I’ve always been a bit of an entrepreneur and began doing odd jobs and side-hustles at a young age. When I was eleven, my little sister and I went door-to-door selling wood blocks with nails in them. We had played with a similar “toy” at school. You could make geometric shapes and other designs with rubber bands around the nails. We found old boards of various sizes and shapes around the neighborhood. The “nails” would be whatever we could hammer into the boards. There were nails and screws of every size and material. My next venture was delivering papers. I began with one route on the weekends and quickly expanded to doing multiple routes, delivering papers 7 days a week. When I turned 15, I started working for hourly pay. I was always working and making great money for my age and education. But, when it came time to buy a car, pay for college or do emergency service on a car I still ended up having to take out loans or using a credit card.
I went to college and majored in finance with a minor in economics. That’s when I learned about the power of compound interest, what investing was, and how to save and not just spend. Before applying the lessons learned about basic business budgeting to my daily life, my pockets were basically a colander. I always had money to spend but managed to not save any of it. My money went to my checking account and then was gone.
I started with the basics of automating my savings by opting into my employers 401k retirement plan and saving a portion of pay checks for rainy days and big purchases with direct deposit. I had started to save but it wasn’t until I started to apply principles I used at work for process improvement that I began to really hit my stride. I started to hunt for ideas to be thrifty and ways to maximize every dollar I earned. I tallied my “savings” using an excel workbook, then moved that money to my savings and investment accounts. My wife started to cut my hair, I brought my lunch to work each day, I drank the coffee at the office, I rode my bike to work, I made my own granola, I made my own Greek yogurt, we turned down the heat, we avoided the air conditioning, credit card bonuses went to savings and I learned to change my own oil. This change in behavior of identifying the excesses in my life is when I feel we dumped gasoline on our savings and wealth building goals. Soon after making these changes and more, we paid off my wife’s student loans, we paid off my student loans, we paid off both cars and made serious strides toward building a down payment for the house of our dreams.
These smart moves are the foundation of the SmartMov APP. I had to hunt through numerous blogs and websites for ideas. I spent hours manually recording them in excel and then had to set up the transfers through my bank. I was spending hours just ensuring that I was properly tracking where all the money was going. Once I started to save and invest, I wanted to talk more about it with my friends, family and the random person on the street. The topic always seemed taboo to talk about in person. But, under an online alias, people were very open about their financial journeys. It pained me to see people who were making the same mistakes I had made for so long and that I wasn’t able to help them. So, we developed an APP to take out those roadblocks I so often ran into. SmartMov makes it safe, easy and fun to find, share, encourage, automate and track your own SmartMovs.