I was raised with the common sense approach to finances. You can’t spend it if you don’t have it. Growing up, I was required to do chores around the house weekly and was rewarded with an allowance that I could spend at my own discretion. This was my first experience with money management. I quickly learned that if I really wanted that expensive new outfit, I would have to work for it and save my money which meant sacrificing in other areas. Maybe I didn’t buy the latest CD or I skipped the concession stand at the movie theater.
When I was 16, I got my first job at a store in the mall. My father took this opportunity to teach me about credit and to establish good credit in my name. He got a credit card in my name and explained that I was responsible for paying the balance in full each month. It was made very clear to me that I was never to charge more than I could afford to pay off in 1 month. I did very well following these rules and my credit score reflected these good habits. Then, I graduated high school and went off to college where I remained on track of paying my balance in full every month. I graduated college debt free thanks to a scholarship and my parents who paid for the rest of my tuition and living expenses while I was in school.
I was able to immediately find a teaching job and start earning my own income so that I could be fully on my own financially. I felt good about my personal finances because I was not in debt and had enough self-control to use credit cards wisely without putting myself in a position to ever have a balance on my card that I could not pay in full.