I Have a Boring Personal Finance Story

Every day I read stories on how people are working their way out of debt, or paid off thousands of dollars of debt in two years. While I’m extremely happy for these people that decided to get out of debt, I understand my financial story is a little boring. Why? Because I never accrued thousands and thousands of dollars of debt. I graduated with no student loans, no consumer debt, and no private loans. My parents were not rich. Actually quite the opposite. I come from a very modest, lower income family. My parents make no more than $30,000 a year and that is working more than 40 hours a week, and maintaining side hustles when the opportunity rises.

I learned from a very early age the importance of a dollar. I actually understood why I couldn’t have the toys on TV, the latest make up, or the latest clothes. I didn’t even get internet at my house until I was 15 years old in 2005. I had to save up to pay for 50% of my laptop, back when laptops were at least $1,000. I would do my research at the library an hour at a time, because your time slot only lasted an hour, and you then had to get in line to get back on the computer.

I worked hard through school because I realized school was the only way I would be able to improve my future. But I also understood higher education was extremely expensive, and I knew I did not want and could not get into debt while going to school. So I worked my butt off during high school. While many kids remember high school as a care free time, I remember it as sleepless nights of homework, exams, and long term papers & projects. This is how I ended up graduating at the top of my class, valedictorian, and earning a full ride to university. Note: I was an extremely grumpy teenager due to not being able to sleep enough.

Once I started college, I realized I could take more than 15 hours a semester, take summer classes at a community college for some of my basics, and graduate in less than four years. I could then use the fourth year of my scholarship to pay for my Master’s degree. So, I accelerated my undergraduate studies, started taking graduate courses when I was a junior, and finished both my bachelor’s, and master’s in four years. By May 7th 2013, I will also have my MBA. And I would have graduated with no debt.

Maybe some of you may think I got my scholarships because I’m Hispanic or come from a  lower income class. I have heard a lot of people argue that they don’t qualify for scholarships because they are not a minority or poor. But in reality these arguments are just excuses. All of my scholarships were merit based, which means I had to have an extremely high GPA, along with extra curricular activities, and top notch recommendations.

I, also, understood I could not spend more than what I had in the bank. I have always been really careful with money, and thankfully I have never had to worry about paying my bills. Granted it has always been a pretty tight budget, but I had friends who would be in the negative numbers before the month ended, and had to borrow from multiple friends to carry themselves over to the next pay check. This is a never ending cycle because it is very hard to catch up.

Some people may choose to live life paying off monthly debt bills. I am not one of these people. It’s simple. Save before you spend.

23 responses to “I Have a Boring Personal Finance Story

  1. I’m one of those people too that have to save before I spend although the mortgage is obviously a different story. I bought my first home very young and that’s because I always saved my money, paid cash for everything…. it’s good to start young.. at least that’s what I learned although there’s no better time than the present, right? Cheers

    • True! Mortgage is something that I will get into debt for. But I will not buy more than I can afford. I know a lot of people that make less than we do, and end up spending way more than us….I always wonder how they do it.

  2. I don’t think your story is boring – it’s a lot like mine started out, actually. =) In fact, I think that 99% of the time, our PF story is pretty boring too. We saved up money, got married, got a house, worked our asses off fixing it up, got a duplex, worked our asses off fixing it up, saved up, bought a lot, paying down the investments as we go… Really, it’s just a lot of boring stuff day-to-day. No fireworks or explosions. Just hard work.

  3. I commend you for your efforts! I don’t find your story boring at all. I think it’s actually inspiring that you accomplished so much on your own merit and hard work. Not many people graduate as fast as you did!

  4. I am also in the club of boring personal finance stories. I graduated with no debt. As of right now, the only debt I have is my car, which will finally be fully paid off in March 2014 and our mortgage. Yay for hard work paying off!

  5. There is no reason you need to feel bad that your story is “boring.” And it isn’t, as I found reading about all your hard work compelling. But regardless, it’s YOURS. It’s YOUR journey, YOUR blog, etc. Enjoy the merits of your hard work and dedication!

    • Yes 🙂 I did but it’s also really hard for me to talk about tackling debt when I haven’t really not yet anyways. Hopefully, not really other than a mortgage, which I hope we have paid off by the time we are 30. The first house anyways!

    • Thanks! I really wish our country relied less on credit scores. I’m sure many people have better credit scores than me just because I just opened my first credit card last summer, and I have never taken out any other loans.

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  7. Hey, nothing wrong with slow and steady! Boring can be good (slightly off topic, T calls me old and boring jokingly; what can I say, I am a homebody). My financial journey hasn’t been very exciting either; I skipped the whole debt phase. I suppose the things that spice it up are T’s hot mess of a family (as you read yesterday) and our impending world trip.

    • Thanks for stopping by!
      Hah actually my husband is a super homebody. He loves his routine. He doesn’t like change.

      I’m not really a homebody, but I am becoming more because I am always so tired at the end of the day.

      My family is a hot mess. I only have my parents and brother (immediate), but my parents have so much drama in their marriage, it’s difficult.

  8. But, at the same time, you worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to get to be debt-free. Those of us (myself included) who chose differently are paying for our choices now.

    I really admire what you’ve done and how hard you’ve worked. You were lucky in that your parents taught you those values and you didn’t get caught up in a culture of wasteful spending and consumerism. I wish I’d been taught well, but unfortunately I was raised by someone who thought not paying bills and not working was an acceptable way to live. I’m not using that as an excuse, but I didn’t really have a financial role model. It’s actually a miracle I’m here leaving this comment–I hope that discovering PF helps me in some way eventually.

    You work hard, but I think now might be the time to finally enjoy yourself a little bit. You’ve definitely earned it.

    • Hey C! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I think when we don’t have role models in our life, we need to look at other people for role models. Which is exactly what you are doing.

      My parents taught me to live within my means and work hard. But they never taught me about investing, buying real estate, etc. They just don’t have that knowledge. Which is why I look for other resources.

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