Despite having helped more than 15,000 women save $2.3 million, Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche still can’t believe it when Fortune 500 companies, Ivy League institutions, major conferences and media outlets invite her to speak about finances.
“I could not have imagined that people would pay me and then fly me to where ever to teach,” she shares with contagious enthusiasm. “The first time someone flew me out, I can remember thinking, ‘You’re going to fly me to Chicago? I live in New Jersey.’ I was so shocked. I didn’t want to seem like a novice, but I was wowed. That blows me away. Even now.”
Pegged as America’s favorite financial educator, The Budgetnista has been a brand ambassador and spokesperson for a number of organizations – delivering financial education through seminars, workshops, curricula and trainings since 2008.
Author of number one Amazon bestseller, The One Week Budget, Aliche and her financial advice have been featured in The New York Times, Reuters, US News and World Report, the TODAY show, PBS, Fox Business, MSNBC, CBS MoneyWatch, TIME, ESSENCE Magazine, and FORBES. She regularly blogs about personal finance for The Huffington Post.
With so much experience, success and thousands of women singing her praises, it’s not hard to see why companies like American Express, Princeton University, and Wyndham Worldwide are seeking out this financial guru.
Even via her website and Youtube videos, Aliche’s personable demeanor radiates through to her followers and subscribers that she affectionately calls Sis Stars. It’s her likability that has made her a trusted financial and budgeting source for so many.
“It comes from a genuine place of wanting to help. After college, I had a choice of taking a job that paid $50,00 or being a teacher and make $32,000. I chose being a teach because I always wanted to help.”
To live life is to live a life of service is a mantra that The Budgetnista adopted at 21 years old. It is also the driving force behind the LIVE RICHER Challenge. The LIVE RICHER Challenge is a free, online financial challenge with seven specific goals. Over a 36 day period, daily tasks are emailed to the 15,000 women and 200 men that help them to accomplish weekly goals of changing their money mindsets, creating budget and saving plans, repairing or enhancing credit scores, managing debt, developing investment and insurance plans, and giving back and living richer.
She defines LIVE RICHER as “purposefully and passionately pursuing your ideal life.”
“I started thinking about the challenge near the end of December 2013. I do a lot of classes locally where I live. When I posted about the classes women from around the country would say ‘Hey Tiffany, I want to come but I’m in Florida.’ So I thought, is there a way to take this class that I’m teaching with United Way and make it so that women no matter where they live they could do it too? The United Way sponsors the series I teach in New Jersey and it’s free to the community, which I love. I thought how can I do the same and offer it to the nation for free?”
So she set out on a plan. An eternal optimist and teacher by trade and nature, she took the curriculum that she had created for United way and broke it down to daily challenges that helped to accomplish seven financial goals. “If I can get 10,000 women sign up. That would be great,” she thought.
“I thought it would do well, but you just never know. You put good in and you’re helping people, but I just never knew…52 countries, all 50 states and so many women worldwide working collectively. My favorite part of the challenge, is not so much the challenge, but what has happened afterwards,” she shares. “I created a Facebook group for women to post questions for the challenge. So I started this forum. Those women are so amazing. They help each other out. I don’t even answer questions anymore. There are all these financial experts that have joined us. There’s nothing that you can say you need help with that you won’t get in that forum. It’s so beautiful. Everyone is so encouraging. That forum is about giving help and getting help.”
Why focus on women? According to The Budgetnista and the Prudential’s Study on the African American Financial Experience, building a sisterhood and helping women has a domino effect that trickles down into the community.
“Women are really opened to saying, I don’t know but I want to learn. When you help a woman you help a family, because women take what they know and bring it back to their families at a greater percentage than men do,” she says. “When you help a woman you help a family, when you help a family, you help a community, you help a community, you help a neighborhood, when you help a neighborhood you can really start to shift a nation forward one neighborhood at a time. Helping women, especially women of color, is critical because we make 70 percent of the decisions in our household. Who better to help than the person making the financial choices.”
While this article is mostly about the phenomenal success the LIVE RICHER Challenge, she wouldn’t be The Budgetnista if she didn’t provide helpful tips about budgeting. Aliche is convinced that people have the wrong idea about budgeting.
“They think budget is restriction. That’s not true. For me budgeting is freedom. Budget is yes. It’s a picture of what your money is doing. Once you see where your money is , you can change that picture anytime. It’s not that budgeting is hard, it’s emotionally hard and people don’t want to do it because they think they won’t be able to do what they want and that’s not true. A budget allows you to do way more than you’ve ever dreamed.”
One of the common budgeting mistake that The Budgetnista encounters with clients is the tendency to only list major bills and omit small incidental such as weekly salon trips, dining out and various nominal fees. She says leaving off small things can break a budget and encourages.
With a purpose driven life and wildly successful career life can only get richer for Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche and all of her Sis-Stars. For more information about the LIVE RICHER Challenge visit livericherchallenge.com or thebudgetnista.com.