The MapleMoney Show » How to Save Money » Debt

Getting Good with Money, with Jessi Fearon

Presented by Willful

Welcome to The MapleMoney Show, the podcast that helps Canadians improve their finances to create lasting financial freedom. I’m your host, Tom Drake, the founder of MapleMoney, where I’ve been writing about all things related to personal finance since 2009.

Do you consider yourself to be good with money? The truth is, we have all struggled with managing our finances at some point. In fact, there are four different ways that people struggle with money, according to this week’s guest. The good news is that you can train yourself to overcome your money weaknesses.

Jessi Fearon is a personal finance writer and coach who seeks to challenge, encourage, and equip women to take the steps they need to achieve financial freedom. Jessi firmly believes in living a real-life on a budget and that personal finance is, in fact, personal. She seeks to help others learn how to make their money work for them. Jessi is the author of the book, Getting Good with Money: Pay Off Your Debt and Find a Life of Freedom – Without Losing Your Mind.

In her book, Jessi draws on her own story, explaining how she and her husband paid off their debt in full. According to Jessi, they had to get ruthless about cutting spending, even selling items that they didn’t need. Even if an item cost $25, if they didn’t need it, they were willing to sell it for $5.

Jessi identifies four ways that people struggle with money, and she has names for each type of person: the Spender, the Floater, the Daredevil, and the Avoider. For example, the Floater is the person living from paycheque to paycheque, or as Jessi puts it, from paycheque to four days before the next paycheque. The Daredevil lives without a savings account as a safety net, and the Avoider steers clear of saving or taking care of their future self. The Spender is fairly obvious.

To find out what category, or categories, you might fall under, you’ll need to listen to the full episode!

Willful’s user-friendly online platform means you can create your legal will and Power of Attorney documents from the comfort of home in less than 20 minutes and for a fraction of the price of visiting a lawyer. Get started for free at and use promo code MAPLEMONEY to save 15%

Episode Summary

  • Jessi shares her “why” for getting out of debt
  • What’s the next step after cutting out extra spending
  • What Jessi did to earn extra money while paying off debt
  • Jessie explains why she no longer uses a credit card
  • Four ways people struggle with money
  • Understanding different spending triggers
  • How to break the paycheque to paycheque cycle
  • How Jessi plans her Christmas shopping in advance
  • The 5 Money Truths

Read transcript

Do you consider yourself to be good with money? The truth is we have all struggled to manage our finances at some point. In fact, according to this week’s guest, there are four different ways that people struggle with money. The good news is you can train yourself to overcome your weaknesses. Jessi Fearon is a personal finance writer and coach who seeks to challenge, encourage and equip women to take the steps they need to achieve financial freedom. Jessi is the author of the book, Getting Good with Money – Pay Off Your Debt and Find a Life of Freedom Without Losing Your Mind. Jessi firmly believes in living a real life on a budget, and that personal finance is, in fact, personal. She seeks to help others learn how to make their money work for them. 


Welcome to the Maple Money Show, the podcast that helps Canadians improve their personal finances to create lasting financial freedom. Willful’s user-friendly, online platform, means you can create illegal will and power of attorney documents online from the comfort of home in less than 20 minutes, and for a fraction of the price of visiting a lawyer. Get started for free at and use promo code Maple Money to save 15 percent. Now, let’s chat with Jessi… 


Tom: Hi Jessi. Welcome to the Maple Money Show. 


Jessi: Well, thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here. 


Tom: You have a new book that just came out, Getting Good With Money. One of the things that was pretty interesting to me was how this came about because it was really based on your own money story. All of us in blogging and podcasting have some kind of money story but yours sounds like it was feeling a little a little “rock bottom” where you’re trying to figure out how to even pay the bills. Do I have that right, and can you take us back to that time? 


