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money management personal debt Sep 19, 2019

Join me as I have a money talk with Danielle Desir, affordable travel extraordinaire.  We discuss everything from paying off debt while traveling around the world to treating your goals like a bill (non-negotiable) in your budget!  

About Our Guest
Danielle Desir is an author, speaker, podcaster and the founder of The Thought Card, an award-winning affordable travel finance blog and podcast empowering people to make informed financial decisions - travel more, pay off debt and build wealth. Danielle paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years and purchased her first home at the age of 27. She has traveled to 26 countries and 3 continents and strongly believes in not letting your financial responsibilities hold you back from pursuing your dreams.

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Danielle's Iceland Travel Guide:
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The Thought Card, Episode 4 - Timeshares and Buying a House at 26 with Tiffany Grant: 

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Welcome to Money Talk with Tiff, a podcast where we discuss everything money – from tips and tricks to current events. Follow me on my journey to become debt-free, and meet other cool people along the way. I’m your host, Tiffany Grant, now let’s talk money.


Tiffany Grant (Host): Hey everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Money Talk With Tiff (MTWT). This episode is actually a guest episode, and I’m super excited for the guest I have today. I have Daniel Desir. She’s an author, speaker, podcaster, and a founder of the Thought Card – an award-winning, affordable travel finance blog and podcast, empowering people to make informed decisions, travel more, pay off debts, and build wealth.

Danielle paid off $63,000 of student loan debts in 4 years, snd purchase her first home at the age of 27. She has traveled to 26 countries on 3 continents and strongly believes in not letting your financial responsibilities hold you back from pursuing your dreams. Thank you so much, Danielle, you’re super inspiring, and I’m so glad to have you on the show.


Danielle Desir (Guest): Thank you so much, Tiff. I am so excited to be on your podcast, and it’s really great to catch up. I remember you were on my podcast last year.


Tiffany Grant: Absolutely, and we talked about Time Shares, and that was a very interesting conversation. I’ll have a link in the show notes for anybody who didn’t get that episode, but it is a treat. We talked about owning homes at young ages and things like that. So, definitely check it out.

So, Danielle, you have traveled to 26 different countries!


Danielle Desir: I know, and it’s only like a short couple of years because although I grew up traveling at a young age, I stopped after high school because I became uncool. College student: broke college student; I didn’t have much money. Then, it really picked back up after grad school – I got my first job. So, now that I’m almost 29, I’ve been able to do so much in that short amount of time.


Tiffany Grant: Absolutely! I’m trying to jet-set like you. I mean, I know a lot of people struggle with the question, “How do I travel and still pay up debt?” What type of tip or trick did you use, and how did you do it?


Danielle Desir: Right. There’s a lot to unpack there, but if travel is important to you, if it’s something that you really want to do, not only do you make it a priority in your life, but I think it’s also important to make it a financial priority in your life, which means that your money has to align with your goals.

So, from grad school, I knew from the jump that I wanted to travel, and I immediately created a travel fund which I …

….I’m always in the soapbox preaching this, but it’s so important to have a travel fund, and here’s why: not only is a travel fund separate, it’s a separate bank account that you open up, and you can call it anything that you’re attached to. For example, “Vacation,” “Orlando trip with Bae,” or “Family vacation to the Carolinas.” Whatever that trip looks like for you, keep it separate from all of your other bank accounts because when all of your money’s co-mingled together, it’s so much harder for you to see the progress you’re making, and it’s harder for you to save.

At this point right now, I have about 11 bank accounts, and the traveling (account) is one of them; and that’s one of the things that I think anyone can do right away. If you open up a free bank account with a bank like Ally Bank or Capital One, these banks don’t charge you anything to open up these bank accounts. They have very little maintenance fees or none whatsoever. You can start with as low as $5; there’s no minimum balance as well.

You can step away from the brick and mortar and open an online bank account, open a travel fund; it’s an easy and free way to get started to make travel a financial priority in your life, at least.


“People don’t have money problems; they have priority problems. Get your priorities right, and your money will get right.”

– Larry Winget



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Tiffany Grant: I’m a strong proponent of Ally bank. I love Ally Bank because their interest rate is far more than the “brick and mortars.” Even though the interest is still super low (2.2%), it’s still more than the 0.75% or 0.25% that you’ll get from the brick and mortars. So, I love the idea of opening different accounts for different purposes. What I also hear there is to make sure you put travel in the budget.


Danielle Desir: Yes. It’s interesting because I know many people don’t like the word “budget,” but having a budget has been the saving grace because after I purchased my home, I abandoned my budget. I was like, “I don’t think I really need this that much,” and was it a mess – I was a mess. So I’m a big proponent of having a budget. Simply put, a budget is just letting you know where your money is going. If you don’t know where your money is going, you can’t figure out what you need to improve or what you need to work on; it’s so much harder to do that. So not only do I have a budget, but I also had the bank account to help me facilitate that as well.


