Rachel Jones’s love of money started at a young age. As a child, her favorite toy was a cash register. When she was 10 her parents started discussing college planning for her older sister. Seeing her parents financially prepare for her older sister’s college expenses motivated Jones to save for her own education. She later paid her own way through college, where she studied entrepreneurship.
“I was determined to find a way to get scholarships so they wouldn’t have to stress or worry about having enough money to send me to college,” she says.
Entrepreneurship degree in hand, Jones pursued side hustles for years, focused on selling digital products.
“I loved the idea that you could make something once and then sell it forever, so I went all in on creating a thriving digital product Etsy store," Jones says.
In December 2020, she and her husband became millionaires. In June, Jones’ side hustles, including her blog MoneyHackingMama, started earning more income than her day job, so she quit.
This week we spoke with Jones about her financial accomplishments and failures and her top financial planning tips for parents.
Why is it important for parents to financially prepare for children before having them?
Children are expensive and time consuming. The price of daycare can be shocking if you don’t know about it in advance. Also, if you don’t have health insurance, just delivering your baby can be expensive. I think children are a blessing but I’m all for people going into this major life decision with their eyes wide open.
What’s the biggest financial mistake you see other parents face? How can people work through it?
I see a lot of people stress about emergencies and unexpected expenses that come up related to their children. For example, a chipped tooth, an emergency room visit, or even things like new shoes can put pressure on a family’s budget. Many times, this happens because the family is living paycheck to paycheck and doesn’t have an emergency fund. The best way to work through this is to create breathing room in a budget by setting money aside each month until you have at least 3 to 6 months’ worth of your monthly expenses saved.
Is there a financial area parents forget to plan for?
On a yearly basis I think it’s easy for parents to forget to budget for holidays like Christmas, as well as birthdays. When it comes to birthdays, it’s important to think about all the expenses (the party, the food), not just the cost of the presents.
I also think a lot of people don’t save for their children’s college education. The cost can be so much more manageable if a small amount of money is set aside and invested every month as opposed to paying everything out of pocket when they’re 18 or taking out student loans.
What’s your biggest family budgeting hack?
Money has a magic way of disappearing when you don’t have a specific plan for it. My biggest budgeting hack is to figure out a big goal for your family and your finances first, and then budget accordingly. For example, my husband and I prioritized early retirement and travel, and built our budget around those goals. This meant that we set aside a large amount of our income for retirement first and invested that money, then we used what was left over to budget for travel, and then spent the rest on things like food, clothes, entertainment, and housing.
Why is it OK not to achieve all of your financial goals at once?
Sometimes we think we want something, but when we think through the reality of the situation, we may change our minds and that is OK. For me, growing my business, looking for a new home, and moving would take a lot of physical and mental energy that could stifle my business growth. I decided to keep things simple and focus on my top goal. Ultimately, I believe that growing my business will help me find and purchase my dream home in the future.
For example, one of my goals for this year was to buy a larger home. While the year isn’t over, I’ve shifted this goal and I’m not in a hurry anymore.
How can creating a list of financial goals help you achieve them?
Goals help point your thoughts, plans, and actions in the direction you want to go, which increases the probability of them happening exponentially. Without a goal you can end up anywhere.
What’s your current financial goal & how are you working towards it?
I want to have a net worth of $3.5 million by the time I’m 40. I’d also love to buy a larger house in the next one to three years.
What’s something you’re financially proud of?
I created a six-figure business while working full-time and having two children under 3 years old. More importantly, my business was able to help thousands of women save time and money. I’m proud that I can help improve other people’s lives.
Image: Gabriella Trujillo