My relationship with money is an ever-changing thing. Growing up I never went without, and my family didn’t spend money carelessly, but I also never truly learned the value of a dollar or how to budget.
Working for your own money is one of the most liberating things in the world. As a female, I can say that financial independence is key to a woman being able to gain upward social mobility. If a woman can’t control her money, she can’t control many other things in her life. She is bound by the will of her father, husband, or whoever else. For me, this meant stepping out from under my father’s financial control and on my own. (Am I grateful for everything I was provided with-yes! But I enjoy earning on my own now.) With that, I brought on a lot of debt—student debt.
Finances continue to be complicated for me these days, but leaving the stability of a medical career, freelancing, earning and spending in different currencies around the world has taught me to budget; it has shown me how others live with less, and it has made me value the material possessions I have in this world that much more.
I’m a giver. My heart bleeds for those who are suffering. This is where I struggle financially in many ways. I don’t buy myself fancy brand name clothes, but I like to tip well, I like to give to others, and I like to spend my money on sharing experiences with others (cooking, adventures, etc).
I get asked often how I can afford to travel. It’s not that I can, it’s that I make sacrifices and compromises to be able to. Everyone has to decide what they value and where they want to spend their money. For me it’s freedom, exploring other cultures, etc. What is it for you?
(For those who don’t know… I am doing “30 days to 30” and sharing life lessons and stories in order to celebrate my birthday—hoping to break stigmas and stereotypes about what 30 means and looks like)