Meet Allison of Inspired Budget, Mama Who Paid Off over 100k Of Debt On A Teacher Salary
Saving money, better budgeting, and more financial freedom are all things we strive for and are usually a big part of so many New Year’s resolutions each year. And today we bring you a mama who is an expert on all of this!
Allison Baggerly is the mama behind Inspired Budget, a platform designed to help people properly budget, how to pay off debt, and how to save more money!
Allison recently moved to Katy from Denton, Texas with her husband, two sons, and their three-legged dog, Joey. Her journey with budgeting began in 2011 and she now makes it her mission to help others.
In 2011, Allison and her husband found themselves newly married, loaded down with over $111,000 worth of debt, and expecting their first baby. She said they were overwhelmed and undereducated on how to set their family up for success financially. Allison began learning anything and everything she could about finances and how to budget and during this process of personal and financial growth, she grew to love budgeting. The thought of being in control of her money was freeing.
Allison wants others to have that same sense of control over their finances and aims to equip her readers and followers with tips and tools to help them face their financial fears and be in control of their future. Her website and social media channels and full on information, tools, and advice straight from a mama who did it all…on a teacher salary no less!
So, today we bring you an insightful interview with this brilliant mama who has so many good tips and tricks on how you too can gain some more financial freedom. She’s also got some great insight on mamahood, too! Read our full interview with Allison below and stay tuned in the weeks to come, as we’ll be featuring Allison in our Ask the Expert series!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Katy?
I originally grew up just down the road in Richmond. I moved away for college and settled down in the DFW area for 10 years. We moved to Katy in July 2019 and I’ve already fallen in love with this city!
You’re a mama of course! How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
I have two boys. My oldest is 7 and my youngest is 5. I love this independent age where they want to do things on their own but still love quality time with mom!
What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in the Katy area?
We are still fairly new, but I love Katy already! What has surprise me is how it’s such a family-friendly city. There are so many things to do with kids (some of which we have yet to discover). I also love our little neighborhood. It’s filled with kids that get outside and truly play together. This has allowed my own children to form friendships and I’ve been able to meet moms around me!
Greatest gift about being a mom?
I think my greatest gift is being a comforting and loving mom. I always make sure that my boys know I love them (even when I lose my cool). I’ve always been a very empathetic person and it definitely comes out as a mom.
Least favorite mom job? (i.e. packing lunches, dishes, bath time, etc.)
Hands down: folding clothes. I don’t mind actually loading and unloading clothes…but folding them is the worst!
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
As someone with a very bubbly and upbeat personality, you’d never guess that I struggle with depression and anxiety. I’ve battled depression since I was 14 and for years I hid this truth from others. I was afraid that people would “figure me out.”
Over the years I’ve learned that we all have our demons. We are all working through something. I’ve learned that depression and anxiety are something that I’ll always battle, but that I can still find happiness and joy in this life. And I hope that by sharing my struggle with depression and anxiety, I can help others understand that they are not alone.
Favorite local things to do in Katy/Richmond/Fulshear? (With kiddos or just for mom!)
We recently brought our kids to Momentum Indoor Climbing and they loved it! We scored a great deal on Groupon and I can’t wait to take them more often. My favorite part was that my kids had a chance to be active and weren’t in front of screens at all. Plus, it wore them out so that’s a big bonus!
Do you have a favorite family friendly restaurant in the area?
Chick-fil-a! We go probably once a week. My kids eat well there and it’s not too expensive. Plus, I don’t have to cook that night so I consider it a huge win in my book!
Best mom hack that makes your life easier?
Okay…confession time: I don’t enjoy cooking dinner. Meal planning and cooking simple meals has saved my sanity time and time again. I used to think that I had to make a 5-course meal every night of the week. Thankfully, I’ve changed my ways! My best mom hack is meal planning and cooking super simple meals for dinner. This keeps us from going out to eat every night and saves our budget. My family loves crock pot meals and simple dinners. As long as everyone is fed, I consider it a win!
Tell us about how you’ve made a career out of helping others get out of debt?
I started Inspired Budget to help women who feel stuck and overwhelmed with their finances. I like to think of myself as the friend and guide that I desperately needed 8 years ago.
I work with women in a group who need accountability with sticking to their budget. I offer lessons and weekly support where they can turn to me for advice and answers. The most incredible thing is that I’ve created is a judgement-free community of women who support each other and cheer each other on.
We focus on writing budgets that actually work, changing our spending habits, and paying off debt. We also talk about saving money and being prepared for what life throws at us! Ultimately, my goal is to help these women reach the dreams that they never thought were possible!
