriptions are

really big, especially when you're first starting and figuring out
what's coming in and what's going out. It's one of
those things where we just forget about, and people who
don't check their bank accounts that often it's very easy
to forget to cancel that free trial for that subscription service,
or um just let something come in like the And
I think most subscriptions that are like delivery subscriptions are

the worst deal in the world. It's just it's like
a little present for yourself, like you're trying to make
Christmas happen over and over. And I get it. I
also like mail. But but if you're trying to um
bring your spending down so that you can redirect it
towards things that will actually make a bigger difference in

your life. UM. Absolutely. And it doesn't matter if it's
those food subscription services or the beauty box services, the
stake of the month club, whatever it is. Those are
a really easy thing to cut if you don't want
And here's the thing. Most of the stuff that comes
in those boxes you didn't even want, Like, I'll figure

out a way to use this, but you know, there
might be one thing you get your jolly's up really over,
But it's no. I don't As for like online subscriptions,
those are a little bit insidious sometimes. I think there
are so many platforms now, and I actually share streaming
platforms with my best friend and I have since college.
So I pay for UM Hulu and Disney Plus and

she pays for Prime and Netflix and we share those.
I do understand that some of those companies are starting
to crack down on that a little bit, but that
I saved us both money for years and it kind
of keeps the overall bills down and it gives us
something to talk about. UM. I sometimes will purchase them.

Think for like a limited series. I wanted to watch
I Carly on Paramount Plus, so I signed up for that,
and I need to cancel that. Um. But yeah, just
monitoring your money as it or your bank account as
stuff comes and goes out, and then actually seeking out
how to unsubscribe or cancel those can absolutely plug up
one of those drains that happens to all of us,

including me. Well, Sarah, we've got many more topics and
questions that we want to get to, including like we're
gonna talk a little bit more about real estate, We're
gonna ask you more about your your campers. But we
also want to kind of dive into relationships a little
bit too and how that impacts your finances, and so
we'll get to all of that right after this. All right,

let's keep going. We're talking with Sarah Wilson the Bunch
of Girl as she's known on YouTube, and Sarah, one
of your most controversial videos. I would say it was
about how you charge your boyfriend rent to live in
your house. I personally I loved it. I thought it
was great. But can you tell us about that, like
why why do you charge him rent? What kind of

blowback have you gotten? How how does that work out
relationally for you guys? Um, Well, anytime my viewers my
views are down, all I do just bring that up
and I get look, so that's always fun. Here's the thing.
I don't actually see it, and most people who read
that content on my website or watch it on my
YouTube are like, this is a this is a non starter.

Of course he should pay his ways. He's a grown
adult man. Um Like everyone has to pay to live
somewhere except me because I own the house and I
rented out. But um that's it's a little different. Um
So I do this thing called house hacking with you
guys of I'm sure you've heard of, but I essentially
I bought a duplex. I live on one side, I

ran out the other side, and I also ran out
part of my side because my boyfriend lives with me.
So I put all the money in for the house.
It is only in my name. And we had a
grown up discussion because we were living together before and
we were splitting rent on an apartment. Um, So we
had a grown up discussion that was like, all right,
what's best for each of our finances on this. My boyfriend, Jacob,

he has some debt. He has some student debt that
he's working through. And if something were to happen with
the house, like the fridge goes out, it needs new drainage,
we needed a new roof. All things that have happened
within the past two years. Blood in Kitchen. The joys
of home ownership are not not as numerous as many
people would would say. Right, yeah, I love it, I

absolutely love it. But I'm financially prepared for it. I
have savings, I don't have any debt other than the house,
and I have UM income to handle and an emergency
savings for the house to handle anything that comes up.
And that has been essential to being a responsible real
estate owner and landlord. So if something anytime, any of

those things came up, we kind of discussed, well, if
you know you're not paying rent, are you going to
help me with you know, expenses that come up, Like
would that be a fair split? And no, that's not
a fair split to him. What was better for him
was to just pay a set amount each month and
then I cover anything that needs to happen with the house. Um,

it's it's pretty simple. Um, just because he lives with
me doesn't mean and I own the house doesn't mean
he should live for free. There is money that has
to be paid. After my other renter, who I'm not
related to or anything or have any you know, I'm
just giving her a place to live in exchange for money. Um,
her rent is twelve fifty, my mortgage is sixteen dred.

