We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Russo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christina, do you have a budget? How do you make lifestyle and spending decisions?
Personal finance is very important to me. I paid off all my debt almost two years ago (student loans, medical bills, credit cards) and it was the biggest accomplishment and relief. When you’re debt free you have so much freedom, you can choose to walk away from a job if it is not making you happy and fulfilled. A big part of becoming and staying debt free is keeping a monthly budget. It was difficult at first because I had an “all or nothing” mindset around it but I learned that I can tweak it monthly and move things around to better suit my lifestyle. I budget monthly amounts to “sinking funds” for things that I know may come up or that I like to do annually. Vet bills and car expenses are ones I save for as mini emergency funds and something like skiing is one that I know I’ll want to do every winter. The biggest part of budgeting is honestly just tracking your expenses, once you consciously see where your money is actually going it is a huge wake up. I am very passionate about sharing my finance journey in hopes I can inspire others. The lack of education and conversation about personal finance is frustrating and our current culture tends to glorify consumerism and a YOLO attitude. We have to start thinking for our futures and helping each other.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have always been a creative person, I was fortunate to grow up in a household that fostered and encouraged exploration in the arts. I reconnected with photography some years ago and almost by mistake started getting clients. People liked my photos and it just kept going! At the same time it was not an easy journey. Knowing your worth, getting paid what you’re worth, building efficient work flow, learning to edit, learning about different gear and scenarios… Those all take time and experience. I have always loved to learn so I just kept shooting everything I could and learning from each different situation. You Tube is great for learning about technical information while podcasts have been great for learning about the business side. First and foremost I want to make people happy with my work so the biggest part of my job is understanding the client and their needs before we even shoot.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My best friends love dive bars and food. We would definitely have to do fried chicken for lunch (we are collectively not making breakfast) so depending on how long the wait is it could be on of the Nashville Fried Chicken spots in town or Gus’s. One of my friends loves “bar sports” so we’d probably find an afternoon spot where we can have beers and play some lawn games. Golden Road Brewery comes to mind. Dinner is definitely happening at a Korean BBQ spot! After dinner barhopping at divey spots such as HMS Bounty, Burgundy Room, and Frolic Room. These bars make such great people watching and you never know who you’ll meet or what the evening will hold! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate my shout out to Alan Donegan of Rebel Business School and the Rebel Entrepreneur Podcast. I have been fortunate to work with him since Summer 2020. We have focused on getting new clients and taking my business full time but he has supported me in countless other topics along the way. We actually recorded most of our coaching calls and you can find them on his podcast! I love the podcast as Rebel Business School focuses on starting and growing a business without debt and instead focus on creative ways to get what you need.
All Images by Fresh Print Media