Growing up, my family had no issue eating out every week, keeping up on the latest technology trends, or vacationing at exclusive resorts. My family was very well off because of multiple successes in business. As I reached my sophomore year of high school, my family's financial situation changed. My father began spending all of his money on what he thought would be his big break in business. He took out loans, maxed out credit cards, and even convinced my mother to lend him her retirement savings. All of this financial stress caused my parents to split up and sell our home. I now live with my mother, brother, and grandparents in a condo. While this living situation is not what I am used to, it has caused me to really value every dollar instead of taking money for granted.
After this major life change, I wanted to make sure I would have financial security in my future. I applied and obtained two jobs that kept me very busy throughout every week. Every time I got a paycheck, I put 75% into my savings, and 25% into my wallet for spending. I also began getting more creative on how to go out on a budget. Instead of going to the mall with friends, I'd go to thrift shops or garage sales and limit myself to how much I spend on clothes. I began asking my friends and family for gift cards to my favorite restaurants for my birthday and holidays in order to be able to go out and enjoy a nice meal without having to spend my own money. While I knew I needed to save for my future and value every dollar I spent, I did not want to stop enjoying my life just because I no longer had the funds I was used to.
To further ensure my financial security, I wanted to attend college and be the first in my family to obtain a bachelors degree. With my parents low amount of funds, I knew I'd have to apply to universities that were low cost and offered financial aid. Because of my hard work in high school, I was offered to have half of my tuition covered by the university I was accepted to. To pay for the rest of the tuition, I obtained a job on campus and spend most of my weekends applying for scholarships. I needed to get out of my family's financial downfall and start focusing on my own funds for my future. By doing my research and investing time in my financial security, I will have very little debts to pay off later on.
As I started college, I also began finding smaller ways to save my money. Every time I am out and I see a coin, I pick it up. Maybe it is just a penny or a nickel, but after a while those coins begin to add up. Also every time I spend cash and receive a five dollar bill as change, it goes into a jar for savings. At the end of every month I deposit the jar into my savings account and it is usually around $75. While I have no big financial plan for saving, I do many little things to save money and they all add up. Even saving a dollar has a large value in my eyes as it is one more dollar for my financial security and future.