Savings Talk: The First Money Moment That Made Me Feel Like an Adult

For our latest edition of Savings Talk, we asked Amanda Steinberg, founder and CEO of DailyWorth, and Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance, to share the money moment that first made them feel like adults.

Schrage’s awakening came when he moved into his first apartment. While the experience was liberating, it was also a bit of a challenge.

“Being responsible for the full amount of my rent and monthly bills was quite overwhelming at first,” he tells us, “but as I became accustomed to it, I began to feel a sense of maturity and independence. I learned how to properly budget for maintenance expenses and utilities, and I always did my best to save money on electricity, cable and all the other services.”

He also realized that finding ways to cut costs could be fun.

“I developed a habit of clipping coupons and viewed it as a challenge of sorts to see how much money I could save on each shopping trip,” he says. “When I first moved into my own place, my income wasn’t very high, so saving money in every way possible played a vital role in my financial success and comfort of living.”

Steinberg’s moment came at a similar time in her life: She was 23 and had just quit a full-time job to try her hand at freelancing in New York City.

“I had already racked up a few thousand dollars in credit-card debt,” she says, “but while I was freelancing, that number leaped up to $10,000. Yes, partly I was financing my career move…but plenty of it was just my stupid shopping habits and not keeping track of what I was spending.”

When Steinberg’s great aunt passed away and left her a financial windfall of $11,000, she used that money to wipe out her credit card debt. But while the inheritance took care of one financial trouble, it opened her eyes to another.

“That was my awakening to how fast money can come and go. I’d been so anxious to wipe out my debt that it didn’t even cross my mind to save part of it,” she says. “For the first time, I realized how unconscious and out of control I’d been about money. That started my journey toward truly growing up.”

So what can these financial experts’ experiences tell us about becoming a financial grownup? They show that some of us reach financial maturity once we understand the power of saving and making smart financial moves.

What was the first money moment that made you feel like an adult? How did it affect the financial decisions you made later in life?

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