Jessi: Yes, you have it right. I started the year 2012 pregnant and ended it pregnant. It was done on a purpose. We were about to have two children under the age of two. I had to quit my corporate job. I was a stay-at-home mom. We were living off my husband’s salary which was about $47,000 a year. For a while, it was okay, but then things got tighter and tighter and tighter. Then I sat down trying to figure out what I could realistically expect when I had two kids and diapers and I’m buying formula and all these things. I started to realize there was not going to be enough money to even pay for the diapers. We were barely affording just the minimum payments on all of our bills—the utility bills, debt payments and all of that. I started to realize we were not going to have any money. Of course, at that point, the option was that I could go back to the corporate world and go back to work. But my husband was working a job where his schedule was all over the place. Sometimes it was a normal nine to five, but most of the time he was either out of the state working or working third shifts so the burden of getting two kids, to and from daycare, getting myself to work, coming home, cooking dinner, cleaning up from dinner, bathing kids, putting them to bed and starting the cycle all over again was going to fall mostly upon me. And neither myself nor my husband really wanted that because we figured what kind of life is that, really? So we started having real hard discussions about how we could change this. How do we fix this? Slowly but surely, we made the decision to completely go without credit cards. We cut up our credit cards. We worked really hard to pay them off. We managed to pay off the last one three days before our second child was born. We also got rid of my really nice, fully loaded, Tahoe that also had a huge, huge, huge debt attached to it, for a very well-loved, 2001 Toyota Sequoia that I still drive today. She’s 21 years old and she just keeps trucking down the road. But it was one that we could pay for in cash instead of having to have that loan. And it was so funny because after we got rid of the Tahoe, we had this car payment money now. It was like we gave ourselves the biggest pay raise we had ever had in our lives. And then slowly, from there, we attacked my student loans. But little bit by little bit, we freed up my husband’s income and were able to make it actually work for our life instead of us having to work for our money. 


Tom: When we had our first kid, we found that same choice of working with daycare and everything. And my wife, was working at minimum wage, pretty much. And the price of daycare, it would almost would have been a break even. So it’s definitely more of a struggle to deal with not having that second income, but it would have been lost. At that point you’ve got a kid and daycare would have been involved so you’d just be working to pay for daycare and not spending your time with your kids. We made a similar decision where you got to start looking at how your finances are structured and make it work even though it’s not as nice and convenient. It was also similar with the vehicle. In our case we got rid of the second vehicle a few months in because we just realized when you have a baby, you’re really not driving around too much. There were ways to make it work—drop me off at work on days she needed the vehicle and such. We made some similar choices. When you have kids, things change. That’s kind of how I started my blog, too. 


Jessi: Yes, it changes your life. And us, having our kids, really forced us to get real with our with and finances and really come together as a team and figure out what we wanted for our life. Because kids, it felt like—not that you don’t know what you’re living for but there’s not a lot of concrete purpose you can point to. Then all of a sudden you become parents and you’re like, “Okay, well, now we have this concrete purpose and we’ve got to do good for them,” and that sort of was our catalyst into making these decisions. 


Tom: That’s a great point. Now, you had debt before you had your children. Was that just making ends meet or was there a lot of spending? I know I bought all sorts of stupid stuff in the past (that I’ve mentioned on this podcast). I still have some of it in boxes to deal with. When you talk about not having purpose, it just seemed like you had money and sometimes you didn’t but at least you had a credit card. In my case, I just bought a lot of useless things. 


Jessi: Yes, yes. And that was a lot of what we are doing. Of course, we would go hang out with friends and blow $150 hanging out with them one night. And what did we have to show for it? There’s ways to get around that. There’s ways to have even deeper and more meaningful connections with friends by not having to go out every single Friday night and hang out in a really expensive restaurant or wherever. You could have things at home where everybody brings a dish or what have you. But yeah, we spent a lot of money on things that didn’t matter. Even after we had our first child, we were still kind of spending that money because it was such a habit for us. No one had really told us we shouldn’t be spending that money. At the time we had our oldest child, we were told the car I had wasn’t safe enough. So, all of a sudden you have to go get the really safe, mom-mobile, the SUV, because something bad is going to happen to your kid if you stick them in the four-door sedan, right? You’ve got to have him in the SUV. So, that’s what we did. We took out this huge loan to go buy the really nice SUV with the backup cameras, built-in navigation, DVD player in the back, and all these things. The reality was, we didn’t need any of it. We just felt like we were supposed to have those things. And for me, part of getting good with money is you just making your own decisions on what actually works for your real life and not what you think you’re supposed to do. 


