Posted on February 22, 2012 12 Comments
This is in no means a complete list, just a few random thoughts and lessons I’m glad I learned.
- I’m glad I learned how to manage a budget. When I was broke in college, I didn’t follow a budget. I just spent what I earned, and paid no mind to savings or my loans. My minuscule income was spent as it came in, sometimes for critical items like ramen noodles and soap, and other times on frivolous items like cheap new shoes and make-up for an upcoming date party. It didn’t matter where these items came from or who sold them, it just mattered that I could get them cheaply when it mattered. I ended up with a bunch of crap I didn’t need, and when I graduated I had no savings and a ton of debt. Learning how to manage my budget changed my life for the better.
- I’m glad I learned that keeping up with my friends doesn’t matter. Different people value different things. Some people value cars and homes, some value family, some value experiences. There is no right or wrong answer, and there are plenty of different perspectives to go around. After college, my best friends and former roommates splintered into many different directions. At first I would find myself jealous at each new home purchase, new job offer, new anything. But it only took a few of these major life changes for me to realize I’m on a different tract, I value different things, and it’s stupid to try to compete. The only person I need to make happy is me. And once I’m happy, my relationships are just fine.
- I’m glad I learned how to pay myself first. My savings funds and retirement investments are doing better than I could have expected because of it, and it’s so easy to increase my savings because at 1 percent changes every now and again, it’s hard to notice a difference.
- I’m glad I started with small steps. Big ones would have just overwhelmed me.
- I’m glad I have people I can relate to and talk with about finances. My brother and I are about as close as siblings come. We talk a lot about our finances, especially since we started in the same place and face some similar challenges. Likewise, although I know less about the exact status of their finances, I’m glad my best girlfriends and I can talk about money with each other and not always feel bad about it. We’re pretty open and can respect when people are trying to save and discuss our challenges with each other. Our advice may not always be spot on, but it’s nice to know I have support when I need it.
Those are just a few lessons I’ve learned over the last eight years since getting my finances in order. What are you glad you learned?