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We all know we’re supposed to save money. But most of us don’t know what for. Why save to buy something later when you can buy the same thing now?

This week’s guest is Ashley Barnhart. She hosts the Adult Struggles Podcast and struggled with saving for a long time. She always saved some money, but never deeply understood how to manage her money to live a wealthy life. But then something tore apart her family, money was tight and she had to learn how to manage her finances.

Today, she doesn’t have anxiety about money because she knows exactly where ever

In this episode, you’ll discover how to change your money mindset so you’re not anxious about money anymore. Want to grow your wealth and feel real freedom?

Listen now!

Show highlights include:

  • How having a child makes it easier to save money. (6:08)
  • How to stop letting your bank account control your self-worth. (8:51)
  • Why college kids can be fulfilled while money is tight—and how to tap into that happiness, no matter how old you are. (10:08)
  • Grandma’s method of building an emergency fund with “weird money”. (15:21)
  • How the “learner’s mindset” lets you grow from difficult conversations. (22:34)

Remember to download Grandma’s Top Tips for an Independent Financial Future by dropping into https://grandmaswealthwisdom.com/free/. It's time for YOU to break through to a smart, stable, financial future.

If you’d like to see how Grandma’s timeless wealth strategies can work in your life, schedule your free 15-minute coffee chat with us by visiting www.grandmaswealthwisdom.com/call… just like Grandma would want us to do.

Ashley Barnhart is the creator and host of the Adult Struggles Podcast, a show dedicated to helping young adults overcome common life obstacles. Ashley interviews guests from around the world who have faced challenges and are eager to teach others about their successes and failures along the way. From career growth and personal development to financial planning and more, there’s always something new to learn from Adult Struggles.

Read Full Transcript

A hearty welcome to “Grandma’s Wealth Wisdom” with your neighborly hosts, Brandon and Amanda Neely. This is the only podcast that helps you take charge of your cash flow and leverage your assets, simply and sustainably, the way Grandma used to.

Amanda: Hi, it’s Amanda, and welcome to the Grandma's Wealth Wisdom podcast, where we help you break through to a smart, stable financial feature with the tried and true wisdom Grandma used. Today is episode number 62, where I'm interviewing Ashley from the podcast called Adult Struggles and she's really awesome. I think you're really going to love her story.

Let me give you her official bio. Her name is Ashley Barnhart and she's the creator and host of the Adult Struggles podcast, a show dedicated to helping young adults overcome common life obstacles. Ashley interviews guests from around the world who have faced challenges and are eager to teach others about their successes and failures along the way. [01:07.4]
From career growth and personal development to financial planning and more, there's always something new to learn from adult struggles. During this interview, Ashley shares some really cool things about her story with money and how that has changed from her childhood to her adulthood now, and kind of what she has learned through her own adulting experience. I know you're going to get a lot of value out of this and I'll look forward to recapping it with you afterwards.

Welcome Ashley. So glad to have you on the Grandma's Wealth Wisdom podcast.
Ashley: Hi Amanda. Thanks so much for having me.

Ashley: I'm just going to jump right into your story and help our audience get to know you a little bit. What was money for you growing up?

Ashley: Yeah, so I feel I was always encouraged to save money. One of the gifts that my parents gave me year after year was a piggy bank, so I ended up with a collection of probably 12 piggy banks throughout my childhood. [02:10.8]
We would go to Disneyland or somewhere else fun and my souvenir was generally one of those cute little character piggy things. So, I filled all of those up over the years and actually did not cash those in until high school. I was very good with that money, but that's to say I feel I was just always kind of inclined to save money, but I don't know that I always understood what for, so that was kind of the piece that was missing when I was little. It was like, yeah, it's important to save money, but there was not the after part of why we're doing this.

As I got older, I continued to save money, but it was always to buy something. One time we were going on a family vacation to Hawaii, and so I actually made it into this fun craft and made my own piggy bank this time out of an old juice jug jar type thing, decorated it, all beachy and tropical for Hawaii. [03:12.0]

Every time I would get babysitting money or other cash, it would go right in that jar, but that entire jar came with me to Hawaii. So, just little things like that. I know I was always very aware that saving was important, but it was always for the purpose of saving for something that I really wanted.

