Learning How to Budget w/ The School of Betty – Episode 74: PaleOMG Uncensored Podcast

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Today on the podcast, I’m chatting with Brianna Firestone of The School of Betty. Brianna shares her experience about not shopping for a year and how that changed her life and led her to create The School of Betty to help others change their own lives and get control of their finances! So excited to share my friends story, how she works 4 jobs, and what inspires her daily!


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Episode 74 Transcription!

Before we get started with this weeks’ episode, chatting with my good friend Brianna Firestone of the School of Betty, I’ve got to tell you about this weeks’ sponsor, Sun Basket. It’s already March. How insane is that? I seriously cannot believe. Time is going by so dang fast. And because of that, it’s pretty easy to forget about your own health. But Sun Basket completely changes that.

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Now, let’s get to chatting with Brianna Firestone.

Juli Bauer: Ok, let’s get started. Ok, hi Bri! As everybody knows you as Brianna. I usually do some sort of intro, but it just doesn’t feel natural. So we’re just going to keep it on a personal level. Because that’s how we’ve known each other for years.

Brianna Firestone: I like it. Yeah.

Juli Bauer: So, everybody on the internet that has looked you up now knows you as Brianna. But I know you as Bri. Because I met you; now it has to be probably 6 years ago. When did you start at CrossFit Broadway?

Brianna Firestone: Yeah. I’ve been at Broadway now 6 years in January, so that’s right.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. Let’s talking about how we met in the first place. Do you remember your first class at Broadway? Was it your first time doing CrossFit in general?

Brianna Firestone: Yeah. I remember when I started because I had run a marathon that October. And it was awful. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: {laughs} Was it your first one?

Brianna Firestone: It was my first marathon. And around mile 19, I was like; this is for the birds. I just didn’t do enough cross training, and I felt awful. And so I really wanted to get some better conditioning and build some muscle; just strengthen my muscles so that I could run a marathon and actually get a better time. So I found CrossFit, and I kind of heard about it before. Obviously I lived around the corner from where Broadway was. So I signed up and did my Elements. And I just remember thinking I was in decent shape, and having that quickly wiped away the minute I walked in there and had my first workout {laughs}.

Juli Bauer: Yes.

Brianna Firestone: Especially when we got to the pullups. I was like; oh, surely I can do one pullup. And I just couldn’t even get close. So I was like; alright, this is humbling. It totally changed my definition of what fitness was. But I think the first time; I can’t remember the first time you coached me. But I do remember, I had just started with my friend Lauren. And that was when the Southwest Regional was in Colorado.

Juli Bauer: OH, yeah.

Brianna Firestone: And that was when you were at the height of competing. And CrossFit Broadway had a team, and then you and the owner were also in it. I just remember kind of fangirling a little bit. Is that embarrassing? {laughs}

Juli Bauer: {laughing} No, that’s hilarious.

Brianna Firestone: And just being totally blown away by what these athletes could do. I was just totally hooked from that moment.

Juli Bauer: That’s the best. It’s so funny. We had a guy in class yesterday, in the class I was working out in. And he was a pretty good shape guy, but it was his first time doing CrossFit. And he got pullups right away, but he was like; I just feel so stupid. I can’t keep this rhythm of the kipping pullups. I feel so dumb right now.

It’s amazing how you can feel in shape. And no matter what kind of athlete background you came from; CrossFit just really brings you back down to earth real quick.

Brianna Firestone: Yeah. It’s humbling.

Juli Bauer: It’s so humbling.

Brianna Firestone: It’s very humbling.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. So will you kind of tell everybody about Brianna. I feel so weird saying Brianna. But about Bri. {laughs} It’s so funny when I see it online. Because I spell Brian’s name as Bri in my phone, but I spell yours as Bree, in my phone. So it’s a tad confusing.

Brianna Firestone: {laughs}

Juli Bauer: So Brianna makes sense online. But will you tell everybody a little bit about your background. Kind of where you grew up and how you started your first job. A little bit about living in New York City, because I can’t imagine living there. When I go there, I feel so overwhelmed. So will you kind of just tell people about your background, and what you’ve done for work, and all that fun stuff.

Brianna Firestone: Yeah. I have always considered myself to be eclectic in the sense that I have all of these different loves, and that is very true in how my story and just my life and how my career kind of unfolded. But I grew up in a really small town outside of Springfield, Missouri, called Rogersville. It maybe had 2000 people when I was growing up; I think it’s more now.

Juli Bauer: Dang.

Brianna Firestone: Yeah. Real small. And we had tractor day at high school. There were cow pastures outside of the football field. So totally small town America. I loved growing up there, and I loved being at home in the woods. And I grew up on a gravel road. But I’d always been interested in music. And my Granny, my Granny Betty. There’s a story there. My Granny Betty played the piano for me every Sunday. And I just started singing, and I was really involved in choir. And it wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I kind of got on this track of; yeah, I’m really digging this theater thing and I kind of want to do it.

So I ended up going to a private women’s college in Columbia, Missouri, called Stephens. It was known for the performing arts. And I just loved it. I went there, and paid for my own college because I chose to go to this private women’s college, which was not the most cost efficient. So I ended up getting as many scholarships as I could and then paying for the rest in student loans.

They have a program where you can graduate in three years, so I breezed through there. I graduated in three years. So I was 21 when I was graduating. I went home for 6 months, and I saved money, and I was like; I’m going to move to the big city. Total country bumpkin moving to New York City. I was serving tables at this little Mexican restaurant, and I met my really good friend Adelia. And we just were having a conversation one day, and I was like; yeah, I’m going to move to New York City. And she was like; oh, that sounds good. I have family there. And we were like; let’s do it! We just decided we were going to be friends and roommates. And we moved to New York City.

