It was only a few years ago when Spokane Valley resident Kumiko Love overcame thousands of dollars in debt from student loans and credit card bills.
As a divorced-single mom making $24,000 a year, Love’s defining moment to change her financial habits occurred after she paid for her son’s $1.09 ice cream cone with a credit card at a McDonald’s drive-thru.
In 2016, she founded The Budget Mom blog to document her financial journey and eliminated more than $77,000 in debt by creating a “budget-by-paycheck” method.
The Budget Mom grew into a large community with millions of social media followers and a business that provides others with resources to tackle debt, track expenses and create budgets.
Love, an accredited financial counselor who went from residing and operating The Budget Mom from her Spokane Valley apartment to living debt-free in her dream home that she paid for in cash, is now looking to further expand her reach of helping others achieve financial freedom.
Love is releasing personal finance how-to book “My Money My Way: Taking Back Control of Your Financial Life” Feb. 1 via New York-based Penguin Random House, one of the world’s largest book publishers.
Love is scheduled to appear on Good Morning America on Wednesday to discuss the book. she previously shared budgeting advice on Good Morning America in 2019, in addition to appearing on the Today show, CNN and Inside Edition.
“All this content I’ve put out into the world that’s sporadically on YouTube, Instagram, all these different places – it really is all in this book,” Love said. “I even go into things that I don’t talk about very often such as retirement, investing, debt payoff, saving and my budget-by-paycheck method.”
“This is not just a budgeting book, this is an overall financial plan foundation that you are able to build yourself after reading this book,” she added.
The book provides readers with a step-by-step plan to take control over their finances regardless of debt or income level.
Through stories of navigating divorce, recessions, evictions, layoffs and more, readers will learn how to use emotions to their financial advantage, create a budget based on real-life scenarios and launch a motivating debt payoff plan.
Love said her decision to write the book was prompted by The Budget Mom community.
She began writing the book during the pandemic, shortly after opening The Budget Mom headquarters at 414 N. Julia St. in Spokane.
It look about eight months to write the book, a process that Love describes as “one of the most challenging but rewarding things she’s ever done.”
“With The Budget Mom, I’ve always had this financial philosophy, but no one’s ever really truly asked me to define it in a way where we could walk people through these steps of what I have found in my life,” she said.
“The process for me was very challenging, but I think in a way that allowed me to grow as far as discovering what it is I’m truly wanting to say here and it was definitely hard,” she continued. “But I’m now at a place where I’m so glad I went through that process.”
In the book, Love describes the budget-by-paycheck system, which includes identifying expenses and listing them along with due dates and paydays on a calendar, categorizing spending based on each paycheck and dividing a set amount of cash among several envelopes labeled for groceries. , gas, entertainment and other expenses.
The end of each chapter provides clear, concise action steps for readers. The book also incorporates graphics and visuals to demonstrate financial concepts, Love said.
The book is intended to help readers discover three aspects to financial fulfillment: clarity, stability and confidence.
“I think that once you really find these three things in your life, your financial plan writes itself. That’s the plan that’s going to succeed,” she said. “It took me a year to really define what I have found in my life, the financial fulfillment.”
Love hopes every reader can find the same fulfillment for themselves.
“It’s outside of just our end financial goals,” she said. “This is a deeper state of being, an understanding of someone’s true self. And that’s really what this book is about.”
Penguin Random House chose to publish Love’s book based on her relatable approach to helping people understand underlying emotional components of their financial struggles to get out of debt.
When Helen Healey, editor at Portfolio and Penguin Random House, saw The Budget Mom’s tight-knit community on a private Facebook group, she knew she had to meet Love.
“Her message is one I hadn’t heard before. Until I saw that I was the solution to my money woes – not the cause – I would never repair my relationship with it,” Healey said in an email. “After years of hearing that financial struggles are the result of weak will and irresponsibility, Miko’s was the advice I didn’t know I needed to hear.”
“Working with Miko these past two years, I’ve met women who have followed her advice and have drastically transformed their financial lives, going from a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle to financial fulfillment,” she added. “In the process, I became a Budget Mom convert, reaching my own goals that were once out of reach.”
Coeur d’Alene resident Kaylyn Ontiveros discovered The Budget Mom while having dinner with her sister-in-law, who was using the cash envelope method developed by Love.
“I had never donated a budget. My husband and I have three small children and we lived paycheck to paycheck,” Ontiveros said.
She asked her sister-in-law about the envelopes, and the family member sent Ontiveros to Love’s Instagram page.
“At the time, she was still living in her apartment and she was so relatable,” Ontiveros said of Love. “In my free time, I would watch all of her old Instagram videos of her to see what the method was about and if it would be a good fit for us.”
In 2017, Ontiveros began tracking her family’s expenses using The Budget Mom’s free resources.
“It was honestly a really harsh realization to move to a cash budget,” Ontiveros said. “When we started, we had $51,780 in credit card debt. We paid that off in three years using Miko’s method.”
Ontiveros pre-ordered “My Money My Way” and is looking forward to sharing the book with others.
“Even if you are on a really restricted income, this method can work if you are willing to put in the work,” she said. “With three small kids, we were able to set our own financial goals even after we paid off credit card debt. We are still using the method and it carries over into every stage of your financial journey.”
“My Money My Way” is available for pre-order at Auntie’s Bookstore and The Budget Mom website.
This article was updated Jan. 30 to reflect a scheduling change in Love’s Good Morning America appearance.