Amanda: Yeah, thanks for sharing that story. I love that image of the jar because we had one of those growing up, too, and so I can really relate with that. Now, as you finish college and you're starting your adulting experience, what was money like for you at that point and what kinds of things were you learning then?

Ashley: Yeah, I was very lucky in that my parents helped me pay for school, so I know that took a huge burden off my shoulders that a lot of people deal with when they're moving out and if they're planning to go to college, not to say that I don't still have loans that I've taken on since then, but at the time it was helpful. [04:15.1]

Then, I actually got married fairly young. I was 20 years old when I was married and I was still in college. We lived together throughout that time, and so I didn't really go through the adulting money process by myself. My husband is more naturally inclined than I am, so he really took on that family budget role for us. He's also a little bit older than me, too, so I look to him for his knowledge that he had gained. I'm sure he didn't really know what he was doing either, but certainly came up that way.
So, that was kind of my experience as I was getting into my adult years. It was relying on him to understand how we need to properly budget, so that we are able to pay bills and still do fun things that we wanted to do. [05:07.7]

Amanda: Yeah. Since then, what big things have happened in your relationship or with you personally that have changed how you thought about or used money?

Ashley: I feel like a lot in our lives have happened. I mean, we've purchased two homes together and that's one of the biggest purchases you can make, probably the biggest as an adult. That was a huge learning experience, and I feel that going through the process of taking out a home loan and understanding what a mortgage was and all of that played a big role in learning more about where my money was going when I was paying towards that home, because it was different than just here's a monthly rent check and you don't really ever get that money back in any way.
We also are pregnant currently with our first baby.

Amanda: Congratulations.

Ashley: Thank you. I'm due in one month exactly, so it's really crunch time at this point. [06:05.3]
But that was another thing where kind of when you find out that news, it puts a whole other perspective on money for you, because now you're saving for not only yourself and your enjoyment, but also for your future child. So, just taking a different look at how we save, how much we save and what that money is intended for has been really big lately.

Amanda: Yeah. I want to go back to that why question you asked earlier, “Why save?” and as a kid, that wasn't really taught. It was just save and you thought the why was to buy things. How would you answer that question now?

Ashley: That is a good question. I think that now saving is more about feeling secure, because as you grew up, you realize a lot of unexpected things happen in life that you are not prepared for and those things cost money. So, I think just having that security because of your savings is a really big thing for me now. I do still save to buy things, though, I don't know why. [07:16.2]

Amanda: I do, too.

Ashley: But we kind of have separate funds for specific savings, like we have the vacation fund where that money is being saved, but it's for the purpose of having fun and then keeping other money separate that we're saving for baby or emergency funds and things like that. So, I would say, I've gone from thinking that saving was for spending and buying things to be more diversified with that savings, because it doesn't necessarily mean that you can't have one with savings, but there are other purposes as well.

Amanda: Yeah, it's almost you've got multiple jugs that you're putting that savings into and they’ve got labels on them.

Ashley: Yeah, I still have my Hawaii jar, but there's other ones now. [08:03.4]

Amanda: Yeah. I love that. That's so important to give assignments to the money that we have that we're saving for things. We think about that in terms of monthly budget, but we don't think often people don't think about that in terms of those longer-term things as well.
So, what else in terms of major money lessons that you've learned that maybe, say, you'd want to pass on to your grandchildren?

Ashley: Yeah, I was thinking about this question earlier and, as we're just talking about lessons I've learned from Grandma and I'm thinking, Well, one day I'm going to be that grandma, so what am I going to pass down? And it kind of stems from things that I've learned from family that I think will be important forever. It's just kind of those timeless things that you want to pass down, and one of the biggest would be not putting as high of an importance on money and how that values you as a person. [09:01.5]

I've had family and friends over the years go through really difficult times and money may not have been as accessible or as abundant as they would have liked, but I never saw them unhappy because of that reason. So, that was a big lesson for me, just understanding that you don't have to necessarily make the most money to be fulfilled in your life and, obviously, I mean, money doesn't equal happiness. It's very cliché, but it's harder to understand than just the simple phrase, I think.

