The things you do each day are draining your finances. Here are the things you need to stop doing. Now.

There is a mind-numbing range of mindless and expensive habits that get in the way of creating long-term and sustainable financial success. 

Let’s be honest. Most of us have financial habits that we have fallen into blindly because we’re not honest about the habits that may be getting in the way of our financial future.

The following three habits are so expensive that it may be time to kick them to the curb:

Fake hair.

The first one is tied to self-esteem. I totally get it, but your expensive fake hair habit is making you broke.

My hair broke off really badly and I needed a way to feel good about myself so I started wearing fake hair. Fortunately, this isn’t that big a deal, but my hair loss was a demoralizing experience.

I accepted that to get a great fake hair look that I would have to pay through the nose and so I paid big bucks (for me) to achieve the right look.

Like me, there are a lot of women who are dealing with hair loss or just would like to achieve a different look and spend way too much on their fake hair. I didn’t realize I had this habit and felt like I managed the expense really well.

I would stretch the times between getting an expensive weave and would try to consistently care for my fake hair with constant TLC.

But, what I didn’t realize was that I was paying too much for weaves and fun lace-front wigs and I discovered that I could get the same look for 75% less than what I was spending.

Instead of paying between $175-$200 for a weave or lace-front wig (including shipping), I discovered that there are inexpensive options that create the same look for less!

I discovered the amazing world of YouTube low-cost wig reviews. There were wigs that looked the same as what I was buying before, but for $30. It was a life-changing information.

I jumped on that savings, I still feel good about myself, and my wallet loves me for it.

Recreational pot habit.

One of the most expensive habits of all is a pot habit. You should break the weekly pot habit ASAP. 

Hey, I’m not judging you. I’m from Colorado. But that legal bud is not cheap.

If you’re smoking a bowl a couple of times a week, getting the newest in pot-related gear, and snacking like it’s going out of style, it may be time to do an audit of how much you’re spending on your legal weed.

According to the Colorado Pot Guide, the cost of an ounce of pot ranges between $100-$300 dollars depending on where you purchase it.

If you purchase just one ounce a month you’re spending $1200-$3600 in pot each year. That’s almost like shoving $20 bills into your bong and smoking it up. And, we haven’t even factored in the snacking costs.

For many people who embrace the 420 life, the expense may not always be top of mind. And, I’m not saying what you should or shouldn’t do. But your pot habit can be painful to your bottom line.

Instead of always having a reserve at home perhaps you could just indulge at your favorite concert like everyone else does?

When factoring in the cost of pot also consider the potential for losing your job if your employer does drug checks. In Colorado, employers have the right to terminate employment for off-the-job cannabis consumption, even if it’s medicinal.

Lack of research before purchases.

The first two expensive habits were pretty specific. This one, though, applies to most people.

Many of us make big (and small) purchases without doing research. I can’t even begin to tell you what a difference doing basic research on my purchases has made to my finances. I’ve discovered that there is always a deal to be found on any item I want to buy.

For example, if you hope to purchase a car, spend some time researching the following: gas mileage, if the car has had any recalls, cost for maintaining it, and if there is a place where you could buy it for less than the listed price.

There is no reason to purchase clothing at the listed price. It always goes on sale. By researching ways to get rebates on spending, savings apps, and places where you could purchase the same items at a discounted price.

Research doesn’t have to be an annoying and onerous process. And it’s at the heart of how I have been able to save substantial amounts of money on trips, shopping, and even my home purchase.

Once you kick your expensive habits to the curb, you will be more likely to have more money to spend on things that really matter to you.

What are your expensive habits? How do you plan to break them? Let us know at the #Adulting community on Facebook.

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Broad perspectives enhance understanding of life. Live abroad at least once in your life and fine-tune your empathy.

When I was in high school I had a fascination with all things French.

I joined the French club. I learned to speak the language. I loved the show Les Misérables. There was something so romantic, so different about France, that I had to go there.