Tiffany Grant: Exactly. I preach this all the time – your budget is your foundation! It’s not for you to be deprived. It doesn’t deprive you but instead permits you to spend on the things you love, and in your case, that’s travel.


Danielle Desir: Yes, absolutely. The other thing in terms of mind shift was that I have always considered travel like a bill. Just like how I have to pay for my mortgage every month, gym memberships, and any other bill that comes in, travel is right up there with everything else.

So, I feel like once you start treating your financial goals like a bill, it becomes a consistent part of your money plan, and consistency is key. When you’re doing anything in terms of financial goals, being consistent is the difference between accomplishing your goals and missing the mark, for sure.


Tiffany Grant: Exactly! So, I have a question that I’m curious about. If you had to pick one place, what country was your favorite to visit?


Danielle Desir: Alright. This is a hard question, but my go-to answer is definitely Iceland, but I think I’m going to switch that for your listeners. I would say that one of my favorite places was Portugal. I really like to visit there. It’s funny cos my family is there now, and I’m just reminiscing on that trip.

I really like visiting Portugal, not only was it affordable, I thought that I didn’t really need to spend that much money for a good time. And for me, a good time is delicious food, drinks, coffee, and things like that. And there were many things to do, a lot of free things to do as well. So, I think if you’re a budget-conscious traveler, Lisbon has a lot to do. You can go even outside that region and go different places quickly on day trips or extend your stay as well.


“Once a year, go somewhere you have never been before.”

– Dalai Lama


Tiffany Grant: I have just added that to my list.


Danielle Desir: But don’t forget Iceland though, Iceland is amazing too. It’s really amazing.


Tiffany Grant: And speaking of Iceland, I know you just came out with a travel guide. So you are now a published author, can you talk more about that?


Danielle Desir: Oh my gosh, yes! So, after 3 trips to Iceland, I’ve decided to write an Iceland Travel Guide. The angle of this travel guide is to plan an affordable, adventurous, and culturally enriching trip to Iceland. In the book, I also share tips for traveling black women. Things like bring your hair products with you, cos they may be hard to find. Things like safety tips because I am a traveling black woman, and I think it is important for us to share our perspectives. I believe sharing my perspective will at least help other people have an even more enjoyable stay.

So, I’ve been able to pack pretty much everything I know about Iceland, and it’s definitely a place that I really love because of the nature and the people.

Iceland is where I walked on a glacier. I touched a glacier for the first time cos I’m from the Bronx (in New York); we don’t touch glaciers, ok? *laughs* When you’re from New York City, touching a glacier doesn’t really come to life.


Tiffany Grant: It’s not an everyday thing.


Danielle Desir: Exactly, So I was like, “Wow! This is amazing!” I walked on behind a waterfall; I rode an Icelandic horse, I tried ice cream. I literally saw a coast close to volcano craters and hot springs. So, it’s just so much that you can do, and if you enjoy being outdoors and nature views, it’s just a great place for adventure.


Tiffany Grant: Awesome! Yes, I guess I have to add Lisbon, Portugal, and Iceland to my list because you just made that sound amazing. I’m definitely going to grab your travel guide because I’ve only been to the Caribbean and Mexico when it comes to going out of the country, so I know there’s so much for me to explore still.


Danielle Desir: Exactly.


Tiffany Grant: Well, thank you so much, Danielle, that was awesome; I’m so glad to have you on the show. I’ll have all the links. Ok, really quick, how can we find you?


Danielle Desir: Ok. You can find me at that’s my blog if you love listening to podcasts. You can listen to the Thought Card Podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google, and all the places that you can listen to podcasts.

I also have a budgeting course called Back to Budgeting Basics. So, if you’d like to learn about having multiple bank accounts, and setting financial goals, and meeting them, I have a budgeting course for that as well. And my Iceland Travel Guide is called Iceland: Nature, Nurture and Adventure,” and you can find that on Amazon.


Tiffany Grant: I’ll have all of those links in the show notes. I do subscribe to Danielle’s podcast, and every episode has been fantastic.


Danielle Desir: Yeah!!


Tiffany Grant: Yes! I felt so inspired when I heard about the lady that does the stock trading, the one that is a single mom and living abroad with her son, and they just hop from country to country. I was like, “I can do this!”


Danielle Desir: You can do anything and everything, for sure.


Tiffany Grant: So I definitely highly recommend subscribing to Danielle’s podcast. And also, while you’re there, listen to the one that I was on. *laughs* So, thank you so much, Danielle; it was a pleasure having you on (the podcast). I’m sure, and I’m optimistic, this is not the last time we’ll cross paths.


Danielle Desir: Thank you, Tiffany. It was great talking to you.


Tiffany Grant: Alright, have a good one.


Thank you for listening to the Money Talk with Tiff Podcast. For free resources and materials, head over to, and while you’re there, why not sign up for our newsletter, so you’ll never miss an episode. Talk to you soon…

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