Three Essential Money Lessons for Life

 

Your Adult Child and Money Management - Stoddard Financial Blog -  Customized Financial Planning in Medfield, MA

Growing up, I always knew we were a solidly middle-class family. We had money for most of what we wanted, but we certainly couldn’t have everything.

I often watched my mom balance the checkbook, making me acutely aware of how important finances were in our family life. However, it wasn’t until much later in adulthood that I discovered how much my parents sometimes struggled financially.

They managed their budget so well that I never doubted our middle-class lifestyle or realized how precarious our financial situation sometimes was.

I’m incredibly grateful for the financial lessons my parents taught me, as they’ve shaped my healthy understanding of money. My husband and I might never become millionaires, but in just five years of marriage, we’ve more than doubled our annual income, paid off $45,000 in debt, and bought our first house with a 10% down payment in one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets.

Here are three money lessons we live by that have helped us achieve these milestones.

1. LIVE ON LESS THAN YOU MAKE

A key reason we’ve been able to accomplish so much financially is that we’ve always lived below our means. If our budget felt stretched, we downsized and cut unnecessary expenses to reduce our spending. It wasn’t easy, but it was essential for our financial security.

One of the most drastic steps we took was moving from a one-bedroom apartment to a studio guesthouse. Imagine two adults and a 35-pound dog living in less than 600 square feet.

2. ALWAYS TRY TO EARN MORE MONEY

My husband and I are always looking for ways to increase our income. We don’t just rely on our annual salaries. We pursue our passions on the side to earn extra incomeā€”I’m a freelancer, and my husband teaches fire courses.

We also strive to earn raises at work by taking on additional responsibilities, volunteering for extra tasks, and working overtime. This proactive approach has allowed us to double our annual income in less than five years.

3. IGNORE THE JONESES

This might be the hardest lesson, but it’s one of the most crucial. To live a debt-free and financially secure life, you must stop comparing yourself to others and focus on your own priorities.

It’s tough not to envy the extravagant purchases others make, like luxurious vacations or fancy cars. With social media, it seems like everyone is showing off their finest things. But to achieve true financial security, you need to ignore the Joneses and concentrate on your goals. Remember, if the grass is greener on the other side, it’s time to water your own lawn.

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