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tonya rapley

by Robin mcgraw

OMG Secret Squad, this episode is right on the money!!

Are you drowning in debt or living paycheck to paycheck? Do you and your spouse have a plan for what you’d do if one of you lost your job? Total credit card balances in the United States are over $893 billion, and 61% of American consumers have at least one credit card, the average person has four! If you’re experiencing money woes…wondering how can you cope, and what solutions are in sight, you’re not alone! Get ready to listen in, because my FABulous guest on this week’s episode of I’ve Got a Secret just put her money where her mouth is!

Entrepreneur, wife and domestic violence survivor, Tonya Rapley co-founded My Fab Finance, a FANTASTIC financial education and lifestyle blog, in 2013 at a time when she says her own financial life was out of order. She tells me she realized, “It was time to stop acting like I had it all together and start getting it together.”

Typically, financial advice is dry and impersonal, not to mention CONFUSING! But let me tell you, Tonya’s approach is phenomenal and fresh! She’s fun, SO relatable and breaks the world of finances down in ways anyone can understand! She says simply, “Everyone’s got a money story!” Together we took a look at what Tonya believes are the three smartest money moves you can make right now, and what you can do to change your financial future!

  • CREATE A BUDGET – Tonya suggests basing your budget on your current expenses, NOT what you hope to afford or do in the future. Print out all financial statements to see exactly where you’re spending. Examine where costs can be cut and prioritize your expenses. Budget apps like Clarity and Mint can help keep you organized and informed, tracking exactly what’s coming in and going out each month. Can’t stick to a budget? Tonya suggests having a goal in mind when making your budget, and base your spending decisions around that goal. Find an accountability partner to keep you on track, and understand your spending triggers in order to minimize them.


  • TACKLE EXISTING DEBT – Tonya tells us the first step toward diminishing debt is to choose your debt elimination method!

    • The Snowball Method: Start with your smallest debt and work your way to your largest.

    • The Highest Interest/Fees Method: Start with the highest interest debts first and work your way down to the lowest.

    • The “Annoying Debt” Method: Tackle the debt that simply annoys you the most. Maybe you have a co-signer and you’re worried about it affecting them financially? Or perhaps you borrowed money from a friend/relative. Eliminating this type of debt first might also help restore strained relationships and reduce emotional stress.


  • RETIREMENT SAVINGS – Tonya says you should ideally start saving for your retirement as soon as you start working. The later you start your retirement savings, the more money you should try to put away. She tells us, any amount you can put away is good!! Having both a 401(k) and an IRA is ideal, but do what you can and don’t pressure yourself!


Tonya’s goal at My Fab Finance is to “help you own your power and break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck so that you can live free and do more of what you love.” And who doesn’t want more of what they love?!?! As we chatted, Tonya emphasized that financial conversations can be understandably uncomfortable to have, but they are so necessary!


She also suggests that parents start money talks at home with children early, so they don’t feel uncomfortable asking for help and advice when they’re older! And remember, emotional problems can't be solved with money! While financial independence is important, it must be balanced with accountability. Tonya says taking a hard look at what's really behind your spending habits can help you see big changes in your bank account and your bottom line!


To learn more from Tonya, visit My Fab Finance at


Tonya’s Top Dollar Tip: “Always check your receipts and statements! You never know if you were accidentally charged the incorrect amount or for the wrong item!”

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