Tom: When you came to this point where you were cutting up the cards, paying them off, how did that work out? How did you make these changes? Obviously, you can stop spending, but where do you make it work that you get additional money to pay off these debts? Or do you just cut so much that you can pay off the debts? 


Jessi: Well, the first thing we did was definitely cut spending down to the absolute bare bone. There was no eating out. There was no vacations. There was no little frivolous spending of any sort going on. But the other thing we did that actually had even a greater impact was we started selling off anything and everything that we did not need. I mean, we were ransacking this house, finding every little thing. And as you know, when you have that first kid, you get this abundance of baby things. Then you also buy an abundance of baby things because you think you need all them. Then you realize you don’t need half of it. We were selling off a bunch of that stuff. And it didn’t matter if it was only selling for $5 when it originally cost $20. We were just selling it because all that extra money, immediately went to debt. And that was really the only way,  realistically, that we were able to pay off the two credit cards we had before our second child was born. In reality, we only had about six or seven months before my second child was born when we started this whole process. And that wasn’t a lot of time to pay off nearly $5,000 in credit card debt. But we made it happen just by simply doing those things and then picking up side hustles. My husband is a contractor. But before he was a contractor, he actually apprenticed as a cabinet maker. So he was side hustling, making cabinets for people, and I started walking dogs in a local town-home community. Every day, I’d be out there walking dogs and just word of mouth, I started having all these dogs that I would walk. I’d be pushing a stroller (usually pregnant) with all these dogs. But it worked. And even though I didn’t make a ton of money doing that, it was all money that was immediately able to be thrown to debt. The same with my husband’s. It went immediately to paying off the debt so we could achieve our goals in a much quicker timeframe. 


Tom: These small things do add up in both directions. Like you said, you don’t make a lot walking the dog, but it’s more than if you didn’t. 


Jessi: Exactly. 


Tom: And with the items you sold, like in your example, was worth $20 but you only sold it for $5, sure, you lost $15. But, if that item is worth $20 and just sits in your garage on a shelf or something like that, then you get nothing from it. At least getting $5 at that point, you can’t go back and change the decision to buy that $20 item, but you can certainly sell it for $5. And you can certainly walk dogs for a few dollars because it all adds up. Then on the negative side of that, you talked about going out with your friends and spending $150. I’ve always seen that those really add up. Even if you’re clothes shopping or something like that, just the idea that these $100 to $300 kind of transactions—they can add up quickly on a credit card. It doesn’t have to be the extravagant couch for $2,000. It’s these little things that add up that you barely even notice. 


Jessi: Exactly. Especially for most of us with the pandemic, Amazon got so many people because you just go in, you’re bored, sitting there watching TV and all of a sudden you see those ads and you’re just clicking on it, “Oh, I need this thing…” and the next thing you know, you’re buying whatever gadget you were just shown that ad for because you weren’t proactively thinking about it. It’s happened to me before, it happens to everybody. We aren’t thinking about our money. Those small dollar amounts add up. A lot of times, it might be $20 and we’ll just spend it thinking, “Oh, it’s fine.” But then that $20 just keeps compounding and compounding and compounding, over time. 


Tom: I totally agree it adds up. People who listen to this have heard the whole latte effect thing and sometimes complain about that one saying, “Well, I’m not buying these coffees every day,” but that’s not the point. It’s just the idea that these little things add up. Maybe it’s not coffee for you, but there’s always something. No matter how much we cut back this, there’s probably just this one thing (per person) where you’re not really noticing it. One of my mental hacks around this is to look at everything annually, whether it’s coffee or going out for dinners. It just starts to mean a little bit more. And then you can also compare it to things that truly are annual expenses. Then you don’t see it as that $20 item. You see it as part of a bigger thing. 