We bought a one-way ticket. Actually it was on February 17th. We bought a one-way ticket, and we went there. We lived in this tiny apartment. It was one room. We paid $300 cash. It was almost to Coney Island. All of these different things. And my mind was blown in the first week that I was there. Because you can imagine; I grew up riding horses and driving around the backroads of Missouri, and here I am living in this big city. And I had no idea this big world that was out there. So I’m super grateful for it.

I learned very quickly in that time that getting up at 3 a.m. to go stand in line to maybe get an audition for a minute to be girl number 20 in the back row probably wasn’t my thing.

Juli Bauer: {laughs}

Brianna Firestone: {laughs} I had this moment where I was serving tables. I had two servings jobs. And I was serving tables at this pretty famous diner. It’s all windows, and it’s on the corner in the Flat Iron district. And I was serving this cheese burger and fries. I will never forget this. And Sex in the City was shooting at that time. And things were shooting all the time around the city. And as I’m serving this cheese burger and fries, I’m putting it down on the table. I look up, and Kim Cattrall is walking out of her trailer. And she just looks fabulous.

And I had this moment of, “No. I can’t do this anymore.” {laughs} Kim Cattrall just walked out of her trailer looking fabulous. And here I am living in that; like, I want to be an actress, serving cheese burgers. And it was just not my jam.

Juli Bauer: {laughs} So it wasn’t like; Kim Cattrall did it, I could do it too!

Brianna Firestone: It was not motivating for me. {laughs} And I think part of that was because I was always very interested in other things. I did some PR in college, and then I ran PR for a summer stock theater before I moved to New York City. I just was interested in business. So I just felt in my being that performing wasn’t all I had to do in my life. And everything; I wanted to do more.

So I called everyone I knew, and I ended up getting a job at Meredith Publishing, which is one of the big magazine publishers. They do Better Homes and Garden, and Ladies Home Journal. And I started in their sales department, and learned quickly how much I did not know about excel.

Juli Bauer: {laughing}

Brianna Firestone: All these things. I finally told my college, actually, with the alumni group. I’m like; you have go to teach these sweet little actors some business skills! {laughs} because they are walking into these jobs and the have no idea what’s going on.

But I worked there, and then I went into PR. I worked for this amazing boutique PR farm where it totally built my career. I got to travel. We had a lot of Italian clients, and it was all in design and architecture. And I just loved it. It was a new industry and I didn’t know anything about it, but I knew aesthetically that I just loved these beautiful things.

I worked for them for 6 years, and then at the time my husband and I were just kind of tired of New York City. We ended up coming to Denver, because we loved hiking and snow boarding and all of those beautiful things. Not realizing just how unbelievable Denver truly is. Especially that weather. First summer here with no humidity and not smelling rotting trash on the sidewalk was pretty magical. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: That’s what is so bananas to me about living in New York. You’re paying insane amount of money to live in a very small space, and you’re going to these incredibly expensive restaurants, and all their trash is out front. So you’re taking in the trash smells as your walking into a place you’re about to spend $100 on one meal? I’m like, how is this f*cking cool? That’s just bananas to me.

Brianna Firestone: I know. But there certainly is a vibe to the city, and I loved it for so long. After a while, the novelty wears off about carrying your groceries 10 blocks and up three flights of stairs. When you’re 21, that’s really; we’re doing it. We’re in the big city. And then after a while, you’re like; oh my god, this is the worst thing ever.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. That’s completely fair.

Brianna Firestone: Yeah. So we came to Denver. And my career kind of led me. I left that PR firm eventually, after three years here. I flew back and forth, which kind of ended up being really stressful. And I got into nonprofit. I worked for a cancer organization for a while because that’s dear to my heart. And then I ended up at a large performing arts center here in Denver. And doing their marketing. I’m in my 6th season. We talk in seasons at the performing arts center. {laughs}

But as I was doing that, like I said, I’m multi-passionate. And I just felt a larger driver and a purpose. Which actually, I was thinking about this the other day and I found some old notes. You and I met like in November of 2015 or 2014, I can’t remember. But you and I were talking about how I could help you just kind of do some things. Because I was kind of toying with creating my own business. I was just in that exploratory stage where I wasn’t sure what it was yet. So it’s funny I just found those notes.

So I’ve been working on this for a while, I just didn’t know what it was. And that kind of evolved in the last year, which was the School of Betty.

Juli Bauer: Well, that kind of leads into whatever the School of Betty is. So for people who maybe only listen to the podcast and don’t go to my blog. Which you totally should. I had Bri do a guest post kind of about budgeting in the New Year. And it’s funny; Bri was like, I don’t know if I should do that. Because so many of your people shop through you.

Brianna Firestone: {laughs}

Juli Bauer: But what I loved about Bri is we talked about her budgeting just at the gym. So you told me at one point that you were doing no shopping for a year. And to me, that’s bananas. So obviously that means on clothing. It’s not like you’re not grocery shopping or any of the necessities that you need in your life. But you were doing no shopping. And everybody else at the gym were like; how the hell could you do that?

So then you were even talking about budgeting stuff with the owner of our gym. Who I’ve had on the podcast before. And then it’s kind of really turned into a new business. So can you talk about first that no shopping thing you did for yourself, and how you’ve turned it into explaining that into others, and putting that into their own lifestyles?

Brianna Firestone: Yeah. So in this fabulous life in New York City, I was living the fabulous life. But I made a PBR salary. But you know, living the Champion life. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: {laughs}

Brianna Firestone: So it all starts; I got my first credit card when I was 18. So as I was going into college. And I really kind of started those shopping habits in college. I took 20 hours of class. I was in rehearsals 5 hours a day. And we went to school three years straight; we didn’t have a summer break. So when I think about that now, of course I was shopping. Because I didn’t necessarily know how to handle the stress of that and just all of the emotions that were happening.

But fast forward, I moved to New York City, which is this glittery thing that has all of these enticements around every single corner. And I just started shopping a lot. I got that job at the magazine, and it was cleverly in a location right across from Grand Central Station. There are all these shops in there. There’s a Starbucks literally every five feet. I didn’t even know what Starbucks was at that time, I don’t think. Truly, country bumpkin when I moved there.

