Owning Your Money with The Debt-Free Nurse, Allie Gotteland

Happy Friday, Tribe! I hope you had an amazing week and thank you so much for being here. I’m grateful that you’re here, and I’m grateful that I’m here too! 

I’ve got such an amazing guest on today’s episode. But, before we dive in, I want to ask you a raw, vulnerable question. Before you answer, I want you to avoid judging yourself. Do not get angry with yourself. Do not feel guilty. Just let whatever comes up, come up. 

Here’s my question to you: Are you happy with your financial situation? Are you genuinely proud of your finances? 

If you are not 100% happy and genuinely proud of your financial situation, my next question is, are you actively working on becoming happier or more proud? 

Because here’s the thing, Tribe. Money is never going to just “go away.” Money is the currency that makes the world go round. It enables us to do the things that we need and want to do. 

Just like your relationship with food, you should be working on your relationship with money. It’s OK if you are not 100% happy and genuinely proud of your finances –– trust me, I’ve been there. Finances actually used to scare me. I talked about this pretty early on in this podcast, and I’m going to be talking about it again pretty soon too. 

For now, I’ll just say this –– it took awhile for me to realize that wasn't going anywhere and that I needed to take ownership of it, especially if I was going to become an entrepreneur (or just a grownup in general!). I strongly believe that in order to become truly empowered and thrive in our lives, we need to tackle money and our relationship with money. That’s what I teach in my program, but someone who can teach it even better is money expert, The Debt-Free Nurse, and my guest today –– Allie Gotteland.

Who Is Allie Gotteland?

Allie is a nurse, originally from California but now living in North Carolina, who is also a self-described “reformed shopaholic.” 

“I would put tons of money on credit cards. I would spend hundreds of dollars at Lululemon because I was really into fitness for quite awhile. [I assumed I would] get a job in California and just pay this all off. …When I moved out to North Carolina, I greatly underestimated how much nurses got paid out here. I had a very rude awakening when I moved out here with nothing in savings, doing everything on my own, and not making very much money. Then my car broke down, and my student loan payments were due all at the same time. I pretty quickly realized I didn't want to keep living like this.” - Allie Gotteland

Allie was feeling burned out, stressed, and overwhelmed when her mom gave her a copy of I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. It was the starting point for Allie to start taking control of her financial situation and shifting her money mindset. Over the course of one year, she was able to pay off $46,000 in debt. Allie managed to save $10,000 in six months and pay off all her student loan and credit card debt. Today, she offers coaching and training for other nurses who want to take control of their finances. 

What I love about Allie’s approach to tackling your finances is that it starts with mindset. We have so many limiting beliefs around money that it can be difficult to start improving your financial position. But, there are ways to break out of that headspace. 

Confronting Your Money Mindset 

The first step toward owning your money is often the hardest part. You have to dig deep and understand where your money is going –– what your spending patterns are and what habits you have around saving (or not). 

“Everyone thinks they don't make enough money. I had this excuse for years. I thought, ‘I live in North Carolina. I don't make enough money.’ When I actually sat down and looked at my finances, I was like, ‘Holy shit, I'm wasting so much money on nothing.’” - Allie Gotteland

When you don't have complete awareness around your spending, it’s easy to end up in debt. If you’re already in debt, like so many people, that can compound fear or anxiety you may feel about money. 

For so many years, debt made me feel worthless. I thought I was incapable of managing my finances. Over time, that self-deprecation really took its toll on me. It’s so damaging to your self-worth –– and in Allie’s experience, your relationship with money can impact other relationships too. 

“I had really bad relationships prior to meeting my husband. A lot of it was [due to] money. In the last relationship I had before my husband, he would say to me, ‘You can't even manage your own money.’ ... I was so scared when I first met my husband to tell him about how much debt I had. Opening up to [him] made the biggest difference.” - Allie Gotteland

Tribe, it’s so similar to when someone isn’t happy in their own body. I think about our relationship to food –– when we’re ashamed of our weight or how we look, we keep it hidden. We feel worthless. All it takes is someone to help you pull out of that negative spiral to crack the whole thing open. Or, as Allie says: 

“Mindset is 90% of what managing and conquering your finances is all about.” - Allie Gotteland

Allie’s advice toward taking ownership of your finances starts with awareness. You have to face your negative mindset and decide you’re going to shift gears and take control. It’s not easy, but it will be worth it! 

