If you are looking for advice on frugal living, you have to look no further than the Internet itself. You can find thousands of websites dedicated to this subject, many of them blogs. I had the honor of getting in touch with these 34 bloggers who shared with me their piece of advice when it comes to personal finances. I asked them the following question:
If you could go back in time and give your 18-year-old self a piece of financial advice, what would it be?
Here are their answers:
Evelyn & Dan
“My biggest piece of advice to myself would be, set a big goal and get serious about really saving.”
Why to follow: Evelyn & Dan are a happy couple who run the SMALLish Blog. They are also raising and home educating four young children in a modest home in Southern Colorado and they decided to try the frugal lifestyle. Their blog is filled with useful tips and practical ideas for everyone interested in frugality.
“When you’re young, you won’t make much money, and it’s tough to make financial progress. But keep saving, and keep living beneath your means, and as your income increases over time, those solid habits will serve you well.”
Why to follow: Kristen is the founder of The Frugal Girl. She blogs about wise spending, DIY, contentment, and simplicity. Follow her blog if you are looking to learn how to cheerfully live on less!
“Don’t assume just because you’re being more frugal than other people that it is frugal enough for you. Make a budget and stick to it, and don’t compare your spending or frugality to someone else, just your own finances.”
Why to follow: Penny runs the Penniless Parenting blog and she is a frugalista extraordinaire, tree hugging, real food eating, gluten free living, homeschooling, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, DIYer who loves the challenge of having an awesome life on a very limited budget! Her blog is filled with useful tips and practical ideas for every frugal lover out there.
“If I could give myself some career advice it would have been to spend as much time shadowing people and learning about the different career opportunities that are out there. I thought that pole vaulting and cross country were important things to pursue at the time but, while fun, have added very little if anything to my joy over the past 10 years and going forward. “
Why to follow: Roy is the founder of Band of Savers, where he shares tips for leading a frugal lifestyle and taking care of your budget.
“What I would tell my 18 year old self is don’t go into debt with student loans unless its absolutely needed. Save some money, have fun, and do your research when it comes to financial decisions, whether its buying a car, getting credit cards, or moving into your own place.”
Why to follow: Dicia is a young mother of two boys, but who is also a writer at heart who loves to share her stories and advice of being a mom and a wife. You can find her stories and a lot of useful ideas for living on a smart budget on her blog, It’s My Mommy Life Now.
“I would say, be careful with credit cards. You don’t really need the newest, latest, greatest thing. Life is about more than stuff. Memories will last longer!”
Why to follow: Shanella is the founder of the Southern Mom Living, a blog where she shares product reviews, recipes and lots of practical ideas for living a smart and fulfilling life.
“Avoid debt at all costs!”
Why to follow: Ashley is the founder of The Budget Girl, a blog where she write helpful articles about personal finances. She is debt free and can help you become, too. She will guide you through your journey to financial peace.
“My advice to my 18-year-old self would be to enjoy this time that you have right now, where you can be frugal without the necessity for it. Once kids come along and everything is a constant tornado, it’s less a privilege to be frugal and more of a necessity. Learn to enjoy the privilege it is to think carefully about how to spend your money now and then it will be more manageable when the going gets tough! You might even enjoy it!”
Why to follow: Bay is the founder of Bay Sandoval. She is a loving mom passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle. On her blog, she shares useful tips about leading a healthier life along with other personal and motivational stories that might help you change your lifestyle.
“I would tell myself to regularly make a budget and stick to it! I’d also say to learn as much about passive income as I could!”
Why to follow: Camela has her own blog, The Journeys of C, where she shares, as you can guess, her journeys. She is in love with traveling and beautiful landscapes and on her blog you will find tips and advice on where to go and what to see in different countries, as well as some posts on travelling through different mental and spiritual journeys in life.
“I would have went to community college. My undergraduate degree cost 80K and my Master’s degree cost 92K. If I went to a community college, and went for a degree that you could start a job with only having a Bachelor’s degree, I would have set myself up better financially.”
Why to follow: Danielle is the founder of Realm of Vibes. She loves writing and taking pictures, but most of all, she loves helping people pursue their dreams.
“Do not take out student leons, work to pay for the tuition as you go. Borrow nothing.”
Why to follow: Megan is a mama to two, wife to one, gourmet coffee drinker, and dreamer of exotic places that she yearns to travel to. She loves to experiment with new recipes and enjoys eating. You can find all her stories on her blog, Our Poetic Chaos.
“I would tell my 18 year old self that it’s ok to still live with Mom and Dad, because then I would be able to save more money. It’s important to save while you are young and really don’t have any responsibilities. (Like bills, rent, car payment, etc.) If you save while you are young you can create a nice little nest egg or emergency fund that will really help when you start looking to buy your first house or get married.”
