Ashley Patrick | The Midlife Fulfilled Podcast
154

Ep 154 Detective Transforms into Debt Elimination and Financial Expert

Finance expert Ashley Patrick joins me to share her inspiring journey from being a detective to becoming a financial and debt-elimination expert.

In episode 154 personal finance expert Ashley Patrick joins me to share her inspiring journey from being a detective to becoming a financial expert and debt elimination accountability coach.

Ashley discusses her approach to eliminating debt and reducing financial stress, drawing from her own experience of paying off $45,000 in 17 months and then $25,000 in student loans in 10 months. She emphasizes the importance of being intentional with money and creating a plan for financial management. Ashley also sheds light on the dynamics of group coaching, the significance of accountability, and the psychological aspects of financial decision-making.

Here are 3 key discussion points from our conversation:

1. Be intentional with your money: Ashley emphasizes the importance of creating a plan for your money and being intentional with your spending. She shares her strategy of changing the way she budgeted, which led to significant progress in paying off debt and reducing financial stress.

2. Embrace accountability and community support: In her group coaching program, Ashley fosters accountability and community support, helping over 150 women create a positive impact on their finances. The program creates a space for open conversation, shared wins, and practical steps to cut expenses and work towards financial goals.

3. Start small, make progress: Ashley encourages people to take small steps towards financial freedom, emphasizing that progress, not perfection, is the goal. Her advice is to start by taking the first step to look at the numbers and make progress, one small step at a time.

Tune in to learn how Ashley’s expertise is empowering women to take control of their finances, reduce debt associated stress, and find fulfillment in their midlife journeys.

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Episode Transcript

Bernie Borges [00:00:00]:
Ashley, Patrick, welcome to the Midlife Fulfill podcast a maximum episode.

Ashley Patrick [00:00:06]:
Thanks for having me. I am glad to be here.

Bernie Borges [00:00:09]:
I’m glad to have you here. I’m looking forward to our conversation. Ashley, you are a personal finance expert. You are the founder of Budgets Made Easy. That’s a great name, and you help families eliminate debt Using strategies that allow them to not only eliminate debt but reduce the stress that’s associated with it. You’ve got a great story yourself that I wanna hear more about. You paid off $45,000 in 17 months and then $25,000 in Student loans in 10 months? That’s amazing.

Ashley Patrick [00:00:41]:
Yeah. You’re

Bernie Borges [00:00:42]:
a Ramsey Solutions master financial coach. Congratulations for that. And you’ve been hosted on or featured on many media outlets, and I’m really intrigued by the fact that you’re also a former detective. So, Ashley, why don’t we begin with that? Let’s let’s get your backstory. Like, how what how did you go from detective to being this financial expert?

Ashley Patrick [00:01:06]:
Well, it’s kind of a journey. Right? And I love how you kinda talk about, seasons and career change and things like that. So, You know, when I was I never thought I would be a detective or a police officer, but I really I’ve always been interested in why People do what they do. Right? So I have a degree in psychology, and I was just sick of college. And so I was like, well, what else am I gonna do with this degree? So I went on a ride along with a, with my father-in-law who’s a state trooper, and I really enjoyed it. So somehow I ended up being a police officer, detective shortly after. And then once I once we paid off our debt, had money saved, we decided we wanted to have another child, and, you know, the benefit of being debt free is you get to have more options in life, and that’s what I really try and encourage people to think about. Because if we didn’t have or if we still had the debt, I wouldn’t have been able to, You know, have the option to stay at home with my kids, build my business, quit my, career, and, you know, it wasn’t an easy decision.

Ashley Patrick [00:02:13]:
Right? Like, that’s a major career change. Yeah. But, you know, after a paid off debt, I started getting questions from every, You know, when I was doing it, everybody thought I was crazy. Right? And what if you die tomorrow and stop acting like your death is you and all those kind of comments. But once I did it, then people started asking me, well, how did you do it? And Right. So, you know, I thought, well, I could teach people how how I did

Bernie Borges [00:02:37]:
it. How did you do it?

