Personal Finance Interview with Carrie Smith from CarefulCents.com



Carrie Smith has a unique take on finances and what it is she does, calling herself a Financial Artist who is on a mission to help other solopreneurs and business owners design their ideal business lifestyle. She's unleashed much of her artistry and inspirational advice on her website, carefulcents.com, where you're guaranteed not to get bored with financial jargon and number-crunching details.

We thought it would be great to catch up with Carrie and hear about approaching finance in an innovative way.

Tell us a bit more about what you do and what your blog is about.

Successful business owners today are innovators, designers, artists and out-of-the-box thinkers, so as online entrepreneurs we need to have this same creative drive to stand out among the endless amount of noise. That's where I come in!

My blog is a platform to share how I implement artistry with running a new business. I'm chronicling my journey from quitting my accounting job to building my own online business, along with the tools, strategies and ideas to build my ideal lifestyle while on a strict budget.

There's no point for any of us who quit the corporate life to work like dogs once we have our own business. We could have just stayed in our safe, boring day jobs and continued receiving a paycheck. My mission is create the freedom to run a business from anywhere, while designing a lifestyle to support creativity and spontaneity.

What is the first thing you say to people when it comes to managing debt?

Getting out of debt is the first step towards building the career that makes you happy. You will never truly have control over the trajectory of your life and your money if you continue to stay in debt. If you want extraordinary results, you have to do something extraordinary to get them!

How do you encourage people to manage their personal finance better?

The most important thing about getting your finances in order is to find something that motivates you, no matter how small or how big that dream might be. Then you have to look at it every day. Keep it as a reminder of why you're sacrificing your social life or your shopping habits to reach your goal.

How do tools like Mint.com help people to do this?

Online tools like Mint.com help people visualize their goals and remind them of how much progress they're making. It's easy to get discouraged when you're in debt, but a simple reminder of where you're headed, and how far you've come, can be the extra push you need to keep going!

Do you feel it's easier to manage our finances these days with the tools that are available to us?

Oh yes, using tools like Mint.com makes keeping tabs on your money a whole lot easier. Ten years ago I had to manually write checks and record them in a check register that I had to balance at the end of each month. Now, I never do any of those things because every day I know how much money I have access to thanks to mobile apps and smartphones.

What are the top three questions people ask you again and again?

1. Where do I start?
2. How can make my dream (lifestyle) a reality?
3. What's one way I can make more money in less time?

What is the main reason people get into unnecessary debt?

Unnecessary debt is basically anything you don't need to survive to maintain happiness. What can I live without (cable TV for instance)? You, however, might need cable for your weekly sports nights with friends, and having that social interaction is important to you. You need to be willing to sacrifice something else that's less important to stay on budget.

Getting into an unnecessary amount of debt usually comes from not having a clear vision of what you want your life to look like or from having a tainted version of it. For example, you want to live an extravagant life because you think having nice cars, large homes and expensive jewelry will make you happy. Ultimately, though, you just want to feel good about yourself and have more confidence. Buying stuff will never satisfy that desire, you have to make a change within your mindset to be truly happy.

Connect with Carrie on Twitter, like the Careful Cents Facebook page or circle Carrie on Google Plus.

Subscribe to her website at carefulcents.com.