I was in college and it was hot outside. I’m talking Georgia, late summer, the air thick and humid with no breeze to speak of.
I was thanking my lucky stars for the invention of air conditioning when I heard my roommate say, “Hey! Can we keep the AC at 77 instead of 70? I don’t want to pay an outrageously high bill.”
I was puzzled. Was she not suffering from the oppressive heat like I was? Plus, I knew her parents paid for everything. Curious, I found a quiet time to ask her about it.
“Why are you worried about the power bill? I didn’t think it would stress you out so much.”
Her answer surprised me: “I have a semester budget I have to stick to. I have to plan ahead to make sure it lasts.”
Up until this moment, I saw finances on a paycheck-to-paycheck time frame. I was working my way through college, so budgeting was a necessary part of my life. My family helped when they could but I was fully supporting myself – tuition, rent, air conditioning, all of it. I hadn’t imagined others might be planning months ahead instead of week by week.
I was a first-generation graduate, and my parents and I were learning as we went. I thought everyone had to work and have the same “struggling college” experience that I did. That was the story I’d always heard and the one I was living.
By contrast, my roommate’s parents had gone through college themselves. They knew what to expect. While they were fortunate to be in a position to support her financially, they also set up a system she had to be responsible for.
Seeing this different approach inspired me. I looked at my own cash flow and started thinking ahead about budgeting over a longer period of time. I realized how a proactive approach to my finances could have a profound impact on my future, which is one of the reasons I love helping others with their futures now.
(I also turned the AC down to 75.)
How I’m expanding what’s possible with money
I share the wealth of my knowledge with those around me by simplifying and easing into those “uncomfortable” money conversations. I aim to empower others and help paint the picture of what’s possible.
Outside of work, my passions include
Stuffing my family and friends with my many homemade goods, spending quality time with them, and traveling. I also give back by mentoring for my hometown school.