The Best Money Advice I’ve Ever Received

I’m often asked about the money advice that has helped shape the life I live today. While I still have a lot to learn, I have grown a lot in just the past few years, and part of that comes from following the things I’m sharing with you today. And, I am happier than I…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: November 2, 2018

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The Best Money Advice I’ve Ever Received #moneysavingtips #howtosavemoney

I’m often asked about the money advice that has helped shape the life I live today.

While I still have a lot to learn, I have grown a lot in just the past few years, and part of that comes from following the things I’m sharing with you today.

And, I am happier than I have ever been. I run a business I love, I have the option to retire whenever I want, I am quite frugal, I’m not the spending disaster that I once was, and I travel full time.

Now, to preface this article, I have not always been good with money. Just a few years ago, I was actually quite horrible with money.

I lived paycheck to paycheck, had student loans, didn’t save for retirement, had a car payment, and all of that added up to A LOT of financial stress. I still vividly remember the constant worrying that went along with all of that– it was a horrible feeling.

Money used to control my life more than anything else, and this negatively impacted all areas of my life.

But then, it all slowly started to change.

I began to take action to change my financial situation. I learned from advice others gave me, but I also learned from the financial mistakes that I had made.

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Here’s the best money advice I’ve received.


Use your extra time to make extra money.

Several years ago I learned how to make extra money, and I’m so glad I did because it has had such a huge impact on my life.

Before, I never really thought about trying to make extra money. I thought that working my 8-5 job Monday through Friday is what everyone did– and that was it.

At one point, I realized that I was living paycheck to paycheck and that something had to change if I wanted to get out of the hole that I was digging for myself. It was more than just student loan debt and financing things, it was all of the worrying and negative feelings that came along with that.

By learning how to make extra money, I was able to pay off my student loans in just 7 months. Yes, I worked crazy long hours, but it was all worth it to reach my financial goal in such a short amount of time, plus one of my side hustles turned into a full-time business, which I still love to this day!

I believe that earning extra income can completely change your life in a positive way. You can stop living paycheck to paycheck, you can pay off your debt, and more, all by learning how to make extra money.

Related content: 100+ Ways To Make Extra Income


Retiring before 67 is actually a thing.

Before I started blogging, I never really thought about retirement. I was in my 20s and it seemed like something I just didn’t need to think about because it was so far away. That’s basically what I thought about it– retirement happens when you are way older.

I didn’t even realize that people retired young, especially in their 30s or 40s.

Once I became active in the personal finance world, though, I realized that there was this amazing group of people who were challenging the norm. There were people actually retiring in their 30s and 40s! What was this madness I came across?

I quickly fell in love with how all of these people were taking control of how long they worked and when they retired.

If anything, I’m all about people reaching their own dreams and living their own life. While I know that not everyone wants to retire early, I know that I love the FIRE movement and I am very happy to be financially independent.

Related content: How This Couple Retired at 38 and 41


You can afford to travel.

One of the biggest financial lessons my father taught me was that I can afford to travel. Or more importantly, if it’s something I want to do, I can find a way to make it happen.

My dad traveled all over the world. Besides his family, the other things he loved were traveling and airplanes (he had his pilot’s license and worked for airlines nearly his whole life). He always made sure to fit traveling into his life in any way he could, and I gained many great memories from it.

I still remember all of the times that he took me to Disney World (I loved it!). He flew us in small planes, and I even remember having a great time just sitting at the airport. He loved every single part of traveling, and it inspired the life I live today.

He created hundreds of photo albums from his travels, which I still look at on a regular basis. He also kept a travel journal that listed all of the amazing places he visited.

If you are thinking my dad was rich, he wasn’t. Instead, he worked with his budget and always made sure to fit exciting trips in because that is what he believed in.

For example, he bought a new Camaro in 1984 (this was his baby), and he drove it up until a few months before he passed away in 2008. He didn’t care about furniture, electronics (he never had a cell phone or computer), or anything else. He would often work long hours, he hardly ever called off work, he always had a budget, he always saved money, and more.

He was all about travel and his family, and he managed his money well so that he could take trips whenever he could.

Related content: The Digital Nomad Lifestyle – A Day In The Life


Live on less than you earn.

This is common sense, I know, but many people still don’t do this.

I remember living paycheck to paycheck, and while I was stressed, I didn’t really know how to stop.

I saw everyone else around me buying cars, going out to eat, shopping for clothing, and so. I thought that was normal and that I needed those things too. Due to that, I stayed in a paycheck to paycheck cycle and it really held me back. Despite being able to afford many of the things I wanted when I was younger, I choose to live with less because I now realize that there are more important things in life.

Living on less than you make can completely change your life.


Start saving money as soon as you can.

One of the worst pieces of financial advice that I’ve ever received is actually the best one.

When I was younger, a family member told me to spend all of my money when I was young because I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it at all when I was older.

I still remember that day quite clearly, even though I was just a young kid.

I remember thinking that this was horrible advice, and I wondered why I couldn’t save and still enjoy life?

The sooner you start saving, the easier it is to make it a habit, meaning it just gets easier to do. By saving money in your 20s, you will learn good financial habits that will help you well into the future.

As you all know, I really dislike the myth that people who save money are boring. That’s just not true at all.

There is absolutely no reason to go broke and spend all of your money in order to have a good time. I believe that you CAN balance living a good life along with saving money in your 20s.

There are plenty of ways to live an awesome life while saving money. Yes, you can still see your friends, have fun with your loved ones, go on vacations, and more, all while staying on a realistic budget.

