Arianna Huffington has a career filled with accomplishments, from founding The Huffington Post to writing 15 books. She’s been named one of the most powerful women in the world by Forbes and ranked among Time’s 100 most influential people.
“We launched Thriving Wallet in partnership with Discover to redefine the discussion around financial health and help people reframe their relationship with money by building healthy money habits,” Huffington tells CNBC Select.
CNBC Select spoke with Huffington to get the scoop on what she carries in her wallet, the best financial advice she’s received and her advice for managing money.
What’s in Arianna Huffington’s wallet
Huffington’s wallet was a Christmas gift from her good friend Heather Reisman, and she carries a few special mementos in it.
“I carry with me everywhere a laminated card with my favorite Rumi quote, ‘Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor,’ and a little picture of my daughters,” Huffington says. “They’re my joy triggers — whenever I’m feeling stressed I look at them and focus on what I’m grateful for.”
She also carries the essentials in her wallet: credit cards, Brex card, health insurance card, driver’s license and a Thrive membership card.
Huffington redeems her credit card rewards for frequent flyer miles, but she also likes to give them to her daughters. Many credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, allow you to transfer miles to other frequent flier programs or send them to family members. Travel cards like the Discover it® Miles let you redeem miles as a statement credit to offset the cost of travel.
The best financial advice Arianna Huffington’s received
Huffington credits her mother for teaching her smart money management skills at a young age.
“My mother told me: Don’t buy something you can’t afford because you think it’s going to make you happy,” Huffington says.
She grew up in a one-bedroom apartment in Athens, Greece, and despite having little money, Huffington calls her mother a “magical improviser” who always provided what they needed, including a good education and healthy food.
“She only owned two dresses and never spent anything on herself,” Huffington recalls. She remembers when her mother sold her last pair of gold earrings and borrowed from anyone she could to allow her two daughters to go to college.
Arianna Huffington’s advice for managing money
At Thrive, behavior change is based on microsteps (small, science-backed actions) that you can start taking to help improve your financial well-being.
“One of my favorite microsteps is associated with my mother’s advice: Before you go shopping, check in with how you are feeling emotionally,” Huffington says. “Science says you’re more likely to make risky decisions when you’re angry, and more eager to buy things when sad.”
In fact, nearly 25% of people make purchases they later regret when experiencing significant stress, according to a Thriving Wallet study.
Here are some of Huffington’s favorite microsteps for managing money:
- Every time you think of a bill you have to pay or a financial expense that seems stressful, just write it down in a financial journal or on your phone. If you anxiously avoid financial matters that intimidate you, this is one small step in the direction of taking ownership.
- If you have a 401(k) or an IRA, check your account balance once a month. Regular check-ins keep you informed and may even inspire you to increase the amount you’re contributing and reduce your stress about your financial future.
- If you bought something on sale, take a moment to transfer a bit of money from your checking account to your savings account. Getting a great deal is worth celebrating. And even a small deposit is a mood-boosting investment in yourself.
- If you haven’t had a regular financial check-in with your partner, make a date for one. Discuss your goals and questions over a good meal, or while taking a walk or a drive. Aligning on your finances reduces stress and brings you closer.
This story is part of CNBC Select’s What’s in Your Wallet series, which profiles celebrities and media personalities on the contents of their wallet and the best financial advice they’ve received. For interview recommendations, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.