When I graduated from college, I didn’t know the first thing about personal finance. Or any finance. I knew that I wasn’t going to go to grad school right away (or ever), so my boyfriend and I got an apartment, found jobs, and settled into the routines of every day life in the “real world.”
Six months later, I received my first student loan statements. All of a sudden my monthly expenses jumped by $250 and I was working 3/4 time earning only slightly more than minimum wage. Unsure of what else I could do I got a second job and continued living paycheck to paycheck.
Somewhere along the way I got my first credit card. I did know one thing about credit cards: it’s very, very important to pay them off in full every month. This, however, is easier said than done.
My car broke down. I didn’t have $400 to fix it, and I needed my car to get to work. Onto my shiny new credit card it went. Come the end of the month, I still didn’t have $400 to pay off the credit card, so I ignored it.
And then the car broke down again. And then I used my credit card to help pay the down payment on a car. And then I needed dental work and had no insurance. And then, and then, and then…
In the end, between my boyfriend (now my husband) and I, we had over $5,000 in consumer debt and $4,000 tied up in an auto loan, never mind our student loans. When we got married and I took stock of our financial situation, I realized something had to change, so I threw myself into figuring out this “personal finance” thing.
Now, just one year later, we’ve almost completely eliminated our credit card debt, and are about to start aggressively paying down our car loans (yes, we have two now… more on that later).
I decided to put together this website and blog for young people in high school and college who don’t know anything about personal finance and want to learn. I’ve made numerous mistakes since graduating to the “real world” and my goal is to tell you about them and help you learn from them so you don’t have to face them yourself.
I hope you enjoy it, and if you have any questions, feel free to email me. I’ll be happy to help in any way I can.
Next post: Lessons Learned: Buying a new car