Financial tips, goals and lessons learned

I consider myself a pretty financially savvy 24 year old. I learned early on about debt and how to not get into it. Part of that was from my parents and the other from a teacher in middle school.

When I was in 8th grade I had an incredible Math teacher who told us the story of her 30 year old son's credit card debt and how he had to move home with her to pay it off. Long story short I was scarred for life and decided debt would be the absolute worst thing I could do.

What we live by:

1. Know where our money is going

I watch our accounts often. We recently started using mint, Its awesome to consolidate all of our accounts and loans in one place. I know where we are spending money and when we should be cutting back. Often that has to do with eating out. We are both super into cooking, but when things get busy its way easier to grab some Zupas. We don't have a formal budget right now, but we do have savings plans and for now I feel good about that for now

2. If you don't have money for it, don't buy it.

Thanks SNL, but really we don't buy things we don't have the money for with the exceptions of a car when we needed to buy one and our house. With our car we developed a plan to quickly pay it off when we could. For our house, we decided it was worth it because of the investment, it also may help us out on our taxes as well so thats fun (and a little too adult).

3. If you can be responsible (the key), use credit cards for the benefits they offer.

My husband and I have not paid a dime of interest to a credit card company. That 8th grade story taught me its not worth it. We only buy things on credit that we currently have money for in the bank.  But we do have credit cards because of the perks they can give you if you aren't racking up interest! We have gotten cash back and basically free airline tickets to Europe. We literally got money deposited in our accounts just for swiping them and paying them off immediately. I am organized and obsessive about our account so this works for us, but if you aren't or can't pay them off immediately, its not worth the interest.

4. Always have an emergency fund.

My goal is to always have $1000-$1500 saved away that will only be used if the unexpected comes, which it inevitably it will. The next step is for us to save 3-6 months in our savings account for any major major crises.

5. Save for your future.

Travis and I both give the max matching to our 401Ks, we are so lucky to both have jobs that contribute. I want to be financially secure throughout my life and retirement is a big part of that for me. I'd rather save money now that will grow over the next 50 years and serve me better when I am older and don't want to work anymore. We also have a couple investments and are planning to start paying more that our regular house payment so we can have more equity. Once we have kids I plan to start mutual funds for their educations/missions/weddings.

I won't pretend that Travis and I are not incredibly lucky and privileged, we are. We were both able to finish college with zero debt and got awesome jobs, but we also live by principles that will help us to stay financially secure the rest of our lives.

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