March 31, 2020


Crystal Washington: Hello, I’m Crystal Washington technology strategist and futurist.

Karen McCullough: I’m Karen McCullough, Change Agent, and Generational Guru and we’re here to help you ReThink.

Specifically, we want you to rethink some of the things that may have worked for you in the past but may not work for you in the future. And honestly, they may not even be working for you right now.

Karen McCullough: Right. Cause Crystal, let’s admit it, we are going through challenging times right now, aren’t we? Yeah, right. Pretty much. And we’ve felt what can we do to help you and even to help us get through these times. So we’ve created videos series and we’re going to present one maybe every day. We’re going to try it, right?

Crystal Washington: We’re going to give it a shot. And hopefully we’ll be able to share some of our insights that’ll be helpful to you that are watching this right now.

Karen McCullough: And the first insight that we thought of was money. You know, a lot of us right now are stressing out about money. If we’re not, we probably should be a little. So this series, this one is on helping you, uh, cut expenses. Chris, we went to maybe tell your story.

Crystal Washington: Okay. So, so my story is an interesting one because here we are, you know, we’re facing a recession again, you know, all these things that have been kind of spawned by COVID-19 but in 2007 here I was the millennial that I was and I quit my job in corporate America, great paying job over a department of people because I had a dream and I was a millennial, right? And so that’s what we do. We dream and we decide we’re going to start businesses. And so I quit my job to start my first business in October of 2007 and the recession hit in December of 2007 and so I know a little bit about growing a business because it did grow year over year. I was very successful business. I know a little bit about what it means to have to really tighten in and be very strategic about what you’re doing. Not only in terms of your personal finances because you have to make sure you’re reinvesting in a business potentially, but also making sure that you’re keeping your business expenses down while you’re relying on networking and really leveraging those relationships to get the finances in order.

Karen McCullough: That’s good. That’s good. I’m glad I’m with you, Crystal.

Crystal Washington: Now your story is a much more interesting story than mine. Yes. I grew a business during the recession, but why don’t you share why you’re an expert on this?

Karen McCullough: This story used to make me cry and now I’m, I’m beyond that crying cause I call myself the master of disaster, and here’s why. At a very young age, we moved to Houston. I went to Ohio State, got to put that in there, go bucks a move to Houston right out of college, and decided to open a clothing store. I was very young and it was great times. It was pre-internet back then and it was really successful a long time. And then it wasn’t, and I’m not going to go into the reasons why, but the reality of it is, is that we closed, and not only did we close, but we had to file bankruptcy. And that was a pretty big blow to my ego and to my pocketbook. In 2000 I decided to become a speaker. And in the beginning, I was really, really excited.

I’m from Houston and my first client was Ann. Ron, yet that, yeah. Uh, when 911 hit, not only did I get the nine 11 whammy, but I got the Enron whammy because I was working with Enron and at the time, Arthur Anderson. Yeah, really hard. So I was in my first or second year of speaking and all of a sudden I had to start over again. So I started this whole idea of reinvention and it was working. I started speaking on change. I started sharing a little bit of my challenges, just a little nut. I never told anyone about the bankruptcy until now. Now the world knows. But anyway, I started working on my speaking career in it and it took off. And then the great recession hit in 2008 between 2008 and 2010 I had to struggle. And actually that’s where I met crystal. And we actually then created another company which worked really well. So why am I here and why am I talking? I’m here telling you that I’ve been through it, I’ve been through it several times and I’m still standing. And so I believe that I have concepts and insights to share that may help you, especially for those of you that this might be, this might be your first hiccup. So I’m here to help and that’s our stories.

Crystal Washington: Yeah, and we’re, we’re here to share, as you said, Karen, I mean your story is an amazing story. I’m sure you know, as the videos go on the learn more and more about the pieces of this story, but I can’t think of anybody better for Tevye.

Karen McCullough: You know, since this has happened, I did reflect and I have been looking at the pieces and how did I get through that one and what did I do? So throughout these videos, we’ll be sharing each of us some of the successes and how we got through and maybe ideas on now how to push forward and maybe make changes because I believe that we’re all going to have to change some of the things that we’re very comfortable doing. And the first one is to cut your credit cards. No, Crystal’s going to talk about it yet.