Jessi: Absolutely. And that happened with me and my husband when we were trying to figure out how to now budget together and pay off this debt. One of the things my husband would always do—which was almost every single day, was going to the gas station and buying a $2 Red Bull every single day. I don’t even think they’re $2 anymore, but that’s what they were. But he couldn’t (in his mind) understand that that $2 was adding up over time. I finally just had to break it down to him. I literally found every single transaction in our bank account of where he had done it and added it up in a spreadsheet. And I said, “Here you go, honey,” so he could see it. Because, to him, it wasn’t clicking that $2 actually had an impact. That’s not me vilifying him. I’m guilty of it too, because books—they get me. I tend to want to read every book there is. And if you’re on Kindle, it’s so easy. I just click it… It’s only 99 cents. It’s okay. But then, of course, that adds up too. 


Tom: That’s exactly right. They do add up. Now, you mentioned cutting up your credit cards. Are you the hard-core kind of person that still has no credit cards or have you moved back into them? 


Jessi: We actually did try to have a credit card. My husband actually still has one. It’s open. He doesn’t even use it. I had one but the temptation to spend (for me) was way too great, especially online so I cut it up. I was done with it. I thought, nope, nope, nope! I’m not going down this slippery slope again. I’m done. I left it open because it makes my credit score look really, really nice. We had paid off our house so I had no other debts to my name to make my credit score be high. But yeah, I completely cut it out because I clearly could not handle that. 


Tom: That makes sense. I’m not a fan of debt. I am a fan of credit cards, but as a tool. If you know you have a spending problem when you have a credit card, then it’s totally reasonable that you wouldn’t use one. 


Jessi: I think it’s important too, for people to recognize that within themselves and just be able to admit it, “This is a slippery slope and I’m going to fall down this slippery slope. How can I protect myself from doing that?” It was way too easy for me, especially because I gotten it right during the pandemic. My mental health was not great at the start of the pandemic so I think I was engaging in some retail therapy via online and I wasn’t actually paying attention to what I was doing. That was just an important boundary I had to give to myself. 


Tom: So how do you buy things? Is it a bank card, still digital—or are you all cash? 


Jessi: It’s a debit card. When we were trying to become debt-free, we used a lot more cash. I would buy our groceries solely with cash. My fuel with cash, because the business my husband worked for actually paid for the gas in his truck. Any other miscellaneous spending like if I had to go clothes shopping for my kids, I would carry cash with me. Now, we use the debit card. That’s mostly because we’ve gotten the hang of budgeting and putting boundaries on our money. It’s a lot easier for us to do that now. But when we first learning this, cash was absolutely the way that we had to do it so we both had that accountability and those boundaries. The only cash that we budget for is the little stuff—my husband gets his own little money to spend however he wants. And then I get a little bit money that I can spend however I want. That, we give to each other in the form of cast. That way, I don’t have to track it. He can spend it however he wants to. 


Tom: I’ve had podcast episodes about couples, and it seems like a good way to just not have that become a friction point. When you guys are trying to cut the expenses, if both sides kind of have something that’s theirs without question, then it doesn’t become this weekly or monthly conversation, “Why did you spend it on that?” It’s just kind of free to use. 


Jessi: When my husband’s at work, if he wants to go buy lunch, he doesn’t have to say anything to me because it’s not in the budget. He can just take his cash and go do that if that if that’s what he wants to do. There are even times where he’s saw something he wanted to buy for me or for one of the kids and doesn’t want me to know about it so he can surprise us—it’s great that he has the cash. He can go do that and nobody knows about it until we open the gift. 


Tom: We’ve talked a lot about struggling with money, and one of the things in your book I wanted to bring up was you have four ways people struggle with money. Can you just list those out and we can kind of dive into them a bit? 


Jessi: Yes, there’s the spender, the floater, the daredevil and the avoider. 


Tom: Let’s start with the first one and see where we fall. 


