The more that I can make personal finances into a routine and something that I don't have to think about, it becomes easier, and it becomes something that is tangible to me. We started theSkimm on our couch. There were no investors. There were no backers. What we brought was a hunger to take something from the couch and make it into something through sheer will. So we bootstrapped it, meaning it was ours.
But the most stressful aspect of starting theSkimm was the financial one. We literally put together each two months' worth of savings, which was not a lot. We each agreed to take on the risk of taking on credit card debt. I was a freelancer, and that means I was never on health insurance. And then if I took a vacation, there was no pay. It made it really nearly impossible to save. I don't think I ever really learned at that time smart money habits.
My most expensive mistake was taking out a credit card to pay for spring break my senior year in college. That was bad. I learned not to take out credit cards for a stupid reason.
Managing my personal finances is a work in progress. There are certain things I'm really good at in life, and this is not one of them. If someone actually helped me put together a budget, I think they felt bad for me. When I start the month, I'll look at the previous month, and I'll be like, oh, I took a lot of cabs. Maybe I should not take a taxi so much. It's made me realize that I spend things in the wrong categories. [LAUGHS] I'm being smarter.
A financial milestone that I tackled in my personal life was recently being able to pay off my credit cards. It, to me, was a great day because I felt like I had saved towards paying off that bill, which I'm not good at. I might save and then spend it on something that puts me right back in the same position.
The best piece of financial advice I've ever received was from my mom, who told me to always take care of myself and always have an account in my own name no matter what happens down the line. And just to feel self-protected is just sort of a sense of empowerment that I'm really grateful my mom instilled in me at a really young age.
I find myself sometimes with my friends being the only person that actually says dollar amounts and doesn't talk in circles. And some people are like, "I just don't talk about it." But I think for me, I've seen it be helpful with other friends, and it's certainly been helpful to the two of us.