First Person: 3 Financial Changes I'm Making in My 30s

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As much as I hate to admit it, I wasn't the most financially responsible person in my 20s. I know I should have paid more attention to my finances so I could have been better prepared for my 30s, but I can't go back to correct that now. However, that doesn't mean I have to repeat those mistakes. As my 30s get under way, I've already started making financial changes that should make life during my 40s and beyond easier. Here are three of the financial goals I'm working on in my 30s.

Living credit card free

Before getting married, both my husband and I had separate credit card debt, and have spent the last three years working our way out of that debt. My card now has a zero balance, and his is within a few hundred dollars of being paid in full. To avoid getting back into credit card debt, we've "retired" our cards. They are now locked up, and will only be used in extreme emergencies. I honestly believe eliminating credit card payments will put us in a better financial place in seven years.

Reducing debt

In general, my husband and I have done really well at keeping our debt quite low. In fact, now that we've bought our first home we are deeper in debt than we have ever been. While I know there is no chance of us paying our home off within the next seven years, which is when I will turn 40, there are some things we can do to reduce our debt. We're starting by paying off our vehicle, and that alone will save us $310 a month. Once we pay that off we plan to start saving a portion of the savings to go toward the purchase of another vehicle when the time comes.

Building our savings

I consider myself to be a savvy, thrifty shopper who really focuses on saving money on everyday things. However, I've had several people tell me that getting an item at a discounted price isn't a real "savings." Taking that logic to heart, I've decided to start banking 50% of the money I "save." For example, I recently saved $10 on some craft supplies, and immediately put $5 of that savings into our savings account. If I can manage to save $500 or more a year doing this, I will have saved no less than $3,500 over seven years.

I'm hopeful that keeping our debt low and increasing our savings throughout our 30s will make our life easier in our 40s.

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