Money Made Simple.

The tagline says it all!

That is exactly our goal: to make money simple for you! We break down complicated financial concepts in ways that are easy to consume and allow you to both understand and apply them to your own life and situation. Forget about the confusing financial jargon – our goal is to teach you about money in ways that make sense in your own personal world.

How? The My Common Cents brand focuses on the most important, basic financial concepts people need to know in order to take control of their money and set themselves up for success – both now and down the road.

We want to empower you by giving you the information, resources, tools and motivation you need to succeed financially.

Inform, Educate, Empower, Motivate, Inspire.

That's what we're all about here at My Common Cents.

And there's no secret that there is a need for it in America. A whopping 94% of people failed a recent financial literacy test covering some of the most crucial basic money concepts.

It's also no secret that money isn’t something you typically learn about in school, and that's exactly why we want to make sure you have the information and resources you need to get a grasp on your financial life and ultimately, reach financial freedom! 

A Note From Our Founder

Alex Lara Thomas

Behind The Logo

The wise optimist says, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  

I say, why stop there?

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and then sell it around the neighborhood. Plant the seeds, grow more lemons and sell more lemonade. Use the money you make to grow other types of fruit and sell those, too. And when your stand gets too big to handle yourself, hire your neighbors’ kids. Congrats! You just went from someone holding a few sour lemons to a successful small business owner.

Moral of the story?

When life gives you lemons – i.e. throws you a curveball – it’s up to you to determine what happens next.

If you want to be successful with money, or anything else in life, you need two things: resilience and the right mindset.

We can’t control most of what happens to us in life – only how we respond to it. When things aren’t going our way, we really only have three choices: do nothing, make it worse or choose what happens next.

The road to financial freedom is full of setbacks – big and small – which means the ability to bounce back is crucial.

Financial wellness is about being prepared for those curveballs. It’s about creating the stability, security and confidence you need to make smart decisions, so that one thing doesn’t throw off everything else in life

Bottom line: Money may not be able to buy you happiness, but it can buy you freedom – the ability to do what you want, anytime when you want. And my mission is to help you get there! 

 My Story

I was 24. I had $0 in savings, thousands of dollars in credit card debt, a student loan from Northwestern University, and my credit score was crap – thanks in part to one 90-day-late payment on an Ann Taylor card that had a total balance of less than $200.

I would pay off my credit cards just enough to continue living a lifestyle I thought I deserved – continuously telling myself, I’ll just pay it off when I start making more money. Well, the promotions came and went, and my Bloomingdales wardrobe continued to grow just as fast as my debt. 

It wasn’t that I was clueless. I understood the basic concepts of money and even studied them in-depth. The truth is, I had become the ultimate cliché of the American millennial – I simply didn’t take adulthood seriously. I had everything figured out. For the moment, at least. 

My Wake-Up Call

I was sitting at the vet waiting to find out why my cat had been acting funny. When the doctor came back in, she told me that the cat was having major dental issues and would need some serious work – about $2,000 worth!

I almost barfed on the woman and immediately burst into tears – realizing that I had no choice. Only a total jerk would leave the cat in pain, so I did what I had to – I maxed out the one credit card I had left to pay for it.

I was so angry – first at the poor cat – then at myself. There was nothing and no one else to blame but me. The anger then quickly turned into fear. Not only was I terrified about what I was going to do next, but what also really scared me was thinking, what if I hadn’t had enough to cover it?

It was in that moment that I realized money had more control over my life than I did. Talk about an overdue awakening.

That thought scared the $%*! out of me, and I promised myself right then that I would do whatever it took to never be in that position again.

“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” –Nelson Mandela

Up until that point, I hadn’t experienced much “failure” in my life. Throughout childhood, college and even graduate school, success seemed to come easy to me.

My career was on a great track and I was accomplishing everything I wanted. Meanwhile, I put off paying my student loans and maxed out my credit cards on stupid stuff (minus the cat). I was trying to prove that I could have it all – when the funny part is, I could have been creating an even better life for myself had I chosen to pay attention to my money, rather than ignore it.

I was afraid to face reality because I had no idea how I was going to turn things around. I was living in LaLa Land because I was too afraid of looking like a failure. I didn’t know how to “fail,” so I didn’t try.

Somewhere along the way, I had forgotten the reason why I didn’t know how to fail.

The truth is, success never just came to me – I created it myself. I worked my tail off and poured my heart and soul into everything I put my mind to. Whether it was soccer, school or work – I was always the first one there and the last to leave.

Reality had finally hit me over the head hard enough to make me remember that – realizing that if I wanted to live the life I had always dreamed of, it was up to me to create it.

I had to, because no one else was going to do it for me. And that realization changed my life. I’ve failed more times in my life than I could ever count. But what matters more is each time I got back up and persevered, blaming no one and nothing else for my situation.

What did I do? I started paying attention. I didn’t eat on $1 a month or swear off Starbucks forever – I just stopped wasting my money on things I didn’t need and didn’t value. I figured out where all of my money was actually going and reevaluated my spending based on my priorities.

Two years later, I had paid off all of my credit card debt and had savings in the bank. Not long after, I paid off my student loan.

I was on my way to building a life that could not only withstand financial setbacks, but also allow me to do what I wanted, when I wanted to do it.

“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.”

The journey that’s gotten me to where I am today has not been an easy one. I have been thrown more curveballs than I ever could have imagined – both personally and professionally – including consequences from my own mistakes, as well things that were out of my control.

But deciding to take control of my life – and face my money problems head on – allowed me to develop a renewed sense of confidence in myself and my ability to overcome adversity.

Success will never just come – you have to create it – and if you put your mind to it, I promise you can accomplish your dreams.

The first thing you need to do is to forgive your past. You can’t write the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.

So buck up. You can change your story at any time. 

What are you waiting for?