Kumiko Love graduated with a finance and accounting degree and minored in economics as well. However, her financial background did not make her good with her own finances. In fact, she described herself as horrible with her own money. She felt embarrassed working in a financial firm, advising other people on how to handle their finances when it is her who do not have a grip of hers. Her $800 per month student loan weighed her down. When she give birth to a beautiful baby boy, that’s when her life turned around. She knew she should do better. She knew that if she wanted to give his son a life he deserve, she should ‘unstuck’ herself from the rut she’s in. She knew she could not do all that if she’ll continue to do the things she’s doing.
So she sat on a journey to tackle her finances. That’s when the The Budget Mom was born. She understood that she needed to change her view and her relationship with spending. She needed to look for ways she can successfully tackle her debt. She then started to share her journey as transparent and honest as she can. Receiving messages of thanks, of admiration of her courage and of queries whether they can avail her worksheets and resources opened the way for the business side of The Budget Mom. She then left her job in the finance industry in 2019 to pursue running The Budget Mom fulltime. Her passion of helping other people with their finances is so admirable. She’s a risk-averse person, which means leaving her stable job which she spent five years of night school and four years and a half to get her position, to become a solopreneur, must have a driving force greater than the fear of risk. And she feels that helping other people get out of the financial rut she once is way so important. Now, she and her team helps her almost 565k Instagram followers and 1.3M Facebook followers fix their finances for them to live a life by their design.
Even though you have a decent-paying job, if you’re spending money on unnecessary things, desperately trying to fit in to your high-maintenance ‘friends’, you’ll still end up stressed about money, not knowing if you can keep up with your payables and even food on your table. If you feel you still don’t have this whole money thing figured out, listen to this episode intently! You can live a life you want to live in. Dig in to the wisdom Kumiko is sharing today!
Here’s What You Missed
- The importance of habits
- Save or Invest?
- How to help your kids with finances at an early age
- How to deal with debt
- Starting and building your online business
- How to set up boundaries between work and life
How To Budget For Success?
[7:58] The habits we create for ourselves throughout our entire lives, they’re really hard to break as an adult. So I wanted to make sure that I taught my son and we were able to address those horrible habits that I was trying to be as an adult.
[9:11] It’s really important to learn the basic concepts of savings. Important to learn about what it’s like to become a patient spender because instant gratification in our lives is dominant.
[10:43] We value things differently when we work really hard for it
[12:16] I believe that saving is important because unless you learn the management and habits behind savings, you will never get to a place where you are investing. important to learn the concepts of savings before you start investing.
[25:06] For parents to kids: “go out and pursue with anything that you want to do as long you are, as long as you are passionate and you put a hundred percent of yourself into that mission.” And to let theem know that you are here, and that you will work it out no matter what.
[27:56] The way that I measure my successful business is not about how much money we make as a business. And it never will be what measures of success of the budget. Mom is the type of value and impact we are making in the world.
[31:33] If you are dealing with debt, if you are trying to save for an enormous goal, if you were trying to figure out your budget, if you want your finances to be better for your family. You have to understand that it is not about the numbers. It’s about self discovery and self discovery is the hardest work. [41:34] You’re successful if you change the life of one person. That’s where they get hung up. They get so focused in the analytics and growing that they forget about the values and the mission that they started with.
[45:43] When you start doing something only for the income, you lose your value because you’re mission is no longer with what it started with. Your mission is now making income. Then you start making a lot of really bad decisions for your business.
[47:40] I’m a big believer that you only fail when you give up. You fail when you don’t give a hundred percent of yourself to what you’re trying to accomplish.
[49:02] I set strict boundaries for myself, between personal life and my work. Learn establish healthy boundaries in my life
[52:10] I realized that I could not be the best person or the best budget mom for my readers, by trying to do everything, I couldn’t be the best, everything to everybody into everything. and I was getting burnt out.
Important Reads and Links
Kumiko Love Website: https://www.thebudgetmom.com/
Kumiko Love Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thebudgetmom
Kumiko Love Twitter: https://twitter.com/thebudgetmom
Kumiko Love Facebook: https://www.instagram.com/thebudgetmom
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What’s up DreamNation. We are back again, and we have another episode. I am sure will impact you and inspire you and hopefully get you to take some action wherever you are on your journey. So without further ado, please help me in welcoming my friend, ms. Kumiko Love, Kumiko, you want to go ahead and say what’s up to DreamNation.
Hello, DreamNation. Yes, I’m Kumiko Love. And I am the owner and creator of The Budget Mom,
Great, and we can’t wait to learn more about that. I always love to make sure that we can start off with the proper introduction. And so for the people who don’t know who you are, one, they probably need a budget and you’re going to help them that way.
But then two, they probably been living under the some kind of a rock, but we still want to be, make sure that we give you the proper introduction. And the way that I do that is I always love to compare or entrepreneurs thought leaders and change makers just like superheroes. And the reason being is because we’re putting on a cape, we’re flying around the world a lot of the times and we’re trying to solve the biggest problem.
And so for you and here’s another thing that I always say behind every superhero, like Superman, there is a Clark Kent, but in your case, it’s going to be super woman. And I believe her name was Diana. So tell us who is the Diana behind Kumiko Love.
Really? I am a. Just your small town girl. I grew up in an itty-bitty farm community called Chewelah, Washington.
and I am a single mom. that’s really who I am when I’m not working and being The Budget Mom. I’m a single mom to a soon to be eight year old son. He’s about to turn eight, just a couple of weeks. but yeah, that’s really who I am. I’m an introvert at heart. I get pretty nervous and anxious when I’m in large crowds, which is kind of surprising to a lot of my readers because I’m on video every single day, but it’s easier here because I’m in a closed room with no one around me.
