About a month ago I posted an article called Money Lessons I’ve Learned Since Graduation (Part 1). At the end, I said to keep an eye out for Part 2.
Well…here it is.
I won’t go through my back story as much, since Part 1 talks about it, but in case you don’t feel like reading that article, here is some quick info.
I graduated college in 2016 and have since entered the “real world.” I now have a full-time job, live away from my hometown, and am working to pay off my student debt.
Since graduating, I’ve learned many lessons about different things going on in my life, but especially about money.
Here are 3 more of the most important money lessons I’ve learned so far:
1) Interest Can Really Be Your Friend…
About a year ago I started contributing to a Roth IRA account as a way to start saving for retirement.
Though I only started off putting a small percentage of my paycheck in each month, I’ve been really surprised at how quickly my account has been growing. I don’t check it often, so it’s really nice to log back into my account and see it much higher than I last remembered.
What’s even better, though, is seeing how much extra money I’m earning through interest. Right now, I’m earning about an 8% return on my investments, which I hear isn’t too bad.
It’s really awesome to see my money growing (via interest) as opposed to just having it sit around in a lower-interest savings account.
No matter where you are in your life, it’s never too late to start saving for retirement. The sooner you start, the more interest will work in your favor, and the more valuable each dollar you add will be by the time you reach the ripe old age of retirement.
2) …But It Can Also Be Your Enemy
Just like interest can help you grow your money, it can also quickly deplete it, or put you even more in the red.
Let me explain.
As I explained earlier, I did have to take on some student loan debt to help pay for college. Though it wasn’t much, I was pretty shocked when I punched in my debt amount into the first student loan calculator I used and it showed me how much interest I would end up paying on the standard 10-year repayment plan.
I think it went something like this inside my head:
“My total student loan cost would be how much?!?! That’s almost 150% of what I took out!”
So, just like I learned that interest can help grow your money in an awesome way, I also found out that it can cost…A LOT.
Now my plan is to pay off my debt as fast as possible while still saving a reasonable amount for retirement and day-to-day expenses.
I hope to have all my student debt paid off in about 5 years since my grace period started so I can save on the interest. I also might refinance soon to save a little extra, as well.
I’ll do a post soon on some of the ways I am paying off my debt quickly.
3) Plan Out Travel in Advance
When I was in college I was lucky to live close enough to home that my parents could come pick me up for holiday breaks or if I had to go home for any other reason.
Now that I’m further away with no car, though, I’ve had to do a lot of traveling to make it back home every now and then.
Unfortunately, this travel can get pretty expensive.
Roundtrip bus tickets usually range from $40 – $70 and, when I have to get home faster, the Amtrak can cost upwards of $150.
One trick I have found, though, is that planning out trips and purchasing tickets in advance can save big.
I probably should have thought of this sooner, but at least I figured it out eventually, haha.
I’ve found that when I plan a trip over a month or two in advance, I can save around 50% on what I usually pay when I schedule it a week or two ahead of time.
Now, I always try to think about weekends and upcoming holidays for the next few months and purchase my tickets A$AP Rocky so I can avoid those big fares while making Mom and Dad happy campers.
None of these lessons may be groundbreaking to most of you, but they’ve actually helped me out a lot in the past year or so, so I figured I’d share. Hopefully someone out there reads this and learns something new.
Keep an eye out for Part 3 in the next week to year, and feel free to share any of your favorite money lessons in the comments below!