Episode Transcript:

Hey, y’all. Welcome to the very first episode of the Meadowsweet Money podcast! I’m Mimi Cirbusova, a Certified Financial Education Instructor and shame-free money mentor. Between May 2019 and July 2020, I paid off $20,881 of debt without sacrificing the things that brought me joy. And, of course, the other thing to remember is I did it all of that while working mostly part-time at a small nonprofit making $16 an hour.

This podcast is dedicated to the financial scaredy-cats. It’s for the people whose hands shake and heart race when they open their bank accounts. I dedicate this podcast to anyone that is tired of being told that their $4 lattes are keeping them from buying a house someday. I made this podcast for anyone that was told, “you just need to make a budget”, but wasn’t told how, or why, or even what to do with it once you made one. 

My friend, if any of that describes you…you’re in the right place.

I believe you can pay off debt, save for your money goals, and live an abundant life – without feeling shame, embarrassment, or restricting yourself to the bare necessities. I’m here to help you climb the money mountain. Because you are worthy. You deserve it. And because I know, deep in my soul, when you are less stressed about your finances and have more stability, it frees you to share your gifts with the world. And the world needs your gifts!

So thank you for being here. 

In this very first episode, it felt like the best place to start was with talking about our relationship with money, and how we show up with it. For some time, I was trying to find the right language to describe a polarity I was seeing with my one-on-one mentoring clients. And it wasn’t until I read something by Tad Hargrave at Marketing for Hippies that I finally had that language. (Side note here, if you do any kind of marketing or communications, definitely check out Tad’s work at MarketingforHippies.com. I love it. It’s been making my life so much easier.)

Anyway, when my mentees would come to me, I noticed there were sort of two ends to this spectrum when it came to their relationship to money. It was apparent in how they’d hold their bodies. The language they’d use to talk about money. The emotions they’d use to describe to talk about their experiences with it. The overall “vibe” that washed over every interaction they had with their finances.

You see, on one end of the spectrum was collapsing. Collapsing is about being unprepared, avoidant, and feeling shame about money. Collapsing says “money is terrifying, and I’d do anything to just not think about it.” The stories we tell ourselves when we’re in a state of collapsing are rooted in fear, anxiety and disgust. 

On the other end of the spectrum is posturing. When someone is posturing with money, they are looking to be stricter, more disciplined, and rigid with their money habits. Posturing says “I refuse to be a victim to my finances anymore! I’m going to watch it like a hawk.” People stuck in their spreadsheets, or watching every penny and ignoring the big picture, often have posturing money stories. They are hyper vigilant, linking money to status or happiness. 

Both collapsing and posturing are based on the idea that money is not safe. That money is the fighter on the other side of the ring, ready to knock you down at any moment. 

Take a moment and take a breath. Where do you fall on this spectrum? When you think about your finances, what is happening in your body? Do you feel like you want to curl up and hide? Or do you want to puff up your chest and fight back? Maybe you waffle between the two?

Alright, take another breath. Because I want to offer an alternative. It’s called composure.

Composure says, “I am present and calm with money.” Composure understands the why behind your finances and confidently orchestrates where your money is going and flowing. Composure carefully rewrites money stories so we may better listen to our needs and desires from a place of genuine self-love and curiosity. It sees money as one of many tools to support your day-to-day and larger vision for your life.

What would it look like to feel composure around your finances?

Does it mean creating a tangible and satisfying plan for each payday? Does it mean being kinder to yourself when you go over budget? Maybe it means forgiving yourself for past money mistakes. 

Perhaps it means finally starting that emergency fund, or automating your savings.

Maybe for you, composure means being more present and mindful when making purchases. It might mean saying “no”  when you want to, no matter how much anyone else wants you to say “yes”. 

Maybe it means gently holding space each time you excavate an unconscious money mindset, allowing yourself to appreciate where it came from, and releasing it from your responsibility moving forward.

I hope you notice in all these examples that composure follows action. If you want to feel more composure around your finances, you’re going to have to take some tangible actions first. It takes time, practice, and dedication to develop composure. And I promise my friend, it is so worth it.

If this resonated with you, be sure to give this episode 5 stars in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you’re listening. It would mean the world to me, and help other people discover this podcast. 

Our next segment is a quick “In Case You Missed It”, where I’m going to be sharing some things that are coming up. Let’s get into it.

Ok, so I’m going to make an assumption about you, dear listener, and I hope you can forgive me for it. But I am going to venture to say that if you are listening to this podcast on or shortly after July 11 of 2023, there’s a good chance it’s because you already follow me on Instagram, maybe TikTok or Facebook, or you get my monthly email newsletter. And if you don’t, that’s cool too, but hey, maybe go follow me? Or sign up for my newsletter.