So, but yeah, that’s, that’s really who I am. I’m just a small country girl. Who’s trying to provide the very best life I can for my son.
I love it. And for me, obviously I have a lot of connection with that because, because before we came on air, I told you I was raised by a single mom. And so I know, you know, what that plights, like, of course, I didn’t really know what, what my mom was going through, but when I look back at it, you know, I credit so much of my strength, my resiliency to my mom’s.
So I’m sure your son will have those same testimonials, right? It’s those same feelings when he talks about his mom, but. Talk to me about how did you, because now the world knows you as The Budget Mom, and you’ve helped thousands of people be able to create budgets, be able to have an actual hold on their finances.
How, where did that come from for you? Did you have money spiraling out of control or, you know, what was that like? How did you get into this realm?
Yeah, so it really started with debt. For me, that was my story. and my first experience with debt with, with student loans, I am a very interesting story in the fact that I graduated with a finance and accounting degree and I minored in economics.
But I was horrible with my own money. So people assume that you graduate with a finance degree and you know, everything there is to know about money. And that’s just not the case. In fact, there was very little that I learned about personal finance. I went out into the world and the first thing I did was like got hit with $800 a month student loan payments.
And no one really prepares you for that. I started working in the finance industry and I realized how bad my financial situation was, but not only that, it was a new level of embarrassment for me here I am in the finance industry, trying to, and I’m supposed to be the one that people go to on you should do with their money.
And I didn’t know, I don’t have a grip on my own. So it was a new level of emotions for me at that point. But then my beautiful son was born. And I know a lot of people, a lot of moms out there, they say, you know, that’s the moment it changed my life. You know, it’s the first time I knew true love is when I saw my son for the first time.
And even though those were emotions and the experience I had, I felt something else. I felt a new level of responsibility. I wanted to become a better person for my son. And I knew that I could not do that and I could not pursue the life I wanted to give him if I stayed stuck in the situation that I was in.
So I sat on a journey to tackle my finances. And, and be the best at it. and to learn everything that I possibly could. And that’s really where The Budget Mom was born.
Got it. I love it. And I had a connection with that when you said it, because people ask me how I got the name Casanova. A lot of people don’t know, but I didn’t just pop out.
And my mom was like, Oh, he’s going to be a Casanova. It was actually because it was a song from the eighties by Lavert. And basically in the song, he says, “never knew what love was till you came along”. And so my mom said she never knew what. Love was until I came along similar to what you just said. So that was how I got birthed the name Casanova.
so, and, and, will you agree with that? Talk to me about when you were growing up, did you feel like that your parents had a grapple on their finances and things like that? Or was that because a lot of the times it’s, you know, what we see as what we do when we get older. So did you feel like that was a lot of your childhood, like people didn’t talk, talk to you about money and so that’s where you were like, I got to change the narrative.
Yeah. You know, it’s funny. My mom is a single mom, strongest, best person I know in this world. do you want to talk about hard work? That’s my that’s my mom. She worked three jobs to raise me and my sister when it comes to finances, what I saw was struggle. Okay. I remember my mom getting home late at night from a waitressing job, third shift, you know, coming home and laying her tips out on the table, counting her money to see if we could make rent the next month.
So those, those were the types of things. No one talked to me about money. but at the same time, I knew that I wanted that aspect of my life. I wanted it to be different with my son. some of the things that I learned as an adult are other things that I wanted to teach my son at a very, very early age.
Because if you think about it, The habits we create for ourselves throughout our entire lives, and sometimes they’re habits that we don’t even know that we’ve we’ve put into our lives. They’re really hard to break as an adult. So I wanted to make sure that I taught my son and we were able to address those horrible habits that I was trying to be as an adult.
I started him out on a different path. So I wouldn’t necessarily say that, you know, people say that it’s your background is what you grew up that really determines the view you have on money. And for me, that really wasn’t the case. that view of money for me started when I became a mom, myself. So it was a it’s a little bit different.
Yeah. Now, when you said that you wanted to set him off on a different path than you wanted to teach him young, some of the mistakes that you made early on, what are some of those mistakes? And because I’m sure there’s a lot of mothers right now, or even fathers, right? That say a man, that’s exactly what it is.
And I’m an adult right now. And I necessarily don’t even have my finances in order the way that I need to. But more importantly, I’m already, maybe at my halfway point. My son or daughter is just getting started. What mistakes can I stop them from making?
I think it’s really important to learn the basic concepts of savings. And I’m not talking about just putting spare change into a piggy bank. I’m not talking about counting your dollars or counting your change or even the value or numbers behind it. I’m talking about these psychological and emotional triggers that we deal with when it comes to money management. So one of the most important lessons that I wanted my son to learn, and he started learning this lesson at just three years old is what it’s like to become a patient spender. Instant gratification in our lives is dominant.
I mean, it’s why we go to Amazon prime for one day delivery. You sit there the next day by our doors waiting for that package to arrive and we get mad when it doesn’t show up the next day. And gratification is huge. And a lot of the time it causes us to spend carelessly and throw our money at things that don’t really truly bring value to our lives, simply because we’re on the high of instant gratification.
So I taught my son if he wanted to make a purchase something for himself, maybe it’s, you know, now at this age and new Nintendo switch or a new controllers for as Nintendo. You have to save for that. We don’t just go out and you know me, don’t have money, go out and buy it for you. You, you need to save because then I feel like the value of what they’re buying is different.
