I often saw my mom balancing the checkbook and felt very aware of how finances played an important part in family dynamics. However, it wasn’t until way into adulthood when I learned how much my parents sometimes struggled with their finances.
They did such a good job of balancing their budget that I never questioned our middle-class lifestyle or even knew about how shaky our finances sometimes really were.
I’m very thankful for the financial lessons my parents instilled in me as they’ve helped shape my own healthy understanding of finances. My husband and I will most likely never be millionaires, but in the 5 short years we’ve been married, we’ve been able to more than double our annual income, have paid off $45,000 in debt, and have bought our first house with a 10% down payment in one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation.
Here are 3 money lessons we live by that have helped us reach these milestones.
1. Live on Less Than You Make
One of the reasons we’ve been able to accomplish as much as we have financially is because we’ve always lived on less than what we made. If we felt our budget was stretched to the limit, we downsized and cut out extra expenses to reduce our spending and live on less. It’s not easy, but it’s absolutely necessary to ensure financial security.
How did we live by this money lesson? One of the most drastic things we did was downsize from a one-bedroom apartment to a studio guesthouse. Imagine two adults and a 35-pound dog in less than 600 sq.ft. of living space.Struggling to manage your #money? Live by these 3 simple lessons Click To Tweet
2. Always Try to Earn More Money
My husband and I are constantly trying to earn more money. We never settle with just our annual salaries from our day jobs. This means we follow our passions on the side to try and earn more income. For me, that involves freelancing. For my husband, that means teaching fire courses on the side.
We also work hard to earn raises at work by taking on additional responsibilities, always volunteering to do extra work, and working overtime. By consistently taking the initiative to earn more money, we’ve managed to double our annual income in less than 5 years.
3. Ignore the Joneses
This is probably the hardest of the money lessons, but one of the most important. If you truly want to live a debt-free and financially secure lifestyle, you need to stop keeping up with the Joneses and focus on your own priorities.
It can be very hard to not get envious of the extravagant purchases you see others making, such as luxurious vacations or fancy cars. In the world of Facebook, it seems like everyone is flaunting the the finer things they have in life. But to be truly financially secure, you need to ignore the Joneses and focus on yourself. Remember, if the grass is greener on the other side, water your own lawn.
What money lessons have you learned to live by? Which lesson here do you plan on following?