Jessi: Okay. For the spender, that’s obviously somebody who struggles with the impulsive spending. My husband is actually really the spender. Something I’ve realized with most spenders is, it’s not that they have to spend money. It’s that they like the ability to be able to spend money when they want to spend money. That was something I had to learn because I just wanted to stock-pile everything in savings. I would never spend the money. My husband calls me cheap. That’s what makes me feel really, really happy, safe, and secure is having a bunch of money in the bank. But money, for my husband, makes him feel sort of successful and that he’s accomplished something. He likes to have the ability to spend money when he feels that it’s necessary or if he wants to. Now, of course, his vice, is that impulsivity can kick in and he will want to spend, spend, spend, spend. So he has to work on finding his spending trigger, which (for him) has always been a “great deal.” He sees a great deal and wants to spend the money. For other people, it’s a retail therapy. That’s definitely a spending trigger I have. And for other people, it’s gift buying. People go to a store and think, “Julie would love this. Oh my gosh!” They don’t even consider that Julie might have 15 of those at home and doesn’t actually need another one, but they want to buy it because they thought of this person and instantly, that’s something they feel they have to buy. There’s nothing wrong with any of that. It’s just that you have to identify what your triggers are in order to be able to calm yourself down. As I said before, for me, standing at the edge of that slippery slope, as a spender, you have to figure out what that trigger is. What’s going to cause me to go over the edge and overspend where I’m not going to able to stop myself? That’s the key for figuring that out and just stopping yourself. And then the floater is someone caught living paycheck-to-paycheck. And really, this is more like somebody who’s caught living four days before paycheck. The money continuously runs out. There is never, ever enough. And then if they get a raise or they get a bonus, it’s usually gone pretty quickly. And the key to fixing and avoiding that is by paycheck budgeting where you’re just taking the current amount you have sitting in your checking account, looking at your calendar between now and the next payday, then just plug and play. What bills are do between now and the next payday? What events do we have coming up? Do we need to buy groceries? Have we got a haircut appointment? What do we have going on between now and then that’s going to cost us money, then subtract it from that current checking account balance. And, when you get paid again, you add it to the remaining balance and you start the process over. The only way to really stop being a floater is to start paying active attention to where money is going and making really hard decisions on where you want your money to go. An example I gave about looking at your current checking account balance between now and next payday, let’s say you do have a haircut appointment between now and then, but you realize you don’t have enough money to make it through to next payday. Well, maybe you need to cancel the haircut appointment and move it somewhere else. Maybe you need to work on finding a way to eliminate or reduce the other expenses you have coming in by calling insurance or utility providers and trying to find a lower rate. Or, maybe not buying as much at the grocery store, stretching your meals, whatever you need to do. It puts you in the driver’s seat. Even though it’s really hard to be in that driver’s seat, it puts you in the driver’s seat and helps you make those decisions so you can stop being a floater living paycheck-to-paycheck. The other one is a daredevil, which is someone living without a safety net—living without a savings account as their safety net. Let me clarify that. I’m a huge fan of having a nice emergency fund because it’s there to pick you up when life hits you right in the face. A daredevil lives without any sort of savings account at all. My husband and I, have been all four of these types before, by the way. And one of the ways we were a “daredevil” is we had a really small savings account but no strategy in place for saving money. We didn’t know if we had enough money in savings. We just knew that we had more money than our friends did in savings, which in reality looking back, was not very much money. It took one accident my husband had at work that completely wiped that savings account almost to the exact penny. So we learned very quickly that we didn’t have enough money in savings. And so part of not being a daredevil anymore is building up the savings account, but also being active and strategic in defining how much is enough for your family. What kind of safety net do you need to have because it’s going to catch you when life gets up in your face. Then the last one is the avoider who is someone that avoids saving for retirement or even just avoids saving or taking care of their future self, in general. I’ve been all four of these. My husband and I avoided saving for retirement for a really, really long time because it was like this big, scary thing. Even though I have an accounting degree, they didn’t really teach me much about saving for retirement beyond corporate finance. The personal stuff they didn’t really talk about. So it was this big, scary thing that I knew nothing about and my husband knew nothing about. And we didn’t really know what to do with it. I had to work really hard on educating myself. I remember I set the goal for that year of just educating myself, and then the very next year, the goal was just to put the money in the account and then to buy something with it. That was it. It was fine, it was just money. I just had to get over my initial fear and start taking action. Those small steps, as we were talking about before, all those small changes—they add up. The only way to stop being an avoider is to just take those really small steps towards taking care of your future self. Because when you’re 80 years old, what do you want to be doing? What do you want that life to look like? Do you want to have your grandchildren playing at your feet and you’re getting to hang out with them? Or do you want to have to be going off to work because you don’t have any money in savings? What does it look like for you? 