We value things differently when we work really hard for it. And that’s what I wanted my son to experience.
No, I think that that’s great. And the early age, right? Sometimes I feel like we put our limitations on our kids. Cause you said at the age of three, I already started teaching him the concepts and maybe he didn’t fully understand it, but he’s at least been exposed to it.
So maybe now when he becomes seven or eight or nine, he’s like, Oh, so that’s what I’ve been learning about. And it’s just given him a leg up. What are your thoughts on investing earlier than saving? Because I’m sure that this concept comes up a lot. When people have a lot of debt and they’re saying, Hey, how do I get out out of this debt?
How do I get ahead? Are you firm believer in, you must save first or you invest. And then, you know, you can pay off the debt with the, you know, the assets that you have.
I believe that saving and investing serve different purposes. There is no doubt in my mind that investing grows wealth. Okay. That’s, that’s an underlying concept in the financial world and it’s true.
There’s nothing like the miracle of compound interest. However, I also believe that saving money now, keep in mind saving and contributing. Are completely different than investing. Investing, you’re making a conscious choice decision to invest in assets, okay. Saving or contributing means that either it’s at the bank, it’s in a money market.
It’s not happening. It’s not invested at all. I believe that saving is important because unless you learn the management and habits behind savings, you will never get to a place where you are investing. In a way that’s going to grow wealth. So it’s important to learn the concepts of savings before you start investing.
The worst thing that you could do is invest your money and pull it out the next day. Okay. That’s guaranteed loss. but so I focus on savings, especially when you think about short term goals. Okay. Those need to be in liquid assets. Very easily accessible type of savings accounts that we have quick access to.
Yeah. But more so than it. Anything else. We have to wrap our minds around and learn to incorporate those skills and those habits of savings before we even think about investing.
Hmm. And that’s, definitely some valuable information. What I heard you say was you really got to understand the discipline, the concepts of, of the discipline,, before you get into investing, because if you don’t have that discipline, especially to remove the emotion from it, right.
Because a lot of the times why we don’t get into instant gratification and what is instant gratification comes to the emotion that we want to feel, or sometimes you have to be able to think logically, instead of putting all that emotion in there, because then when you get into the stock market or real estate or anything else that you start to invest in, you know, you’re able to separate the two and you don’t try to pull your money out right away.
Just like you said. So it could be a major loss. Is that correct?
Yeah, that is definitely correct. I have a lot of people who come to me and they say to me, Miko, I want to start investing. How do I know when it’s the right moment? How do I know I am ready to start investing? And the first question I ask them is, have you saved $500 in your savings account?
Hmm. You need to be able to manage the money that you do have before you take on more of a responsibility when it comes to investing a topic like investing. So I always recommend you have to have money to invest. And you can never have that money unless you know how to budget. So this is a big dilemma in the financial advisory space.
Okay. As financial advisors have a really hard time bringing the financial education and literacy of budgeting into their practices because it doesn’t make them any money. However, What a lot of them don’t understand is that their future clients, not the clients they have now, but the future clients that they have coming, if they don’t know how to properly manage their money and budget their money, they’re not going to have any money to invest.
No, I would agree there. And it’s, it’s funny because it feels like there’s so many of them, financial advisors, not all, but so many of them, they don’t know how to necessarily budget or manage their money. So it’s kind of like that concept of how are you going to teach me something that you’re not doing, right.
Yeah. You know,
investments, the investing world. And this is coming from a financial advisor who worked in the space for over nine years. Finance or investment is completely different than personal finance when it comes to budgeting, saving, and paying off debt, you have to have the skills for one before you move on to the next, it’s almost like baby steps.
You have to work those baby steps to get to a point where you can be a financially responsible investor.
Yeah, no, I hear you there. So it seems like you’re very risk averse. Is that correct?
Some days, you know, some days, you know, I’m not going to lie here. I only invest in one thing and that’s a mutual fund.
So I’m the type of person that I like to have an actively managed portfolio. That’s well-diversified. I don’t like to get in, put all my eggs in one basket and go all in on like one stock. Right? I’m not, I don’t like that type of risk. I believe in a really good diversified portfolio. Mutual funds are great because they’re actively managed investments, but it also, you get all different types of mutual funds that you can play with on what type of risk you can tolerate.
Now with me, I don’t like a lot of risk. but of course we all like the rewards. So I am a longterm investor. My whole life I’ve been a longterm investor. so I know that over a long period of time, I’m okay with the returns that mutual funds give me. Now, when you start talking about someone who wants the rewards and can handle a lot more risks than you can start talking about individual stocks and that type of thing, but it’s just not for me.
Yeah, no, I know. And the reason why I asked that question is cause that’s what I gauged and nothing wrong with it, but then it kind of leads into my second point that you have now created an online empire. Right. You got over a half a million followers. If I remember correctly on Instagram and then you have over a hundred thousand, I know for sure on YouTube.
And so you’ve built an online empire, which is very risky in a sense, because you know, there’s no stability there. So then how did you make that jump? How did you make that transition?
I knew that it’s very rare to go entire life. For me, I always feel like finding your purpose in this world. It’s a very rare thing to find people go their entire lives never really understanding their purpose, what they honestly want to pursue for the rest of their lives. For me, the passion that I have for helping other people with their finances, I knew was more important to me than any other risk that I would take with starting The Budget Mom. I will never forget my first video on Instagram.
I was literally in tears right before my video and during the whole video, my camera’s like shaking from you holding it. I had like sweat dripping down my armpits. I was so incredibly nervous. I was afraid that I was going to get picked apart. I was afraid people were going to make fun of me, make fun of the way that I look at what I talked about.