And I just started shopping. And I eventually shopped so much that I woke up and I had $30,000 in credit card debt. I’ve had over 10 credit cards that were totally maxed out. And not maxing them out for like a fun vacation or anything that I would actually need or use. It was just clothing or eating out. And I still had $28,000 in student loan debt from putting myself through college.

So here I am, I’m 23 years old, 22-23 years old, and I have $58,000 in debt. And I’m barely making $30,000 a year. I am drinking Grande Starbucks mochas twice a day like they’re going out of style. And I could not freaking figure out why the hell I did not have money. Mind you, my rent at that time was not expensive. I think I paid $700 at that time for rent. And that, in New York City, was just bonkers.

So I finally just; I remember the moment where I had this ah-ha. And I was working at the magazine. And my boss at the time, she was talking about how she needed to increase her credit score. And I’m like; what the eff is a credit score? I had no idea what that was. And she was like, you can go on here and get it for free. So I did that. And it was not good.

Juli Bauer: Oh no!

Brianna Firestone: {laughs} You get a credit score, they tell you all the reasons why it’s not good. And I was like; oh no! I had no idea. I was totally oblivious.

Juli Bauer: Well that’s what’s so upsetting. We’re raised; unless you have a family who really pushes that every single day so you actually understand it. I never knew what a credit score was, and I didn’t know how important it was. How are you supposed to know that? We’re not taught that in school. Nobody teaches you that unless your parents decide to take that on. It’s like, so many of us are in that space of coming out of college, and being like; oh. Money is a real thing. Holy sh*t. {laughs}

Brianna Firestone: Oh, for sure. And that accounting class that you took where you’re actually balancing your checkbook and stuff, or not really. It doesn’t equate to actual real life. And you bring up such a good point; and I preach this all day long in that we are taught how to make money and how to spend it, but no one actually tells us how to manage it.

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Brianna Firestone: Because no one teaches us, we don’t have a way that, unless you were lucky enough to have someone around you. Either a parent, mentor, or friend, who really knows what the hell you’re talking about or has good positive habits and behaviors around money, that’s what you’re learning. So we beat ourselves up about how we manage our money, when we’re actually not taking a step back and realizing that we weren’t ever taught. And if we were taught, recognizing that the person who taught us probably learned the exact same way that we did. So it’s just all of these bad habits that continue to be passed down.

So there’s all this shame around debt, and how people are managing their money. And that doesn’t have to be there. Because once you recognize; oh, I wasn’t actually taught how to do it. It kind of changes the landscape a little bit.

So I got that credit score, and I was like; holy Jesus this is so bad. And I just decided that I needed to change the game. I didn’t want to live paycheck to paycheck. And I was stressing out. I’m actually going to start sharing on my blog; this is big. I might regret this later.

Juli Bauer: {laughs}

Brianna Firestone: But I have been journaling off and on since I was 16, and I have these pretty incredible entries, where I’m talking about money and how it has stressed me out. And I’m going to start sharing those. Because I think it’s important that people understand what they’re feeling, stress around money, is not unusual and so many people feel that way. So I’m about to unveil the mental habits of Brianna, moving forward.

Juli Bauer: That’s awesome.

Brianna Firestone: But I cracked down. I created this excel budget spreadsheet. It’s the same one I use today. I’ve been passing that thing out to people for the last 8 or 9 years, just when they’ve talked about; I need to budget. Or I’m not sure how to do this.

And what I realized; I was living here. I paid off all that debt. I have an almost perfect credit score. And I did all this work. And I had this realization. It was probably 8 or 9 years ago, I guess. I had paid everything off, and I was living within my budget, but I still wasn’t happy and I still shopped. So I still shopped a lot. I wouldn’t think twice about going to Ross, or Nordstrom and just dropping $400. And at that time, I wasn’t working for the PR firm. So I don’t know who I was dressing up for. {laughs} I didn’t really have any reason to be shopping.

And I just had this aha; we had some financial circumstances that basically was the catalyst for me to say; I have to do something drastic. And I was like; alright. What is the hardest thing I could actually do that would change the money game for me? And it was giving up shopping. So I just kind of did it cold turkey one November. And I went on this journey. And it changed my life. Because I finally started connecting the dots about how our decisions around money are so emotional, and how so much of that debt, and that activity of shopping, and that habit, and that behavior was just all around my emotions and my stress. And the fact that I just wasn’t really happy.

So, that is when I started to talk about it on just my personal Facebook. I’ve had other friends who have done a year of no shopping as well. And they put $20,000 in their savings account that year. I was able to donate over $2000. So when I did it, I also said, If I see anyone on my Facebook that’s like, “hey I’m raising money for this organization,” I would at a minimum give them $25. If I could give them more, I would.

So I kind of went on this quest and this journey that really, truly taught me how to be grateful for what I had. And honestly, I had a lot. I had so much. And the minute I started appreciating things, what I had already, I didn’t need the things. And it’s life changing.

I just want everyone to be able to experience that. Especially if they have stress around their finances. It’s such a game changer. And it can change your future, and how you deal with money. And it can change how you teach your kids about money.

So I just kind of got on this; when I finally figured out that the School of Betty was what I wanted to do, and really helping people manage their resources. So their money, their time, and their energy, this was the very first thing I thought of. I thought; this is a unique 90-day challenge. And it’s more than just giving up shopping. People are going to walk away with this huge aha; several aha moments that are going to change their future.

Juli Bauer: So, before you get into the School of Betty and talking more about that. When you talk about this budgeting spreadsheet that you came up with and that you shared with so many of your friends. How did you come up with that in the first place? How did you create that? Does that background kind of go back to your experience with excel?