So he pays seven hundred dollars a month and that's
for five rent and then contributions for half our internet,
half our lawn care and everything like that, and then
I pay everything on top of that. So some months
I make a hundred and forty dollars off of my house.
Other months I spent ten thousands. And you are the
one who is in the cash position to be able

to handle those ups and downs. I feel like, like like
you said, so much of homeownership and so much of
being an adult is just having a little bit of
extra cash on hand to be able to handle the
unforeseen expenses, the emergencies that that pop up here and
there like that. Essentially, that's what an escrow does, right,
like with your mortgage company, and they're like, okay, well
we'll be the adult in a room, and well we'll

take care of that massive tax bill that you encounter.
Where I'm thinking, okay, that's nice of you, but half
the time you get it wrong and we're having to
pay extra. Yeah, there's just all these issues with it,
when in reality, all it is is just thinking, looking
ahead and setting that money aside every single month. But
which is the whole homeowner I'm prepared for, But should

he have to be on the hook for you know,
the seven thousand dollar drainage bill when he doesn't have
any equity in the house. No, probably probably not. He
would probably have to complain about that if if Yeah, yeah, no,
that's not fair to him. So he actually has a
lease that we wrote that even outlines what would happen
should we break up. It protects him, it protects me,

and we made it in a when we were in
a place where we're both trying to really look out
for each other. So he would have to pay rent
to live somewhere. Um, by living with me, he gets
really cheap wrint. Actually, like I said, the other side
rents for twelve fifty and it's a couple hundred under market.
He's only paying five hundred for rent, So he gets
cheaper rent, he gets to keep living with me, he
gets to help me, uh you know, pay on my house,

but he doesn't have any of the responsibilities that come
with homeownership. Yeah, and again that's that seems totally reasonable. Um.
It's it's funny that because it's interesting how some folks
would push back against that, because it kind of brings
up the frugal versus being cheap debate, right, And one
of the ways that Joel and I have defined someone
being cheap in the past is when you take your

frugal nous essentially and you impose that on somebody else, right,
And so that like that for instance, you know, like
you got a roommate situation, and one roommate wants the
A C to be cranked all of it down to
sixty seven, and the other roommates like, no, no, no, no,
we're gonna do like A two because we're gonna save
some money. And so in that sense, you're kind of like, well,

what what's happening there? The reason there's a conflict is
because you've got one person kind of imposing what it
is that they want to do in order to save
money on the other. But obviously your boyfriend doesn't have
to agree with whatever. The conditions are great, and it's
I guess it's a little more complicated because several adults.
We had several adult conversations over the course of several

weeks saying like, what do you feel is fair here?
And we went back and forth about it. There were
several arrangements that I was willing to go with as
long as both of us were being taken care of
and both of us were being fair. Just because I
own a house doesn't mean that you necessarily get to
live for free. And that's where both most of the
backlash comes from, where somebody is living in somebody else's

house for free and they're like, but I clean. I'm like,
you know, whatever is fair, but it feels fair between YouTube.
But I hope you have you know, plans in case
anything changes. If someone feels taken advantage of, that feeling
is only going to grow. And in our situation, neither
of us feel taken advantage of advantage of Both of
us feel like we're getting something out of the situation.

That's that's all that matters in this type of thing.
And even if that doesn't mean free rent for someone,
maybe you're contributing somehow else that it feels fair to
both of you. Totally. Yeah, it sounds like you've got
a great arrangement, is what I'm getting for sure. Yeah. No,
I agreed. And the way you explained it in your
video too, I was like, yes, yes, yes, Sarah spot on.
Sarah's taking care of her investment, but she's also taking
care of her boyfriend at the same time. I feel

like it it's a win win for everybody involved, Like
the way the way you're handling this, I guess I
want to know to Sarah what we're talking about relationships.
I feel like a lot of and you've mentioned this,
A lot of the personal finance advice out there excuse
towards married people, excuse towards couples, and so I know
that you even mentioned that kind of at the start
of this interview. You were like, Hey, the other people

