My parents had the audacity to have their best financial years while I had to fill out the FAFSA.
That’s mostly a joke, but receiving my first financial aid statement was not. I didn’t know that private loans existed, so my life savings and work study money would have to stretch to pay my tuition bill. But the work study money ran out in April and my department didn’t want to pay for my hours.
My parents spotted me $700 to pay the rest of my tuition for the year, but I was pretty distraught. Before they stepped in, I thought I wouldn’t be able to come back to school the next year. I cried. Bawled, really.
I graduated a semester early, just in time for the recession to hit. Matt and I got married, moved to Iowa on a wing and a prayer, and were down to $50 in our bank account by the time he got his first full paycheck from the University.
Given the economy, my job search was a depressing slog…and as soon as I finally landed a paraeducator job, we found out I was pregnant. And we knew that living so far from family or support, me staying home with our kids was the most logical decision for us.
Needless to say, money has consumed much of my brain since reaching adulthood. Do we have enough? Will we be able to pay for x? How will upping our student loan payment affect this? How soon do we have to save for new tires?
I think we’ve largely done a good job with money, particularly when we had very little of it. But as we settle into a season of more than “just enough to scrape by,” I want to make sure that we are stewarding our excess well.
Sometimes the best way to look forward is to look back. Over the next week, I’ll be reflecting on things we did well with money when we had little, hoping that they’ll inform and reinforce some good habits going forward–and that, maybe, you’ll learn a little something, too.
Also, I’m working on my monthly newsletter! If you’d like to read extras about what I’ve read or enjoyed this month, pop your email into this form and I’ll let you in on the fun this Friday.