I also offer women the organization tools they need to keep track of their finances all in one place! My printable planner and cash envelopes are perfect for someone who needs help staying organized.
Can you talk a bit more about your platform and mission to help others take control of their finances and budget? When did you start and what was the inspo behind starting?
When we were pregnant with our first son, my husband and I realized that we could not afford the monthly daycare payments for our baby to be. We were living way beyond our means and hadn’t faced our financial truth.
I knew that something had to change. We sat down and totaled up our debt. I couldn’t believe it…we had over $111,000 worth of student loans and car loans! Our minimum debt payments were over $1,400 each month (and that didn’t include our mortgage). Right away we learned how to write a budget, track our finances, and started paying off debt.
We were able to pay off $111,000 of debt in 4.5 years on two teacher salaries while growing our family. During that time, I became passionate about budgeting and living on less.
My passion for personal finances caught me by surprise. I was a teacher at the time, but I knew I wanted to combine my talent for teaching and my passion for budgeting. In June 2017 I started Inspired Budget. This business has allowed me to leave my full-time teaching job and focus on helping women all over the world learn how to budget, save money, and pay off debt so they can live their best financial life.
Best budgeting advice for families in 2020?
If you’re just starting out with budgeting, then my best advice is to track where EVERY penny is going. Whether you track using paper and pencil or find an app that works for you…just do it! There is power in what you’ll learn about yourself and your spending habits!
Your eyes will be opened to where you are sending your money. Tracking your money will allow you to see where your priorities lie. It will also give you the opportunity to see where you want to cut back so that you can reach goals you never thought were possible!
Most exciting opportunities you’ve had through your platform?
My platform for Inspired Budget has been such a joy! Our family’s story has been featured in Forbes (still can’t believe this is real life). I’ve also had the opportunity to attend conferences that I would otherwise have never attended. Plus, I’ve made amazing friends that I wouldn’t have ever met!
Goals for the new year for Inspired Budget?
This year I want to serve more people than I ever have before! My goal is to bring in even more women into my membership program where I help them learn how to write a budget they can stick to. I hope to inspire tens of thousands of people to face their financial truth and stop the paycheck to paycheck cycle.
How important is community and honesty in motherhood for you?
Very! I fully believe we all need to drop the highlight reel and share our real life instead…myself included! I believe that when we as moms share what our life looks like behind the scenes (not just the staged photos and perfect families) that we can connect deeper with each other. That’s why I have a highlight reel on my Instagram profile titled “Real Life.” I save Instagram stories there that show what life looks like behind the scenes.
How important is it for you to have a passion outside of being a mother?
For me personally, it’s imperative that I have something that I love outside of my family. It keeps me working hard so that I can provide a wonderful life for my family. It gives me something to talk about other than my kids! And it gives me purpose and an opportunity to serve others outside the walls of my home.
Best advice for mom guilt?
I remember when being terribly upset when I was a young mom. We couldn’t afford for me to stay home with my kids, but I desperately wanted to be home full time. A friend of mine reminded me that sometimes, it’s about quality over quantity. This means that when I’m with my children, I need to be 100% focused on them. It’s not always easy, but I try my best.
Next time you feel guilty for losing your temper, not being present, or spending too much time on your phone…remember that you are capable of change. You are capable of apologizing and completely changing how you respond to your children. You are capable of putting the phone away and focusing on your children when they are with you. Hold on to that!
Who has most influenced you to be the mom you are today?
I was truly blessed with an incredible mother of my own. She had more patience than I’ve ever had. I grew up knowing that my mom would love and support me no matter what. I always felt like she was present and lived in the moment with my brother and I, even though she had a lot going on in her life as well.
My mom inspires me to be a better mom to my own two boys. She inspires me to play more with my kids and read an extra 10 minutes of Harry Potter at night. My mom reminds me that it’s okay if my house is a complete mess. She helps me remember that my boys won’t remember how clean our home was or if we had the nicest things…but they will always remember how they felt growing up in the home that I’ve created for them.
When parenting gets hard, what’s something you tell yourself that gets you through?
I remember that life has many seasons. There will be seasons that are harder than others. Some days will be rough, but others will be smooth. When I’m in a season that’s difficult, I remember that this too shall pass. The difficult times won’t last forever. That hope keeps me going and allows me to push forward with a positive outlook.
Name one thing you hope your kids look back and remember about their childhood and you as their mama?
I hope they look back on their childhood and feel loved. I hope they remember how much they were loved by their parents. That no matter what they did or how their life turned out, I will always love them.