out there talking about budgeting were married with kids, and
I felt like I had a different perspective to share.
So yeah, talk to us about maybe the differences or
the nuance that's necessary to help reach and teach people
who are are not married, who are single, who don't
want to get married, um, who don't want to have kids,
How should we talk about budgeting differently in order to

help those people out more? And all these different phases
of life um or kind of like categories of life.
The money is different. We have different bills. I don't
have to pay for or I don't have to save
for kid college right now, I don't have to um
pay for childcare or think about you know, upcoming school
supplies or anything like that. So I I try to

defer any questions about like how to you know, budget
for kids and stuff like that to some of my
wonderful friends in the PF community that have kids and
have lived that life. Um, there are some overall basic
money tenants that everyone has to essentially learn how to
deal with, um just with you know, spending less than
you make and prioritizing spending and stuff like that. But

for people who are single, it's kind of it can
be really wonderful. Actually, a lot of people kind of
look down on singles. I mean, yeah, we don't have
duel incomes to hit debt with, but at the same time,
we also don't have to um ask anyone's permission or
negotiate on any of the things that we want. Three

campus in a week and nobody can say nobody can
stop me, Uh yeah, there are. I mean I did
the majority of my debt, the entirety of my debt payoff,
by myself, which also meant that I didn't have to
compromise if I wanted to eat lasagna for a week
because that would save me money. I did that. Versus

now there's a near daily discussion of what are we
gonna eat? No, I don't want that, No, no, no no, no, no, no,
And when you have a partner, you have to, you know,
do what's best for both of you and really invest
in that relationship, which often costs more money. It is
worth it. But single people have kind of a superpower
when it comes to money because they are the only

ones that have to make those decisions, which means they
are the only they get to make all of those
decisions by themselves. And I think that's something really powerful
that a lot of people don't really consider. There's there was,
like I said, when I started, there was a lot
of like, you know, we decided this on YouTube, and
I'm like, where I compromise on this so that we
could do this because it was really important to him,
And I'm like, I don't have to compromise for anybody

three times for different jobs. I did what I wanted.
I love that perspective because I feel like you, you
usually hear the opposite, like it's so much, it's so
much harder, and and you reframing it as being single
as being a superpower, as being able to kind of
be the sole decision maker, and you have more leverage
over your own financial decisions where you move, what jobs,
you take. The extreme cost cutting measures you might enact.

I feel like that to me, Like if I was saying,
if I'm single listening to this right now, I'm like,
wait a second, You're right, Like I have more power
than maybe I previously thought. I think, I think it's
a really really good way to think about it. Well,
I'm glad. It's it's empowering to have total control over
your own money. And you know, most couples, I believe,
probably have very similar goals. And it's great if you

have duel incomes where you can work towards a goal
faster and together. But don't don't discount the singles. And
that's assuming that that couple is on the same page,
that they have talked through those important topics, which we'd
recommend for you to do before a lot don't. Yeah,
but but a lot of folks don't, and so you
are faced with some difficult discussions as folks are on

different pages. Sarah, you know you you mentioned the adwagon. Uh,
you're there in Texas, Texas, A and M. Can you
tell us a little bit about your your journey into
investing in real estate? You know, so right, like right
now you've got the duplex you rent out on Airbnb
through the through your camper, Like, what do you know
now that you've learned recently over the past couple of

years that you wish you knew maybe before you went
down this path of real estate investing. I mean I
kind of stumbled upon real estate investing. I actually once,
when I was paying off debt, I was extremely hyper
focused on that, and many people would ask me like, well,
what are you gonna do next. I'm like saving emergency fund,
like that's all I can think of, and I'm like, eventually,

