We all come from different financial backgrounds. Some grow up learning healthy spending habits, and others, like me, learn that SAVING..... isn’t an option. I learned that you work hard to make money, and SPEND it ALL as fast as possible. My dad was a very hard worker, and taught me well when it came to work ethics, but as far as spending habits......well, that's another story, and I'm about to tell you about it.
As soon as I hit 18 and graduated high school, I was anxious to set out for a whole new life of independence, with little education on finances. I moved out to Arizona with my best friend, and wanted to experience it all. Started school, got the apartment, furniture, new car, new clothes. Oh yah, I was livin it up….
On CREDIT! Teenagers should NOT be allowed to have credit cards, DANGEROUS combination.
My new FAVORITE movie in the whole world is Confessions of a Shopaholic. This movie is all too familiar for me. I put together a little clip of my favorite parts in the movie that best describes how naive I was at this age, it's freaky how much I can relate.
Credit cards, better known as "magic cards"............. stores "awakening a lust for things you never even knew you needed".............. and justifying spending, by labeling it as,
Okay, so back to my story about how I was livin it up.
Well, it wasn’t long until the credit card debt caught up to me, and I was paying minimum payents on multiple credit cards. I felt the weight of debt on my shoulders daily, causing me WAY too much stress.
I was always working two jobs to get caught up. I had my car payment, insurance, rent, food, gas, ect. But at that point it was too late. After only a year living on my own, I was in way over my head with debt exceeding $20,000. I had no choice but to quit school and move back home.
Completely clueless that paying the minimum payment on credit cards was a BAD thing....
I was thinking about serving an LDS mission, but one of the requirements was to be debt free. So, I sold my car, worked 2 jobs, and started taking the BUS everywhere. It was a tough lesson to learn, but eventually I got the debt paid off, HUGE relief, and I was ready for my mission.
Missions are a lot of work, with long exhausting days, but I enjoyed a financially stress free life. No bills to worry about, just a monthy budget to cover food and what ever else we NEEDED. It was such a simple life now when I look back.
So when I got home I thought, NOW I am ready in every way to take on life. I thought there was no way I was going to screw up again. I tried to keep things in perspective and only buy what I NEEDED like I learned on my mission. Pretty soon I found myself falling back into the same trap, and my WANTS became needs. I was lucky enough to get a job right away when I got home, so I immediately bought a car, got a cell phone and a credit card. I’m not sure how it happened AGAIN, but only 5 months after being home, my credit card debt was up to $5,000. Wasn’t quite as bad as before, but the stress of it was back full force. You’d think I would have learned my lesson the first time, right! Sometimes it takes a few times of screwing up before we get it through our heads. Luckily I met my husband at that point and he saved me from MYSELF. So, in other words, MARRY RICH :) haha, thanks honey for paying my debt for me. Unfortunately, my $5,000 of debt was all I had to bring to the table :)
“When we go into debt, we give away some of our precious, priceless agency and place ourselves in self-imposed servitude. We obligate our time, energy, and means to repay what we have borrowed- resources that could have been used to help ourselves, our families, and others…”
-Robert D. Hales
My husband was brought up learning much better spending habits than I ever did. Which in fact caused us to butt heads a lot in the beginning. My husband wants to save EVERYTHING, and I want to SPEND IT ALL. It took us a few years, but we’ve come to a happy medium. I’m much better at budgeting and saving, because I have a monthly budget. I now use a debit card, not a credit card, bounced a few checks here and there.
I still wonder why the bank clerk is so confused when I try paying my overdraft fee with a check from the same checking account :) .............hmmmmm.
And as for Sean, he’s learning to SPEND a little and enjoy more, like go on vacations even if it costs money:), only if we HAVE the funds of course. I always tell him that he can be in charge of the saving, and I’ll be happy to take on the VERY tough responsibility of spending.
I’ve actually really learned to enjoy saving money any way I can. Not so I can stash it away in a savings account, hah, yeah right, but so I can SPEND more. Like I said, I leave that up to Sean :)
“We need to understand the consequences of buying on credit and not living within a budget. “
“ Meals prepared and eaten at home generally cost less, are healthier, and contribute to stronger relationships.”
-Julie B. Beck
Five Steps to financial freedom
First, pay tithing/donate.
Second, spend less than you earn.
Third, learn to save.
Fourth, teach children to follow your example.
-Joseph B. Wirthlin
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