Episode 1: Know Budgeting

Written by

You can’t expect to meet your financial goals without knowing about budgeting. Professor Cope breaks down cash flow, fixed expenses, and other key budgeting topics while sharing some hilarious stories about celebrities who couldn’t keep their spending in check.

Imagine — You could pay $20M In cash for that giant home today but…a few months later – couldn’t afford to maintain it. Welcome to KNOW MONEY! I’m Brandon Copeland – AKA Professor Cope. Class is NOW in session. 

Would you believe me if I told you – you could afford to buy a dope mansion — with 109 bedrooms but at the same time, you couldn’t afford to cut the grass.

Let me tell you a little story about Evander Holyfield, a legend on a whole lotta levels. His nickname was “The Real Deal”. He was a four-time heavyweight champ. AND –  dude was absolutely rolling in cash. Holyfield bought a beautiful estate, fit for a king. But I ain’t even gonna lie to you, Even for a king – this place was a little much.I’m talking about a 54,000 square foot mansion. Sitting on 235 acres. and this place had it all: a bowling alley, a movie theater, 3 pools, a seven-stall barn andddd – a baseball field with lights and a scoreboard… Why…cmon bruh – you might want to have the Yankees over for a game. The estate cost about $1M to maintain every single year. The damn electric bill was around $16,500 a month. Do you realize how much money $16,500 a month is? That’s enough to get Netflix for 137 years! By the time you blew through that kind of money, the kids from Stranger Things would be in a retirement home. The financial burden added so much stress and pressure – Holyfield was finally forced to sell the house at auction. And guess who bought the crib? 

Mr. Ricky Rozay himself for $5.7M. Fun fact. Rick Ross used to be a prison guard. So he went from the big house – to the BIGGEST HOUSE.  2-3 days? And you’re still that big? I GUESS HE IS THE BIGGEST BOSS.SO – what’s the lesson here? A. Maybe we don’t need 109 rooms; 108 might just be plenty.  B. If you do have 109 rooms, turn off the damn lights when you leave the house. And C. It doesn’t matter how much money you have in your bank account. You can never expect to meet your financial goals if you don’t know anything about – BUDGETING.

What Evander Holyfield didn’t know when he signed on the dotted line to purchase his dream home is that he also signed up to work for the rest of his life. Even though he was a multi-millionaire and could buy a HUGE mansion –  in cash – he also bought himself a recurring bill that eventually… he couldn’t cover.In case you couldn’t tell by my Herculean physique, I played in the NFL. In the NFL, Sunday is the show. But nothing you see on Sundays would be possible without the preparation you put in Monday through Saturday.When you’re buying a new house, a new car, or even that brand new fit you’ve been eyeing for a minute – THAT is the show. It should be the reward you receive when you’ve made good decisions over time. BUT, in order to reach that show, that end goal, that nice reward at the end of the tunnel – we need to know where the hell we’re starting from so we can map out how to get there. And we do that by BUDGETING.

Budgeting is a lot like dieting. Both are commonly misunderstood. And both make you look good on the gram. Dieting isn’t about denying your body food. It’s about understanding the food that goes into your body. And a budget is about understanding the money that enters and exits your pocket. When you’re dieting, you don’t want to starve yourself. And when you’re budgeting, you don’t want to starve your life.Instead, you just need to understand your cash flow. How much money do I have coming in? How many dollars going out? How much does it cost me to live every single month?Listen: I need to know where every single penny is going on a monthly basis. Every. Single. Penny. When those pennies leave my pocket – I’m like an super-protective parent.  Where are you going? How long are you gonna be out? Who else is gonna be there? When are you coming back? Aight, get ya ass back here before 9 o’clock now. Don’t have me out there looking for you.A budget is a tool, how you choose to use it is up to you.

This all seems so SIMPLE, but how many of us actually do it? A lot less than you’d think. Check it out.Let’s do our own poll. By a show of hands, how many of you here in the audience keep a budget? Alright…. Well, after today, that’s gonna be 100%.Only 32% of American households keep a detailed budget that tracks their monthly income and expenditures. And 65% of Americans have no clue how much money they spent last month. 65%!!!