I know I'm going to invest. But I hadn't really
I had never really heard of real estate is something
that was accessible to normal people. I thought most real
estate was owned by giant corporations and I rented from
any of them. Yeah, um, like a normal thing that's approachable. Yeah,
I totally get that. No, it absolutely doesn't. And no,
I was never I didn't really know anyone that owned rentals,

just you know, growing up. So I actually stumbled upon
the Bigger Pockets community. Minion Scott had me on the
one of the first episodes of their Bigger Pockets Money
podcasts and they were asking me about my debt journey,
and they were kind of like, what are you gonna
do next? And I'm like, I don't know, other than
the saving and investing. And I've quickly figured out later

that investing was kind of boring to me. And that
doesn't mean I don't do it. It just means that
I buy index and I leave them alone forever. Um.
I'm not interested at all in day trading or really
like crypto or anything like that, or like comparing stocks.
It bores me to tears and I don't want to
get that research. What I figured out did interest me

was how you could get into real estate, put in
sweat equity and then make more money that way, and
you could make passive money in real estate. So I
got very deep into that community and learned all about
house hacking and found lots of people in the space
that we're doing really interesting things. And I decided I

wanted to be an ethical landlord UM. And that basically
means to me that I charge an extremely fair price,
usually under market, and I only rent out places that
I would be overjoyed to live in, and I keep
my units extremely nice um. And I've had just really
great success with that so far. I also decided to

great tenants having a great place to live, you know, absolutely,
And I fixed things really fast. I mean I live
next door in the duplex, so I can be over
there in seconds if something goes wrong, and I do
a lot of the work myself. I use the f
h A to buy my first home and which I
live in, of course, and I found that to be
a super accessible way to get into what otherwise I

wouldn't have had enough money to get in with down
on my duplex, even though it wasn't that expensive. And yeah,
there's just this whole world out there of real estate.
And once I figured out that I could get into it,
I was extremely excited because I didn't have a lot
of money. I've never had a lot of money. But
if I could put in work myself to make something

really nice, I'm all in for that. I love it,
and I love how you're running your operation. It drives
with kind of how Matt and I think about, talk
about and run our own rental properties that we have.
You know, we just have a handful, but I think
a lot of people think that it takes having i
don't know, hundreds of doors or only an apartment complex,
or like the goal with investing in real estate has

to be massive, but like you're a living proof of
how just a kind of a seemingly small real estate
investment like one duplex and then a camper in a yard,
like how that can provide just an insane amount of
financial security. Absolutely, one rental property can completely change your
life's financial rectory because most people walk through life with

exactly one stream of income, and if that's ever threatened,
they're a little bit screwed. I can't imagine not having
multiple streams of income at this point. Um one because
I enjoy the challenge, but too because you know, I
started out from a place where I lost my job
and I was screwed. So now having multiple things come

in if one of those streams stops, I'm still fine.
I have so many options that I can explore. And
that took a long time to build up, but has
been incre to believe rewarding. It doesn't happen overnight, that'st
for sure. I think a lot of that's another thing
that people struggle with as they're trying to get their
money together, They're trying to to build multiple streams of income.
They're like, Okay, I've been doing it for like three months,

Why am I not feeling it? But it takes time
to to to build up that cash cushion and to
continue to invest in ways that are going to grow
your monthly income to build that cash flow. Speaking of that, uh, Sarah,
we want to ask you more about building your business
and building that side hustle and that cash flow. We'll
get to some questions on that right after this. All right,

we are back in We are talking with the budget girl, uh,
and speaking of those multiple streams of income, Sarah, let's
talk about building an online business. Can we call her
TVG for short? You have to ask her, Okay, Sarah?
Is that okay? Can we call you tv g R? Okay,
she's budget girl, She's not the budget I'm sorry, but okay,

budget girl online. Like, it looks like you're you're making
quite a bit of money there, maybe even more than
you're making at your day job. And so is it
your goal to go full time with this business with
this what originally started out as a side hustle, which
originally started as a way for you to kind of
document your progress and talk to other people about, you know,
being frugal and saving money. Do you want to go

full time with that or is this just kind of
more of like a lucrative labor of love on the side. Uh,
the entrepreneur question. Um, So, every every single entrepreneur gets
kind of that, like if you're doing something on the side,
do you want to take it full time? And historically
my answer has always been, like, I really like my job.
I work in social media at Texas A and M University.