What if people didn’t like me, all these things. And this is coming from someone who had self confidence issues growing up, all of these things are absolutely terrifying, but I knew that the message and the information I wanted to share with the world, my purpose and passion was more important than any other negativity I would come across.
So that made it very easy for me to jump into this realm of entrepreneurship, which is very scary. And at times very risky. But I left my job in the finance industry in 2019 to pursue running The Budget Mom full time. But I did that took me two years of financial planning to get to the point where I felt comfortable leaving a steady guaranteed paycheck.
Nothing is more frightening being a full time entrepreneur and running your own business. Than knowing that your paycheck may not come tomorrow and your paycheck is what feeds your son and puts clothes on his back and allows you to live and maintain the lifestyle that you want. It is by far one of the scariest moments in The Budget Mom journey for me. But I knew I had to fight for it because I just, when you get up and you wake up every single day, thinking about the same thing. For me, which was The Budget Mom and helping people, I had to do it.
Hmm. Did you have anybody in your corner that was champion you to pursue it? Or did you have people in your corner that were saying you were crazy?
Like, how are you you’re going to go become a Instagrammer?
Yes. You know, unfortunately. I didn’t have anybody in my corner and bless my mom’s heart. The only reason she wasn’t cheering me on in the beginning is because I just spent five years of night school to get my degree. I spent four and a half years getting my designations to be at the position that I was and to have the job that I had.
She was very worried for me to give up something that I worked so hard for, for something that’s completely unknown. And if you think about the generation that my mom grew up in, they didn’t, I didn’t even have internet back then. Okay. They, when I told my mom I started a blog and I’m a blogger, she’s like, what’s that.
What does that mean? You know, she’s the type of person, she’s the type of person that calls me and says, Hey, how do you copy and paste in word? You know, that generation. And so she didn’t, it’s not that she didn’t support me. It’s the fact that as a mom, she was worried for me. She wanted me to have the absolute best life possible.
And in her eyes, I wasn’t. You know, leaving that behind to do and pursue something that she had nothing, no clue about. Right? So in the beginning it was just me for the first three years of my company. And then all of a sudden here comes my son. He’s old enough now to realize as what mom is doing. And he became my biggest fan.
He was my biggest supporter. He was my cheerleader every day. and that’s all I needed, but of course we have the TBM family community who. Send me love and support every single day. So that’s what I leaned on. I leaned on my son and I leaned on my community. And now of course, my mom, who has a better grasp of well, I’m doing, and it’s been a success festival business the last year.
She’s a, she’s on board now, but I think it’s, you know, I, I. People like, do you blame your mom? For not giving you that support in the beginning. And I don’t, because I think that if my son told me he was going to leave a successful job to go pursue something, I had nothing about, I think I’d be a little worried as well.
Yeah. And I feel like that’s coming. I mean, those are conversations and thoughts that we all have as parents. And luckily I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve tried, I would say. 21 different things. I mean, I’ve done it all. So the reason why I bring that up is that because at one point I was trying to be for professionals gaming was the thing I was trying to be a professional gamer, play poker for a living for two years. There’s so many things. What now? Like my son and he says it, and you can tell it in his heart. He, he believes it. Cause he’s like, when I grow up, I’m going to be a fortnight player or I’m gonna be, you know, a YouTuber and it’s all coming and you, and you have to watch how you respond to that.
Because while you just think that you’re trying to protect them, you could be crushing their dream. And so it’s like, and, and so now when people, when I say those people be like, what do you say? And I just don’t really respond because it can be like, if you, like, you just don’t know, because in one way, you’re like the same time.
If not, if you don’t allow them to go pursue their dreams, then what’s the second option. I’m just going to go to college and get a job where we know in the world of trying to be a change maker in anything, whether you’re an entrepreneur or an entrepreneur, you still have to go against the grain. And a lot of the times that comes with your vision and your dream.
So that’s, that’s a very. You know, especially when you have young boys. Cause they’re so strong. I mean, girls are too, of course. but, but they’re so strong minded and you gotta be careful on that cause you could crush everything. And these are the prime years between the ages of seven and 12, you know?
You know, I, when my son comes, when I asked my son what he wants to do, when he grows up, he tells me he wants to be The Budget Mom. He wants to be like me. I mean, I think that’s only because. He’s been completely immersed in my success and failures, my entire journey with The Budget Mom. From the very beginning, I involve him in everything the day to day, everything of what I do.
but when he tells me things like that, you know, last a couple months ago, he wanted to be a veterinarian, all these different things. The number one thing I tell him is, you can do whatever you want to do, go out and pursue with anything that you want to do as long you are, as long as you are passionate and you put a hundred percent of yourself into that mission.
Hmm. And if you can do those two things, I’m, I’m there to support you. But you have to give it a hundred percent and you have to, you have to make it about what’s in your heart and the passion and that you have deep down in your gut. And so he understands that, but I think it’s more important for, for me as a mom to let my son know.
That I am here, no matter what, we will talk it out. We will work it out no matter what. So as long as he knows that, then I’m happy with that.
Cool. And that’s all I think anybody ever wants, right. To know that they have a partner and it doesn’t necessarily have to be your spouse or your girlfriend, just to know that you have a partner and somebody that’s going to champion you because especially, if you’re going to try to go down the path of entrepreneurship, it’s lonely at every route in some way.
Oh my gosh. Yes.
It’s it’s lonely. Cause your visions, your dreams, most people, they won’t see it. And it’s the, the funny saying that it’s like in the beginning, they’ll ask you why you’re doing it, but in the end they’ll ask you how you did it.
