I've never been good with money. I've rarely had real debt. The first time I bought a car, the thought of having a loan to pay off made me feel sick. However, I wasn't very good at saving money, and, I was terrible at keeping track of money. I never balanced my checkbook. I'd never let my account get below about $100, because I was afraid that I'd inadvertantly bounce checks.
After I finished Grad School, I paid off close to $1000 in credit card debt. It wasn't much to most people, but, I wasn't making very much at the time. I was still catching up from being unemployed, and, I wasn't making very much money anyway. After that, I started trying to put roughly 25% of my salary away, first in a savings account. I started setting clear goals for myself. My first three goals were to open an IRA, to open a high-yield savings account, and, to put aside enough money to cover 3 months' worth of expenses plus the cost of the item I promised to myself as the "reward" for meeting my goals.
In the midst of all of this, I got engaged. Between my savings, my soon-to-be-husband's savings (he's far better with money than I), and my parents' help, we'll be able to have a nice, not-too-big wedding. Obviously it means my plans and goals have changed a bit. The item I planned on getting as my "reward" for making progress has gone on hold for the time being. A year ago, I wouldn't have had any money to put towards a wedding or anything else though. I'm far happier and less stressed -- despite my current lack of job security. The progress I've made is its own reward.
Have you paid off your debt? Managed to save for your dream home? Had an awesome investment pan out? Share your personal finance success stories here.
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