Tom: I think I’ve been a bit of all of those at a time too, especially the spender. I do have credit cards, but it’s something that you can kind of at least be aware of and sort of fight that, especially around “getting a deal” that you mentioned. That’s a tough one because marketing-wise, everything is a deal now. Everything’s on sale. You can go into a store and almost everything is on sale. And if it’s not, it will be soon. I think retail locations and sites probably really play to that a lot—everything’s on sale all the time so you might want to get it now.  


Jessi: Before I graduated college until I went into the real corporate world, I worked in retail. And yes, those sales cycles exist. There would be times we would have better sales throughout the year than we would have come Christmas time. Of course, everybody freaks out at Christmas and Black Friday, but yeah, they happen again. The sales will always come back so it’s okay—you’re not missing out on anything. It will go on sale again. 


Tom: And there’s another side of that, too, where if you realize that these are on a cycle and you actually do need to buy this item, you can take advantage of that sale. I’m not hating on sales. I don’t like paying regular price, but you can be more strategic and say, “I actually need this item. I’m going to wait until it’s on sale.” It’s not the impulse side of it where you just looking at the sales, looking at the fliers that came in and being told what you want. Instead, make the decision that it’s something you actually need or want, but you’re going to be a little more strategic about it. You’re going to wait for the sale that comes and buy it because you’ve already decided you want it. 


Jessi: Absolutely. I actually do something for Christmas. Any time I’m shopping for Christmas, I actually make a huge list of everybody we’re planning to buy for. Then I put the ideas of what I want to buy them. Then when I see sales pop up, if it’s on my list, I’ll say, “Okay, yep, Connor needs new pajamas and Old Navy has got a killer deal on pajamas right now,” so I will snag that up. That way, I’m not distracted by all the other killer deals that come in where I think, “Oh, I have to buy all these things that are not on my list.” These are things that these people need or have expressed that they actually want. That way I’m not just buying a bunch of stuff. 


Tom: You mentioned that before, this idea where you give someone a gift they don’t even want. It’s just bad all around. That person’s getting stuck with something they don’t want and you’ve wasted money. It’s not helping anybody. 


Jessi: It’s not. And then, of course, it either ends up in a landfill, gets regifted or donated later. 


Tom: The other thing from your book I wanted to cover before we go is these lies people tell about money. You have these five money truths. I think we probably just touched on one a bit there with this idea that sales make things okay. But if you can tell us about those? I’d like to hear about those ones. 


Jessi: One of the lies that we tell ourselves is, it’s not enough. As we were talking about before, about small changes in small dollar amounts, we tend to tell ourselves, it’s not enough. I only have $5 extra this pay period and it’s not enough. Then we don’t do anything with that $5. We just spend it, just do something else with it. But that $5, if you moved it towards whatever current goal you’re working towards, whether it’s paying off debt, saving for retirement, saving an emergency fund, saving for a down payment fund, whatever it may be, you have probably just done more with $5 than most people do with $50. We tend to tell ourselves, “I’ll do this when I have $50 or $500 or $5,000,” But then we never do anything when we have those amounts of money. By building that habit of doing something with those small dollar amounts, you are actually creating a ripple effect and you’re going to get yourself so much closer to your goals. The lie is that it’s not enough. But the truth is, it’s way more than enough. Those small amounts do, in fact, add up. One of my other money lies is that budgets are for broke people. Budgets are definitely not for broke people, they are for everybody. Of course, I don’t think millionaires are counting their pennies. But any good millionaire who wants to stay a millionaire is definitely paying attention to their money and assets. It’s the same here. Setting yourself up on a budget is not about being broke or hard up. It’s about being proactive, making changes and paying attention to what’s going on in your account. That way you’re able to put your money to use for your future self—to get yourself out of any situation you don’t want to be in. There’s so much freedom in not being chained down today and having an emergency fund, having money for retirement. There’s so much freedom in that, and you’re never going to get that freedom if you don’t grab your money by the reins and actually control which way it’s going. Another money lie we tend to tell ourselves is, “I made a mistake and it proves that I just can’t get it right.” Every single one of us makes mistakes. But mistakes are our greatest learning tool. That’s the truth. Mistakes are our greatest learning tool. One of the goals I set for myself the year that I didn’t know anything about investing was just to research it. And then the next goal I had was just to put money in the account and buy something, even if it lost money. And it did lose money. But I did a lot of research and said, “Okay, I’m going to buy this one.” I felt comfortable doing that. In some ways it was a mistake. But in some ways it wasn’t because it got me over my fear of doing it. I learned a lot from that. One of the ways I learned is I paid too much in fees on that particular one. But I wouldn’t have really learned that had I not experienced it. With our mistakes, as long as we’re learning from them, they’re not real mistakes. It’s a learning tool, and we just need to approach it that way. 