Right. And so that’s always a Oh, a big thing. And so you gotta be willing to go against the grain. I want to know when you first started out, what was the, what was the thing that you latched on to, to be able to build a successful business? Was it speaking engagements? Did you write a book? Because there’s somebody out there that’s listening right now and they’re saying, okay, this has been inspirational. We love it. But like, what was the first step that you went to now starting your business?
Yeah. You know, it’s funny. Cause I started The Budget Mom never to make a dime. I never started The Budget Mom to create a business in any way. I didn’t need the income. I had a wonderful job. I did it to build a community and to connect with other moms out there who could help me emotionally, who could feel that void in my life.
You know, being a single mom and dealing with the pressures of everyday life and not only that uncontrollable debt and spending and finances. It’s lonely. And a lot of the time it’s really scary and I wanted to find other people I could connect to when I started sharing my journey with people and the tools and resources that I had created for myself to make me successful on this journey.
People started asking me, Hey, could I get that from you? Could you offer that to me? It really looks like it could help me. That’s when it turned into a business. When I realized there was a demand for the value that I was bringing into people’s lives. So business, the way that I measure my successful business is not about how much money we make as a business.
And it never will be what measures of success of the budget. Mom is the type of value and impact we are making in the world. And for us that is gauged heavily on testimonials on whether or not the feedback that we’re getting from any type of social events that I’m doing. So for me, the start of my business was offering my own products.
I don’t want to be an online or a, you know, a motivational speaker. I don’t want to do speaking engagements. The I’m an introvert. Like I said, though, that is not for me. That’s not my passion. So my passion is connecting one on one with every single one of my readers. And to this day, even with 500 or 500,000 followers on Instagram, over a million followers on Facebook, over a hundred thousand followers on YouTube.
I still answer every single message personally. I still do it because it’s that connection with my readers that matters most to me, they’re the people I deeply, deeply care about. I think more so I think that’s what makes us really unique. We’re not just a business. I don’t want people to see me just as a business.
I want them to know I truly care. And that’s one way that we
No, I think that that’s, that’s amazing. And for a lot of people, I’m sure that they’re already listened to you or that we’ll continue to listen to you. That’s why you’re always stand out is because you’ve never lost sight. In the world that we live in today, everything’s running so fast. Right. And not only are we trying to connect with other people, but we’re trying to suppress the little thoughts in our head that allow us to keep going to not feel like we’re an imposter or. That we will never be able to get to the level that Kumiko is at because she started back then.
And if she already has a million followers, I don’t even have 5,000 followers. Right. Yeah. And so it’s all these things. So then it’s like, okay, well, how do I feel like I can help someone? Yeah. And so my question to you, because you have alluded to it many, a times that you are an introvert and it’s, and it’s tough for you to be around a lot of people.
How did you always keep the cofidence that you could help someone else. When you said like, Hey, early on, I dealt with a lot of, self issues. So how did you muster up that confidence to be like, no, I can help that person.
Yeah, for me, it was really, I found that confidence after so many of my readers started reaching out and telling me that I changed their lives. It was the testimonials to my readers who said, Oh my gosh, a light bulb just went off in my head and it absolutely changed everything for me. When I started hearing those types of things. It’s like, okay, Like, this is, this is actually working for people. This, this is bringing tremendous value to people’s lives, but not only that look, my financial journey was not just that.
It was not about the numbers. It was a self discovery journey. And if you are dealing with debt, if you are trying to save for an enormous goal, if you were trying to figure out your budget, if you want your finances to be better for your family. You have to understand that it is not about the numbers.
It’s about self discovery and self discovery is the hardest work. I always tell my readers go out and do the hard work. I don’t talk. I don’t mean go out and make a debt payment. I don’t mean go out and put some money in your savings account. I mean, get to know your yourself in a way where you could understand your spending decisions.
The reasons you’re in debt, the reasons you’re fighting with your spouse about finances, it goes so far beyond the numbers. so my confidence for me was in that self discovery journey. Was it easy? No, it was waking up every single day, looking at myself in the mirror and saying, you know what? I am enough.
I’m enough for my son. I’m enough for my business. I’m enough for my employees. I’m enough for my partner. And I had to constantly remind myself of this, but I think for me, the biggest thing with the confidence was hearing from my readers and the impact we were making.
Yeah, no. And I think that that’s so crucial for people to hear, because if you just put in the work and you offer it the resources, like you said, people we’re going to come back and they’ll genuinely say, thank you.
Maybe it’s in those words, maybe it’s just saying, Hey, you changed my life. Or Hey, Sharing, your post to say, Hey, if you all don’t know who Kumiko is if you don’t know who whoever’s listening to this lane or Rogers, you are missing out because he or she is sharing so much value. But the thing is. I think we’re a lot of people and myself included.
This took a very long time, is showing that vulnerability to understand that you are good enough. Because a lot of the times we shelter her off everything. Like we don’t even want to look. We don’t even, because we’re so afraid of the feedback that we may get, that it might come back as like. That person’s a fraud and you’re like, that’s the worst thing ever.
Right? So it’s like the world’s going to end. And it’s over that one person doesn’t mind, or you don’t think about the other 90,000 people that have probably tuned into it every day, but that one person has said you are a fraud. You just throw everything away. You’re like, get this. I knew it. I knew it. I should have never did it in the first place.
That’s so true. It’s so true. You know, with what we do, especially having, you know, being online every single day, we pay attention to the one negative comment and we throw out the a hundred thousand. Positive things that people have to say. And I think that goes to show like the instincts we have as human beings.