The benefits are great. I love having health insurance that
I don't have to pay for the retirements. Great. Yeah,
I'm doing this on my lunch break. They respect my talent.
I'm um and coming from journalism where I was previous
to hear um, where I worked like eighty hours a
week for like a dollar and a quarter. Uh, It's
just this is really fantastic. Um. I I really like

having options with money, like I was talking about before.
So you know, one day, maybe I'll have enough rental
income coming in that I won't have to clock in
for forty hours at a job, or maybe I could
go a little bit more part time. I won't say
it's not challenging to be juggling all of these different things, um,
and sometimes it's a little bit exhausting. But the current

plan is not to go full time for Budget Girl,
um just because and I did make more money last
year off of Budget Girl than I did from my
day job. But it's you know, it's it's kind of
a different labor and I do love it, but it
takes a lot more work to be getting in like
sponsorships and doing all the things that it takes to
create money for Budget Girl then it does from my

day job. Believe it or not, it gave me or not,
I have a productive day. I don't like film or
post the articles. I'm not getting paid for b G.
So plus all of those I mean all those benefits,
I mean the fact that so you're with a university,
do you have a match? I assume actually, like teachers
retirement system, they have a really nice match. Nice. Yeah,

you've got that help, and you've got the help. And
ifits expensive, well then you know, as individuals, we have
to go out there on the open market and get
our own health insurance plans for our families which is
not inexpensive, not fun or inexpensive, and just dealing with
like the healthy stem in general, much less if you're
on something that's not like a massive corporation plan. It's

it's hard, and I don't particularly want to deal with that.
I am also, I'll just say I am not the
best at monetizing Budget Girl. I have a lot of
friends in the PF space that are bringing in, you know,
quadruple what I am, because they're really great at affiliate
links and doing you know, more monetary integrations. I don't
even have any courses or anything like that that I sell.

I just sell my budgets on Etsy. So it's, you know,
it's quite a labor and I'm not ready to make
that be my only source or my main source of income.
I also think I might enjoy it a little less
if I did. Yeah, No, I think that's probably true.
If it becomes like it is, kind of, like Matt said,
a labor of love in a lot of ways for

you that makes you money, um, and if you also
enjoy your day job and you get to enjoy two
things without taking on this onus of having to force
Budget Girl to make two or three times as much money.
Like maybe you are in the sweet spot right, Like
there's no need to go all in on that, Okay,
So as you've got sort of these different pursuits. How like,
how is it that you decide what it is that

you want to continue pursuing, right, and so, like we've
talked about b G being sort of a labor of love.
You're not totally sure if you want to go full
time with it, But like, like, what advice would you
give somebody who does have something kind of bacon in
the oven, Like they've got kind of got this plot
going on the back burner. Um, they're thinking about ramping
it up, but maybe it's not generating income, but it's

something that they like, How do you recommend for folks
to approach that conundrum if they're finding themselves short on time,
if they're realizing that they're going to have to cut
back somewhere. No, that's an excellent question. So I'm sure
you'll be shocked, But I sincerely hope that you're keeping
a very accurate, in detailed budget of your income and

expenses for whatever fan chair you're doing. It's very important
for tax purposes and for looking at when you're trying
to decide whether this venture is worth your time or not.
So I actually recently did a video on my channel
about how much I made a slash loss in my
first six months of Airbnb and renting the camper, we
had several things that happened. I had to replace the

I had some plumbing issues. I had to replace the lock,
which was a big custom order thing. I've had to
replace the A C. And I actually net negative for
my first six months, So that's at that point you
have to kind of consider is this worth my time
and think about your long term plans for things. So

right now, the main issue with my campers that it's
at an RV park, which means it costs five a
month and lot rent to be there, and that money
is kind of just going away each month. The long
term plan with it is to buy some land, install
it permanently, and then be able to build out you know,
different short term rentals on that piece of land, or

have a little bit more stuff going on. So I'm
definitely constantly kind of reconsidering how much time this thing
is worth. But I do have a long term action
plan for this, and I am of course willing to,
you know, pull the plug on it. If I am
two years from now, if I'm still losing money on
the agwagon, it's going to be time to sell it.

