Happy Monday folks! I have a sweet post for you all today. I'm starting a new series on my blog consisting of interviews with other savvy PF bloggers. As my first guest, I've invited Michelle over at Sense of Cents. If you've never read her blog, hop on to it right away!
|A pic from Michelle's travels|
Write a little summary of yourself-Who are you, what do you do?: Hey everyone! My name is Michelle and I am 22 (I'll be 23 in May). I'm a financial analyst at a small firm in the U.S and I graduated from a university in the Midwest in May of 2010 with a lot of student loan debt. I'm currently working on paying all of that off and I'm hoping that it will be completely gone within the next couple of years. I currently work full-time and also attend night classes for my MBA. I started my blog in August of 2012, and I am so happy that I started it. I am extremely addicted to blogging as well. I have two dogs (a French Bulldog 12 pound runt and a 90 pound Pitt Bull/Boxer/Brittany mix) and a house that I bought at the young age of 20.
If you could describe yourself in 3 words, it would be: Hmm... I always find it hard to describe myself, especially in 3 words. I would say responsible, hard working, and FUN. It's hard not to be responsible when you have a full-time career, MBA classes, a house, and two dogs. I'm also hard working, mainly because I'd rather get everything complete now and then have the rest of my years to have fun.
How did you learn to budget and manage your finances so well at a young age? I learned to budget mainly through my dad. He was an insane saver (but not cheap, he enjoyed spending his money on our travels). He showed me the difference between being cheap and frugal, and taught me to enjoy the good things in life. My father passed away when I was 18, and since then I have had to fully control my finances, income and living.
How was your home-buying experience? Did you buy it with your BF? I bought the house with my boyfriend. We have lived together since we were 18 and have been together for nearly 6 years. Yes we bought our house young, but it has worked well for us this entire time. Our home-buying experience went very well. Our mortgage loan officer, and both our real estate agent and the seller's agent said that our home-buying experience was the EASIEST that any of them had ever dealt with. We were approved for a loan (did that first, which I recommend to everyone), and once we found the house, I think it only took 2-3 weeks to close on it and get the keys. We bought a house that was much lower than what we were approved for, which is what I hope that everyone does. Since we bought our house near the end of 2009, we got a GREAT deal on it.
What are your other hobbies besides personal finance? My main other hobby includes traveling. I love saving for my future trips and I constantly think about traveling. I'm more of a relaxing beach goer when on vacation and not much of a touristy traveler.
|Pic from Michelle's travels|
What is one financial mistake you wish you could correct? I wish I wouldn't have bought a brand new car at the age of 18. My other car failed on me (and was very ugly) so I bought a new one. At $400 a month (and at the age of 18), it was way too expensive. Thankfully, I'm paying off my loan over a year early, and it should be paid off in February of 2012.
What is one financial mistake you've never made? I've never carried a balance on a credit card. I always pay off my balance every month. That is one thing that I am very proud of. I use my credit cards to improve my credit score and reap the reward points benefits.
Where do you like to shop? Clothes, shoes, accessories? For trendy items, I like to go to H&M and Forever 21. For better quality items I like LOFT, J Crew and the like. In my case, I really think that clothes make a person. When I like my outfit, I tend to feel much better about my day and I feel much happier. I used to work in retail as a manager for exactly 5 years, so I definitely have the closet to prove that I am obsessed with clothes. Lately, I have been much better with my clothes buying though.
Do you buy items on sale or full-price? What items are worth paying full-price to you? I always try to use coupons at LOFT and JCrew or wait for when they have a sale (which is very often). I prefer to get clothing at a discount (of course!), but I know that's not always an option. I try not to buy things that are on sale just because they are a good "deal." If you never wear it, then it's not a deal. Full price is fine for me at places like H&M and Forever 21, since it's already cheap. Items that I absolutely need because I think I will wear them for awhile are also OK in my book to buy at full-price.
Do you have any budgeting or saving tips for us? My main thing is that when you create a budget, it has to be realistic. You need to keep track of your budget every month, and if you are obviously not within your budget for a certain category, then you are most likely not being realistic with yourself. Don't create an unattainable $100 food budget, if that cannot ever be beat in your case. Creating a budget has to work and be realistic, not a dream.
HUGE thanks to Michelle for answering my long list of questions! I hope you all had fun reading it as I did :) She is an amazing inspiration to us all, especially at a young age. I would love to teach my kids the art of personal finance so they can be self-sufficient like Michelle when they graduate college. Also, her wardrobe sounds awesome, I'd like to see some closet or outfit pics! Thank you Michelle for kicking off my interview series!!!