Tom: I also like that you were just starting investing, and almost everything we’ve talked about on this episode so far has been about keeping it small. So if you if you make a small investing mistake and learn from it, that’s better than waiting until you think you’re ready, putting in even more money and maybe buying a terrible stock and paying huge fees. Once again, I like the idea that these small things actually matter. 


Jessi: They do. Yes, absolutely. And then another way we lie to ourselves is telling ourselves that we don’t know how to do something because with time and effort, we can learn how to do anything. Again, my goal of just learning how to invest and researching that, gave me a lot of peace of mind. It’s the same with like budgeting. If you don’t know how to budget right now, then just start with the paycheck budget. Just write down what your current checking account balance is and go from there. Because over time, as long as you keep doing it, keep building up that habit, you’re going to see the changes and the positive outcomes of that. Don’t lie to yourself saying, “I don’t know how to do that,” because that’s just giving yourself an excuse. It’s giving you an escape. Don’t do that to yourself. Grab your money by the reins and be responsible for it and tell it where it’s going to go. And the last one is probably one of my favorite ones is, “This is simple, so it should be easy.” We tend to lie to ourselves saying this thing is simple so it’s supposed to be easy. And when it’s not easy, we get upset and kind of just give up. But the reality is that simple things are oftentimes not easy. I once had a friend say to me that caring for a newborn baby is simple, but it’s not easy. Anybody that’s ever cared for a newborn baby knows they have to be fed and changed so really, they don’t have much else to complain about. But, taking care of a new baby is really, really hard. You’re going to wake up every two hours (if you’re lucky). So it’s really hard to take care of a newborn baby, even though it’s simple. It’s really hard to manage our money as well, and to get good with money, even though on the surface, it seems very, very simple. You’ve got to live on less than you make and make proactive decisions with your money. That sounds all wonderful. In that sense, it is simple, but it’s never easy because you’re talking about human behavior. 


Tom: I definitely lean towards the simple side in that I see everything as math. I realize that with some people though, there’s a lot more of a mental side to it too. You’re right, it’s cash flow. Make more than you spend and you’re fine. But there’s all sorts of extra issues there. How do you make more and how do you spend less? 


Jessi: Yeah, how do you tell yourself that you don’t need that thing, you know? 


Tom: That’s great. Thanks for running us through this—sharing your story in how you made that lifestyle change since then and this new book that kind of covers a lot of that. Can you let people know more about the book and where they can find you online? 


Jessi: Yes. Getting Good With Money, shares my family’s story of how we became debt-free on a salary of just over $47,000 a year. Within that story, there’s a practical guide to help you figure out how you can get good with money and define your own version of financial freedom, because your version of financial freedom is going to be different than my family’s. Getting Good With Money is all about discovering what that version is for you, along with the practical tips and help to achieve that financial dream of yours. You can find me online at And social media @jessifearon. And my book, Getting Good With Money, is available wherever books are sold. 


Tom: Great. Thanks for being on the show. 


Jessi: Well, thank you. 


Thanks, Jessi, for sharing your story and helping us understand different triggers that can prevent us from being good with money. You can find the show notes for this episode at As usual, head over to our YouTube channel and subscribe there as we’ll be getting back to releasing never-before-seen content, soon. Search for Maple Money or go to and subscribe today. Thanks, as always for listening, and I look forward to seeing you back here next week.

When you have that first kid, you get this abundance of baby things and then you also buy an abundance of baby things ‘cause you think you need all these things, and then you realize that you don’t need half of it - Jessi Fearon Click to Tweet