Right. We grab onto that negativity with everything we have, and we forget about all the blessings that have come our way. And that’s definitely something I had to fight. I, it spoke to me when you say that, because I’ll never forget. I used to have a tongue ring. And I did a YouTube video and this is when I very first started.
And some, you know, commenter said something really, really rude about my tongue ring. I just lost it. Even though there was, you know, hundreds of positive comments about the video, it was about one that just drove me to insanity.
And then the act like we use the term, like Twitter thug, right? Cause then you get the Twitter fingers going and you’re like, Oh, and then you go get researched and then you’ve got to come and you got to come back, clap back it’s Oh yeah, I see it all the time.
Right? Like . And it’s just, I’m, I’m glad that you said that though, because you have to really find the people that are already championing you. And I say this all the time in my videos, because we all have that and it might not be a grown person. It might be your niece. It might be your nephew. Right. And I tell people all the time, if you even just think of, and I say for people, even my wife, cause it’s funny.
Cause she doesn’t like to be in front of people or anything like that. But one time, this is probably about six months ago, but we were coming back in. I remember we were driving from the airport to get our kids. We just came back from a trip and I told her, I said, you know, you got to understand that your story is not for you because she was like, I don’t want to speak, I don’t want to do it.
But then I was like, well, just think about how many people that are waiting on you to go live life by your design. So that’s connected to their design. I’m sure Oprah’s grandmother. Right. Was not like she, all she did was speak her truth. But look at what it did. It allowed Oprah to tap in who then obviously impacted hundreds of thousands of people and millions of people and things like that.
So if we just think about that one person, you don’t have to be something to everyone, but you, you will be something to someone. If you just speak your truth. And that’s what I hear from you as you’re like, listen, I just, I found it with my son. Then I said, Hey, is there another little group of people that became TBM that became our community?
And then we built it from there and now we have our tribe. And so I think that anybody who’s starting right now, wherever on their journey, they can take that same path of just offering some value. And, and, you know, it turns into that. How fast did you, was there ever a point where you were like, Man, this thing has taken off.
Like, what do you remember that moment? Cause like you said in the beginning, like I didn’t start out to make money, but then all of a sudden you see your blogs getting 150,000 followers a month or, you know, a month you’re like, this is crazy. Was there ever that moment that you can remember?
Yes, definitely. You know what, for the first two years of The Budget Mom being an actual quote unquote business. Okay. And I’m talking about me actually seeing it as a business. We made in the red, we were $0. but you know, we were staying at on social. We, you know, we had maybe 2000 followers on Instagram, you know, a handful of followers on Facebook.
And we were like that for a very long time. In the last year, my Instagram has grown by almost 400,000 followers in just 12 months. We’ve grown almost over half of a million followers on Facebook in just the last
year. Was it? What do you attribute that to? Like, did you do like the morning, the today show or something?
Yeah, we’ve done the today’s show. Yeah, we’ve done the today’s show, but that was after already seen success. I get that question all the time. People who’ve been following me for years readers. They say, gosh, Kumiko, like your Instagram just exploded. How did you do that? At first? I didn’t have an answer until I sat down and gave it some thought it was when I showed my face on camera.
It’s when I started doing videos when I started coming out from behind the computer screen and allowing other people to relate with who I was genuinely. Okay. I think that when I finally got over the fear of showing who I was to the world, That’s when we saw success, because all of a sudden, you’re not just taking information and learning things from someone that’s behind that you never see.
It’s a lot different of experience to see that person and to relate to them on a different level. But not only that, it gave me the opportunity to do what I’ve always wanted to do, and that’s to show people what it’s like. To have a successful budget in their lives. And the only way that I felt I could do that, that the way that I wanted to was sharing my real budget, my real numbers on The Budget Mom.
That’s what we started doing. And sure enough, at that time, three years ago, people weren’t sharing the real numbers. And trust me. I know, because when I went searching on how to create a budget, I was thrown example after example, and I was left with all these lingering questions. Like, why are you telling me to spend my money this way?
Like, what does it look like for you? I knew I needed to fill that void. That’s when we started seeing significant growth, as far as followers.Casanova Brooks:
Got it. Did you try, what was that? Did you do any partnerships and, or is it just purely you being authentic and vulnerable? There was like no partnerships or anything that you were like, Hey, I’m going to, did you have the intentionality to grow your following?
Did you say like, we’re going to get by the end of the year, we’re going to get to a half a million.
No, never, you know, The Budget Mom is very unique in the fact that we don’t have one, like in our, in our business budget, we don’t put $1 towards market. We don’t do sponsorships. We don’t do ads. We don’t do partnerships.
When I started The Budget Mom, I knew that I wanted to structure my business in a way where I would never, ever have to work with a partnership or do an ad or do a sponsorship in order for my business to stay afloat or to make money. I did not want, I wanted to be able to run a debt free company, the way that I wanted to with options outside of relying on someone else.
And that that goes from spark partnerships, sponsorships, and debt. Okay. So we don’t do any of that. And if you asked me to create an ad on Facebook, I would not even know where to start, but we focus on here. I have never, I mean, even to this day, I don’t even look at my Instagram analytics. The only person who does that is my website developer.
And that’s only because that’s his job and he uses that to do other things for our website. I never look at it. I could care less because in my mind, you’re successful if you change the life of one person, I don’t care. You know, it doesn’t matter to me. If we have 2 million Instagram followers, I care about the 500,000 followers I have right now.
