Club Thrifty // Financial Literacy Chronicles, No. 11

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Please welcome Holly from Club Thrifty as our guest for today’s Financial Literacy Chronicles.  This is Day 11 of 30 in the Financial Literacy Month interview series here on Enwealthen.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your blog.

My name is Holly Johnson and I blog at Club Thrifty with my husband Greg.

We created our website in 2011 to help us stay accountable with our finances as we were paying down debt.

Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.

These days, we help others learn to avoid the perils of debt while living life to the fullest. We also write about travel, goal-setting, and frugality. While I’m a professional writer, my husband works on our blog as his full-time job.

While it’s a lot of work, it’s also a ton of fun.

Can you share your most impactful money memory from your childhood?

Most of my childhood money memories have to do with my mother. She was extremely frugal, and she gave a ton of good advice.

I distinctly remember her telling me that I could be happy in life at any income if I lived within my means.

Now that I’m an adult with children, I can see how she reached that conclusion. When you spend less than you earn, you have more options in life and a lot less stress. I’m so glad my mother taught me spending money all the time wouldn’t necessarily make me happy.

We all receive financial advice from people in our lives.  What’s the most interesting or useful financial advice you’ve received from your community?

In my opinion, proper personal finance is all about achieving balance.

If I followed my very frugal parent’s steps entirely, I wouldn’t be living the full life I live now. I’ve learned a lot from my friends about spending a little for fun and stopping to smell the roses.

My inner instincts to be extremely frugal are still there, but I also try to enjoy life while I can. As the saying goes, you only live once!

I have several personal finance books I regularly give to friends and family.  What are your 3 favorite fundamental personal finance books you often gift to others?

I really love the book Your Money or Your Life. I love the way it explains how the money you earn is your life force.

I have also read The Millionaire Next Door several times.  I truly believe that normal people can build wealth if they make the right decisions with their money for long enough stretches of time.

Lastly, I really enjoyed Lauren Greutman’s newest book, The Recovering Spender. If you’ve ever wondered how you could learn to spend less after a lifetime of overindulgence, this book is a must-read.

What financial literacy education did you receive in school?  If you had a magic wand, what would you change to improve that?

I think we had a personal finance course in high school, but I barely remember it.

Ideally, I think kids should learn how to balance a family budget and pay bills, but also how their future income might impact the lifestyle they have.

Lastly, I wish kids received an education on how debt can impact their lives for years to come. So many young people borrow too much money for college because they don’t realize what that debt will mean for their lives.

I like to keep inspirational quotes around the house to remind me of what’s important.  Do you have a favorite money quote you use to inspire your financial life?

“Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.”

I love this quote because it reminds me that I have the power to improve despite my circumstances. When my job is difficult or I experience a setback, I always try to think of what I could do better instead of blaming someone else.

What financial goals are you currently working on?

My husband and I paid off one of our rental properties last year. These days, we’re focusing on paying off our primary home and our other rental. We should have these properties paid off in 2-3 years – by the time we turn 40.

Since we hope to buy a third rental property when the local real estate market dies down, we’re also saving cash so we can strike when the iron is hot.

Other than that, we’re moving full steam ahead toward early retirement and saving for our children’s college.

Thanks for contributing to Financial Literacy Month here on Enwealthen, Holly!

Holly Johnson is a financial expert and award-winning writer who is obsessed with frugality, budgeting, and travel. In addition to serving as Contributing Editor for The Simple Dollar, Holly writes for well-known publications such as U.S. News and World Report Travel, Personal Capital, Lending Tree, and Frugal Travel Guy. Holly also owns two websites of her own – Club Thrifty and Travel Blue Book – and is the co-author of Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love. You can follow her on Twitter and Pinterest @ClubThrifty.

Readers, please share your thoughts on Holly’s experiences, any additional questions you have, and suggestions for who else you’d like to see interviewed in the comments below.  And please do share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Thanks!


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