Amanda: Yeah. Is there any particular moment that you can look to or life experience that helped you really see that as true? Because we can learn things and things can just become cliché, but I'm curious if there's any story attached to that. Maybe it's not your story. Maybe it's a story of a loved one, and if you don't want to share the details, that's fine. [10:05.8]

Ashley: Yeah, I think for me personally, when I look back now to when I was in college and I was waiting tables as my side job, so living off tips and a very low hourly wage, you would think that I would have been miserable. I mean, I’m like, Wow, how on earth did I pay for anything? But it's not true. I still was able to go out with friends and splurge on coffee before I headed to class and things like that. I know that's not a huge example, but to me it's just interesting to look back at my own life where we made so much less money and it's like, Well, I was still happy.

Amanda: Yeah.

Ashley: So, it's interesting to see that no matter how much you're making or how much you have, you're always going to find a way to incorporate some sort of fun in your life to meet your own budgets. It doesn't have to be a $5,000 trip to a tropical Island. It'll look very different, but I don't think it's any less fulfilling. So, that's kind of my personal take on it. [11:11.7]

Then, for family, my mom went through a really difficult divorce and, I mean, divorces are notorious for also causing a lot of financial disruption and that was certainly the case, and so just seeing her kind of go through that and struggle a little bit with money has also opened my eyes to how different life can be, all of a sudden, just not out of the blue, but very quickly it can happen, and just the adjustments that you can make in your own lifestyle to adapt to that.

Amanda: Yeah, and I hope your mom has found fulfillment.

Ashley: Oh, yeah. She has more fun than I do. [11:52.9]

Amanda: Yeah, great. Yeah, I think that's a really good reminder that money's not what brings us fulfillment in life, but when we've identified the things that bring us fulfillment, whether it's a cup of coffee or a trip to Hawaiian paradise, we can align our money with those things that are a priority. Thanks for sharing those stories. That really highlights what this really means, too. You don't have to make the most money in order to be fulfilled in life.

You shared with me before that you've got a grandma that you can picture and that has meant an important person of your life. What would you say are some of the main lessons you've learned about money from her?

Ashley: I'm sure it just has to do a lot with the generation, but I know that my grandma was always a very conservative spender. I remember going to their house when I was little over the years. They never lived in the same town as us, but I would visit them often, and just everything in the house was years and years, maybe decades old, had been around forever, was potentially her mother's so my great grandmother’s that have been passed down, dishes and things like that. [13:07.8]

I just remember all of their possessions were either out of necessity or they were something that had sentimental value and there was really nothing else excessive in the home, which is much different than I feel like people live now. Again, probably a generational thing because people that grew up in that era tended to live that way, but everything was just used for years on end with the intention of being passed down.

And I think things tended to last longer back then. I don't imagine me being able to pass down dishes to my daughter or granddaughter because they just aren't that great of quality anymore, but back then when things were very well made, that's what you did.

So, that's kind of my overall memory of how my grandma treated money, or my grandparents, in general. [14:03.6]

Amanda: Yeah. She sounds like a Marie Kondo.

Ashley: Yeah. They were all very good at that method back then I think.

Amanda: Yeah. I love it.

Grandma always said, “Eat your vegetables. Look both ways before crossing the road. And never risk your financial future on elements of the market you can’t control.” That Grandma, always good for some tried-and-true advice. And although some of her wisdom seems to have skipped a generation, you don't have to be left behind.

Download “Grandma's Top Tips for an Independent Financial Future” absolutely free, when you visit Grandma’sWealthWisdom.com. Don't wait. Get Grandma's best tips today.

Amanda: With where you are right now with money, what do you think your grandma would be most proud of?

Ashley: I think this leans kind of into the accomplishments I've had that also have to do with money, so going to college and getting a degree, and being able to pay back those student loans. Like I mentioned earlier, I've purchased two houses, so the ability to be able to purchase a home I think would be a huge deal to her. [15:13.8]

She passed away before either of those things were fulfilled, but I know that would be very proud. She was always really big into gifting me interesting money, so when they’d have the Sacagawea golden dollars, she would always save those and give those to me, but didn't let me spend them, so I have this collection of these coins, and saving $2 bills. Just all of those odd money runs that they don't do anymore, she was always really big into that and saving those almost as some sort of souvenir. So, anytime I find an interesting coin or something, I usually save it, so she'd be happy about that.