That’s my heart. That’s where my passion is taking care of the readers that I do have not worrying about going out and getting, getting more. But also with that said, I think that’s what people, so many people who go out to start their own business. That’s where they get hung up. They get so focused in the analytics and growing that they forget about the values and the mission that they started with.
So down at The Budget Mom headquarters, we have a big white board and on that whiteboard for the last year, since we’ve been in that space, it says. Our number one mission statement, and then the list of our core values, transparency and honesty. At all times, we go in every day, single day, look at that. And that’s what we fight for.
That’s what we stay dedicated to. That’s where we stay focused and where we exert our most energy. It’s why I provide all of the free resources that we do because I created this business in a way where I don’t have to rely. On certain things to make money, to be able to offer all the free resources that we do. If that makes sense.
Yeah, no, it makes a hundred percent sense. And I think there’s a lot of people that loves that and be like, man, I want it. So just for my mind and my car and I’m sure somebody else is thinking it, you only sell your own products. That’s how you make money for your business. That’s it. You just sell your community, you sell your courses. That’s it.
I don’t even, we have one small course and it’s a $10 course.
How does the business make, or is it all for ad sense? Is it like, what is it, how much
we, so it’s funny because for the first two years of The Budget Mom, I refuse to put ads on my website.
My business distracting. What if an ad pops up that I don’t agree with? Like I’m very big and I’m very big into those things. Those are the things I’m pay attention to. Well, we decided when the blogs started getting over 2 million hits every single month, there was some website maintenance that needed to be open.
We were breaking down all the time. I needed to hire a website developer. I needed to upkeep the maintenance of our website. So we threw some ads on there, but only enough to cover the website, maintenance, nothing more. The business makes money by selling essentially, actually just two products a year. We launch new products in July and October. And those are basically what fund The Budget Mom for the foreseeable future.
Wow. That’s yeah, that’s very, very, that’s the first time. I mean, we’ve had a lot of business and that’s very unique. We’ve had a lot of business owners on here and felt for somebody, obviously that shows the amount of value and loyalty that you have in the TBM community to only have two launches a year.
Right. That’s like, I instantly, I thought of Apple and Samsung. Right. They just have their two launches and people go crazy every single year. Like we know that this is when the Samsung line’s going to launch, so we’re ready and so kudos to
Well, yeah, people say to me all the time, Mikko, that’s really dangerous. That’s really dangerous when running a business because your income is not diversified. So what happens? Gosh, forbid if something happened and I wasn’t able to release the product, how would my business stay afloat? Well, it doesn’t matter. Cause I don’t have any debt.
don’t owe anybody. So as far as my business expenses go, we have what’s called the business emergency fund where we literally have almost two years of business expenses saved.
We set ourselves up financially. To where I don’t have to do all these different things to generate income. Cause I feel like once that happens, when you start doing something only for the income, you lose your value because you’re mission is no longer with what it started with. Your mission is now making income.
And for me, I feel like when you’re only focused on making income, Then you start making a lot of really bad decisions for your business.
I would agree. I would definitely agree. Talk to me about, what’s looking at your journey now of where you are. A lot of people are going to see that you’re crushing it, you’re killing it, but we both know, and I’m sure many other people would know as well that your journey has not always been on the up and up.
There’s been ebbs and flows because that’s the reality of life. If you could look back from when you started to where you are today, is there a one thing that you would have changed to help accelerate your dream to where it is today? What’s the one thing that you would have changed?
Well, there was a couple things with that. There was one period of time where I was still learning to budget was in the beginning of my journey. you know, I was getting the suite of things. However, my budget was just failing it. Wasn’t working for me. I wasn’t seeing the progress that I wanted to, you know, I was dealing with a newborn son. I was frustrated. And I finally threw up my hands and I said, budgeting isn’t for me. I can tell, I can pay my bills on time. I can make the minimum payments. I’m good. And I gave up, I gave up trying for a full year. I just made it by. I didn’t make any significant effort to do anything more than that just to get, get by.
And I always thought about that moment in my life, that period of my life, where I gave up for a year. And I think to myself now, How much progress, what I’ve made in that year. If I wouldn’t have given up how different would my financial story and journey be, if I didn’t give up for that full year, now I’m a big believer that you only fail when you give up, right.
You fail when you don’t give a hundred percent of yourself to what you’re trying to accomplish. That was the only time in my, in my journey that I failed. So I think that right there is something that I would have changed. I wish that I would have had the dedication to continue and trying to make, you know, trying to make it work, trying different solutions, rather than just throwing up my hands and saying, I’m good.
But I think another thing, you know, Another thing that I really do regret. And if there’s any, anybody out there who have children who are also trying to grow their business or start a business, one of the things that I regret is all the moments in time I gave up with my son that I will never ever get back.
It’s easy. I know a lot of people say, well, we make the sacrifices that we do now to provide something better for our children in the future. But I look back and I missed my son’s first words. I missed his first day of school. I missed his first steps. Okay, these are significant moments that I’ll never get back with him.
And he’s my only child I wish back then. I would have been able to cool, to set strict boundaries for myself, between personal life and my work. I wish I knew how to control the level of passion that I was feeling because I’m the type of person is when I’m passionate about something. When I’m trying to get things done, I don’t stop until it’s done.
It doesn’t matter. Whatever else is going on in my life, everything else gets put to the back burner. Now, of course, over the years, I’ve learned to establish healthy boundaries in my life. I wish I would have done that sooner.
Yeah, no. And we appreciate the vulnerability. I think that’s where a lot of people can agree right now.
We’re living in a time of uncertainty and a lot of people, you know, they’re being hit. I know I’ve seen it a hundred different ways of if you come out of this pandemic without a new skill, without more income than you’ve essentially failed, or you’ve lost. Then, so a lot of people now they’re looking at they’re so aggressive.