Sadly, I didn’t have any money.

Travel to another country.

It wouldn’t happen until several years later after college that I would travel overseas and live abroad.

It’s true that when I was a young girl I lived in Japan for two years. However, a small child doesn’t comprehend the experience of otherness that being in another country makes you feel. A small child doesn’t have the same response as an adult.

Being a young adult in a foreign country, a young American in a foreign country, was very exciting and humbling.

Living abroad is an experience that every young American should have because it helps develop an awareness of our place in the world.

Live abroad and see how the world sees us.

At the time that I write this post, we have just experienced a highly contentious Presidential election and a tough year. The U.S. has a new President and, as is the case with each new president, their vision of the world and the United State’s place in it will guide and shape their policy.

These new policies affect people. Young Americans, for the most part, live very wealthy lives compared to many people around the world. Our homes are bigger, we have electricity, and with the exception of Flint, Michigan, most of us have clean water.

We’ve experienced very little civil disruption, we have plenty of food, and most people have access to the internet.

It’s not like that everywhere.

We grow up with stories of how just and fair the U.S. is and when we step outside of our bubble we are presented with an alternative view of the history that we’ve been told our whole lives.

Leaving the U.S. to live abroad forces one to answer questions that we might not typically be asked.

We discover that some countries and citizens absolutely love the U.S. and other countries… not so much.

Travel puts us face-to-face with people who are affected by the decisions that our country makes (good or bad). When you’re faced with people who are affected by policies that we feel are in our best interest, we are compelled to defend or refute a policy with a depth of reflection that we may not normally tap into during our day to day lives in the U.S.

For many young travelers being presented with a negative or positive view of the U.S. may catch you off-guard. And you may find yourself wondering if everything that we’ve been told about our country is a lie.

Not necessarily, but how one group sees a geopolitical situation may be completely different from how another group perceives it.

When you live abroad, you see the way others see us. And that’s not a bad thing. We should have more understanding with other people from other countries.

Live abroad and become “the other.”

Living in a foreign country forces people into an experience of otherness. As a person of color, I’ve been the only black person in a class or a group (on many occasions). But there are many people who’ve never had the experience of being “the other.” It can be a shocking, disturbing and somewhat disorienting experience.

Young Americans need that experience so that they can develop empathy and develop a worldliness that can only be discovered through travel and a deeper curiosity about who and what is around us.

Young Americans need to travel abroad because not everything is about us. And to learn that life lesson, we have to venture beyond our borders. Those adventures foster a curiosity about the world that might fuel other adventures.

That curiosity about the world and willingness to explore it as a younger person will serve you well later in life if you go into international business or politics.

In recent election cycles, voters expressed concern about candidates lacking global awareness because they hadn’t traveled or lived abroad.  From a job perspective, international businesses look at global awareness through the lens of actual time spent living and exploring other places.

But, if developing a global awareness isn’t enough to entice you to live abroad, maybe the following reason will be enough: travel abroad because you can.

While you’re still single, have no kids, and basically have the least amount of responsibilities that you will ever have during your life. Of course, you can travel abroad at any age, but that first time when you have very little to lose and everything to gain, that first experience is everything.

For some people, that one experience will be enough. For others (like myself) that first trip will become addictive. And, each trip has grown my global awareness, my awareness of my role as an American citizen, and fed my lust for adventure.

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Stop bitching about how old you are. Instead, get out there and enjoy life. Living a full life has nothing to do with age.

If you’re reading this post that means that you’re alive.

And, with every day you’re alive, it means you’re getting a little bit older.every.single.day.

Every. Single. Day.

To be honest, I didn’t focus on my (or other people’s) ages as I grew up. In fact, I really don’t care how old or young people are — with the exception of people that I’m dating.

Are you insecure about your age?

The older I get, the more I notice how other people put their age insecurities on me and the people around them.

You know what I mean. The person who talks about how old they are getting all the freaking time.  They drop their age into conversations with awkward precision during moments when you just don’t care.