Because to me, when people kind of ask me about budgeting on a regular basis. When I was out of college, I was making $17,000 a year. So there was no budgeting. It was saving as much as I f*cking could, paying for groceries, and paying rent. I was not going out. I wasn’t buying anything. It was like I would get one new pair of workout pants per year type of thing.

So for me, I’ve always just saved everything. And I know what I can spend more on. So when it comes to food, and my business, I know when I can spend a little bit more on that. And I know when I’m comfortably paying my credit cards off, versus; oh that seemed a little bit high. But I don’t know my exact budgeting, month per month. I just know when I’m in the clear and when I’m like; oh, ok. I need to take a look at things a little bit more.

So how did you come up with that in the first place?

Brianna Firestone: That is a great question. I was probably high on sugar from one of the mochas that I drank. {laughing}

Juli Bauer: {laughs} So good. I miss those day.

Brianna Firestone: Let’s talk about what two Grande mochas will do to your body twice a day.

Juli Bauer: I miss when I had those Starbucks drinks. They were so f*cking good.

Brianna Firestone: Oh god, yeah. That and about three diet cokes. So I was really killing it there.

Juli Bauer: Oh my god.

Brianna Firestone: {laughs} Killing my insides. That’s what I was doing. That’s a great question. I don’t know. I remember that I wasn’t Googling or figuring things out. And in that first job I had, I worked in the sales department and I was responsible for pulling sales weekly reports. So I had to learn very quickly how to use that excel document, and how to kind of navigate it. So I learned there.

I remember I took an excel class in college. But you know, a lot of things don’t stick in the big university.

Juli Bauer: No, never.

Brianna Firestone: So I don’t remember any of it. I just remember that I needed to create a way that made sense to me. And I needed to figure out a way for my brain that worked for me. And it really; you’re kind of nailing it when you say you don’t really know exactly either what I’m spending or what I need to spend a month. And that’s where I started. Because I was in this place of like; ok, I have all this credit card debt. I’m not making a ton of money. And through the years, obviously once I gave up shopping for a year I was making more money so I could sustain my horrible shopping habit.

But I started at this point where I said; I don’t even know, at a minimum, how much money I need a month to survive.

Juli Bauer: Totally.

Brianna Firestone: So that’s where I started. And that’s not rocket science. You can look at a lot of different budgets now. So for me; these are the fixed costs a month. If I lost my job suddenly, or my circumstances changed, what is that total amount that I need to survive. To keep a roof over my head. To be able to get to work. To eat. To pay my utilities. All of those things.

So once I started there, and I knew what that minimum was, then I could start looking at everything else on top of it. Those variable, kind of luxury expenses. And as I started going through it, it was more just trial and error and understanding that those variable expenses, those ones that change, that’s where you have the most impact. At least, not necessarily in big dollar amounts. But that’s where you can make some shifts. You can eliminate those things that you want instead of the things that you need.

That’s where some of the hard decisions come up. You either are dedicated and wanting to get out of debt to live a stress-free life. Or you continue the bad habits. So I just kind of started from a place where it needed to make sense for me. And this excel sheet does not have any bells and whistles.

I actually created one with some bells and whistles, and I absolutely hate it. {laughs} This is so simple. But a lot of people, if you’re not working in Excel. Sometimes you just need someone to create the path for you. Or to create the framework for you. And if it resonates with you, then it’s easier to kind of adapt it.

Juli Bauer: I can’t believe I still haven’t got that from you. Because I need to do that. I need to be a big girl.

Brianna Firestone: {laughing}

Juli Bauer: I have big girl friends, it’s time for me to be the big girl. {laughs} OK, let’s talk about the School of Betty. Because what we haven’t really touched on; you have your full-time job. And you have just started and kicked off the School of Betty. You coach at CrossFit. You have like 40 million jobs. Your helping your husband with his job. There’s a million jobs you have. So we have a time frame in this podcast to stick with.

Will you talk about what the School of Betty is, how you started it? You’ve kind of touched upon what you’re trying to accomplish with it. But give people the breakdown of the School of Betty and how you really put it together in general. And started a new business while you still have a full-time job. So you’re drinking 400 coffees a day still.

Brianna Firestone: Yes! {laughing}

Juli Bauer: Just not mochas. {laughs}

Brianna Firestone: I actually only drink about two cups a day. And it’s so funny because everyone on my social media thinks that I basically have an IV of coffee, and I just drink it all day. I don’t, you guys. But you know, there’s a prime example. Perception.

That’s a great question. I would say probably three years ago. I just started feeling this; I don’t know. It gets a little woo-woo. But I just started feeling like I had more to give to the world, and I wanted to make an impact. Giving back has always been a really huge deal to me, and also going through that year of no shopping where I was able to donate to charities. It just felt amazing. And I loved being able to do that.

So I kind of was on this quest to figure out what it was. And I said I’m a multi-passionate person. And I wasn’t a matter of; I’ve got to find my passion. Because for me, I feel like passion is very different than purpose. I have a lot of passions. I’m super passionate about the arts. And what that can do for young kids. I’m super passionate about cancer research. I’m passionate about all these things, but I felt like there was this purpose that I needed to be doing. And I couldn’t figure out what it was.

So I just kind of started down this path, where I started throwing myself into situations where I would explore. Like for CrossFit Broadway, I did a whole business analysis. I did that project for you, where we kind of talked to some book agents. So I kind of started exploring what is it. I need to just start doing things to figure out if this is it or not.

And as I kept going down this road, I did Marie Forleo’s B School, which is actually staring on Monday. And it was just this scary amount of money for me at the time. It was a 6-week program of really how to start an online business. And I just started there, because I was like; I don’t know. I have kind of an idea of what it might be. I was like; do I want to go back to PR? Do I want to do PR only for female clients? There were all these things that I was kind of exploring.