I got to do this, that they’re forgetting about. Listen, time is our most valuable asset. It’s that one thing that you cannot get back and especially if you’re a single mom or if you’re a single dad, you have to understand that there is. A harmony, maybe not necessarily a balance, but there’s a harmony. And sometimes that harmony is just surrounding yourself with teammates who can help you get some of those things off of your plate.
And so that’s kind of where I wanted to take this last question with you is how, because it seems like you’ve really taken it to another level, but. Did this come after you realized that you had to have a team, because you said in the beginning, you know, I had to build my community, but you also said, and it feels like just from my perception as you’ve always kind of been, I’m more of a private person, like it takes a lot to get into your circle.
It takes a lot to, to, to get into your good graces or your vibe. So was that a big challenge for you to then open up your business, your real world, your family?
Yes, absolutely. Hiring employees was probably the second hardest thing I had to do when it comes to The Budget Mom, my business, I’m a couple of different reasons.
One I didn’t take on new employees and new employees lightly. So I knew that the paycheck that I was going to be paying them, supported their families and supported them. I didn’t take that lightly. I wanted to make sure that if I took on him, employees, I could pay them the way that I wanted to, and I could offer the benefits and resources that I wanted to for them, which means I had to make sure that my business was financially ready.
To not just take on employee is to make sure I was able to be the best and then an offer that employment that I wanted to for them. But secondly, The Budget Mom is my baby. So I spent the first three years now. My, my business is only four years old. I spent the first three years doing everything myself.
I wore all the hats. I did everything in all areas, in all aspects of my business. It finally broke down on me though, when I realized that I could not be the best person or the best budget mom for my readers, by trying to do everything, I couldn’t be the best, everything to everybody and do everything. and I was getting burnt out. nd so I, my first employee is my assistant Ryan. I love her to death. Best decision I ever made for my company was hiring her. And she hasn’t even been with The Budget Mom for a full year. But I feel like she has been with me forever. so it was definitely worth it, but I think that for me, it was hard because I didn’t want to give up that control.
I didn’t want to give up my baby, The Budget Mom that I literally have dumped my entire heart and soul into, you know, the nights of crying in the kitchen corner because I was frustrated at, you know, trying to learn website coding and all this stuff. You know, when you work from something from the ground up, it becomes a part of your heart.
And that’s what The Budget Mom is to me, that’s what my community is to me, it’s the extension of my heart. And that was really hard to trust someone with that. But once I hired Ryan, I realize, you know what. This isn’t that bad. And it’s obviously helped me tremendously. With being in the areas of my business that I felt were the most important for me to be in.
And I, that made this the most significant difference.
No, that’s, that’s huge. And I hope somebody right now is listening, right. That you’re only one person away from really feeling like you have that sigh of relief. Because we all go through that and we in it’s control issue, just like you said, we get out of a job because we say we want to be our own boss.
So then we can really just own another job. And we spend 80 hours, 90 hours because it becomes our baby. And we’ve told ourselves that we’re going to make this work and either has to work or it has to work. There’s no other option. Well, then we bring so much frustration on ourselves because we don’t allow other people to really shine what they’re good at.
And we think that we’re going to be great on everything, but eventually it takes a toll. And once you can really say, Hey, here’s what my heart’s telling me. Here’s what my energy is telling me. And then you go out there and you find that person, I think it always gets better and I’m in the exact same situation.
Now I’ve grown my team, but it’s all been in the last year, year and a half. But before that I was doing funnels. I was doing websites. I was doing everything. And so I definitely think that we connect on, on that. There’s somebody out there that is super inspired. And for you to say, you’re not a motivational speaker, I would tell you don’t kid yourself. But for you, there’s somebody out there listening right now. And then they’re very inspire by your journey, man, or woman. Yeah. And they say, Oh my God, I want to get out of debt. I want to really get my momentum going. Just like Kumiko is done, but they have that little voice in their head. And that little voice in their head says that they’re not strong enough. They’re not smart enough. Or maybe they just don’t have enough resources. What’s the one thing that you would say to that person to get them to just take action.
There is something better. There is a different life on the other side. As far as finances is concerned, there is a way out and you don’t have to be stuck.
If, if there, for any reason at all, you are out there searching how to be better with your finances. There is a deeper reason why you are searching. You are longing for something more and it’s out there. It’s waiting for you. So my biggest recommendation patient, not just taking action, but to start really thinking about.
Not just this life, but the future life, you want. Our lives, we are blessed with just a short life. It’s too short to give up so much of it to struggle and sacrifice. It’s one of the reasons I share my journey. I want people to know that there’s something on the other side and it’s better. And it’s worth fighting for. So that would be my, my number one thing is to really think about the short lies we’ve been giving and given in the, in what we really want for ourselves.
I love it for someone who is looking to stay connected with you, where can they find you at.
you can reach me and find me over on Instagram at The Budget Mom.
It’s where I share a daily video. Every single day. I’ve been doing a video every day for the last two years. but that was more of my day to day spending my real life. My real numbers. We have great instructional videos over on YouTube, and you can find all of my free resources on the budgetmom.com.
There it is. Well remember DreamNation. You have to take action, but it always is in the dream we trust. It’s been an honor to have you on because you’ve shared with us your dream. And more importantly, you’ve taken action to turn that dream into a reality, not only for yourself, but I’m sure many of people in the TBM community.
And so we appreciate you for that. That’s all we have for this one. We’ll catch you on the next one.