I got my first job at a burger joint when I was still in high school. The money I earned helped me buy my first car, a Pinto station wagon. I continued to work at a variety of jobs through college allowing me to graduate with a master’s degree in five years, debt free. I had a few dollars in the bank but little else in terms of possessions other than that same Pinto. I moved back in with my folks for a few months and saved my money so I could get a place of my own. Although I was not able to find a job in my chosen field, I was never without employment. I lived simply when I didn’t make a lot of money, but I still found ways to have fun and enjoy life. I continued to save a portion of each paycheck, a habit that I am glad to have established at a young age.
Before my husband and I got married, we discussed our financial goals and strategies and discovered we were on the same page in terms of always living within our means. Little things like paying off credit cards in full each month, not buying new cars when the old ones are still working, not buying on installments, and saving for a rainy day have helped to reduce financial stress Occasionally, we haven’t been in agreement about specific wants vs. needs, but because we have been open about the process we have been able to work things out. We have had wonderful adventures as a family and are living a very comfortable retirement. I haven’t missed a thing.