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Everyday Cheapskate: Things I Wish I'd Known Sooner

Mary Hunt on

Like my garden, my mailbox is showing definite signs of spring. Just this week two beautifully addressed, thick envelopes showed up, both of them announcing graduation ceremonies -- one from high school, the other from college. However, neither even hinted at an invitation for me to give the commencement address. But had I been asked, I do have the world's shortest graduation speech ready to go:

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE CLASS OF 2024, FACULTY, FRIENDS AND FAMILY:

Today I would like to share with you seven things I wish I'd learned sooner. I cannot be sure that I would have paid attention, but there's a chance I might have. Now I offer you that same chance.

1. INTEGRITY ALWAYS MATTERS

Integrity is simply doing what you promised you would do. It is telling the truth and doing the truth. It is doing the right thing even if no one would know that you did the wrong thing. Integrity is accepting the blame when you have made a mistake. Integrity always matters because it matters to God. Integrity keeps you the kind of person you want to live with. And that's important because you have to live with yourself your entire life.

2. MORE MONEY WILL NOT FIX EVERYTHING

Until you know how to handle a small amount of money well, lots of money will only create bigger problems. Remember to never keep it all (give some away) and never spend it all (save some for the future). Then you will never be broke.

3. SAVE EARLY, SAVE OFTEN

There exists in the universe a simple principle with a big payoff. It is called compounding interest. When you save money in an interest-bearing savings account (yes, they still exist), you earn interest. Then that interest earns interest, or "compounds," which makes your money grow more rapidly. Start saving money now so it has many years to compound. That is the no-brainer way to build wealth.

4. SPEND LESS THAN YOU EARN

It might seem obvious, but that is the key to financial success. The bigger the gap between what you earn and what you spend, the better off you'll be. And remember, you can't spend less than zero, but there's no cap on how much you can earn. Being thrifty helps, but to really get ahead, focus on boosting your income.

 

5. A SENSE OF HUMOR IS A VALUABLE ASSET

Laugh at yourself and you'll never run out of material. Laugh with others. Some people can't see the humor in their situations, so just make sure they are laughing first or you could hurt their feelings. Laugh often. Laughter is good for your health because it releases tension and stress. It can make your life much more enjoyable.

6. THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITY

Authority usually refers to your power over people. People who crave authority usually lose it. Responsibility usually refers to your pledge to people. Those willing to assume responsibility usually get it. Most people crave authority and avoid responsibility. You've got a great sense of responsibility. I applaud it. I admire it. Don't ever lose it.

7. A LITTLE ENCOURAGEMENT GOES A LONG WAY

Maybe it's only a few words or a small act of kindness, but that small effort can really encourage another person. It might not seem like much to you, but it can be meaningful to that other person. Or parent. Whenever you encourage others, you are showing you have care and concern for them. Encouragement is something that's hard to give away because it always comes back to bless you.

Congratulations, class of 2024! Job well done. Now it's time to go make your mark on the world.

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Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."


Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate Inc.


 

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