- Life’s most significant moments are often the most joyful, but tack on a pricey bill.
- Former Miss USA Nia Sanchez knows this for a fact, as she is now a wife, mother, and homeowner.
- Sanchez shares how she budgets for the “needs” and unexpected expenses while still being able to spend money on her “wants.”
Nia Sanchez is a planner. She didn’t become Miss USA 2014 or win first runner-up in Miss Universe 2015 by not being organized. Today, as a mom, wife, fourth-degree black belt, self-defense instructor, pageant coach, and world traveler — among many other roles — financial planning is a big part of how she makes her busy life work.
One of her biggest personal finance rules: Sticking to monthly or bi-monthly budget meetings with her husband. “We sit down and we look at our finances — where we’re spending our money, where we want to spend our money, where we want to invest, and where we want to save,” Sanchez said. “We make a game plan for the next month or two, and then we look at the big picture: What’s our one-year, our five-year, and our 10-year game plan?”
All of that smart planning helps Sanchez keep living a highly Instagrammable life. It’s also taught her the importance of having tools available to boost spending power and handle those unexpected expenses. Here’s how she’s able to smooth out some of life’s financial bumps.
When the best-laid plans go awry
Sanchez and her husband have traveled all over the world — through Asia, Central America, Europe, and beyond. Pulling it off takes some serious financial legwork.
“We plan for our travel and we save up for it,” she said. “But unexpected moments still happen — life still happens.”
One of those moments happened en route to a long-planned visit to Bali. While on a layover in Bangkok, the couple realized they had missed their flight to Bali — and the airline would not allow them to simply rebook on the next flight.
“We had to buy new international flights from Bangkok to Bali,” Sanchez said.
Pay Over Time gives you the ability to carry a balance with interest up to your Pay Over Time Limit, so you can handle expected and unexpected expenses that come your way. Your Pay Over Time Limit is the total amount that you can carry as a balance with interest. You may be able to spend beyond your Pay Over Time limit, while still earning rewards – you’ll just need to pay for any new purchases in full when your bill is due.
Without Pay Over Time, they might have had to give up on their big Bali plan when they were already halfway around the world. And since they could still earn Membership Rewards when using Pay Over Time, the last-minute purchase came with a silver lining.
“Moments like that, where we can put it on the card then sort it out when we get home are really helpful,” said Sanchez.
When you don’t want to compromise on life’s biggest moments
Milestones can come at you fast. Last year, Sanchez and her husband found themselves wading through the process of buying their first home in LA — two months before their first child was born.
“It all came up a little bit quicker than I expected,” she said. “But it was exciting.”
The experience of new home buying came with many financial hurdles. And, of course, once they finally were done with the purchase, there were more things to buy. “We’re in a new space, and we want to purchase furniture and things that fit into the feel of our new home,” Sanchez said.
Once again, she was happy to have her Pay Over Time option, which allowed her to spread the expense of furnishing a new home and preparing that home for a new baby over several months.
When an unexpected expense could change your life
Those big costs came on the heels of one Sanchez could never have anticipated, no matter how much she planned. After trying to get pregnant for some time, her doctor diagnosed her as infertile.
“My grandfather was one of 13, and my mom was one of six. I imagined that I would get pregnant shortly when we started trying,” Sanchez said. “That was not our story. We ended up stepping into a fertility journey that was completely unexpected.”
Unexpected and expensive. There were tests, office visits, medications, procedures, and more. For Sanchez, treatment went on for a year and a half. Fertility treatments vary by family, but costs can run into tens of thousands of dollars.
“We had no idea what the financial weight would be,” she said. Of course, the birth of her son made every dollar worth it — and the ability to Pay Over Time with her American Express Card made it manageable to allow Sanchez to focus on her treatments rather than fret over medical bills. Best of all, Pay Over Time does not affect the cardholders’ No Preset Spending Limit, meaning her spending limit is flexible. Unlike a traditional credit card with a set limit, the amount you can spend adapts based on factors such as your purchase, payment, and credit history.”
Financial literacy is so important to Sanchez. Her father taught her the value of saving early in life, and she plans to teach her son the same — just as soon as he’s done teething. She also plans to show her son the many benefits of smart financial planning, starting with his first trip to Europe in near future. At such an exciting point in her life, Sanchez values having her financial know-how and tools like American Express‘ Pay Over Time feature to help her make the most of it.
This post was created by Insider Studios with American Express.