Ashley Patrick [00:02:40]:
Well, I changed the way I budgeted. So I’ve always had a paycheck budget, and that’s what I teach people. But I never planned for what was left over after bills, and it just got mindlessly spent, right, mainly on food and just $20 here, $10 there. It all it adds up so fast. Right? And when we’re not intentional with our money, just like if we’re not intentional with our Time and our values and all those things, it just gets away from us. The next thing we know, we’re in tons of debt, and we’re like, what have we done with our life and all of those things? So, You know, that was probably the biggest change. Started meal planning. My husband worked overtime.

Ashley Patrick [00:03:19]:
We sold a few things that were, like, a trailer and a four wheeler, Those are a little bit higher ticket items. Right? And so you know? And I sold, like, everything. Like, I sold the pictures off the walls, my lamps. Like, If somebody wanted it, I’d sell it to them. So you know? And really just staying really, really focused on the angle. Looking back on it now, I wish I wouldn’t have done it so fast and would have said yes to a few more things, that would have been Would have added to the fulfillment. Right now that I’m, almost 40, I’m like, I wish I would have said yes to a few more things, along the way, you know, it doesn’t matter that it took 17 months, versus 20 months. Right? And Mhmm.

Ashley Patrick [00:04:03]:
So it’s like, As long as you do it, so I’m kinda like a few regrets in there, right, that did it so fast and saying no to a few events that I kinda wish we would have Dan. But, overall, it was being very intentional with where our money was going and what we wanted to do with it.

Bernie Borges [00:04:20]:
The The other thing that it did for you, Ashley, is that it gave you a story that you can share with the people that you helped. So it sounds like People were asking you how how did you do it? And that paved the way, sort of opened the door for you to set up a business to help others do that. Is that right?

Ashley Patrick [00:04:38]:
Yeah. Yes, exactly. Yep.

Bernie Borges [00:04:41]:
So you became a personal finance expert even though you didn’t necessarily plan to do that. But as I mentioned, you had your own story. So as you work with and I understand you work with women. Right? Is that Primarily. Yeah.

Ashley Patrick [00:04:55]:
We have a few men in the group here and there, but, yeah, primarily women.

Bernie Borges [00:04:59]:
Yeah. You guys in. Okay. Alright. So I love the fact that you talk about not only Good personal finance and reducing or eliminating debt, but to reduce stress. So talk about that. Talk about that relationship between budgeting and stress reduction.

Ashley Patrick [00:05:21]:
Oh, absolutely. Because, You know, your finances impact all the areas of your life. You know, if you don’t know Where your money is going, it just adds a layer of stress. It, impacts relationships. It impacts your career because you’re distracted at work, Or maybe, you know, you’re just you’re not as focused at work and things like that. I hear a lot about, Spouses and couples, you know, fighting about money and just not being on the same page, and you’re stressed out. So, you know, once you just take that 1st step of looking at your finances, it really eliminates a lot of fear and which eliminates a lot of stress because a lot of people are just stressed with the thought of looking at it and seeing what it will tell them. But once you do that, then you can start taking action, and that’s where the change really comes.

Ashley Patrick [00:06:17]:
But there’s a lot of progress That can be made mentally by just looking at the numbers and just looking at your situation and Takes just a whole lifts a lot of stress off your shoulders, right, just because we make things a lot bigger deal in our minds A lot of times with not just finances, but everything in general, like, you know, we kinda we kinda just inflate things in our mind. Right? And so It may not be as bad as you think it is, and even if it is, at least then once you kind of look at it, It takes the power away from it. Right? It gives you it gives you the power back, and that eliminates a lot of stress. Even though you haven’t paid any debt off, you haven’t paid any bills yet, it just takes that extra layer off, and it’s a huge step That is very helpful in reducing the stress.

Bernie Borges [00:07:10]:
I would also say that when you pay off debt, It gives you a sense of fulfillment. And Absolutely. As you know, Ashley, I talk about fulfillment being immutable, meaning, You know, it’s it’s permanent. You can nobody can take that away from you, so it gives you a great sense of fulfillment. Talk to me about, What’s the 1st step? Is it is there, like, a universal first step in eliminating debt, or is it unique to every individual in their situation?

