If someone were to ask me, “Do you think about your personal finances often?” my answer would probably be yes and no. Yes in the sense that I am conscious of how I spend my money and how I save up money, but also no because that’s the extent of my thoughts on personal finance.
You may have noticed that I haven’t written any finance related posts on the blog yet. I feel like everyone has similar habits and/or goals like budgeting and saving up, so I wouldn’t have any new insights to share. Today I want to do a bit of reflection on how I thought about my finances in the past because looking at the past will help me figure out how I can improve in my personal finance journey.
The first time my parents introduced me to this whole money business and how to handle money was in high school. I was given an allowance each month that I could spend on whatever I wanted. I learned how to budget so I didn’t end up using all my allowance before the month was over. It also taught me to really ask myself before I purchased something if I really needed that or if I just wanted it. To this day, I still use this method every time I’m thinking about spending money on something.
At the beginning of college, I created an arbitrary budget to manage my money. I didn’t think too much about spending a few dollars here and there. It wasn’t until I really sat down to calculate how much I actually spent that I realized everything adds up quickly. I became better at budgeting by adjusting them based on how much things usually cost in the US.
It wasn’t until I went to college in the US that I realized how blessed I was to not have to worry about money. Before I graduated college, my dad and I had a “gentleman’s agreement” in which he would stop supporting me after I graduated. He wanted me to learn to be financially independent, but he would set aside some money to pay for graduate school if I ever decided to go. I didn’t think too much of it in the beginning. Come the end of junior year, I realized I definitely wouldn’t have enough money to support myself so I began figuring out a way to work in the US.
I worked at Starbucks from the summer before senior year up until I graduated. The money I made at Starbucks allowed me to support myself through the summer until I found a job. I was also able to purchase my first car. Once I started working, I made sure I didn’t spend more money than I made each month.
After I moved back to Taiwan, I slacked off a bit. I became lazy at writing down all my expenses. Everything is paid by cash and a lot of times with no receipt so sometimes I’ll forget to write down an expense and then it’d be hard to really know how much I really spent. I’m still very much aware of where my money is going, but I want to figure out new ways to increase my salary, find new ways to save up, and really think about my long-term financial goals.
I hope you’ll come along with me on this personal finance journey and I’d love to hear about yours too!