Now, let’s be clear. I’m not saying that aging as a process doesn’t freak me out from time to time. It does. Sometimes, looking at my own mortality through the lens of my own aging body has me catch my breath in surprise.

But referring to how old you are in comparison to colleagues, or other people that you’re around, conveys an insecurity about your age that I don’t want to deal with.

We’re lucky to age the way we do in America.

I have my own insecurities. Yes, it’s true. Because I’m human. However, I also realize my American aging issues represent a First World Problem. People my age in other countries are considered bordering on elderly.  I realize I’m surrounded by people living a long and fruitful life because of access to good quality health care, clean air, and constant access to food.

I know how lucky I am. And, in those moments I hear my friends freaking out about some issue concerning their age I want to commiserate. But I also want to scream. Get over yourself. Deal with it. We all get it. Let it go. Get surgery.

We are all afraid of aging.

This is just a fact. I’ve just decided to face my aging fears head on. And, as a woman, there are additional fears that come up. Like leaving family planning too late.  But, hey, there was a lady in Germany who had quadruplets at 63 years old. Anything is possible.

I do prefer to have kids before the age of 63, though.

Age insecurities don’t help anyone.

Focus on living your best life.

My point is that instead of focusing on aging I’ve decided to focus on living my best life.

I have friends of all ages and they all give me life! My older friends show me that life doesn’t end at 27 years old. They are traveling the world, volunteering, politically active, and even starting families later in life. They are also studying, teaching, and continuously curious about the world around them. This constant curiosity about life-in-general is truly contagious.

These folks don’t have age insecurities. They get out there and live life to the fullest, without worrying about whether or not they are doing things “age-appropriate.”

My younger friends keep me in the loop about pop-culture, some technical things (even though I seem to know more), and push me to remain curious and aware of different things around me.

Every day I wake up I’m thankful and I don’t care how old I am as long as I’m still living. Each day I focus on living my life to the fullest. I speak to strangers, I tilt my face up to the sky, I practice gratitude, and I try to be kind to others.

I don’t take anything for granted.

As I write this post, I’m recalling a scary moment that happened earlier in the day. I was driving from the mountains when a giant truck raced in front of the car behind me. It was obvious that he didn’t expect to see my car in front of the other one.

He almost hit me. And, if he had, I don’t think I would have escaped that crash uninjured. Maybe not even alive. As I watched the truck speed past me, I began to shake because in that moment my life had flashed in front of my eyes.

Each day is a gift.

I don’t want to live a life of fear bound by age insecurities. I plan on continuing to push myself to grow as a human being. There are several goals that I still have pending on my list:

  • Become fluent in Spanish! I have a pretty decent grasp of it, but I would like to become fluent in Spanish by the end of this year. If Celine Dion could learn English in 4 months, I’m sure I could improve my Spanish by the end of the year.
  • Be in another music video. I was an extra in an R Kelly video. Seriously. I would love to be an extra in another music video. I need to start looking for an opportunity.
  • Live abroad for awhile. I’ve lived abroad several times before, but I feeling the call to go again. Will keep you posted.
  • Run a half marathon. Because a full marathon is too much.

I still have other dreams and goals. I have a lot of living to do.

Stop worrying about your age, whether you’re 20 or 50. Just live with passion, love fiercely, and be kind to yourself. Getting old is a wonderful thing, especially when you consider the alternative.

What do you hope to accomplish in life? What are your goals — no matter your age? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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As long as you are shameless at pinching pennies and strangers don’t creep you out, you can make bank with the sharing economy.

One of the best developments for people’s money in the digital age is the ability to take advantage of the sharing economy. You can hack your way to substantial budget savings.

When I discovered that I could save money with a few simple strategies and my phone, I drank the kool-aid to begin hacking my savings, and you should too.

Are you still paying full-price?