Ashley Patrick [00:07:42]:
No. The foundation is pretty much the same. How you take action, what you do can be different because you really do need to figure out, like, what works It’s best for you, and that means trying different things. But, like, the foundational thing is looking at the numbers, Creating a plan for your money, and that’s all a budget is. A lot of people just hate the word budget. Like, it feels constricting and, like, like, I don’t wanna deal with a budget. And so if you just kinda even just changing the word to a money plan, treat yourself Plan like, this is some of the things we work on together in my groups and, coaching, is even just changing the name, so it doesn’t have that negative connotation to it. But creating a plan for your money is the 1st step, and once you do that, that’s the foundational and really kind of more of the smaller thing.

Ashley Patrick [00:08:32]:
Right? But once you do that, you’ll see what you have to work with in order to pay off your debt. So like I mentioned before, before when I budgeted, I would just not plan for what was left over after bills. And so for paying off debt, That’s where you make the magic happen. The money that’s there after bills and what you do with it is how you really start to make Progress with paying off your debt. And, you know, that doesn’t mean that it all has to go to debt. I mean, that’s gonna depend on your values and your family and other things that you may need to Day 4. Right? Like, because there’s gonna be things that come up along the way, but the more intentional you can be with the funds that are left over, That is where you can make the most progress paying off debt, and if there isn’t a lot, then that lets you know that you need to either decrease Senses are in key increase your income or both.

Bernie Borges [00:09:29]:
You know, the word that really resonates for me in what you just said is the word intentional. And, I’m thinking that maybe some people and this is I’m I’m generalizing here, actually, but maybe some people I struggle with this because they have not been intentional. They’ve they’ve they haven’t done the planning. And so when they sit down with you, You introduced this concept of being intentional to them and you kind of become an accountability coach Because you’re really having this whole conversation about becoming intentional. Is that right?

Ashley Patrick [00:10:03]:
Right. Yeah. Absolutely. So, you know, in my coaching groups, in my In my program, it is all about accountability and just taking action even if it’s something small. Like, it doesn’t have to be that you’ve paid off 100 of dollars of debt every single month because that’s not realistic. So we focus a lot on being realistic as well, but intentional Taking action accountability are huge things because we don’t talk about money very you know, most people don’t talk about money with their friends, their family, like, Nope. Not even their spouse a lot of times. Right? So we have nobody to talk to about it or to hold you accountable to your goals and sticking to the plan, so that you can reach the end goal.

Ashley Patrick [00:10:47]:
Right? Because that is what, you’re Excited about excitement is extremely important as well with any of your goals, so it can’t be just, oh, I need to pay off debt because that’s, like, the adult thing to do. It needs to be like, there needs to be an end goal in mind that you’re really excited about as well. And so if you’re not talking about that with other people, even your Friends and your family, it’s really easy to not follow through with your goals. Right? And then it just like, another year has gone by, And you haven’t made any progress on your goals, so accountability and and being intentional is very important.

Bernie Borges [00:11:22]:
Ashley, did I hear you say that you do group coaching? Is that right?

Ashley Patrick [00:11:26]:
I do. Yes.

Bernie Borges [00:11:28]:
Well, okay. Let’s talk about that. What’s the dynamic like? How many people, and and what’s the the the dynamic on such a sensitive topic? You know, do people open up, and how does that work?

Ashley Patrick [00:11:43]:
Oh, that’s a great question. So the group right now is around a 150 people, and it’s, like I said, almost all women. We’ve had a few men here and there, but it’s women. But we have, like, Zoom calls where we get on, and people do share because you realize that you’re not alone, and They they are truly friends. Like, they are friends on Facebook. They’re accountability partners. We call them accountability buddies, And, you know, we get on these calls, and we talk about our personal lives. We talk about our finances, but, the important thing for these women, what really resonates in their community and connection with each other is realizing that they’re not alone.

Ashley Patrick [00:12:26]:
Like, this is all Normal and talking about it is okay, and it really helps push them to do better. I mean, these women have paid off Tens of 1,000 of dollars in debt, and that community is a big factor in that because they’re not doing it alone, and they’re staying accountable with each other. And it really is a community of women, working together on their finances. I’m very proud of this group of women. They’re they’re my budget besties as I call them.