I just did the work. I think that’s one of the things that a lot of people, if they feel like this calling, or they’re not happy in their job, is they expect it to be this lightbulb moment where they’re like, “oh that’s it!” And it’s like, no. You actually have to kind of dig in there and figure it out. Because you might find that your passion is not something that you want to do every single day. Or that there are elements about it that don’t make you happy.

So, I did Marie Forleo. And I just kind of had this moment. I knew I wanted to do something with this 90-day no shopping. Because I knew it could impact a lot of people. And I don’t know how I kind of came to of; this is it. I’m helping people manage their money, their time, and their energy. Except it was more of how I lived my life. And I just kind of recognize that anytime I’m feeling a lot of stress in my life.

If I go back and look at how I’m spending my money; are my finances stressing me out, or is it my time or my energy? If any of those feel out of whack, I couldn’t ever get to the big stuff. I couldn’t ever get to my career, my purpose, or really nurturing my relationships. Or my health. I just couldn’t focus on them. If you’ve ever had financial problems, it’s the only thing you can think of.

So, I’ve always kind of lived by those are the foundation for my happiness. And I have to make sure that those are really going on all cylinders. And that’s kind of where I had this moment of; yeah. That’s it. I want to share that with other people, because it works. And it works for me. And that’s how I kind of did it. I did a 90-day no shopping in September. And I’m currently in a February 90-day no shopping. And I know we have some of your listeners and fans who are in that. It’s a total 180. I completely changed the program, and I’m just so happy with how it’s going.

So that’s kind of where I got to it. It took me a while to kind of hone what the School of Betty was. But the minute I figured it out; I was like, that’s it. And it’s amazing how much drive you can have for something. They always say you teach the thing that’s hardest for you to manage. And I had so many struggles with managing my money. And I constantly have to be aware of my time and my energy. As you said; I have 4 jobs. And so I am constantly having to keep check of myself. And it’s a good place to be. Because I feel like I’m always learning with my students, and continuing to figure out ways that work for me that might work for them. I kind of rambled a little bit there.

Juli Bauer: No, not at all.

Brianna Firestone: Lock it up, Firestone.

Juli Bauer: {laughs} So, I always get this question so I kind of want to ask you. Since you are a person who is working 5 jobs. I’m sorry, 4 jobs at the moment. {laughs}

Brianna Firestone: {laughs}

Juli Bauer: I’m sure you’ll add a 5th one soon.

Brianna Firestone: Yeah! {laughing}

Juli Bauer: What is it that you have to do that keeps you motivated and keeps you organized? So for me, something that I’ve started to do is I get up and I do my makeup and I do my hair every single morning. And I have a to-do list. And those three things make me feel more organized and I can start my day exactly how I need to and I know I will get everything done throughout the day by starting it by putting on makeup and leading it throughout the day with that to-do list and marking it off.

So are there any things that you stick with that keep you motivated? Because that’s a question I get almost every single time I do a listener questions podcast. People are always asking that. So it’s fun to hear that from other sources what they do, specifically.

Brianna Firestone: Yeah. I love the whole; when I worked from home, which I do a little bit now. But I definitely had to put on the makeup, do my hair, and get ready like I was going somewhere. Because it just put me in the right mental space that I need to be in.

Juli Bauer: Totally.

Brianna Firestone: That’s a great question. I would say first and foremost; and I say this a lot when I have others asking me that are trying to also start their own business. And that is, if you’re constantly finding yourself not motivated to do the work, you need to ask yourself what is it that’s holding you back. There’s something there. Are you truly not on the right thing? Or is there a block? What’s going on. Because that’s a number one indicator.

Because I do feel like, when you’re dialing in on your purpose, and truly what you are excited about passionate about, you do it. The amount of energy you have to put towards it is unbelievable. That’s not to say you’re not going to have a day where you just want to lie on the couch and watch The Bachelor all day.

Juli Bauer: F*ck yeah.

Brianna Firestone: But for the most part, you should have that energy. And for me, because I’m doing so many things that I love. I love all of them. I love coaching CrossFit. I love my job here at the center. I love what I do for School of Betty. It means I have to manage my time. And for me, one of the biggest lessons I had to learn was actually make space to create space. Because I’m a go, go, go. Your brain; it gets tired after a while. It’s like getting on a horse and expecting that horse to ride 7 days a week, 24/7. Your body gets tired.

So I started creating a morning routine that kind of put me in the right space. So similar to you. But I’d start immediately with 10 or 15 minutes of meditation. Which, let me tell you, I’ve only been doing that since December. It’s a game changer for me, but it is effing hard. Because my brain will not shut down. Which is totally why I need to do it. And I kind of write in a journal after that. So I don’t get my coffee until after I meditate. So there’s a habit loop for you. I get my reward. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: {laughing}

Brianna Firestone: Take some time. And I really schedule out most of my day, down to the hour or the minute. Especially on a day that I know I need to get a lot of stuff done. I know you do that too.

Juli Bauer: It’s the best.

Brianna Firestone: So like in the morning; I know I’m firing on all cylinders in the morning. I know I’ve got some really good brain juice happening. So I want to take advantage of it. So I often do a lot of Betty work in the morning. So either I’m writing something or I’m creating a script for a video or I’m finessing some curriculum or creating a worksheet. I like to do that in the morning, because my brain just feels good and refreshed.

And sometimes I’ll get a second wind in the evening, but I really just schedule out my week. I take a look at it on the weekends, and I set myself up for success. So I create things that make it easy for me. Which is really what I teach around habits as well. If I don’t want to stress out about dinner or making sure that we’re not eating out and we’re eating well, I need to take time and prep for two hours on Sunday, and it’s going to make my week really easy to get through.