If you’re paying full price for anything, I have to ask: how much money you’re making to leave cash on the table? The best thing about the sharing economy is that you are rewarded for talking about your favorite goods and services.

You get discounts, access to promos, and a host of other budget-saving perks. Thanks to the rise of the sharing economy, you can do more while spending less.

What is the sharing economy?

When we talk about the sharing economy let’s talk about what that actually means. It’s a system that allows citizen/consumers to share: their own skills, actual homes, cares, or affiliate links to save money or make money through collaboration.

It’s the best thing ever.

I love the sharing economy and hope you’ll embrace it like I have.

How to save money with the sharing economy.

Let’s walk through the process of saving your money the sharing economy way.

First, it pains me to ask this, but, do you have a smartphone? Not everyone is a millennial. You just may be the one random person who is a holdout or from a different generation stopping by to see what Adulting is all about.

Ok, now that we’ve established that your technology is from this century let’s ease into some of the easiest ways you can share your way to savings. 

Figure out your money habits. Ask yourself (and be honest): are you a shopper, a saver, or a mix of both? Do you love to travel? Or do you stay home? By asking yourself these questions you’re better able to scout out the right apps and websites that will help you save your money.

I lean towards the spending side of things so I had to find sharing economy tools that help me manage that habit and save me money at the same time.

Download the right tools.

Now that you’ve figured out your money habits, download the Honey extension to Chrome.

I love Honey! Basically, it finds coupon codes and applies them to before you finalize your purchase. How is this a part of the sharing economy?

While Honey is a little outside of what I will talk about later but part of the sharing economy is to share information with your friends and family.  Basically, one of the most important components to the sharing economy is sharing ways that people can save or make more money with cool digital tools.

You can also download other extensions and tools like Ebates and Swagbucks. These tools can help you pocket a little extra change each time you buy.

Evangelize your favorite tools.

Next, become a cheerleader for your favorite apps, products, or resources.

Companies want you to become evangelists for their products. They have created affiliate programs for their customers to share shoutouts about their favorite products and companies. The customer (you) receives either credit towards future purchases or cash. Nice.

A couple of years ago I discovered that ThredUp.com (an online consignment store) had an affiliate program and I was able to share my way to almost $2,000 in clothing credit. Yep, that was a lot of clothing and I ended up buying clothes for my friend’s kids.

If you’re curious about whether or not your favorite product or company has an affiliate program, go to your personal profile for the product or service and see if there is an affiliate link. Companies like Ibotta, Digit, Ebates, and more all provide an affiliate link to members who sign up to use their product.

Stop by the library.

The next stop in slashing your budget is checking out your local library.

Yep, it’s a little geeky, but some libraries have begun a program called “The Library of Things.” Basically, you can check out items that you would normally purchase. I am currently on the waitlist for a GoPro. Some libraries allow patrons to check out sewing machines, videos, and projectors. The list goes on.

Bartering.

There are also bartering communities and sharing systems where members pay a small fee to check out an item that they would use infrequently.

Maybe you’re about to do a small remodeling project and need a piece of equipment to work on this project. Instead of buying that equipment for a couple of hundred dollars, you could rent it for a nominal fee.

Grow your income in the sharing economy.

Are you broke and you’re a great driver and not creeped out by strangers? 

Driving for Uber or Lyft may be a great way to grow your income. Likewise, you can open up your home as an Airbnb host and make money by hosting guests to your town.

There are tons of ways to make a little extra scratch with the sharing economy.

Perhaps the best thing about the sharing economy is the ease at which you can be rewarded for sharing your strengths, your time, or your home. You work hard for your money, don’t throw it away, and have fun while your discover all the ways that you can save or make money in today’s sharing economy.

You work hard for your money; don’t throw it away. Have fun while you discover all the ways that you can save or make money in today’s sharing economy.

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2016 really felt like the worst. Now that it’s over, we can breathe a sigh of relief. But was it really that bad? Are we just drama queens?