Bernie Borges [00:12:58]:
Yeah. I bet you’re proud of them. I also bet That your psychology degree comes in handy when you’re you’re engaging with a 150 people or whatever the number is on each Zoom call. And I would think that that part of that psychology is that those Doctor. People, mostly women, as you say, probably have a lot of motivation to show up for a call and to be able to tell a success story. Right? There’s gotta be Yes. Tremendous, I’ll use the f word, fulfillment for them to share a story like that.

Ashley Patrick [00:13:33]:
Yeah. And we do that every month. So we have a celebration every month and just having the like, they get so excited about just showing up and sharing their win. And like I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t have to be a big win. It could be just showing up. You know, showing up is a big deal too for a lot of these women. They’re busy. They have things going on.

Ashley Patrick [00:13:53]:
We do our lives at night, and so just showing up is a win, doing their budget’s a win, just Working through the content in the group and, the stages, how I’ve the road map that I have for them, that’s a huge win. And so every month, we get to celebrate them in addition to all the accountability and action calls and things like that. So those are one of my favorites.

Bernie Borges [00:14:15]:
Do you see any patterns? I I know that Everybody has their own unique situation. I get that. But do you see any patterns? You know? Is is a Netflix subscription, something that, you know, 95% of people say, I can live without that. Whatever. I’m just making that up as an example. Right? Do you see any patterns that you can just call out.

Ashley Patrick [00:14:40]:
Patterns for, like, things that they could cut that they’re not cutting, or I may not answer your question.

Bernie Borges [00:14:47]:
The people are doing like I said, it’s always gonna be unique, but I used the Netflix subscription example as, you know, a hypothetical Example of, yeah, 90% of people cancel their their Netflix just because they can live without it. It’s an easy way to, you know, reduce an expense. And I’m just using that as an example, Ashley. Are you seeing any patterns that might look something like that?

Ashley Patrick [00:15:11]:
I see a lot of women that do cancel like and it’s not necessarily Netflix, but it is things that maybe they’re, like, other programs that they have bought from Digital creators or planners, planners are a big one. My women really love planners, but, you know, things that they end up not using. So a lot of times, They don’t end up using the planner. Right? But, a lot of subscriptions. Now I couldn’t say exactly which Subscriptions, but, yeah, that is usually one of the biggest things they come in, and they will cut that. Also, just Calling service providers to, like, negotiate a lower rate even if it’s just temporary, like 6 months or 12 months or something like that. So that is another big one as well. And I will also say just coffee drive through.

Ashley Patrick [00:15:59]:
It’s not always Starbucks. I know Starbucks gets a bad rap, but there’s other coffee Places that my women love as well, Tim Hortons and Starbucks, and I I know there’s 1 more that I’m forgetting, but, you know, we Talk about and actually run the numbers because there’s nothing wrong with buying a coffee. Right? Like, that’s not that is small in the grand scheme of the year. Right? But depending on how frequently you’re going in a month, that does add up. And so a lot of times, you know, When we’re actually diving into the numbers, they may weigh the, pros and cons. Like, I really like, coffee, on this certain day, but in the month, that’s, like, 100 or $200 that I could be sending to my goal, and the goal is more important than the coffee right now. So we run those scenarios as well, like, what is more important to you right now? Because even if you give something up, it’s Temporary. And a lot of times, we forget that, and it feels like, oh, I don’t wanna give that up.

Ashley Patrick [00:16:58]:
Focus on that aspect of it. And then once you reach your goal or at least, you know, get to a certain milestone on your goal, you could bring it back if you want. Right? And so, just kinda taking away that power of totally cutting something out of your life that feels very dramatic and drastic for a lot of, people. And so if we just say it’s temporary, it’s a lot easier to kinda make those decisions.

Bernie Borges [00:17:26]:
What about the family dynamic? You know, you have people come to your call, they get motivated, They get off the call and then they sit down with somebody in their family and say, we’re gonna cut these expenses In order to reduce this stress, what are you seeing there on how people manage that within their family environment and relationships and all that?

