I had a job working at Wendy’s my junior year and senior year of high school. My mom taught me to tithe and save. While I made sure to give the first 10% of what I made at church, I wasn’t a very good saver. I can’t even remember what I spent my money on.
When I went to college I didn’t have any money set aside, but I had a campus bookstore credit card.
I also had a work study job lined up with a notion that $4.25/hour would be all that I’d need. I was wrong. My books were REALLY expensive, so were the art supplies required for my design major. Plus… I wanted to go out with my new friends.
I was responsible for every thing but my tuition, room & board. (That was, of course until my student loans came due, then I was responsible for those too.)
Back then, credit card companies were allowed set up tables on campus and solicit students to open accounts with them. I thought this was the answer to my moneyless dilemma, because after all my parents used credit cards. It never dawned on me to work more and spend less. Credit cards gave me access to the things I needed and wanted.
Over the next 4 years I dug myself into a deep hole. While the amount of money increased each year so did my spending. By the time I hit my senior year I’d had a few cards maxed out. My credit was worthless because I failed to pay the minimum amounts on time.
I graduated college with $38,000 in debt.
I moved to Atlanta with $65 and car full of my stuff. I had trouble getting an apartment and a bank account. When I cried to a good friend about what I was going through, he just laughed and said “This is when we find out what Kim is made of.”
Once I found a place to stay I had no money to furnish it. I slept on the floor for months until one of my credit cards extended my credit. As soon as I got that letter in the mail I immediately bought a bed and maxed it out again.
I was motivated to change. Slowly I got a handle on my situation by hearing biblical teaching on money at church and getting practical advise from the book Financial Freedom in 8 Minutes a Day. ( I have read many books since then but this is the one that got me started.) I stopped spending money I didn’t have, kept a close eye on what I owed, worked more than one job, and obeyed God in giving both tithes and offerings.
It took 4 years to pay off all of my debt.
I not only found out what I was made of, but I found out what God was made of too. As I was faithful in my giving He was faithful to meet my needs. It took both practical and spiritual wisdom together to be successful in my finances… and that’s what I am teaching my kids and will be sharing with you.
This post is apart of a 31 Day Series on Kids & Money.
Yesterday's Post: 31 Days of Kids and Money Intro