Many of us had just begun the process of putting our holiday decorations away and enjoying the beginning of 2016 when we heard the news: David Bowie died two days after his birthday.

It caught us off guard. We didn’t even know that he was sick.

WTH?

Collectively, we began mourning his beautiful music and the effect that his music had on our lives. The Thin White Duke was gone.

Celebrity deaths were everywhere in 2016.

As the year continued, it felt like 2016 had it in for us. Many of the people who were part of the tapestry of our lives weren’t going to get out of 2016 alive.

Prince, Mohammed Ali, Alan Rickman (Snape from The Harry Potter Series), Gene Wilder, Glenn Frey, Harper Lee, and Fidel Castro. The alarming thing is that this is the short list.

And let’s not forget the late-year tragedy of losing Princess Leia/General Organa. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

It didn’t feel like we were drama queens as we continued to wrack up more losses even until the very end of 2016. It felt like the obvious response to emotional stress.

Was this the worst presidential election ever?

On top of all of the people dying, we were inundated by the constant sharing of the dulcet tones of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton making their cases for the presidency.

All day long. We couldn’t escape them, online, on TV on our cell phones, and any other place we found ourselves browsing for information. And we couldn’t escape friends and family talking about politics.

As we moved further into 2016 it began to feel like we were under fire.

Or, was our perception of what was going on in our world skewed by the constant availability of news, newsfeeds, and friends sharing things that would otherwise slip our notice?

Was our belief that 2016 had been a crappy year a result of the skillful targeting of Facebook ads and fake news stories? Was the real issue with 2016 that we had too much information available to us at all times?

Sometimes I think ignorance is bliss.

I found that, compared to other years, 2016 did feel like an exceptionally difficult year. And, as I wrote this post I decided to reflect on this. Was 2016, in fact, a difficult year? Or was there something else going on that I didn’t want to admit?

Are we all just a bunch of drama queens?

Life happens.

Life isn’t always easy. It’s messy, chaotic, and it’s not always pretty. Life is a gift, but it’s a gift that comes with the following reality: life is balanced out by death.

And, without being too morbid, death happens when you least expect it.

But 2016 was rough not just because of the beloved celebrities who passed away. It was rough because it felt like our way of life was dying. To me, it felt like the spirit of America in the way that we knew it was going away and maybe that was what was what we were having a collective reaction to.

And, let’s also be honest, as we get older our awareness of the mortality of the people in our lives becomes more acute.

We’re a lot more aware of the threats to our own lives and safety and with the ability to: Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Excessive amounts of frightening information leaves us shaking in our boots.

We begin holding our loved ones tighter and when situations like: terrorism, the shooting in Orlando, or natural disasters. We hold our breath until we’re sure that everyone we love and care about are OK.

We’re not drama queens for reacting to the changes we experience. Most people (myself included) resist change, especially when that change feels like an unwelcome visitor that just won’t go away.

So, are we drama queens?

I just think we’re human.

Perhaps the real issue that needs to be addressed is how to manage the emotions that come from the unexpected moments that break our hearts.

Own your feelings. David Bowie or Prince dying broke your heart because you are remembering the first time you heard “Let’s Go Crazy” or “Ashes to Ashes” and the way that you played it over and over again. Own it.

Do you love or hate how the election turned out? Are you frightened or thrilled by the outcome depending on your political philosophy? Own it.

Are you frightened of your own mortality? Be honest.

The most important piece of advice that I can give you is to embrace life. Embrace your loved ones. Don’t live in fear of the next shitty thing that may happen. Take each day as it comes because ultimately, you woke up that day.

I’ve had more shitty situations in my life than I would like to admit.

Some of those situations were my own fault, while other situations were the result of life happening. In every instance, I had to focus on becoming resilient and figure out ways to keep from being overwhelmed and demoralized by these situations.

But, let’s be honest, most years are a mixed bag.

At least you woke up today. Don’t take it for granted that life will always run smoothly.  And, yes, 2016 was pretty shitty.

