It's better to see something once, than to hear about a thousand times.
One of the biggest eye openers for me in the past few years has been the idea of travel hacking. I had my first credit card when I was a senior in college. It had a $500 credit limit. A few months later, I was already maxing out that limit. I had no concept of credit (despite majoring in Econ), let alone how to use it wisely. Fast forward a few more years, I got into more credit card debt. Thankfully, I was able to put a stop into my credit card debt and started getting wise about its use.
There are these billboards on the highway close to where we live that says we spend more time doing x, than planning for retirement. This sounds scary to me. I will also be the first to admit that sometimes I get lost on social media. I've learned to strike a balance though by using a financial app that's as easy to use and as aesthetically pleasing as the feeds I see on Instagram. When it comes to financial apps out there, there is no shortage of tools that one can use, but after using Personal Capital for almost two years now, I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a high level overview of their finances. While Personal Capital is an account aggregator, it has so many other tools that make it worthwhile to use especially at the price of FREE. Well, right now, it is free, however, they do have wealth management services that they will sell you on. I don't use their financial services, but honestly, I would pay to use the aggregator service and the analytics that come with it.
I pretty much expected to be in debt for the rest of my life.
I graduated in 2011 from a private liberal arts college with a degree in Theatre and over $25,000 in debt. In addition to that, jobs were scarce when I graduated and I was unable to secure one directly out of college. I bounced around from job to job, industry to industry, city to city, making just enough to cover my bills and even save a little before settling in Buffalo in the fall of 2013.