What I Wish I Knew About MoneyAs you grow older and wiser you learn that life’s lessons are learned through trial and error. I believe money falls right into that. You learn what you can, and are taught from a very young age that money does not grow on trees, but the fact is – there is just a little more to it than just that.


As an adult I am still learning and cleaning up my finances from past mistakes. I won’t dwell on those certain mistakes, but I do have them in mind for things we must teach our children. Since I have learned the hard way, it is clearer to us now just how important these things are to financial independence. It isn’t too late, but sometimes I do wish I had known a handful of these things. How different would life be? Life surely would have been less bumpy when it came to money.


Sitting here in my early thirties, I really do wish I were ten years younger reading this. Here are the 5 Things I Wish I Knew About Money Ten Years Ago…


  1. The Truth on Credit Cards: At the young age of 17, why in the world did I even need a credit card? I lived at home with my parents and had zero debt, zero. I felt like I bought into the whole “you need credit to build credit” scheme. But guess what happens when you give a 17 year old a credit card? Purchases are made that you can’t afford to pay back. Working just to pay back what you purchased and the ugly start of debt.
  2. Zero Based Budgeting: I just learned about this method of budgeting 3 years ago. Why wasn’t I taught this earlier? Zero-based budgeting is a method in which you count all money coming in, every single penny. You then list all your expenses and should equal to a total of 0 at the end of the month. So again, all money is accounted for. This would have saved me some headaches earlier on when I didn’t see where the disposable income was going.
  3. Pay Yourself: I thought that if you worked, you just paid all your bills and it was okay to be broke again until payday. Isn’t that the way everyone lived? Paycheck-to-Paycheck? So obviously I missed the lesson on ensuring that I paid myself first. If I would have just put $100 a month away for the past 10 years, I would have had a nice chunk of change sitting in my savings.
  4. Don’t Have the Cash - Don’t Buy it: This goes hand in hand with credit cards, but one thing that I never understood. If the money was in my checking account and I used my debit, this didn’t count, right? Wrong! Nine out of ten times I would transfer out of my savings to cover what I had just spent. What an ugly little habit that can become, always promising to replace what was spent.
  5. Don’t Spend Unexpected Money: When I was 18 I was involved in severe car accident. The process of the settlement took a few years and I finally received a large settlement at the age of 22. The smart thing would have been to save or invest that money. I instead splurged and decided that we could live off the money while going back to school. While at the time it was ideal for us, not one penny was put into savings. The point is that it wasn’t money that was expected like a salary, and the same goes for tax refunds or an inheritance.


So, those are my top five things I wish I knew about money ten years ago and I am sure I could list more. What things do you wish you knew about money when you were younger?


About the blogger:
Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, freelance writer, published author and branding expert. Her husband was one of the many soldiers impacted by the unprecedented activation of the National Guard in 2008. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, but also focusing on bridging the gap between National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty spouses. She is also co-founder of SpouseTalks. As a branding and digital influencer, she has created content for A&E, Lifetime Network and PBS. She has an extensive background in Human Resources and Communications, with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources. Angela resides in the beautiful Garden State of New Jersey with her husband of 11 years and two children.


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