Spending without a budget is like trying to heat your house in the winter in Buffalo with half your windows open. How can you reach your financial goals when you don’t know how much you’re spending? And more importantly, how much you’re wasting. A great budget will make sure you have all the windows closed before you turn on that furnace. When I talk about money, I always like to visualize a face and a name. We have to make it real. So…Meet Brianna. Brianna is a teacher in Maryland who makes $43,143 per year, before taxes. The numbers are about to come out – so stick with me. The money you make before taxes is your GROSS INCOME. It’s important to make the distinction between gross and net income. Gross income is the total amount of money you bring in. This may be your salary, or your top line revenue.  The simplest way to explain it is – they call it GROSS because it’s gross to see how much taxes they take outta there.

Your NET INCOME is what you will have to spend after taxes and other deductions have been taken out of your paycheck. When making a budget, it’s all about your net income.  I mean – why budget for money you’ll never see?Although Brianna makes $43,143, she really has $29,815 to spend. Big difference.SO – she brings in $2,292 a month.That means her paycheck is $1,146 every two weeks.Now that we know our income, it’s time to calculate our FIXED EXPENSES. A fixed expense stays the same from month to month. Your mortgage.Your rent. Your internet. Your phone bill. Your car payment. These are all examples of fixed expenses. Brianna has a rent payment of $1,500 a month. But she bikes to work, so she doesn’t have a car payment. Don’t worry, Brianna budgeted for a helmet. NOW – Brianna also has to account for her other fixed expenses, which include her cell phone bill, her heat bill, and her electric bill. Oh, and don’t forget subscriptions Brianna decided to cut cable and just pay for internet and a few streaming services. Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Peacock, HBO –  Gah DAMN, how much TV do you watch, Bri?!

Brianna’s fixed expenses add up to $2,032 every single month. Now she has to calculate how much she spends on NON-FIXED NECESSITIES. These are things like groceries, clothing, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. These are things you need to survive, but the cost of them can fluctuate. Brianna’s non-fixed necessities are $405 this month. Again, these change from month to month, so these can be places to look to make adjustments as needed.

So uhhhh…. we have a problem, Bri. With a budget in hand, we have our starting line — So now what? Because Bri is in the red, she has two options: Grow her income, or cut expenses. But you may have different findings… You may be faced with the challenge of figuring out where to allocate a surplus, or you may have caught some unused subscriptions draining your pocket every single month that you can now cut. Maybe you want an extra vacation, or a date night with your partner. Or maybe to finally purchase that car you’ve been dreaming of. Now, with a good budget, you know exactly where to attack to reach these goals. Regardless of what you’ve been contemplating, now you have a clear picture of what’s been happening to your wallet on a monthly basis. Where all those hours of hard work you exchange for dollars are actually going. More importantly, you’ve figured out how much it costs you to live.

To me – that’s a fair trade. Financial freedom looks different for each of us, and that’s ok.For some, it might look like spending more time with the people you love most, or having the ability to tell that selfish boss that you’re staying home to take care of your sick child. For others, it could mean retiring earlier than 65. Or simply living ya best life LONG before your retirement. As I’ve said before, budgeting, and this ENTIRE financial empowerment journey is EXTREMELY personal. 

You need to lock in on your goals so you can create the life you want. Nipsey Hussle said it best: “It takes… Dedication, hard work plus patience. The sum of all my sacrifice, I’m done waitin, done waitin” Attaining financial confidence, and eventually financial freedom is SIMPLE, but it’s not EASY. However, YOU GOT THIS! It all starts today, with your budget.I’m Brandon Copeland, AKA Professor Cope – and now you Know BUDGETING.

Sign Up
Sign Up

Fast, interest-free advances anytime

Get Instacash advances up to $500 for everyday expenses or life’s surprises. There’s no credit check, no monthly fee, and no interest.

Sign Up