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Guest Post: Financial Do-Over

This is a guest post from Marissa at Thirty-Six Months for the 10th Yakezie Blog Swap. This week’s topic is, “If you had one financial do-over, what would it be and why?” Be sure to check out my guest post on her site!

It is so hard to pinpoint exactly one thing that I would do over financially as I have been going over those mistakes repeatedly in my head the last few months. The biggest regret I have is not living within my means, including taking future expenses into consideration. I took money for granted and assumed that I can always earn more if/when I needed it

I was reckless with my finances, which is surprising to everyone, especially me as I have been working since I was 14. Everyone assumes that since I have been used to dealing with money from such an early age I would have had a better system worked out. So not the case.  I am embarrassed to say that I have student loans – granted, grad school isn’t cheap but when you work full-time and bartend on weekends you should not have any student loans at all.

How does one graduate with $25,000 of student loans while earning an average of $65,000 a year during school? Let’s find out. For the record, I took a leave of absence from work for a year during which time I got my first student loan.

  • Trips! I love vacations. This took priority over RRSP’s and paying my credit cards in full and savings and emergency funds. How I managed to handle work, school and traveling as much as did, I will never know. I have visited every continent except Antarctica, because well its soooo cold and there isn’t anything to do. Although I thought I was being smart when I used to shop on sites for last min deals and such. It doesn’t matter when the money that used for the trip was on a credit and not paid back in a timely manner.
  • Shoes! Well not just shoes, but clothes, shoes, purses, sunglasses, etc. And I had to have the latest and greatest of everything. I didn’t think about tuition, books, rent, car insurance etc. that still had to be paid that month.
  • Gadgets. I am a techy girl. I remember spending $800 on a cell from the States because no one else had it in Canada and somehow that made it worth it to me.
  • BF/Friends. My ex-boyfriend was super spoiled. I got him everything he wanted. Ironically, he was the saver and didn’t spend a penny unless he absolutely had to. Hence I paid for everything and I really didn’t mind at the time. I should have known better. I love my friends so when their birthdays or Christmas would roll around, they would get fancy presents.
  • Eating out.I am a social person and really liked the idea of meeting different friends for drinks and meals as often as I could. Why I didn’t just invite people over and cook is beyond me.
  • Car. I bought a fancy car based on the colour and the status is symbolized. Bad idea. Although I did manage to pay it off within 3 years. (pat on the back)
  • No sight of a budget. In all honestly I didn’t even think of creating a budget because I was making way more than all my friends. I figured I could afford anything I wanted.
  • No savings plan. I was the poster child for living paycheck to paycheck.

Don’t get me wrong; I had great experiences during school (except my ex) and I feel like I am a bit more cultured during my travels (whatever that’s worth), but I can’t help but feel disappointed that I should be a lot further ahead than I am right now in life. Even though this post makes it seem like I partied and didn’t have a care in the world, I worked extremely hard and studied even harder. My academic performance was very important to me. I didn’t make my future a priority and I regret that.

At an age where most of my friends are buying houses and condos, I moved back home. And that stuff that I spent my hard-earned money on is sitting in my mom’s garage waiting for a garage sale, but I do have a dismal amount in my RRSP (having cashed it out every year to travel).

Marissa blogs about her goal to get out of debt in less than 3 years at Thirty-Six Months. Visit her site to learn more about her debt, savings, and spending strategies.

About Andrea Whitmer

Andrea is a freelance web developer and mom trying to maintain a sense of humor in an otherwise chaotic world. She blogs in hopes of helping others avoid the same mistakes she made in the past. Join in the discussion here on So Over This, or connect on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Google Plus. You can also subscribe to new posts via RSS so you never miss out!

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