How she was able to buy her dream DSLR by working in McDonald’s: Funding Your Passion Project

“I have a day job, so I don’t really have the time to earn money from other things like freelancing or side projects.”

This is a line I get from many creative people. And my response to that unoriginal excuse is….

Meet Roxanne.

Roxanne is another one of my students in my goal-setting workshop called Braver Goals.

She is a 19-year-old working student who had just immigrated to Hawaii, USA. She’s adjusting to her new environment, her new life, but instead of relying on her parents and just “taking it easy on herself” — she found a way to earn extra income: by working at McDonald’s.

And more than earning extra income, what Roxanne did EXTREMELY well — was that she honed in on her Brave Goal: that is, the true goal behind her Brave Money Project. Yes, she had a financial target, but she didn’t fixate on that amount.

She kept her heart on her true north: Buying camera equipment so she can pursue her dream creative career.

And with that,
she achieved her 3-month goal…

I’ll let her tell her story in our interview below.

Eyes on the Prize: A Canon70D kit

Hi Roxanne! What are the goals you’re working towards?

“My big goal is to fund my passion and dream job which is to become a professional wedding photographer. I fell in love with the idea when I organized my own debut and met people from the industry, including the team that covered my celebration.

Pursuing that career means I need to invest in equipment — [because] the system I have right now, no matter how much I love my gear, won’t be enough for the demand of the vision I have in my head. Unfortunately, my gear is pretty beat up and no one would take it for a decent amount, [and so I can’t sell it for money].

So, that said, my Brave Money Project is to buy a Canon 70D kit, so I can improve my photography, and eventually start earning from it and make a career out of it.

“In order to buy the DSLR kit, I need to raise $1200 in 3 months. My Money Momentum Goal is to raise $250 every two weeks.”

A New Life in Hawaii: Getting unstuck from a rut

Can you tell us more about your life in Hawaii right now – to give context to your BMP story?

“Life in Hawaii isn’t that hard, there are plenty of job opportunities, recreational activities and clubs. Very aloha.

But for someone like me who lived in the Philippines all my life, adjusting to the immigrant life is hard. I felt stuck. I was studying online, I didn’t leave the house, I didn’t have allowance.

One day, I decided to apply for a job at a nearby fast food restaurant because I figured out that the thing that was holding me back was my lack of funds (and human interaction).

It was one of the best things I did in 2015 – not only did I gain a steady source of income, but the nature of my job allowed me to be confident and positive in a foreign place. My days used to be filled with depression and anxiety (I couldn’t even go up to the cashier without trembling and stuttering), but the last 2 months was a total life switch – I was serving and talking to hundreds of guests every single day!

A few days after I received my first pay check, Arriane sent e-mails about her course on funding your passion, and I was fortunate to be one of the first ones to try it!

“It was the perfect time to take it because I really did not know how to budget my money. I tried several ways, different apps and everything but nothing seems to work.

I’m really thankful for the spreadsheet because I was able to budget my money down to the last dollar.

Truth Bomb: The BMP isn’t about the money…

So, you reached your BMP in 3 weeks! Tell me all about it.

I reached my BMP in six weeks – not the monetary value ($1200), but the goal that I was really gunning for: the Canon70D kit!

It’s a long story – both possible with a bit of luck and sheer discipline.

So there I was, keeping faithful to my MMG amidst the Black Friday sales (and that includes staying away from the mall and makeup counters!), when I received an e-mail from Canon USA that they’re having a BIG SALE! I checked their site — and my jaw dropped when I saw that the kit I was eyeing for was now only $650! Prime lenses were also on sale for as low as $100!

And so I checked my Excel file, counted my supposed savings from the past 6 weeks that I was putting into my untouchable BMP bucket, checked my savings account, took many deep breaths — and made the purchase. Goal achieved!


What were the things that helped you achieve your BMP?

I was really lucky, it felt like the universe conspired to make this happen. But if there’s another factor that made this possible, it would be the lessons and takeaways from the passion funding course.

Around that time, I was also set to pay for a lot of essentials, but because: 1) I was able to allocate enough money in my 3 buckets, and 2) lived the past weeks within my means — it didn’t feel like an impulse purchase at all.

“My savings bin was prepared, and nothing had to be sacrificed to make it happen.”


Your transformation: What has been the 1 most important change you did (whether in lifestyle, mindset, or routine, etc) that helped you achieve it?

I would say I am an impulse buyer no more. After taking the free budgeting course, I had a better sense of what really are my essentials.

I used to think that savings = leftover money after I bought things in my wish list. Before, I used to prioritize my essentials and extras, and whatever is left would be my “savings”. I survived the Black Friday sale craze with only one purchase – my BMP which was a Canon 70D kit plus an extra 50mm lens!”


Her Progress Report: The Breakdown + Her Failures

Did everything go according to plan?

This was my original plan to grow my Passion Funds:

  • Work 5 shifts a week (40 hours) on Hawaii’s minimum wage as a fast food crew worker, and save $200 every 2 weeks
  • Open an Etsy shop that sells hand made and personalized stamps and raise $50 every 2 weeks, OR
  • Transfer funds from my monthly “carving bin” (funds I allot for buying rubber supplies, blades, gear maintenance) to my “Savings/BMP bin”

But this was what happened:

  • 1st Week (October 18-31) – $250 (savings from salary)
  • 2nd Week (November 1-14) – $250 (savings from salary)
  • 3rd Week (November 15-27) – $250 (savings from salary)

As you can see, not everything went smoothly. I was set to create an Etsy shop, since I already had an IG-based shop called @quirkycarve in the Philippines. I didn’t go with it because: I no longer feel happy doing it as a side hustle. In my next BMP, I’m making photography as a side hustle for my MMG! 🙂

The Spreadsheet Makes Big Goals Doable

Before the downloadable spreadsheet from the course, how were you thinking about your goals (financial or otherwise)?

I never really had a concrete plan of action before the spreadsheet. Everything seemed impossible and hard to do. Buying a new dSLR, paying for a new phone+line and sending myself to school – how am I able to accomplish these on minimum wage?

But the spreadsheet gave me this feeling of assurance that these things are doable with proper planning and money management — and that money is not what I need.

“Money is the result, yes, but what I needed was hard work, confidence and consistency in my job to make all of my goals happen.



If you haven’t heard, I’ve made a FREE COURSE on how you can start budgeting more wisely. This course is specially tailored for creatives like you. Click below to enroll for free!


In this course, I’ll show you a very simple strategy on how to do it (plus a free worksheet!) — all bundled in one free e-course. You may also click the photo above to see what this FREE E-COURSE is all about.