Anyway, if you are here because of those reasons, I have been sharing about an upcoming No Spend Challenge I’m hosting in August. Because sometimes we all need a little reset on our spending. Maybe you want to throw a little extra at your debt, or you want to kick start a savings goal, or maybe you just want to figure out what the heck is going on with your finances. This is a really great way to start.

Now I can hear what you might be thinking. Maybe the idea of a No Spend Challenge makes you worry about feeling deprived, or that you’re going to miss out, or maybe you’re not sure that you’ll be able to even finish the challenge at all. That’s exactly why I do things a little differently.

This is a supported virtual group challenge, and it does so much more than help you save money. At its heart, this is all about identifying the mindsets, habits, and circumstances that make you spend money in ways that are regrettable and forgettable.

During the challenge, I’m going to teach you:

  • How to set yourself up for a successful No Spend Challenge
  • About your unique spending triggers, and how to work with them in your daily life instead of fighting against them.
  • What makes purchases regrettable or forgettable for you
  • How to celebrate your wins and carry these lessons long after the Challenge is over

If you want to join in and be part of our August 2023 No Spend Challenge, go to MeadowsweetMoney.com or use the link in the show notes. When you sign up, you get access to:

  • Weekly live virtual support sessions (via Zoom)
  • Weekly encouragement emails to keep you motivated and on track
  • And the official 15-page No Spend Challenge workbook

And the best part? This is a pay what you can event. What does this mean? You pay $25 to secure your spot. Then you get to enjoy the month-long Challenge, and at the very end, you can pay me whatever you’d like to pay. Whatever feels good to your heart or your wallet.

No funny business. No sale-y pitches. And absolutely no gimmicks. Just an honest-to-goodness pay what you can/want deal. That’s it.

I also have an option for a flat $125 market value ticket. If that feels good and convenient for you, choose that option.

Either way is fine by me.

Seating is limited though, so please make sure you grab your spot before July 25th. I hope to see you in the No Spend Challenge.

Ok, let’s head into our next segment and discuss some financial literacy 101…specifically, Health Savings Accounts.

When I was a kid, sometimes people would complain about things that none of us really had control over, and my Mom would say, “well, if I were the queen, things would be different”. It was her way of saying, “if I had the power to change this thing without interference or opinions from other people, this is what I would do”. 

One of those “If I were the Queen” things, for me at least, would be related to HSAs, also known as Health Savings Accounts. HSAs are these special accounts with amazing tax benefits that can be used for medical expenses and investing. In fact, HSAs might be the best tax-advantaged retirement account out there right now. It works sort of like a Traditional IRA (or Individual Retirement Account), except that you can withdraw from it, tax-free for qualified medical expenses. And unlike flexible spending accounts, also known as FSAs, there is no “use it or lose it” rule. 

HSAs have a triple tax benefit. Your contributions go in pre-tax; meaning you aren’t paying taxes on what you put in. You can buy investments, like stocks or index funds, in your HSA and your investment growth is also tax-free. Like I said before, you can withdraw for qualified medical expenses tax-free. And super-duper bonus, when you turn 65, your HSA converts to a regular retirement account. So then you can withdraw for any reason and just pay the tax with no penalty. In 2023, the contribution limit for individuals is about $3,800 (a little more), whereas those with family coverage on their health insurance is about $7,700. 

But here’s the kicker. You can only invest in an HSA if you have a “HSA Compatible” health insurance plan. Usually, this is a high-deductable health plan. Which not everyone has. There are specific eligibility requirements for HSAs, and if you qualify for one, they are so awesome. In my last job before I became a full time entrepreneur, I had an HSA, and my employer even contributed to it! So I still have an HSA, but I can’t contribute to it anymore because my current healthcare plan, which I get through the Marketplace, does not have a deductible. 

If I were the queen, I would make HSAs available to absolutely everyone, regardless of the kind of health insurance plan they have. Of course, I personally wish we had a universal healthcare system, but it’s pretty bogus that a tool this helpful and this tax-advantaged is only available to a limited number of people with specific types of healthcare coverage. Our healthcare costs in the United States are ridiculously high, the highest in the world, and yet we limit people’s ability to save and invest for their future healthcare costs as they age. To me, that’s B.S. So yeah, if I were the queen, HSAs for all. 

Your queen has spoken.

If you have access to a Health Savings Account, I highly encourage you to look into it. If your employer offers a contribution match as one of your benefits, double check to see if you’re signed up. It is truly a valuable investment tool to have at your disposal, and I wish it was something everyone could access.

So with that, we’re going to keep it short and sweet. And that was today’s podcast.

Thank you for listening to the Meadowsweet Money Podcast, a production of Meadowsweet Money LLC. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please leave a 5-star review on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. It helps others find us and is greatly appreciated. And be sure to follow us so you don’t miss a single episode.

For more shame-free personal finance content, visit meadowsweetmoney.com.

Thanks for listening. You’re doing great, and I’m proud of you.