Amanda: That's a nice legacy that she passed on to you. [16:01.5]

Ashley: Yeah.

Amanda: My son has a $2 bill that probably a 90-year-old woman handed to him at a restaurant one day and said, “Save this and never spend it,” so I'm picturing her when you were describing your grandma.

Ashley: Yes.

Amanda: Okay, so you've been sharing some really great stuff, like about your story and where you are now. As you start to think about what's next, I mean, with the little baby here in a month or so, but also longer term, in what ways do you want your story with money to build and continue to make your grandma even prouder of you, to make your grandchildren really proud to tell your stories? What’s in the future? What's coming?

Ashley: Yeah, I think looking back at what I've learned from Grandma, as far as how she lived more conservatively and less frivolous spending, I would love to aspire to be more like that and reduce unnecessary spending, because that's just not something that I don't think she ever did. I mean, I know she bought nice things for herself every once in a while, but very rarely. [17:15.8]

I think that's so different from our generation and myself today. It's just so easy with online shopping. It's like you can have anything at your fingertips almost immediately and that makes it really hard to save money. I think taking inspiration from her would be good in that aspect.

I don't think I'll ever be as extreme in how she saved money and didn't buy things, but definitely I think it's worth looking at cutting back on frivolous spending and being more minimal or minimalistic—minimalist? Whatever the right word would be there—but I think there's a huge difference between why that was practiced when she was growing up or as an adult versus why I would choose to do that now. [18:07.5]

Hers was more out of necessity and living through the great depression and things like that, which had a huge impact on her view of money, whereas we've had the great recession in our lifetime, but I don't think it was necessarily as detrimental, so it has had an effect on the way I think about money, but not as big as hers was. So, I just think that mine would be more out of choice whereas hers was out of necessity.

Amanda: Yeah, and if I can ask you what are some of those reasons you would choose a more minimalistic lifestyle, what would be important to you about that way of living?

Ashley: I think being able to save up for bigger things in life.

Amanda: That would probably bring you more joy, too, right?

Ashley: Yeah, exactly. It's like at the time buying materialistic things brings you joy for a very short period of time, but that quickly goes away and that joy becomes clutter. Just go watch the Marie Kondo document. You'll understand. [19:12.5]

But, yeah, saving up for things that are more meaningful I think is really important. I would love to take an extended vacation to Europe and not have to worry that it's costing too much, things like that, and then, as you mentioned, with the baby coming as well, being able to save for her future and her college and things that are important as well.

Amanda: Great. Thanks so much for all that you've shared with our audience. I think they're really going to love your story and really connect with you. You totally have a podcast. Give us the name of it, how we can find it and what your goal is that people would be like, I have to listen to hear that.

Ashley: Yeah, so it's called Adult Struggles, and I usually get a giggle when I say that name, but I promise you, it's nothing inappropriate. [20:06.8]

We talk about a very wide range of topics, but it's really anything that you are going through while adulating, and you don't necessarily even have to be in your twenties or thirties because there are new things to learn in your forties and fifties and beyond, but we talk about things personal finance. We talk about career growth, personal development. It's kind of all over the board, but it's stuff that you can relate to, whether it's for you personally, or you know a friend or a family member that's going through it and you're trying to support them in that. It can really bring a great perspective there as well.
It is an interview-based show, so it's not me just talking about these things. I bring on someone who knows more about that topic and talk to them about it, so you are getting an expert voice there as well. [21:00.0]

You can find it anywhere that you listen to a podcast, so if you're an Apple person, you can find it on Apple podcasts. If you're an Android person, it's on Google podcasts, and then everything in between, so Spotify, Stitcher, all those other platforms. And you can check out AdultStruggles.com for a list of all the episodes as well.

Amanda: Great. This might put you on the spot, but give us what's been one of your big aha moments of something you learned from one of your guests.

Ashley: That's tough. I feel I have an aha moment every time I talk to someone. There's always that standout thing where I'm like, Oh my gosh, I either didn't know this or it helps me with something I was going through that I didn't even realize.

