Thanks to Capital One for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
Capital One recently opened another one of their innovative Cafés in Georgetown, right around the corner from my office. Since getting out of the house is so important for my productivity and when my office is booked up (it’s a shared space), the Café is my new go-to spot. I love to pop-in and warm up with a cup of coffee and chocolate croissant, charge my phone, and get some work done. FYI – All Capital One cardholders get a discount on their Peet’s Coffee treats! The hibiscus kombucha is my fave.
It’s the perfect place to work or chill, but the Capital One Cafés are also equipped with some amazing, free digital tools and programs to help you manage your finances. Plus, they’re open to the public – not just Capital One cardholders. One that caught my eye recently was free Money Coaching.
A little personal backstory: when I took the leap to run my own business full-time, finances were the number one thing I struggled with. I started my blog 8 years ago with more of a creative intention versus business. So, being able to now support myself financially with my own business is the best feeling. But I know I still have so much to learn, and, with a crazy busy schedule, I was ready to outsource some additional help in this arena. I booked a session, not knowing what to expect at ALL.
What is Money Coaching?
Money Coaching is a service designed to help you get clear on your goals and how to get there faster. The first thing you’ll want to know is that a Money Coach is different than a financial planner. They’re not going to tell you things like where to invest your money, or how much you should be spending on groceries every month. And, if you watched my stories on this, you know now, a Money Coach is more of a life coach with an emphasis on your relationship with money.
Money Coaching happens in-person, at the Capital One Cafés. To give you an idea of what to expect, first you’ll work with your coach to get an understanding about what your goals are. Then, you will go into an exercise, or tool, to help accelerate the conversation. I’ve completed two different tools so far and in both we looked at my goals and what roadblocks might be holding me back from achieving them. Then, at the end of each session, you come up with an action plan together with dates on the calendar to hold yourself accountable and keep you on track. These worksheets are also emailed to you after the session which is super helpful to be able to refer back to!
Meet My Money Coach!
Sarah is amazing at what she does and truly has a passion for helping people. It might sound scary to open up to a complete stranger, especially about something so private such as money, but there is truly something so valuable in talking to someone unbiased, who knows nothing about you, versus trying to talk this stuff out with a friend or family member. And, not to worry, Sarah immediately ensured me that everything in these sessions would be kept confidential. Plus, there’s no catch – Sarah is not allowed to even talk to me about Capital One products during our session.
Why Money Coaching?
Planning, or thinking about, my future, usually gives me anxiety. I like to live in the moment. I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person. And I never had to put as much effort into managing my money, or even thinking about finances, until I became self-employed. That, combined with being in my thirties now, getting engaged, and the thought of starting a family soon, was all becoming super overwhelming to me. And, when I get overwhelmed, I check out. So, because I’ve been feeling checked out lately, I was ready to outsource some help. I figured, at a minimum, maybe a Money Coach could at least help me start to face the fears I’ve been having lately head-on.
You get three free sessions at the Capital One Café and I’ve completed two so far. Each session was entirely different, with different exercises.
In the first exercise, I allocated all my expenses into different categories, helping me take a deep look at how and why I spend, which led me to figure out what I REALLY want to focus my spending on.
This really helped me to see, on paper, exactly what things were most important to me in my life – what is worth the money to me.
Under “Need” I thought I would see things like “shoes, bags, and makeup” because I’m most frequently thinking about how I need to spend money on those things. Instead, I was confronted with things like insurance, our mortgage, my phone, the internet, car expenses at the top of my list – all of the things that I don’t think about enough. Like I said, I’ve been way too comfortable.
Another big takeaway for me: a new house has been top-of-mind lately for sure. But “Baby” and “Kids Stuff” ending up at the top of my “Really Want” category was a total shock. Not travel, not home updates… BABY AND KIDS STUFF??!! Who am I?
And then, in the end, we put an exact dollar value to each item, and determined some areas where I could cut spending to save for other areas. One item on my action item list was to talk to Wes about cutting the cable in an effort to save some money. That night I went home and told him to investigate and we found out we were paying $30 for DVR a MONTH! What a no-brainer for us – he immediately called and had that canceled.
In my second session, we did something entirely different! This session felt like a guided meditation, which was really cool.
I started out by writing out some of the thoughts that come to my mind whenever I’m having self-doubt, feeling frustrated, or afraid. Often when we think of money, it’s like; why would we be talking about our fears? But those fears, whether we want to admit it or not, translate into our actions and whether we’re working towards our goals or not. So, being able to connect with yourself on a deeper level like that can really help you get closer to whatever it is you want to achieve.
After I made that list, I felt so silly and even grossed out by the things I wrote down. I know I don’t think those things of myself. But it’s that uncontrollable and unconscious voice that sometimes creeps up in the back of our minds.
Then we began what felt like meditation where Sarah helped me meet my inner guide, or inner navigator. She was me. But she was a strong, confident, powerful and wise version of me. She told me things about myself that basically cancelled out anything I had written down before. One thing that really stood out to me was how I told myself, “You’re young, you have time.” I think I’m always feeling so rushed to have it all figured out when, at 32 years old, it’s TOTALLY okay not to. It reminded me to enjoy this part of my journey, that I have plenty of time to achieve my goals and, most importantly, I WILL achieve them.
I never thought a 1-hour session like this would have such an impact on me, but it truly did. It’s something you must experience for yourself but I’m so excited to continue sessions with my Money Coach. Wes is even going to go too. My plan is to have us do the same exercises separately and then share and compare our results afterwards. I think it will be a great relationship building exercise for us and help make sure we are on the same page about our future too!
I left both sessions feeling empowered and more confident with myself and my relationship with money. Because, after all, life and money are so connected, and we all deserve to feel great about both!
If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for reading this post! It was a super personal post and different from the typical content I share around here, but worth sharing. Everyone’s experience in these sessions is going to be different, this was just my take. To learn more about Capital One Cafés and how you can sign up for a free Money Coaching session of your own, visit https://www.capitalone.com/local/.