The biggest mistake I have made was getting myself into debt. I used to have a high amount of credit card debt two years ago, but I am very proud to be debt-free now. Once I paid off all of my debt, I told myself that I would never, ever get into that situation again, I gained a whole new outlook on credit cards in general. From that experience I learned the importance of living within my means, which has lead me to be more cautious about my spending.
Credit cards made it easy and tempting to spend excessively; therefore, I had to learn to prioritize. I learned the importance of living within my means the hard way.
I stopped over-spending, and bought only what was necessary. Giving up latte three times a week, packing my lunch instead of eating out, turning lights off, these small things added up to big savings. I had to change the way I was thinking in order to understand, that every time I swipe that card, I am spending my own money, and not something from an endless pool of credit. I also realized that, just as with anything, credit cards themselves, when used responsibly, are generally not the issue. It was how I initially approached them that was.
At the end of the day, the amount of money I have in my bank account shouldn't be the most important thing in my life. Money comes and goes, but friends and family bonds are lasting and meant to be cherished. Although financial independence is one of my goals in life, it’s certainly not what I value most. Working on good relationships is often more rewarding and fulfilling that working on maxing out my credit cards.
Being in debt also taught me the importance of putting aside money for savings. I was able to achieve that by developing a budget, and living within my means. Soon after I decided to take control of my finances, I opened a savings account at my credit union. I began to save for unexpected disasters. It took nearly a year, but eventually I saved $1,000. That wouldn't last long during a major...