At Money Crashers, we are big advocates of working with a financial coach or counselor rather than a financial advisor if your financial goals are geared more towards preparing a budget, a plan to get out of debt, and seeking ways to save money in your daily life. Trusted financial advisors and planners are good sources for some of the more technical questions about investing, insurance, and estate planning, but they often neglect the part about being in the right situation to start investing or estate planning. Ansley Sebring, owner of her own financial coaching company called, The Budget Author, is based just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. She left the corporate world to be a self-employed financial coach because she saw the huge need for personal financial education during a time when jobs were being lost, real estate values were down, and people were waking up to the fact that they had WAY too much credit card and other consumer debt. I interviewed her recently about making the switch to being an entrepreneur while maintaining the role of mother of two children, wife, and owner of a company.
What’s the short story about The Budget Author and what was your inspiration for leaving the corporate world to start helping people with their finances?
I’ve always been passionate about effective money management, and have enjoyed the chance to share what I’ve learned with others from time to time. Earlier this year, I saw the opportunity to create some freedom for myself by launching my own business. I created The Budget Author to be a safe place where individuals and families can get a customized budget that actually works for their unique situation. I’ve had a blast helping others, and I’m so glad I took the jump.
Tell us a little bit about your workshops and what you teach at them.
In The Coupon Workshop, I teach a simplified approach to grocery couponing. It’s the perfect opportunity for people to learn how to cut their grocery budget in half, without spending more than 30 minutes per week. We believe couponing can be that simple, and it shouldn’t be overwhelming or time consuming. The savings our clients experience on their first grocery trip after attending this workshop are on average 40-50 percent. I personally purchase over $1,000 of grocery & household items per month, and spend less than $250. I love teaching others how to do the same.
How have your personal finance habits changed since you started your own business and coach others about personal finance?
Since becoming a business owner and financial coach, I’ve experimented with various money management systems and have tried them out with our own personal finances. Through this process, I have spent a great amount of time focusing in even more detail on our budget (hard to believe that’s even possible!). I’ve also found myself holding us to a higher standard since starting this company, which is never a bad thing.
What’s your favorite book on saving money/personal finance?
I’ve got lots of favorites, but if I have to pick one that I love the most it’d be Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover.” Love his simple, common sense approach to handling money. People who have struggled with personal money management can read and apply his principles, and it’ll change their perspective immediately. It’s brilliant simplicity.
What advice would you give someone looking to leave their cubicle job and start their own business?
There is an unbelievable difference between working in a job you don’t love versus following your passion. Do what you love. Write a business plan, get your funds in place, and make sure you’ve prepared enough for your family to be taken care of during the start-up months. Great businesses take some time to grow, but with the right plan in place, anything is possible.
If you live in the greater Atlanta area and you’d like to learn more about The Budget Author’s couponing workshop, please visit her eventbrite page. Have you recently started a small business and would like to share your story? Please contact us to discuss putting your business in our Entrepreneur’s Spotlight.