I’m a 26 year-old happily married homeowner. My parents were frugal and instilled in me at an early age the value of a dollar. Growing up my dad owned a sod and irrigation business that I spent my middle and high school summers working for. He paid me well but the work was physically demanding. At a young age I became obsessed with saving the money I was earning. I remember vividly the day that my savings account reached a thousand dollars and that was what sparked my frugality.
In high school I had much more money than all of my friends and was constantly encouraged to spend it on ridiculous items. I can even remember one of my “friends” trying to convince me to move out of my parents’ house and get an apartment at the age of 17, simply because I had the money to do it (ridiculous right?). Not that I flaunted anything but most of my friends knew I had a healthy savings account because I was so tight with my money. However, there was a reason for it.
My dad told me as soon as I was old enough to understand it that I was going to be responsible for my college education. Not because my parents didn’t have the means to pay for it but because my dad paid for his education and he knew the discipline it built. Also he was sure that if my money was paying the bills then I would spend less time partying and more time taking advantage of my time at school. As much as I despised my dad during certain difficult times at school, I wouldn’t have done it any other way now. Through savings, scholarships and working when I wasn’t in class I graduated debt free. To this day it’s probably my proudest accomplishment.
With a mortgage now and the other costs associated with being a young adult, it’s more difficult to save money compared to when I was a teenager with a 100% disposable income. The percentage is much lower today but with a little creativity and even more discipline, we still find ways to save money and contribute to our future.