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Did you receive participation trophies as a child? That’s not an excuse to avoid responsibility for your character.

We’re dealing with an epidemic. 

It’s one that’s received a lot of attention for all the wrong reasons.

What’s the epidemic?

It’s an extreme lack of character and the expectation that everyone should win in every situation.

Nope. That’s not how life happens.

Participation trophies galore.

As I kid I received participation trophies or ribbons. I remember running a one-mile race at my elementary school in Boulder, Colorado (bastion of all that is crunchy) and receiving a ribbon for participating.

That acknowledgment of my participation is only that, an acknowledgment that I was there and finished what I did.

That’s about it.

The lessons that people fear aren’t being communicated during these acknowledgments:

  • Life is hard.
  • You lose sometimes.
  • Life gives and takes unexpectedly.

Those lessons come to us all — Millennials, Gen-Xers, and all others — as time moves by. However, those lessons arrive at different moments, when you least expect it.

That is how life works.

Can you win (or lose) with grace?

Perhaps the problem people are really concerned about is a general inability to manage moments when they don’t win (or lose) with grace.

We just came out of a brutal election season.

I hope we never have an election this awful again. And, one of the most telling moments of that process was our fear that the loser would be unwilling to lose with grace.

When people who are running for the highest office in the land can’t be counted on to lose gracefully it’s time to acknowledge that we have deep cultural problems.

Character problems aren’t about participation trophies.

We have a character problem in America.

Nope, I’m not talking about a lack of fun and imaginative fictional characters. I’m talking about a depth of character that sustains people when times are tough.

Character is doing what you say, even when it puts you at odds with other people. Character is helping people perceived as weak without any expectation of receiving something in return.

What happened to us?

It’s my belief that parents (and society in general) have tried to shield people from the reality of difficult times.

We had the rise of helicopter parents and increased litigation. People stopped acknowledging when the fault for something was theirs, and their fault only.  

Basically, there is an extreme lack of responsibility for our own actions.

I received participation trophies, but those trophies didn’t eliminate my ability to take responsibility for actions that I’ve taken in my life.

Even if I didn’t want to be held accountable for the things that I’ve done or will continue to do life will hold me accountable (or karma).

How our society fails at building character.

Let’s go through a list of recent controversial situations where people weren’t held accountable for their actions until society or karma decided otherwise:

  • Bill Cosby: It was hard for me to believe that America’s favorite dad could be such a douchebag. But, apparently, he is. And, if you’re not sure about this, he did go blind (karma is a bitch). By the way, his trophy was fame.
  • George Zimmerman: This guy shot and killed Trayvon Martin and then was found not guilty. He has experienced increasing escalations of public beat downs, and altercations with other people that have found their way in the news. I’m also sure that he eats a lot of spit hamburgers. His trophy was notoriety.
  • Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio: This Arizona lawman was infamous for the prison conditions that prisoners in his jails experienced. I believe he ate a lot of spit burgers too, but he’s no longer Sheriff anymore. His trophy was power.
  • Brock Turner: You know, the guy who raped that young woman who was unconscious and was given three months and time served. Well, I remember what he looks like and I’m 100% sure he will be eating a lot of spit burgers too for the rest of his life. His trophy swimming accolades.

So, what is the point to sharing such extreme examples?

Regardless of how much we would like to protect people from the hard things that happen in life, or the bad or good choices that we make, sooner or later life happens and we all have to take responsibility for our actions.

Demand character from our public figures (and ourselves).

Participation trophies aren’t our problem.

Our ability to accept less-than-ethical behavior and lack of depth of character is our problem.

Parents, friends, and family who poo-poo this are also a part of the problem. Adults of all ages struggle with managing their personal character.

Do you keep your word to others? Do you acknowledge when you’re in the wrong? Do you intuitively know when you’re not accepting responsibility for you?