And also listening to your body. Because I do think there are times; and you probably feel this way too. That you are tired. You went through a really rough week or two weeks. And you probably do just need to lie on the couch and watch TV all day and relax and not beat yourself up about it. There is this kind of fine balance between the hustle and the quiet that I think is really hard for an entrepreneur to find. It’s really hard for someone who is also doing the side hustle as well.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. And I think it’s hard for us; I think what people need to remember if they’re working multiple jobs or they just go all out on their job all the time. Its’ a great reminder that; ok, listen to your body. Take a break because then you’re going to be maybe 10 times more productive when you actually start getting after it the next morning. Because that’s what I have to do at night. I’m like; ok. What I’m writing is so boring at this point, because I’m not functioning well. So sleep on it; I’ll be better in the morning.

And knowing when you need to take time off. That’s a huge thing about taking care of your body in general. That has to do with sleep patterns and working out and eating healthy. You also have to know when to cut it off, too.

Brianna Firestone: Oh, absolutely.

Juli Bauer: It must be hard for you, when you’re working four different jobs.

Brianna Firestone: {laughs}

Juli Bauer: That must be very a challenging point.

Brianna Firestone: Your listeners are going to think I am nuts.

Juli Bauer: Yeah, well you are, but in a good way. You know? In the best way possible.

Brianna Firestone: Yeah. I mean, the thing is I’m not doing anything I dislike. And if you focus. I always say this; what you focus on will flourish. If you put the right energy towards something, it will do amazing things. So I just, I would say if you’re trying to start a side business while you have a full-time job, you just have to make sure that you’re creating expectations. What are you really capable of doing? How much can you build while you have a fulltime job? Or you also have a husband, and kids, or a wife, or a partner, whatever.

And part of that is just kind of feeling it out. You just kind of have to start. For so many people, you just have to start and kind of figure out what your flow is. And then pay attention to it. And then really set your expectations to something that feels good to you. And that you’re also giving yourself some small wins along the way. I say this all the time. Especially when it relates to paying off debt or budgeting. We never judge ourselves on our actual progress; we’re only judging ourselves on our expectations.

So, so many times when we’re going through things, we have all these amazing wins and success, and we don’t celebrate it because we didn’t hit what we had in our brain. Which was probably outlandish and crazy in the first place.

And I actually just posted that about the Open. The CrossFit Open can do crazy things to your brain. And I know you and I have talked about that a little bit. Like; ok, what are my expectations here? And what are the wins that I have in 18.1 that were really great for me. Knowing that I’ve been on this train where I’ve really only been working out once or twice a week. All of this stuff.

I think it’s so important that you listen to your body and your feelings. I know it gets woo-woo and emotional, but our emotions drive so many of our actions and our decisions. And if you are not tapping into that and paying attention to it, you’re not going to be able to figure out what’s not working.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. So what do people do to get involved with the School of Betty? And what should they expect when they’re actually involved with it? Because I know all your courses are full at the moment. But how do people find out more about School of Betty and get involved with it if they want to get control of their money. Which, everybody does, honestly.

Brianna Firestone: Yeah. So many people feel like they’re alone in their money situation. Especially if you’re going to a party and people are talking about their investments, and their retirement. And if you’re not doing that, it feels really crappy. And I think what a lot of people don’t realize is that you’re not the only one who feels that way. So many people have issues around their finances.

So going to theSchoolofBetty.com. You’ll see quickly where you can sign up for my weekly newsletter. And that newsletter is really me giving you free tips and guides to help you manage your money, your time, and your energy.

I really always say start there. I want to build a relationship with you. I want to actually jive with you. So I always tell people when they sign up; if after two emails they’re just not feeling it, then they should probably unsubscribe. Because life is too short to clutter the email inbox with something you don’t like.

Juli Bauer: Oh my gosh. Is that part of your course of cleaning out your inbox? Because I need that course too. {laughing}

Brianna Firestone: It’s so funny, I’m actually doing that myself. It is one of the things for the no shopping I ask people to unsubscribe from emails that could entice them to buy something. But yeah, I also have a free download, and that’s five actions you can take today that will help you create a better relationship with your money. And the purpose of that is to show people you don’t have to move mountains. You just have to take some movement. There are small actions that you can take that really make a difference.

And one of them, if you’re struggling with your money, is just checking your bank account every single day. And you’d be surprised at how hard that is for people. And like you mentioned when you were first starting out; you made $17,000 a year. It’s usually individuals who are on a straight up, really, really strict budget and just aren’t using credit cards. They are checking that bank account five times a day.

It’s those who are in that space of; “I know I make enough money. I don’t know where it all goes.” That is checking that bank account is really difficult. Or they just don’t want to face how much money they’re spending towards one thing and not another. So it’s really starting there.

And if someone is interested in the 90-day no shopping challenge, there is a wait list on theSchoolofBetty.com and you can sign up. You’re going to be getting my tips leading up to that, but the next one will start in the summer time. And it’s pretty magical. I love it. It makes my heart burst the same way it makes my ovaries burst when I see a dog video.

Juli Bauer: {laughing}

Brianna Firestone: {laughs}

Juli Bauer: You’re the best.

Brianna Firestone: {laughs} When I see my students in our private Facebook group just being vulnerable, and talking about some of their issues that day. Seeing everyone else support them. Or just having these quick breakthroughs. We’re heading into week three of our challenge, and already some of the breakthroughs that individuals are having are just unbelievable. And that makes my heart swell.

It’s easy to do 20 jobs, when what you’re doing feels really good.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. It’s just so freaking cool to see you starting this completely new business. And reaching out to more; of course both women and men. But being a voice within the female community and showing that you can be this independent person. Because especially; when we’ve kind of talked about this, we went out to brunch the other day. And how the women’s roles have really changed throughout the years.

And so many times in the past, maybe our parents or our grandparents, they really stuck with a job. A lot of those people stuck with jobs they didn’t like, and were unhappy, and just said that’s how it has to be. And you, and me, and many of our friends now in the female community, are saying, “I don’t have to be unhappy. I can do a job I love. I can be happy for the rest of my life.” And that’s what you’re doing. And that’s so freaking cool to watch.