Why to follow: Rachel is the founder of Pretty in Baby Food, a blog where you will find money-saving tips for everyday life, travel, and baby products. You will be able to read about product reviews, everyday healthy living.
“Start investing right now! Compound interest works best when it has the most time to grow.”
Why to follow: Ashish blogs at Fit, Wealthy & Wise, where he shares his ideas on how to be holistically healthy through different topics like health, finance, and relationships.
“I would tell my 18 year old self that money comes and goes. What doesn’t keep coming back is time. Buy life experience instead of things. Travel and see the world instead of buying that unnecessary kitchen appliance or upgraded car. Enrich your experiences not your things.”
Why to follow: Marissa is just a girl trying to find her way as a young military wife, mom of two, and a traveler. Her blog is her outlet, a place where she shares her ups and downs along the way.
“Definitely THINK before you BUY. Never buy in the moment. Go home, think about the purchase and if you’re not dying over it the next day, don’t purchase it! Be intentional!”
Why to follow: Laura is the founder of Sophisticated Rust, a fun way for her to share ther latest home decor, mommy and life blunders.
“My financially advice interestingly enough would be to get a credit card! I had the hardest time post college because I never had a credit card and had no credit score to apply for one. My parents thought that they were helping my out by not letting me get one, but it ended up making it so much more difficult! I think having a credit card young and spending responsibly is hugely important.”
Why to follow: Alexandra is the founder of The Happy Life Formula, a place where she inspires women to take action towards living a happy life!
“If I could go back in time, and tell my eighteen-year-old self any type of financial advice, it would be to head to community college for the first two years out of high school. Pay for the semesters ahead of time, take advantage of the free rent by living with Mom and Dad for another two years, and work as often and as hard as you can. Save that money religiously, knowing that it will be essential for future educational costs. By the time you graduate with your Associate’s degree, you may have even saved up enough to pay for the first year of a four-year college without needing to take out student loans! And no student loans will mean an easier, debt-free future. And that is worth the wait to go off to college.”
Why to follow: Sam is the author of The Feminine Pilgrimage, a place where she will help you get through life together, with her menial “Tips and Tricks” articles that will, if nothing else, help you to understand that you’re not alone.
“Work hard and enjoy your money. Rent with mates, get a loan for the car you love, do all that because it’s part of learning about life. You’re making memories. Know your worth. Go for the job with the big pay increase and when you get it, start putting money aside for the future. Appreciate your mum and the opportunities she provides you.”
Why to follow: Carlie is the founder of Carlie Maree. She believes that you can in fact ‘have it all’, whatever that means to you. Whether its seeking out flexible work, or launching and running your own business, she takes pride in being able to empower, inspire and enable women by providing support and encouragement as well as practical tools, tips and strategies.
“If I could go back in time, I would tell my 18 year old self that some times, no matter how hard you work and how good of a person you are, life isn’t fair. Some times the good guy doesn’t always win.To flip that on its head, never ever EVER be afraid to work hard and do the right thing. You may not always win, but being honorable and working harder than anyone around you will never be a bad thing. If you can’t always get ahead, you can at least be able to look yourself in the mirror at putting in an honest days work.”
Why to follow: Sarah is the founder of Frugal By Choice, a blog that focuses on the four “F’s”: food, family, frugality and fart jokes.
“In financial terms my advice would be don’t go to University. I was till paying off my student loans years later. Once you combine that with the fact that my current employment has nothing to do with my University education you get a double whammy of time and money wasted.”
Why to follow: Frugal Fox is the founder of Hotels and Money. His blog is filled with useful information and practical ideas about financial freedom. If you are interested in Frugality, Investing, Saving and Travel then this the site is for you.
“Student Loans are not free money. I knew when I agreed to the loans that had to pay them back with interest. That wasn’t the surprise. But when the college dispersed my excess student loans to my bank account, I forgot where the money came from and spent it like I earned it. If I were to do it again, I would keep my loan disbursement and my spending money in two different accounts. That way there wouldn’t be any confusion over which money I was spending.”
Why to follow: Stacey blogs at Higdons Happy Home, a place where you can find all kind of information and useful articles on parenting, cleaning and frugal living.
“If I were to give my 18-year old self some financial advice, I would say try to go to school in my hometown. By living at home with parents you can save a lot of money. It’s a great way to get started off on the right foot financially, and maybe decrease the amount of debt when you’re finished school.”
Why to follow: Jessica is the founder of The Vanderveen House. She and her husband enjoy renovating their home, re-doing furniture, painting and decorating, and learning new skills as they go.
“Find SOMETHING that works to help you stick to a budget. Don’t just give up and say you’re not good at money. Find that right system for you, and figure out how to use it to your best advantage BEFORE you try to add another person and student debt to the equation. It might just save your marriage someday, and it will DEFINITELY help you save your money now!”