Ashley Patrick [00:17:51]:
That’s a great question because a lot of my women and I’d say probably the majority of couples. Like, there’s 1 person that is doing most The the legwork and the other one just kinda either goes along or doesn’t go along, but they don’t pay as much attention to the numbers. Right? And so that’s very normal. Like, they’re not gonna be as Intuit as you are, and that’s just everybody has different personalities. Right? But I would say that It does take compromise, and so even if you wanna give up something, that may not be something they wanna give up. So it’s important to Discuss it before you say, okay. We’re gonna cut this and this and this. What I say is to Show them the actual number.

Ashley Patrick [00:18:34]:
So if you say, okay. Let’s cut out Netflix. Let’s cut out going through the drive through at least once a week, and this is what we would save in actual Jewel dollars, that usually will help bring the other person around because if they don’t see, like, the actual value in giving up Something, right, it’s gonna be harder for them to go along with it. So if you can actually kinda do the legwork and sell them on the idea of if we If we do these things, we can have debt paid off in 18 months. Okay? Instead of it being just like a someday Goal that’s never gonna happen. Right? Someday is not a day on the calendar. If you actually do the numbers and show them the actual numbers, The debt payoff date, it’s a lot easier to get them on board. And I know some of the women Have their spouses watch the videos with them, and so they’re actually doing it together.

Ashley Patrick [00:19:29]:
That is very helpful. I I have 1 lady that joined my program, but her husband didn’t want her to because he thought it was a cult, and so he laughs now and calls him hashtag mister it’s not a cult. And so now that he’s been in it and on the calls and stuff, he sees it’s not a cult. They’re like, they have made so much progress and paid off so much debt, but, we always Laugh about that that he thought it was a cult and didn’t want her to join at first, and then he came around. So, you know, sometimes you have to kinda push them in the right direction, but trying to do it in a loving, respectful way is really the key. Right?

Bernie Borges [00:20:08]:
Yeah. So it sounds like it starts with the mindset of wanting to reduce debt and then being willing to Engage in in this group environment where people open up and they’re You you begin to create a sense of accountability. It just kinda happens naturally, and then people start to put action plans in place. I can even envision Someone having a whiteboard on the refrigerator with numbers and goals and, you know, and then updating it as the debt is being reduced So that the visual display big on visuals. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.

Bernie Borges [00:20:48]:
Yeah. Yeah. That is fantastic. That is so You are running a business that is having a great impact because a lot of people are in debt And you’re helping so many people, so many women get out of debt. That is fantastic. Any closing thought, Ashley, on this whole Topic before we, we we wrap up?

Ashley Patrick [00:21:10]:
Sure. You know, I always encourage people if To just take it 1 small step at a time. So if you’re already, like, feeling overwhelmed or kinda avoiding your finances, it’s important to just Do it 1 small step at a time because you then at least you’re headed in the right direction. Right? If you just wait for some day, it’s never gonna happen. And if you don’t, at least just get started and look at the numbers, you’re just gonna stay stuck where you’re at. Right? And so You really have to just make progress even if it’s small progress and not perfect. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Bernie Borges [00:21:46]:
Great advice, Ashley. And where can my listener go online to learn more about you and connect with you?

Ashley Patrick [00:21:53]:
Well, the money mindset podcast is my podcast, and then everything else is budgets made easy. So, of course, I have a free debt payoff Starter kit. So if you’re wondering, like, how do I get started, you can grab that at budgetsmadeeasy.com/debt.

Bernie Borges [00:22:09]:
Fantastic. I’m glad you mentioned that. I was gonna ask you about that. So thank you for mentioning that. All those links will be on a in the show notes page. My listener knows that, of course. And, Ashley, I just wanna thank you so much for what you’re doing first and foremost and for joining me on this episode, a maximum episode of the Midlife of Health podcast to share A little glimpse into the expertise that you’re bringing to your community and to the many women that you’re impacting and helping them reduce stress And re eliminate debt so that they can reduce stress. So thank you so much, Ashley.

Ashley Patrick [00:22:42]:
Thanks for having me. This was fun.

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