Don’t worry… This isn’t a frugality challenge or savings challenge that you typically see spamming your Twitter feed.
I want to see how many of my readers, fellow PF bloggers, lurkers, friends & family alike will take the time to reflect introspectively and write a letter to their 16 year old self.
Tell yourself the things you would have liked to know going into your 20s and save yourself from making the mistakes you made. Don’t forget to compliment yourself too! Surely there’s something you were doing when you were younger that enhanced yourself.
Dear Mr. Millenniare,
Since you’re turning 30 soon, I figured now was a good time to sit you down and have a heart to heart.
First off, 30 is still a baby. I know it seems like you’ll be ready for the nursing home at 30, but be warned: You will still feel 16.
Now that that’s out of the way, I feel like I have a lot of information for you to help guide you through the next decade of your life. Just hear me out.
- Part-Time Job:
First off, let me congratulate you. In an age where fewer and fewer parents require their kids to work so they can focus on school, you’re working hard and maintaining your grades. You should be proud of this and continue to bring that work ethic to other aspects of your life. You’re going to learn a lot about professionalism in the workplace, customer service, managing your finances, and the value of your time and money. Continue to build relationships, because you don’t know it yet… but your first job outside of college is going to be because of your habits during this job.
You saw a fraction of the work they put in to get you to this point. Take the time to thank them for putting food on the table and clothes on your back. Listen to their advice about saving for college and keeping your grades up. Give your mom a break occasionally.
College isn’t your right. You have to work to not only get your degree, but to afford the ability to even go. Prices of tuition and housing continue to go up. Do everything in your power to look for scholarships. When you’re doing looking, look again. After you’ve started, don’t stop looking for ways to help with your bursar balance.Become a resident adviser, campus worker, teaching assistant, cafeteria worker, or department employee if you are able and continue to knock away at the cost of your education. Many universities offer work study programs that can significantly reduce the cost of school.
- Full-Time Job:
When you finish school and you’re ready to find your first job, just remember that no job is worth your sanity. Making more money does not equal having more happiness. You’ll make fun of all the people who say money doesn’t buy happiness, but if it’s at the sake of your sanity – there are no truer words.
Don’t get hung up on this. The right person is going to come along when you least expect it.
Do everything in your power to keep up with family. After all, you only get one. As you continue to become a unique adult, you’re going to form your own opinions that may differ from your family. Remain respectful and just avoid politics & religion during holidays. Your crazy Aunt Donna will always be your crazy Aunt Donna.
Create a budget and stick to it. Don’t think that because your friends go out every night that it means you have to as well. Even though you’ve only heard horror stories about credit cards, you need to start building credit as early as you can so that you have an easier time in your 20s.Knowing where your money goes will help you when your car breaks down.P.S. Your car will break down.P.P.S Multiple times.
You’re going to love buying your first home. Remember though: Just because the bank says you can afford a $200,000 home, you’ll be just fine in a $110,000 starter.Take pride in your property. Not only is it something to be proud of, but you’ll make more money when you decide to move!
Believe it or not, your diet catches up to you sometime in your mid 20s. Take care of your body because you only get one. Preparing meals at home and having a morning routine can help you get your health on the right track.If your employer lets you contribute to an HSA, consider taking advantage of it for the tax benefits that come along with creating a safety net for your health.
I could go on and on passing tidbits of wisdom, but I figured I’d leave you with one final piece of advice to keep this brief. Life is short. Realistically, you work for 1/3 of your life, sleep for 1/3, and get to do what you want with the final 1/3. What does that tell you? Enjoy what you do for a living, don’t go cheap on a good bed, and fill the rest of your life with meaningful relationships, hobbies, and skills. Be frugal in your spending and save with intention. Minding this simple rule will allow you to shift your thirds to a more favorable 1/3 sleep and 2/3 living life.