Free from Broke has asked his readers to share their financial tipping points. I thought this would be a great time to share where I am coming from with you guys. Sure, there’s is a $25 Amazon GC giveaway in the mix, but I am rarely ever that lucky. Today I just want you to look into what happened in my past to make me who I am today.
Most of you probably don’t know this, but I was not born in this country. I was born and raised in a third world country. Where I come from my parents were part of the working class. My dad worked and my mom stayed at home. She became a seamstress to help with the household expenses. Because of the quality of the school system, attending public school was never a choice, so I went to a private school. I grew up having to make choices all the time, it was either school books or tuition or a Christmas or birthday present. I also don’t remember ever seeing my parents use a credit card. Many times it was tight but they always used cash to pay for everything. I didn’t grow up thinking that using credit was OK.
At the age of 19 I earned a scholarship to come to the U.S. to get a bachelor’s degree. I was completely on my own, many miles away from home. My upbringing was put to the test. There was always someone offering a t-shirt if you opened a credit card on the front steps of the school’s main building. I did apply to one because you are no one if you don’t have established credit in this country, but if I ever used it I paid it entirely. Thanks to the scholarship and my credit habits I graduated without any debt.
I met my husband when I started my graduate degree. His background is much different from mine. His parents had paid for his undergraduate degree. They gave him a car when he graduated. He also had around $15K in credit card debt when we met and was paying his way to grad school with student loans. I was not comfortable with the amount of credit card debt he had but he understood that this needed to get paid. We worked together to get it paid. Every little extra money we had we sent to his credit card debt and it took about three years to get it paid. Since then we have never carried a credit card balance. Looking at our finances as a team has been a process but we have always been in it together.
In summary, I grew up having to be frugal. Perhaps I don’t have an individual tipping point but I had to reach one when my husband and I made the decision to become a couple and share our finances. Cleaning his act became cleaning ours.
Can you pinpoint what made you change your ways?