Crystal Washington: The first thing I want to talk about is cutting expenses. And as soon as we talk about cutting expenses, Karen, I know that some people are listening to us right now and their body tightened up, right? Like pay, pay attention to your body. The first thing I have to tell you is that you are not your things. So we have to start off with that cause I think a lot of us have built identities around having certain services or subscriptions or cars or whatever else. But the fact of the matter is is that to get through these down periods, sometimes we have to downsize, we have to tighten up, we have to be really smart. We survive through these and then we thrive later on. Whereas the other thing we could do is hold on to all these things and just go down flaming and not be able to get up for many, many, many more years. So what are the things that I suggest that you do is start by looking at your bank statements and your write statements and you want to see where your monthly subscriptions lie and ask yourself, do you need all of these things? Do you need eight streaming services? Do you need cable? Do you need a gym membership right now or can you freeze it? I don’t know about you. I can’t go to the gym right now anyway. And even before the order was put in place, Karen, I don’t know about you, but I was like a gym person. I was kind of had like this crazy realization, Karen, that my gym was like a Petri dish of note. I was like, Oh gosh. Like before it was announced, I started thinking about it and I was like, Oh, danger, the danger will Robinson, right? Some are shut down anyways, the exercise studios, so freeze these accounts if they allow you to freeze them if you need to cancel them, cancel them. If you have a massage, monthly massage memberships, you can’t go right now anyways, go ahead and cancel those. So start looking at all the monthly subscriptions, cancel those. And not only that but if you also happen to have a small business or business-related memberships, look at the things that maybe you’ve been meaning to use. You know those things have been drawn from your account.

Karen McCullough: That’s nice to have.

Crystal Washington: Yeah. Or the things that care. And you know, sometimes we trick ourselves and we think, Oh, we’re going to do this because everyone else is doing it and it’s been eight months and we still haven’t really used it.

Karen McCullough: Right.

Crystal Washington: Cut it, cut it, cut it. So, so my biggest tip is to cut as many subscriptions as humanly possible. What do you have Karen?

Karen McCullough: Oh, I’ve got a lot. The first thing for me, I have to pull the plug on Amazon. Uh, I, I can buy on Amazon. Well, I do buy every day practically. There’s always something that I think, Oh, I need that and I get it. I think we have to start really looking at our habits and we have to have no spending days. We have to really enforce this where we just say maybe for some of us who are still getting an income, I want you to even think about this because it’s, I don’t want to be the doom and gloom here, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to always be this way. So you might have to struggle a little too. So why not have a no spending day where no one buys anything that day, even groceries. We just don’t spend a dime that day.

Crystal Washington: The other thing that I want you to think about is when you’re going to make a big purchase, take 24 hours. Don’t, don’t do anything with the thought. Oh, I’m going to put new ceiling fans in my house. I’m going to, I have time. I’m going to redo all of this. Think about it for 24 hours. And you’ll probably rethink that one. Right? And the last thing I want to tell you is something that I learned in the business. One of the scariest things about owning your own business, and I’m sure a lot of you out there are in this same situation, uh, was payroll. Yeah. The other was sales tax. So before I had payroll the night before payroll or even the week before payroll, and I knew it was coming, I had a lot of anxiety. I had a lot of worry, especially when sales were down and we were really having a hard time making payroll.

Karen McCullough: Here’s a lesson that I learned and I learned it the hard way. I learned it when I went through bankruptcy. I learned that if I had picked up the phone and called the vendors and told them the struggles that I was going through and put my pride aside if I picked up that phone. So many of the people that once we filed called me and said, if you had told me, I would have helped you ahead of time. I had time. This is after I, yeah, this is after I filed. I had made so many friends in the business and they were so sad that I wasn’t there and they called me and they said we would have helped you and I’m thinking about you today. You might have a bill that you want to pay or you may be worried about your rent. A lot of you don’t use the phone, you only use it to text. So what I want you to do is start to learn to pick up the phone, swallow your pride, put your ego aside and start calling people and asking them if you could have more time or if they can make, if you can make a different payment. The biggest lesson that I have learned throughout my life now is call connect. Explain and people, people care. People have a lot of empathy and they’re going to many times they’re going to help you.

Crystal Washington: You know, Karen, you said something interesting about, you know, limiting your spending. And I would say that for things that we absolutely do have to buy it cause occasionally there are things that have to be purchased. If you’re purchasing something online, I would just add in there, make sure that if there’s a place before you actually click to buy for promotional code or coupon code search online to see if there’s a promotional code or coupon code. I regularly say anywhere from 10 to 30% on many of my purchases simply by doing a quick Google search to see if I can find codes that go in there. So if it is something you absolutely must buy, make sure that you’re getting the very best possible deal on it.

Karen McCullough: That’s good. That’s really good, crystal, thanks. So I don’t know if you guys have any more ideas on how to save money, but you know what, why not be connecting with us and why not put those answers down below? So we love to read your responses and we love to stay connected because we’re going to come back tomorrow. We’re going to come back with another idea and we’ll keep it a secret till tomorrow so you come back and stay tuned.

Crystal Washington: All right. Thanks so much, Karen. We’ll see everybody tomorrow.