And more women, if we see more women doing that, we’re going to feel more impacted and more excited to try something on our own. And you’re making that more possible for people by showing them how to budget. That’s so freaking cool.

Brianna Firestone: Oh, thank you. Well you’ve been; you know I fangirl over you. And you’ve been a really huge inspiration. Because I love; just even out of college, you’re like, that’s not for me. I’m not going to go sit in an office. It just was very clear to you. And even in the face of people saying you need health insurance, or you need a 401K, or need a consistent job. You just never really adhere to that rule of thought, and I just love that.

I agree with you that so many people put hurdles in front of themselves before they’ve even tried something. Especially when it comes to money. Money is this crazy emotional thing. And we give it way too much power. And it’s just a theme. And this is what I always say at the beginning of our challenge. You are not allowed to say, “I’m not good at money.” Because money is a thing. You can’t be good at it. It’s like saying, “I’m not good at book.” You know what I mean?

Juli Bauer: {laughs}

Brianna Firestone: It’s not an action. It’s just a value system. It’s a way for you to say, this is valuable to me. So if you were off the grid, and you were self-sufficient, you wouldn’t need money. We give money this emotional power when it’s just a thing. Especially women have more of a tendency to say, I’m not good at money. And it’s like; you can’t be good at it. You’re good at it. You don’t have to be good at math. You can be good at managing your money.

I love to empower women. Because it starts there. And I always say this; this is so much more than just a no-shopping challenge, and creating your budget. This, I think, is the entry point for you to start to realize what is truly possible in your life.

Juli Bauer: And we just haven’t been given the tools to manage our money. The only money management that I was ever given was in 6th grade of how to balance a checkbook. And I don’t even use a f*cking checkbook.

Brianna Firestone: I know! {laughs}

Juli Bauer: It’s like; what did that teach us? And I’m sure they are maybe doing things a little differently now because we’re out of that age of checkbooks and into the age of credit cards. So maybe they’re changing that up. But we’re not taught that. And I don’t know if any colleges offer that sort of thing. But that would be so empowering to know where to even start. And I’ve been able to figure it out kind of on my own, and I still know that I could be better at it. And I think that course is so freaking cool.

When you see the School of Betty, do you see it growing into other facets other than just money management or just budgeting? Do you see it growing into other; I don’t know. Other ways?

Brianna Firestone: Other areas. For sure. I mean, certainly in that whole organization, time management, I’m a master at it. Obviously. I’m doing a lot of things, and I feel that that’s really important. But also I see it moving towards, as well, potentially a health. And I don’t say health in like a diet or anything. Because I’m on your school of thought, as well. I’ve experienced. I’m actually coming out of what happens when you don’t pay attention to your body. Just the hormones wreaking havoc, and just making you feel really awful.

So I kind of see; the 90-day no shopping starts to kind of bleed into that a little bit. We do a closet module, and one of the biggest things in that module is you’ve got to love what’s in your closet right now. So it was really coming from this place of appreciating what you have now. And I recommend that you remove all of the clothes of, “I’m going to fit into that.” Because that never actually motivates most people.

It actually just makes you feel really sh*tty when you look at it and you’re like; I’m not there. And it’s like; no, you’re here now. You’re where you’re supposed to be. You’re at the weight you’re supposed to be. And you can take actions to make your life better and healthier. But you have to approach it from a place that is more positive and more, I think, appreciative and having gratitude.

And you and I talked about it. It’s so hard for women to move away from that school of thinking. Even still, I’m one of the most confident people, I think. And I still have moments where I’m like; ah sh*t. I need to get my brain in check here. And not put myself down or talk poorly about myself.

So yeah, I definitely see it moving more in that space. Because women just have such a hard go. Because we are surrounded by so many things that say what we are supposed to be. I was talking about this at brunch. It’s like; we’re told we’re supposed to be sexy. We can’t be too manly. But then you can’t be too sexy, because then that’s slutty. We get all these mixed messages. And it’s hard to navigate that. It’s easier, I think, if you’re growing up and you already have that positive influence. But you are still kind of moving around the media and things that are placed in front of you. And that is only going to get harder, because we’re just a world of instant gratification.

So yeah. I would love to kind of see it move into a space where I am also helping women get control of their finances. But also start to get control and feel really empowered in their life in general. And it already starts to happen in this 90-day no shopping. I have some who are starting to recognize some of the emotional eating that they have. Because that emotion is driving them to go eat out, or eat something. And it is also impacting their budget. So it all plays together.

Juli Bauer: Absolutely. So, before I let you go, I just want to touch on this topic. Because I think; it’s not something you talk about very often. And it’s kind of something I found out through the owner at our gym. That you went through your own cancer experience. Not the most fun time in your life. But what I thought was so amazing when I found this out about you, is you never really talked about it. And I found it out through the owner of our gym. And what was it; how many years did you celebrate just recently?

Brianna Firestone: I celebrated 13 years in June.

Juli Bauer: 13 years. I knew there was a three in there. And we had a workout dedicated to you. And it’s not something that you talk about, but I’m sure it’s something that has really changed your life and your perspective on life. So can you kind of tell people just a little bit about that story? Because I’m sure somebody listening has maybe gone through this. Or is going through that themselves. Can you tell just a little bit about that story?

Brianna Firestone: Sure.

Juli Bauer: We have just a little bit of time left.

Brianna Firestone: You’re like; Don’t ramble, Bri. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: No, no. You can ramble all you want. But you have four jobs to get to. {laughs}

Brianna Firestone: Yeah, this is true. So I was 23 years old. I was living in New York City. And at the time, I was working at that magazine publisher. No, actually I was working at a PR firm. And I was performing on the side. Because you know, I have to have more than one job.

I was doing a show, and I remember I just felt this lump in my neck. I just assumed; singers can get vocally tired or maybe I was getting a cold. And I went to a first doctor’s appointment. And then some stuff was happening with my family so I kind of put it off. And I didn’t go back until that next, maybe four or five months later. Because that knot; that lump was still in my neck. And my roommate, both of her brothers were doctors. So she just asked them a question. “Should Bri go do something about this.” Like, yeah you should go to a doctor.