So you do have to kind of consider what your
time is worth, if there's better things you could be
doing with your time. It's not always all about money.
I love having this little short term rental. I find
a lot of joy in hosting and having this, but
I also have longer term plans on how to make
it make more money than it currently is. In the
main reason I didn't make money the first six months

is because I had several things pop up, and that
could have happened at like a regular rental too. But yeah,
just keep really good records and reassess and make sure
that all of your ventures are still aligned with what
you want to do long term. Yeah. Yeah, And I
think what you just said there is great. Right, It's
not just about the money, right. You can have something

maybe that isn't making you money, but I think you
have to kind of change the name of it at
that point, Like, at that point, it's no longer the
side hustle. It's no longer this venture. It's a hobby
and that's all you find. And you're kind of even
speaking to that at the beginning where maybe your splurge
initially was you know, some of these different campers. It
can be a hobby that cost you money, as long
as you're not trying to convince yourself that like, Okay, no,

well this is a business, and it's like, well, it
is a business, but it depends on, you know, how
profitable that business might be depends on that does come
down to the numbers. But I think it is okay
for things to not make money. The flip side, it
can make a lot of money and you can say
I don't love this to become my full time thing,
like I hate this, I need to sell it and
then put that money into somewhere else that you do enjoy,

because life should be enjoyed. Money is meant to be
spent um. You just have to make choices about how
to spend it in the best way for you. Totally.
I love it absolutely, Sarah, Hey, thank you so much
for joining us on this episode of How the Money.
How can our listeners find out more about you and
what you're up to? Absolutely, I would love for you
guys to come visit me on YouTube at YouTube dot com,

slash budget Girl or at budget girl dot com. I
have so many free resources, budgets, motivational templates, and instructional
articles if you want to get inspired with money. There's
your place, and you can also find me on social
at go budget Girl on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and at
budget Girl on TikTok g b G on the socials,

not tv G. Go Budget Girls. That's right, Thank you
so much. We really appreciate you joining us. Absolutely, it
was such a pleasure. Thank you for having me. All Right, Joel,
that was a great conversation we just had with Budget Girl.
Don't you put the V in there. It's not tv
G Rebrander, it's just Budget Girl. But yeah, definitely enjoy
this conversation. And I've got my big takeaway, but I

will allow you to go first. What was your big
takeaway from this episode? I got I got my big
takeaway within like the first five minutes or first two minutes.
She said something that sparked something. Okay, mine was early
on too, stepping on your toes. Alright. I loved it
when she talked about hobbies that cost you money versus
hobbies that make you money, and I think we that's
not mine somewhere, Okay, good goodness. I'm kind of a

fan of inexpensive hobbies anyway, but I don't usually partake
in hobbies that are making me money. I guess when
we started this podcast, it kind of was like, uh,
it was like this thing where Okay, well we'll give
it a shot. We'll have fun, it'll be a hobby.
We'll see if we enjoy it, and then we'll see if,
you know, we can turn it into something. But for
the most part, the hobbies I participate in collecting campers

or something like that, flipping things in order to make money.
You know, I don't really do that very much. But
there are some people who are going in the opposite direction,
and all of their hobbies cost them a lot of money.
And I think it's okay if you set aside the
funds to pay for those things. It's part of your budget.
And you're like, listen, I'm more than happy to pay
for my two rounds of golf a week, or you know,

flying lessons because I want I want to learn how
to fly plane. Like, those aren't cheap things to do,
but they can be super rewarding, right. But I love
especially considering where Sarah was early on with a small
income and trying to grow that income and get rid
of that massive pile of student loan debt that she
took to monetizing hobbies to finding these things that she
did enjoy that that would that could be lucrative. So

I don't know, it's it's not applicable advice for everybody,
but I think there's a lot more people can put
some of their extra time to work finding a hobby
that they enjoy, maybe something that they like to do
that is actually also going to pay them simultaneously. Yeah,
I like that, especially early on. I think your biggest
interest might be to figure out how I can get

more income in my life so that I have more
options to perhaps participate in other hobbies that maybe do
cost a touch more money exactly. But finding ways to
give you some of that wiggle room, some of that
breathing room, is a good thing to do. My big
takeaway from this conversation involved when she was talking, surprisingly
she was talking about meal planning, and it wasn't because
it was I guess it's applicable definitely to meal planning.

