If you could go back in time to give financial advice to your 21-year-old self, what would you say? In this new series, our blogger friends share the things they wish they knew about saving money when they were 21.
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At 21, most young people are just starting their careers or pursuing further studies. It’s a good time to start learning life’s invaluable lessons about responsibility, work, and money.
We asked lawyer, mom, and blogger Jill Sabitsana what money lessons she would tell her 21-year-old self.
“I was still in college at 21, a senior – I think,” she says, and on the path to becoming a lawyer. “I had a nonchalant relationship with money. I was on an allowance from my parents and was able to live within it. I didn’t have any money goals and didn’t have a savings account. I didn’t think about money at all.”
She also states that her financial education was very Pinoy, with some exceptions. She and her siblings never got a formal lecture on finances, and money was mentioned in passing. Despite this, she learned a few things from her parents that was useful to paying her own mortgage – requesting a lower interest payment from the bank, and paying with a lump sum on the loan anniversary.
As a hobby, Jill founded the beauty blog Kikay Exchange while finishing her law degree. The blog’s readership grew and young, internet-savvy Filipinas used it as a resource for the latest in beauty and shopping. However, her time as a beauty blogger made her fall to the kind of consumerism that comes with it. She eventually found herself no longer completely enticed by the shiny things, and shifted her mindset towards her financial goals.
Frugal Honey, Jill’s current blog, was born after she and her husband found themselves in credit card debt. She said goodbye to her credit card debt by sticking to a money plan, and taking every opportunity to make and save money, such as packing her own lunch and taking up freelance writing gigs. The most important steps she took to rid herself of it being to snowball her payments – to take the credit card with the largest balance and pay 2-3 times the minimum amount, while paying the minimum on the others – and cutting up the two that she didn’t need. It was also during this time that she dove into the world of personal finance, changing her view on money and how to make it work for her.
The frugal ways Jill learned while paying off her debts have carried over to today. She says that getting rid of the feeling of self-entitlement went a long way towards achieving her financial goals at the time.
If she could go back in time to teach her 21-year-old self what she learned about managing money, this is what she would say:
“I would have told my then 21 year old self: (1) to take on side gigs and then use the money I would have earned on the stock market; (2) to stop buying trinkets, cheap shoes and clothes and use that money into building up an emergency fund or the stock market instead; (3) develop the mindset needed to make saving and investing a habit; and (4) learn from all of your mistakes (not just limited to money) but never dwell on them, instead, keep on moving forward.”
It’s been a while since her nonchalant relationship with money, and these days Jill is debt-free and financially stable. Now, she also helps others reach their financial goals through her blog. According to Jill, financial mistakes are important, and the valuable lessons she learned from hers have gone a long way towards helping others achieve their own financial freedom.
What financial advice would you give to your 21-year-old self? Tell us in the comments!