Taking the First Steps to Change

Allie’s process towards overcoming financial challenges then involves tracking your spending. 

“[Before we] come up with a plan for you, you need to realize why you spend money, what you want to spend money on, and what your spending triggers are. Especially for people who are in stressful jobs … there's a lot of emotion behind spending and you have to look at that before you can even change your habits. Once you realize why you spend, then you can move on from there.” - Allie Gotteland

Start by watching your spending habits. Allie recommended that you keep a money diary. Write down what you’re spending and how you feel next to each purchase. This is going to completely blow your mind –– you’ll start to realize where you may be “leaking” money or what emotions are behind your spending habits. 

Then, Allie said you need to give yourself some wiggle room. There’s a perception out there that we have to completely give up impulse spending. It's so similar when you are trying to overcome emotional eating or when you are trying to lose weight. You may decide to completely cut out carbs, sugar, and dairy from your diet. But it’s not sustainable if as soon as you have a bad day, the first thing you reach for is a big bowl of ice cream. 

It’s the same with money –– you need to give yourself some wiggle room. 

“If you don’t give yourself wiggle room or give yourself the things that you like to spend money on, you're going to impulse spend.” - Allie Gotteland

There’s a difference between creating awareness around your spending and tracking every penny. Try to recognize your spending patterns without adding negative emotion or judgment. Look at your spending from a very logical place and give yourself grace. 

How Budgets Are Like Diets

For me, the word “budget” is a lot like the word “diet.” It brings up the same feeling of scarcity and other limiting beliefs. There’s this sense that if you make one impulse purchase or eat one piece of chocolate, you’ve totally blown it and should just give up. This is why I love that Allie includes some “wiggle room” in her approach to owning your money. 

Instead of taking an all-or-nothing approach, just spend some time sorting through everything, noticing what comes up, and making small changes. 

“Get a glass of wine or a glass of whatever you [need], take an hour, and just literally go through your bank account. Look at it and go through any debt you have and just stare in the face and make a decision then to do something about it. …[Once] I sat down and wrote everything out and [decided] to make a change, I was able to find the steps and the books and the information to get me on the right path.” - Allie Gotteland

It’s tempting to just keep putting this off –– how many times do we tell ourselves that we are waiting for the perfect moment to eat healthier, exercise more, save more? This story that we’re telling ourselves is just a limiting belief around money.

Part of the trouble, too, is that it’s taboo to talk about money. It’s a script that’s been handed down to us from our parents and grandparents –– that it’s rude to talk about debt, income, and net worth. So many people struggle with finances, and yet no one wants to talk about it. 

This is why programs like Allie’s are SO important. When we talk about debt and spending, we can reduce the stigma attached to money. We can take some of the emotion out of managing our finances. And, we can take ownership of our financial future. 

Why You Should Listen to This Allie Gotteland Episode Right Now...

Tribe, I know from experience how hard it can be to pay off debt and shift your mindset when it comes to spending. I recommend reading some books and starting to learn about different approaches to budgeting to see which works best with your lifestyle. Remember, a budget isn’t a punishment –– it’s a strategy for enforcing a positive relationship with money! 

Allie primarily works with nurses, but she’s also open to helping any woman who needs some guidance in taking control of her money. Check out the free webinar that Allie is offering as well as a financial planner workbook and new grad money checklist. If you want to join one of her courses, connect with Allie on Instagram

I hope this episode inspired you to take ownership and feel empowered around your finances. I’d be so grateful if you shared this episode with others who you think need to hear it. And, as always, tag me @thejennkennedy and Allie @the_debtfreenurse if you loved it! 

The next time I ask you, “Are you happy with your financial situation,” I want your answer to be a resounding, “Hell yeah!” I love you guys, and I'll catch you next time!

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