So what she was talking about was that folks, they
aren't meal planning. They go to the grocery store, they
buy a bunch of groceries, they come home. But then
she said the next day, then I'll just go out
to lunch because I did not have a plan, and
that is when the light bulb went off in my head.
It's oftentimes when we are not thinking with the end
in mind. Right, If you just go to the grocery
store and you're buying the things that look good, or

even maybe just some things that are on sale because
you're trying to be responsible with your money, or literally
just what's on a recipe card, not realizing that maybe
you already have some of those ingredients. Sure, in that case,
you're an out looking like you're you're two in the weeds.
You're too far into the forest and you need to
step out and look at like what do I actually
have on hand? But if you're just buying random stuff
here and there and you aren't meal planning, if you
do not have a plan for what it is that

you're planning to cook for that week, you are not
going to make wise purchases. You're gonna end up wasting money.
And I think the same thing can be true when
it comes to how it is we invest our money, right,
Because if you don't have a plan, if you don't
have the end in mind and what it is that
you're you're you're seeking after and not even like retirement,
but even something like a smaller goal like saving up
for a car. It can be easy to get distracted

by the smaller things in life that are things that
we like, They are things that might be a good deal,
they are things that could bring you value. It's not
like it's a complete waste of money, but it is
really important to keep those big goals top of mind
because those goals can influence how it is that we
spend our money and how it is that we save
our money. And so that was something that she said.
She was specifically talking about meal planning and cooking, um,

but I think that it is incredibly applicable to how
it is that we approach our finances in general. Yeah, no,
I completely agree. And you gotta have that end in mind,
and you might be able to even afford to waste
of your grocery budget, like she said, that's what the
average American does by by throwing in the trash. Really,
but that doesn't mean that it's the best use of
your money. We'd rather see you be more intentional cutting

that grocery build down to size so you can funnel
that money into into things that matter more long term
goals that are more important to you as opposed to
kind of the short term easy choice, which is just
to load up that cart with whatever is in front
of you. But then the sad reality is your money.
He gets flushed down the toilet at the same time.
But Matt, let's get back to the beer that we
had on this episode. This was from Wicked Weed. It's

a stout. It's called Brownie Brownie. I think I had
a dog name Brownie when I was a kid. I
don't know, it's a long time ago. I can't really remember.
I think I was like three, but maybe maybe it
was chocolate, I don't know, something like that. But what
were your thoughts on this beer? It was a good
man this. Uh, this is an Imperial stout brood with
chocolate and natural hemp like flavors, which is really a fun,
interesting combo. Here's a brownie stout that's it's like weed.

I've never nod on a hemp necklace, so I'm not
not sure what it tastes like. Uh, but yeah, this
is really interesting and and surprisingly it wasn't really like
I guess I was expecting more like dank like flavors.
But the flavors that I picked up on it were
more like sage, like cooking spices where it almost had
like this minerally it's just a reckon h man, I'm

totally falling into their trap. But but yeah, no, this,
this is this is really interesting as well because this
is from Wicked Weed, and they don't often. They don't
brew a whole lot of bigger, darker beers like this
a lot more exactly, that's what they're known for. So
it's it's really cool to come across another one of
these guilty Pleasures beers. That's what's written here on the
camp there's actually a series and it came in like

a four pack, so I grabbed the four packs. Well,
we're having more of these Wicked Weed stouts on the
show in the future. But yeah, I'll say I was
not impressed with this one. It was it was just okay,
and yeah, I guess it was. It's just a solid beer,
and I expect more from Wicked Weed and and maybe
it's just because yeah, they don't really do the stout
thing very often. But yeah, we'll see if the other

ones pan out a little bit better than this one did. Right, Well,
either way, we are always down to try any beer
at least one time, and we will make sure to
link to Sarah's channel, her YouTube channel, as well as
her site and other resources we have may have mentioned
during this episode up on our website at how to
money dot com. No doubt, all right, Matt, that's gonna
do it. Until next time, best friends out and best

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