So I went, and I got a CT scan, and they’re like, we need to look at this a bit more. You need a biopsy. And it was just this weird experience. I reflect on this every year when we have, we call, our cancer-versary. And I was 24 at the time. I had that biopsy. And it ended up being metastatic thyroid cancer.

So thyroid cancer, the type I have, traditionally is very slow growing. So they were like; you’ve probably had this for years. But I didn’t catch it until it had spread to my lymph nodes. And the prognosis is very good. I wasn’t necessarily ever in danger of losing my life. But it meant that I was no longer going to have a thyroid, and I was going to be dependent on thyroid medicine for the rest of my life.

And it was so funny; I’ll never forget this. They took the biopsy, and they’re like; oh. We feel pretty good about it. It’s a lot of fluid; that’s disgusting, so sorry. {laughs} And I went in, and I was reading a book. I went in on my lunch hour, and I’m reading this book. And the doctor comes in, and he’s like; “It’s papillary carcinoma.” And I hadn’t even put my book down. And I was like, what the eff is that? I don’t even know what that word is.

So I just kind of went into this mode of; I’ve got to figure this out. And that’s kind of just my natural personality. I feel that I can get through anything, and especially through this. I didn’t know how to navigate insurance. I didn’t know how to navigate questions for my doctor, getting a second opinion, asking questions when I would have my scans. I just had to learn all of that.

For me, that changed my life. Because I really feel pretty confident and resolute that I can handle anything that comes my way. And you can always figure it out. And I always tell people that. It always seems bad now, but you’re going to get through it. And you’re going to feel confident and like; I can deal with this.

I would say I’ve had some scares as I’ve gotten older, and not necessarily just thyroid stuff. I have to go every 6 months and have a spot on my breast looked at. Sorry gentlemen; but not sorry.

Juli Bauer: {laughs} Yeah. And there’s no guys who listen to this; let’s be real. {laughs}

Brianna Firestone: Yeah. {laughs} And as I get older, it’s really a practice in feeling calm and that anxiety and worry is not helping. It doesn’t take it away, it doesn’t make it better. It just makes you feel really bad. So recently through some scares I’ve had to really just hone in on that. And I think as you get older; I was kind of an idiot back then. I had no idea what I was dealing with, and I just kind of got through it. And for me, the biggest thing at that time is that I would maybe lose my singing voice. Which is something that has just been a part of me. So I think that was the scariest thing for me, and not the radiation treatment or anything else.

But as I’ve gotten older, it’s been harder. But I would say biggest life lesson for me is that anxiety and stress and worrying about things, it doesn’t get you anywhere. And it doesn’t help a situation. And I can actually get through anything I need to. And when things feel tough; I always say this. What’s uncomfortable now will soon become comfortable. It’s going to be comfortable. You’re going to get a flow with it. Now it’s like; I know what my levels need to be. And I know when I’m ready for a scan. All of these things that used to be really daunting and scary are not anymore.

Juli Bauer: That’s awesome. I’m glad that you were able to touch on that. Because I think that’s huge for some people who are listening and maybe are going through something; not even cancer, but something different in their lives. Just having that visualization is a little bit easier.

You’re the best, Bri! Thanks for coming on and just talking about the School of Betty.

Brianna Firestone: This was fun!

Juli Bauer: Where can people go; can they just go to theSchoolofBetty.com to sign up for your newsletter; is that the best route at this point?

Brianna Firestone: Yep. You can go to theSchoolofBetty.com. You’ll see at the very top you can sign up for my weekly newsletter. Or you can also go ahead and sign up for those five actions download, and that will put you on the newsletter list, as well. But that will give you a free download of things you can start doing today to really change that game with your money.

Juli Bauer: And people can find that blog post that you shared on my blog. I believe it was; what, January 3rd.

Brianna Firestone: January 3rd, yep.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. If you look up the School of Betty, you’ll find it there. So go to www.PaleOMG.com you can read that and get the download there, as well. And where can people find you on social media? It’s probably pretty obvious. But.

Brianna Firestone: {laughs} Yeah. Instagram is the School of Betty. Facebook is at BettySchool. Because someone already had the School of Betty.

Juli Bauer: That b*tch.

Brianna Firestone: {laughs}

Juli Bauer: Did you reach out to them and be like; hey.

Brianna Firestone: I tried, but I was like; this is not that big of a deal.

Juli Bauer: Dammit. Dammit. Somebody had PaleOMG as their Twitter handle. And people kept tagging them; it was right when I first started. People kept tagging them in food posts. So the guy emailed me. He was like; I just have pale skin.

Brianna Firestone: {laughing}

Juli Bauer: So I just keep getting tagged in all these food things. So I’ll give you my Twitter account. So he handed over his handle.

Brianna Firestone: That is amazing.

Juli Bauer: Isn’t that hilarious?

Brianna Firestone: I just have pale skin.

Juli Bauer: I just have pale skin. {laughs}

Brianna Firestone: You’re ruining my feed. Take it.

Juli Bauer: So maybe we can start tagging the School of Betty, and the person is going to be like, What the f*ck?! And then hand it over.

Brianna Firestone: {laughing} Yeah.

Juli Bauer: Damn that person. Well thank you so much for being on today, Bri. Guys, anybody who is listening. All the females, not guys. Go check out Bri. She is amazing. You’re going to love the content she has. And all your photos on your blog; on the actual School of Betty blog part of your website. I just love to look at. It’s very visually pleasing. And she writes so well. And it’s so easy to read her stuff, because it’s just like listening to her voice. So go check her out.

Thank you so much for being on, Bri.

Brianna Firestone: Thanks for having me.

Juli Bauer: You’re the best. Stay on the line. I’m going to stop this recording right now.

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


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