Related content: Why Saving Money In Your 20s Is A Good Idea


Money doesn’t have to limit you.

Out of all of the money lessons my dad taught me, this one is probably the most important.

Even though my dad passed away too young, lived on a budget, and saved for a retirement that he never got to experience, I truly believe that he still lived the life he wanted.

He was able to travel all over the world and visited many, many countries. I’m not sure how many countries he visited, but I know it was well over 50.

I think the most important money lesson I learned from my father is that money doesn’t have to control you. Even though you will never know when your last day is, you can still save and spend your money wisely, while also living the life you want.

Too many people believe that they can’t lead a good life on a budget, but that’s a myth. You can still live a great life while managing your money, and without regret.


Be positive.

Your mindset is so very important, especially when it comes to changing your financial situation. Changing my mindset was critical to improving my life.

By being more positive in life, I was able to take control of my financial situation, stop dwelling on all of my mistakes, and let go of everything that was holding me back.

Everyone feels negative or sad occasionally, no matter how great their life is. Those bad or sad times can completely take over your life and negatively impact you, too. It might make you feel like everything is impossible, that everyone hates you, that you should give up, and more.

My life isn’t perfect, and I now understand that no one has a perfect life. We are all different and we all experience different circumstances and events that cause negative feelings. But, we still have the ability to find some happiness. Part of that is being happy with where you are right now, and that positivity can be life changing.

No matter how bad life may seem, I believe that having a positive outlook on everything can truly help you persevere through tough times.

The power of positive thinking may help you:

  • Find another option or route.
  • Feel motivated, so that you can keep on pushing through.
  • Move on from your past mistakes.
  • Convince yourself that you can improve your situation (career, financial, family, etc.).
  • Reach for your goals.
  • Be happier.

I try to remind myself that being negative is just a WASTE OF TIME. Being negative can waste your time in that you dwell on the little things, you don’t look for the good in things, you live in regret, you think about things you shouldn’t be thinking about, and more.

What’s the best money advice that you’ve received? What’s the worst?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Damon

    Great post Michelle, once again you nailed it! Using your dad’s story was great perspective for those that feel they have to buy things to be happy. So many people falsely believe spending all that they make means enjoyment. Once a positive mindset and money confidence is established, change is likely to follow.

  2. These are great. I agree 100% with all of them. There is one I would like to add: “Love people and use money. Never love money and use people.”

  3. Loved this article and believe it to be so true! I think you spend money on the things you value instead of just on absolutely everything. The best money advice I got was ‘be happy and the money will always find you’. Some people will say that’s hippie dippy but to me it meant that in life you can afford to take risks to do what you want and if you work hard, do what feels right then the money will always find you. You don’t have to spend years chasing it.

  4. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    The best money advice I ever received ties in with my approach to work. I realized the saying “You won’t get rich working for someone else” isn’t always true; however, I do think working for yourself opens up a lot more doors, both financially and emotionally. That’s why I took the plunge and I’ve been self-employed for a month. 🙂

    It wasn’t possible without taking a hard look at our life and wanting more. We paid off our student loans, credit cards, and slashed other expenses to make this a reality. I’m not retired, although it feels like I am!

    1. How’s your first month going? 🙂

  5. Pearl

    I love your blog and financial advise. I always say coming across your blog was a blessing because it inspired me to start my own personal finance blog after going through some financial hardships. What I’ve discovered is that lots of people are clueless about money and its very sad.

  6. Freedom

    Dear Michelle

    “Live on less than you earn.
    This is common sense, I know, but many people still don’t do this.”

    You nail the point Michelle!

    Almost everyone I know think that living paycheck to paycheck is the norm.

    In the USA the situation is even worst with most of the people carrying consumer debts on Credit Card no matter their income (They make 30K$/y? They spend 40K$/y. They make 300K$/y? They spend 400K$/y…so on)

    That’s why almost everyone is in the rat race 9 to 5 until 65 (and then starving until death).

    That’s why we need more blogs like yours…

    Thanks again for the great job…you are truly an inspiration

  7. Love this. It’s all about knowing your values, not buying into what the masses say give you pleasure. My 2018 goal has been all about spending less than we earn. For the first time in my adult life I’ve had no credit card debt. It’s been tough at times but we’ve just about made one full year!

  8. Such great advice! I’m definitely working on my positive mindset when it comes to money. I’m realizing more and more that I have a lot of negative connotations wrapped up with money and it makes it really hard to feel like I can or should try to get more of it!

  9. It sounds like your father was a wonderful man who taught you many good lessons and instilled amazing values in you Michelle. I too understand the heartache of losing a parent early in life and I do my best like you to live an honorable life in which they would be proud and to continue their legacy by living the values in which they instilled in us. Keep up the good work. This is one of your BEST blogs and I’m so glad I got to read it.

  10. Josh Steinberg

    Hey Michelle,

    There is so much valuable information in this post. I love how you recommend to spend your extra time making money. That is the road to financial freedom!

  11. These are some great pieces of advice!

  12. Hey Michelle! Loved the post as always! The tip on being positive is huge! With a positive mindset, we can accomplish so much more. Positivity fuels faith in ourselves and promotes positive change in the world around us… Loved hearing about your dad and the Camaro. I had an ’81. I can imagine how much joy that car brought! Peace and blessings this holiday season!

  13. Manoj

    These are the best advice on money I ever found on your blog. Thanks for sharing with us.