Why to follow: Laura is the real-life wife, mom, life & faith blogger, and resume writer behind ScatteredWoman.com. As you peruse the blog, you will see that her interests are all over the place. From Personalities to Faith, Parenting and Marriage to all things career-related, the blog covers just about everything!
“Spend less, Save more. Your 30 year old self with thank you.”
Why to follow: Kristy is an author and published photographer who writes of simplicity, country life, and seasonal living. If you’re passing through her farm country you might find her trekking into rows of corn knee deep in mud documenting rural American lifestyle. You can read her stories here.
“Absolutely invest money in your 20’s. I didn’t know enough about the importance of planning for retirement early in order to let my money grow. When I think of all the money I blew in my 20’s I feel sick!”
Why to follow: Heather is the founder of Real Life Mama. She loves hanging out with her family and friends, running, traveling to anywhere and everywhere, reading, checking out NC breweries, and having tickle wars with her little guy. She is just a real mom, like all mothers, trying her best to balance it all.
” I think the piece of advice that I would give my 18 year old self would be to not put such an emphasis on material things, but experiences in order to enjoy life more. Also I’d say for me to learn about compound interest because that makes a difference when investing towards retirement. All I did was spend money on ephemeral stuff… good thing I learned!”
Why to follow: Mariana is the founder of Another Wonderland, a personal space where she documents her journey towards simple, slower living as well as many other things; after all, it takes a whole lot of writing to make sense of this adventure we call life.
“This may sound strange but I really liked the fearless, worry free, hard working money manager I was at 18. Today I would like to thank that kid, the hard work has paid off. I think the bit of advice I would have is to relax a little, you will be fine, you will have enough, you will make it work and then some, but good for you for stretching what you had into some awesome adventures!”
Why to follow: Organizing and educational expert, Lisa Bates works with families, schools and organizations to promote “living better”. Visit her website www.lblivingbetter.com to learn more.
“You don’t need the best apartment with the best amenities, especially while you are in college because the school usually has a lot of those available there (such as a gym, pool, etc.). Saving even $150-$200 on a smaller apartment throughout college years would give you a nice savings to be able to use for a down payment on a home in the future.
And not quite to my 18 year-old self, but sometimes I wish we saved the money on a big wedding and did something really small and put that towards a first home as well.”
Why to follow: Stephanie is the founder of You Are My Sonshine. She is a stay-at-home mom, a children/family photographer, a Legacy Maker with Legacy Republic, a mom, a wife.
” The advice I would give my 18-year-old self is to start saving at least $20 from every paycheck I receive. In the long run that money will start to add up. There have been times when something has happened such as a leak in my house roof or a car tire going flat. If I were to have had money saved for those life situations, it would have been way easier than trying to scramble for money. So, start saving what you can afford from every paycheck you receive. Believe me, you will thank me later.”
Why to follow: Rina is the author of When The Bra Comes Off. She is a twenty-something-year-old living her life day by day and enjoying every minute of it.
“I would tell myself that every little penny matters and to not blow it on things like drinking, shopping for things you can’t afford and to just be mindful of what you are purchasing. Decide whether it is a want or a need and then save up for it if it is a want, and then wait at least a week before purchasing it because lots of times you can live without it and find something better to do with your hard earned money.”
Why to follow: Heidi is the founder of the website “Life with Heidi” which was born to embrace life changes and keep on keeping on. Life is short but the one thing that 2015 taught her is that “the most important things in life aren’t things.”
“I’ve always been really good with money, even as a small child I preferred to save any money I got instead of spending it. But if I could go back in time and give my 18 year old self some financial advice, it would be to start investing because it’s never too soon to save for the future.”
Why to follow: Crystalyn is the founder of The Prudent Housewife. She started this blog, a couple months ago, as a place to share homemaking tips, ways to save money and her favorite recipes with you.
“You don’t have to have everything. Experiences are much more valuable than things. Its better to buy groceries and cook and eat at home and be able to afford to see the world than to eat out every day and be stuck at home.”
Why to follow: Monet is the founder of The Traveling Child, a family travel blog based on her personal experiences.
“My advice would be to do everything you can to save. This doesn’t have to mean giving up luxuries or things you want but rather save when you spend. Use coupons; shop sale and clearance items; buy in bulk when it makes sense; and don’t get more than you really need.”
Why to follow: Melissa is the author behind Beyond Mommying. She writes regularly about her parenting adventures and live by the motto “Life is never boring when you’re never alone, but I know somewhere out there, there is life Beyond Mommying!”
“If I could go back in time, I would tell my 18 year old self not to buy that new car. It will cost you way too much and will be a source of so much stress, trying to keep up with the car payments and insurance; all while paying for college tuition. It would’ve been much better to look for a good used car.”
Why to follow: Brenda is the founder of Brenda Loves Sharing, a blog where she shares with others all that she had learned about heart health and saving money, so that you can learn how to do it too.