Chances are whether you know it or not that you've seen Ashley Stetts on the cover of some of your favorite magazines, including Women's Health, and Pilates Style. However, if you've visited her blog The Frugal Model you know that there is another financially savvy side to her – providing her readers with tips on how to save money and meet their financial goals, while also having fun, and being fashionable.
Your blog posts cover a lot of territory, ranging from money saving beauty tips to information on IRA's and improving your credit rating. What inspired you to start blogging and sharing your “slightly obsessive frugality” in so many areas with the world?
I feel like being frugal is an incredibly important quality that unfortunately not many people have. Living in NYC, you see so many people in their 20's making great money but yet struggling to pay their expenses because they just don't know the basics of saving their money. For something that is such an important aspect of life, young people definitely do not pay enough attention to how to properly handle their finances - so I thought that I would create a platform that made it fashionable and fun to save money so you can still afford the good things in life.
On the website you say that you built “The Frugal Model as a way of life” – and it does seem to be a way of life for you. Where do your deal finding and money saving skills come from?
I was raised by a father who was incredibly frugal and made sure I learned the value of money. I held a job since I was 15 and was always very aware of my spending so that I could save up for things that I really wanted. It was a proud moment to be able to pay my own college tuition and never feel like I really had to do without. That feeling kept me focused to never have to struggle - plus, having financial freedom keeps you stress free and looking good!
You're a full time model, which means you're really busy – how do you find the time to keep blogging, and keep your posts so informative and engaging?
I feel like I never put enough time into blogging as I would like. It really is my passion, but it doesn't pay the bills. Since they aren't very frequent, I make sure each post is jam packed with info and hopefully a few lines that will make you laugh.
What are your top five tips for readers who want to take charge of their money?
- Sign up for a money tracker like Mint.com and connect it to your accounts. This is such a useful tool to track your spending and see where your money is going. It can also create budgets for you which is amazing.
- Figure out which debt to pay first. I see so many young people paying off student loans before their credit card bills, and even though I understand the desire to get rid of a large debt, that 15% interest is hurting you more.
- Never pay full price! I always do price comparisons online when I'm shopping for pretty much everything. I also love Yipit.com - a site that shows you all of the social coupon sites in one platform.
- Know your credit score. It does NOT hurt your credit to check out your score - so do it now and make sure there are no mistakes on your card. Then read my super informative post on How to Improve Your Credit Score Now.
- Live by these rules: Spend less and/or earn more. These are the basics of saving. It's that easy. Learn to stop shopping for things you don't need and pick up a side job or extra hours if you're trying to get out of debt.
What's the hottest topic on your site right now?
My post on How to Save Money on Your Workout is pretty popular. I think that posts on lifestyle and beauty tend to get a lot of attention since I have some credibility being a model in NYC (at least that's what I like to think - maybe people just don't like overpaying for the gym).
Do social coupons have a place in the Frugal Model lifestyle?
Absolutely. I feel like I talk about social coupons in almost every single post. I've used them for everything from massages to the dentist - they have saved me so much money.
As a passionate deal-finder – what's the best deal you have found?
That would definitely be my deal of 6 laser hair removal treatments for $199. I had so many friends who paid over $1k for the same thing, very upset. They were hairless, but not happy.
What cards are in your wallet, and which ones do you like to use and why?
I recently signed up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and I love it. I did a ton of research and found that not only did they give an amazing point's bonus, but they give double points for travel and restaurants. Since I don't cook and I take cabs a lot in the city - this was the perfect card for me.