Money Advice I Wish I Had Gotten Sooner
If you could go back in time and change certain decisions you made, would you? Ok, maybe we should narrow that down…
If I could go back in time to my younger self, I’d tell myself a few pieces of key financial advice. There are plenty of things I wish I had done differently that would have saved me time and money.
However, life is a long journey and in 10 years, there will probably be things I wish I’d had done differently now.
By writing this post, I’m hoping you all can learn from my mistakes and avoid repeating them.
1. Learn how to manage money better
Managing money better at a younger age could have saved me a lot of time and money. After I graduated high school, I spent way too much money on clothes and had a closet full of more clothes than I even knew what to do with.
Instead, I wish I had put that money straight into savings or toward my student loan debt while I was in college. Learning how to think before spending and having good financial skills are some of the most important skills to learn in life.
Rather than living pay check to paycheck, learn how to budget more effectively and efficiently so you have room leftover to put into an emergency savings or even for money that can be spent on things that make you happy, such as taking a vacation.
2. Take out less in student loans
Student loans are tricky to navigate when you get out of high school and immediately get sent off to college. Honestly, most parents don’t even fully understand how student loans and financial aid works, which leaves the student lost as well.
Taking out less in student loans is a lot easier than you might think. Instead of taking out 100% of what is given to you, only take out the required amount you need. Before accepting any financial aid, visit a financial aid counselor or calculate yourself how much you will need to attend college for the school year.
Also, apply to as many scholarships and grants as possible. One big regret I have is not applying to more scholarships, especially because there are thousands of scholarships available, handing out free money to students who need it. Many scholarships only require a simple application, while others require an essay. Talk to your financial aid counselor about possible scholarships and grants you are eligible for and also do your own research online.
3. Learn how to make extra money sooner
There are so many ways to make extra money, online and in person.
I started a blog without the intention of making money, but it eventually grew into a full-time business that allows me to travel the world full-time. What started out as a hobby turned into a lucrative business.
Find a side hustle you are interested in or passionate about. This could be flipping products for profit, teaching English online, or even starting a blog of your own.
Learning how to make extra money on the side can be helpful for paying off debt or saving more for retirement. Every extra dollar made is another dollar that can be saved.
4. Stop emotional spending
Just like emotional eating, people also emotionally spend money. It is easy to buy things when you’re feeling down because you get an immediate pick me up when you buy a shiny new toy. However, that pick me up slowly fades away and you’re stuck with less money in your bank account.
Instead of emotional spending, I wish I would have found a hobby that let me relieve stress. Today, I hike or ride my bike pretty much every day and not only does it make me feel healthier, I also feel a lot happier and carry less stress around daily.
5. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses
It is so easy to compare, especially in the 21st century. With social media platforms showing the best versions of people’s lives, it can be easy to compare your lives with others. It’s also incredibly stressful and takes a lot of energy to constantly keep up with the Joneses. The reality is, most people are living way beyond their means. Instead of worrying so much about other people’s lives, focus on your values and what brings you happiness.
Let go of the pressure from those around you and surround yourself with people who bring you happiness. Trying to keep up with the Joneses brings a lot of discontent to a person’s life and never does any good. Everyone’s life is different and there is no sense in constantly comparing your life to a friend or neighbor.
6. Learn how to save more money
Learning how to save money at a young age can help people save more money as they get older. Saving extra money can help pay for a much needed vacation, pay off student loan debt, or even start an emergency savings fund.
Making money may be the easy part for some people, but a lot of people struggle with learning the strategies to save money. Spending money is incredibly easy and learning self-control is important early on in life. Saving for emergencies and retirement is crucial for a comfortable and happy future.
There are plenty of things I would tell my younger self to save me time and money, however, I am where I’m at today due to the decisions I made when I was younger. Life is a lifelong learning process and in 10 years, there will most likely be things I would like to tell myself at this age, even.