Tiffany Aliche, nicknamed ‘The Budgetnista’ , is the founder of a movement that has helped over one million women worldwide get out of debt and save hundreds of millions of dollars shares her secret to becoming a self made millionaire started with planting a seed.
Aliche was introduced to the concept of financial freedom at a tender age because her father wanted her to be financially independent. She is the daughter of a Nigerian CFO and accountant and one of five girls.
She recalled the philosophical sayings of her father that money does not grow on trees. While she found this statement to be somewhat true, she also believed it was somewhat not true. For her, everyone is in possession of a seed they need in order to harvest true financial freedom, but it’s up to them to plant them.
My dad taught us about money because he wanted to make sure that who we chose to marry was not as a result of what we needed from them; that we can take care of ourselves,” she said.
Growing up in a household where financial wellness was a priority and subsequently became a money-saving mogul, she encountered so many challenges in her quest to be financially independent. Not too long after she got her first condo at the age of 26, she went broke, became unemployed, and found herself drowning in more than $35K worth of debt due to an irreversible credit card scam, she said.
She was depressed and felt dejected after losing her job and was forced to move in with her parents. She now found herself in a situation where she was not the master of her own destiny.
“Sometimes we feel like we don’t have control; that we are not in charge when it comes to money. We feel that money is sitting in your purse at night, conspiring against you,” she said.
However, the sayings and advice of her father and mother came in handy. She recalled her father telling her that “your money is like a hammer” which can be used to build a financial house and at the same time, it can be used to destroy that very financial house.
“…that who decides what the hammer does is you, you do it. It’s the same thing with money.” She continued: “You picked up that hammer. So it’s like, the bad news is, it’s you. But the good news is…it’s you. And so, when it’s you and you take ownership of that, at any moment in time today, you can decide that you’re not going to be in bondage to money anymore because you truly aren’t. That’s your hammer. You get to decide.”
Aliche said she realized later that both the hammer and the seed that she needed to grow her financial house were with her all along. She only needed to know how to use them. She used to be a preschool teacher for 10 years, making $39,000 a year, which in New Jersey meant it’s not much and yet “I sit before you now a self-made millionaire.”
Aliche shared that anyone who uses this simple rule can also reach mogul status. “Seeds come my way. I’m going to put up 20 of them in the beginning. You think to yourself, well 20 is not a million, but just wait. You eat up 80 put up 20, eat 80 put up 20,” she explained. “After a while, you have enough of that 20 so that you can plant those seeds. That’s called investing.”
The Bugnetnista used the simple 80/20 rule to build an entire ecosystem for money that put her on the path toward financial freedom.
“Putting up the 20s, it’s called savings. Eating 80 is called budgeting. The 20 that you have is called investing, and over time, if you watered the seeds, if you give it sunshine and you look after it, that is called increasing your knowledge as it relates to investing,” she said.
Today, Aliche is behind a financial literacy law in New Jersey that mandates personal finance education for all middle school students in the state. She is also a best-selling author. Her book, Get Good With Money, hit the New York Times and Amazon best-seller lists within a week of its launch.