Tiffany Aliche ’01
Tiffany Aliche ’01 – better known as The Budgetnista – has helped more than one million women balance their budgets, worked to pass a law requiring financial literacy education for New Jersey middle school students, and has garnered widespread media attention through her award-winning podcast, “Brown Ambition,” Live Richer Academy, books and television appearances. But the former Business Administration major with a concentration in Marketing came to entrepreneurship through a circuitous route.
As her undergraduate years at Montclair State were coming to an end, Aliche had a job on campus at a child care center that she loved and an internship at a Fortune 500 company that she did not: “People didn’t seem to enjoy working there. I also realized that I wanted to do something that I felt mattered.”
Aliche pivoted to a career as a preschool teacher and earned a master’s in Education. When her preschool shut down in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, she lost her career and her home and found herself in a financial hole. Her friend Nkeruka Linda Iferika ’04 helped Aliche see her way out. “She said, ‘You know how to do this. Stop beating yourself up.’”
Aliche, who grew up building budgets with her dad at the kitchen table every week, did just that and then started helping others. Eventually she landed contracts with organizations like the United Way of Greater Newark to help single moms budget and save.
“We don’t start with finances,” says Aliche. “I usually tell them, ‘Tell me your story.’ That’s really what people are wanting. They’re wanting to unload and a safe space. So then we can unpack and fix it.”
Ultimately her “discarded” Business Administration degree, as well as her experience as a teacher, became central to her success.
“I’m not gonna lie. When I graduated, I was like, ‘Oh gosh, I have an unnecessary business degree.’ And then I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to be a teacher forever.’ So I got my master’s in Education. And then when I realized I didn’t want to be a principal, I thought, ‘Oh gosh, it’s a wasted master’s degree.’ And now literally every aspect and nook and cranny and corner, I am cooking with all the ingredients. I don’t believe that there are any wasted components of your life. They’re all necessary.”
–Mary Barr Mann