Amanda: Or maybe a recent one.

Ashley: Yeah, there is a recent one that I did very selfishly actually. I interviewed one of my fellow podcasting friends that I met at Podcast Movement last year and she does a show with her husband where they talk about personal and marriage development, but we talked about being a mom for the first time because she has four children now and this is my first. [22:11.5]

I basically just asked her everything I wanted to know about becoming a mom, so that was something that I just personally took a lot of value from out of that episode. But outside of that, gosh, this is so hard because everyone teaches me something new I swear every time.

Amanda: Yeah, I think that's the key lesson here. It’s that when you enter into life and every conversation that you have, seeking to learn something because everyone has something they can teach us, then that just makes our whole lives richer, and there no money needs to exchange hands. Right? And so, I think that's a really awesome lesson that if each of us did that every day with every conversation, we would all be wealthier as humans. [23:03.9]

Ashley: Yeah, exactly. Everyone has something interesting and important to add to the conversation. I've certainly learned that doing the show, even when it's a topic that I've chosen that I feel, Oh, this doesn't relate to me, but I know a lot of other people will find it beneficial, but then, sure enough, I'm like, Wow, I'm so glad I know this now. So, yeah, you just never know.

Amanda: Cool. That's a reason to listen right there as we get to join in on those conversations and find out what we can learn along with you.

Ashley: Yes, exactly. Thank you.

Amanda: Okay. Thank you for joining us for our podcast today. We'll look forward to continuing our conversation and, hopefully, having you back on in the future.

Ashley: Perfect. Thanks so much, Amanda.

Amanda: So, there you have it, the interview with Ashley. Isn't she fabulous? I really hope and pray that her last month of pregnancy and the next 18 years go super well for her. [24:01.6]

I want to just share my quick takeaways from her story. I love the whole piggy banks and how her parents bought her piggy banks from different experiences. I've already given my son piggy banks and he's only two, and we actually bought him a set of piggy banks, one that says “Spend,” one that says “Share,” and one that says “Save” to help him learn those principles of what your money can do for you.

But then, I love that idea of like, I need to teach him then what are we saving for? And that's going to be a really fun conversation to have, probably not right now when he's two, but later on.

Then, I also loved her story of how money isn't of the high importance that we put on it, right? We don't have to make a lot of money in order to be the most fulfilled. There are so many people out there that are chasing the highest rate of return. They're trying to figure out, How much risk can I really take? when it's a totally different mindset to be thinking of questions like, What's going to help me feel fulfilled in life? [25:10.5]

And for Ashley, it sounded travel was one of those things. That's true for me, too. It's true for a lot of people. There are some people that are like, I'm happy to just go camping and backpacking and hiking, right, whereas other people I need to go to far-off places and do really expensive stuff, right? Their definition of fulfilled is different. But if we're thinking, What do I need to be fulfilled? that then guides a lot of then, Then what do I need my money to do for me? and I love that part of her story and what she's learned.

Then, I also love that whole idea of learning from everyone. Sounds like Ashley has a really great growth mindset, and that's an encouragement for me to keep learning and to keep growing, to look at those conversations, every single conversation as potential growing experience for me, and also the person that I'm talking to. What are the things we can learn from each other? Maybe there's a unique thing our conversation can bring into the world that if we didn't have the conversation, it wouldn't exist. [26:14.9]

Hopefully, those things inspire you along your journey. I look forward to sharing more and more with you, these stories of people who are creating a different narrative around money, and not just what's going to do X, Y or Z in terms of the product itself, but more of “What” “Why?” and asking that kind of question. I think it’s what all about here at Grandma's Wealth Wisdom. Again, I hope you enjoyed her conversation or my conversation with her.

We've got another interview coming up next. It's a special secret surprise. We're hoping to have two ladies who will both share their stories that are very awesome and unique with you, so we'll look forward to sharing those with you soon. [27:09.2]
Thank you. Take care, and keep building your wealth, so that you can break through to a smart, stable, financial future by living simply and sustainably, the way Grandma and Marie Kondo would want you to.

The topics presented in this podcast are for general information only and not for the purposes of providing legal, accounting or investment advice. On such matters, please consult a professional who knows your specific situation.

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