Pay Yourself First
Day 3 of my 30 Days of Gratitude
It's a parents job to help teach and grow their children, so that they are fully prepared for the real world. They spend 18 years sharing wisdom, life lessons, and knowledge on the inner workings of life. And if they are successful then the world gains a smart, mature, young adult to help shape it. Every life lesson is important. Every rule, strict or not, is important. Every word, thought, parenting strategy is important in a child's life. I'm sure there were some lessons that really stuck with you. And I don't mean the basic ones like "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say it all" or "make sure to always save your money".
The one lesson that really stuck with me was about money. My dad still teaches me this every day. He says that "in order to be successful in life you should pay your self first, pay your bills second, save whatever amount you'd like, and then go have fun. And when you have fun, go hard."
Let me break it down what he means by this. To pay yourself first means to pay your investments. A few years ago I set up my retirement fund. An investment I can't touch until I'm 65 years old. Every month I put a little bit of my monthly income into that account so that it will gradually build over the next 45 years. The end result hopefully being that there is a million dollars in the account. As painful as it was to hand over a large chunk of my savings to start this fund, I understand that it is extremely important in the long run and I'm grateful to my dad for helping me start it.
Pay your bills second. This should be self-explanatory. But if your like me and you don't have too many large bills to pay, then the money you don't use for this step is extremely important in the next step. Saving money is huge. Whether you're saving for a house, or a car, or (like me) a new tattoo, or children, whatever it is you want, you need that cushion to help you get started. Even if you're only saving a little bit at a time, you're still saving money which is important. My advice is always to stop eating out. FOOD IS FREAKING EXPENSIVE. And then on top of that, you have to tip. I'm a server so I appreciate and live off of people's gratuity, but if you don't have a lot of money then don't go out to eat. Because you're not only hurting yourself, but you're also hurting the person you didn't have enough money to tip.
Have fun! This step is just as crucial as the others. You're life shouldn't be all working, and saving money. You should be having fun too! The way my dad taught me is, if you save an extra $50 each month or however much you want to save, then when you do go out, go out hard. Go see two movies back to back, or go live it up at the bar. Go on a weekend getaway, get a massage, or get your hair done. Do something fun, because you will be miserable if all you ever do is work with no play.
Life is supposed to be enjoyable. Hopefully you're in a job that you not only are making good money at, but you're also enjoying what you do. For now, I enjoy being a server. I make good money, I work with good people, and I learn a lot about two things I really love. Food and wine :) I am so grateful every day that my dad taught me this lesson. It's been hard to follow, and I've strayed from it from time to time, but thats inevitably going to happen. We're human and not perfect. I'm grateful I have two parents who love me and only want the best for me. They've taught me many life lessons to be grateful for, but this one definitely tops them all :)