Truly becoming an adult is knowing — truly knowing — and acknowledging your role in how you’re perceived by others. You shouldn’t pass the buck to not holding yourself to a higher standard because your participation was rewarded or acknowledged when you were younger.

And it’s time we demand the same of those we look up to.

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Learning to drive as an adult? Isn’t that something you do as a teenager? Here’s what it’s like to be the only adult who can’t drive.

My boyfriend is looking at me in the way that you don’t want to be looked at by a significant other.

He’s sweating profusely and feeling miserable because he has just been hit by food poisoning. The type of food poisoning that happens when you eat something that is horribly off. He needs me to drive and I just look at him in mute embarrassment.

Because I can’t drive.

I don’t have my license and this guy I like so much is looking at me with disbelief and a bit of disappointment.

I can’t blame him.

An adult who can’t drive?

How did I end up as an adult without a driver’s license?

It’s pretty much an article of faith that learning to drive is something you do as a teenager. Everyone does. It’s a rite of passage.

While it’s a bit uncommon in the state that I live in, it’s not an unusual story. My mom raised me after my parents divorced and I watched her dash from one job to the next: on foot, via bus, and by car.

When it was time for me to start learning to drive, I was getting around town just fine. Yellow school bus and public transit for the win.

I didn’t notice that I was being left behind as my classmates began driving and received or earned their first cars.

To be honest, driving wasn’t a priority. I knew that my mom wouldn’t be able to afford to buy me a car. Besides, I honestly preferred to buy clothes, yummy food, and fun things instead. So, I put off learning to drive for more years than I care to admit.

The inconvenience of being without a driver’s license.

Initially, it was not that big a deal. As I got older, though, I became more and more aware of how socially awkward my inability to drive was becoming for both myself and the people around me.

I was pretty good at getting around town and even other cities with public transit. I could navigate a new city by foot or bus and wow the people in my life with my knowledge of the L.A. transit system (they have a metro), the Paris Metro, or New York City’s subway system.

This knowledge didn’t change the reality that my friends were resigned to the fact that they would be driving me to the mountains every time we went for the weekend (we live in Colorado).

Or, whenever we went out for drinks my friends would become the unwitting designated driver unless I took a cab. Basically, as time went on, my friends began feeling used.

Learning to drive was outside my comfort zone.

What I didn’t count on was that the older I got, the more frightened I would become of embracing the driving process. As a pedestrian I saw people talking on their phones, eating food, and generally being completely distracted behind the wheel.

I also didn’t count on the fact that public transit would improve to the point where I found myself loving the fact that I could hop on and off the light rail to get to where I needed to go within 15 minutes or less.

Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing systems made me even more reluctant to learn how to drive. But, the older I got the more acutely I noticed how my Not Driving impacted those around me.

It was a life skill I had to learn.

So, I decided to take drastic measures and force myself to learn.

I bought a car.

Yep, I bought a car from my friend before moving cross-country. It was a great car and only cost $1,500. I bit the bullet and bought a car before learning to drive.

Making good on my investment.

In most circles, a car purchase doesn’t count as an investment. But I paid cash money for that car, and now I had to make sure it paid off.

I began the painful process of learning to drive. Ironically, the actual action of driving wasn’t the biggest issue for me. It was the fact that no one wanted to drive around with a beginning driver who wasn’t their kid.

I had a couple of lovely friends who graciously volunteered to sit in the car while I practiced, but they were few and far between.

Finally, I began taking driving lessons (which are ridiculously expensive) and finally got enough courage to take the driving test.

I finally have my license.

It does feel different. My friends, bless them, are very proud of me and have volunteered to go driving with me so I can practice more. Now I feel like a member of a not-so-exclusive club that excludes people due to lack of access to a car, fear, or not enough money to afford one.

I savor the freedom that knowing how to drive gives me.  I no longer worry that I won’t be able to help a loved one in an emergency come.

I will never forget that look on my boyfriend’s face. Fortunately, that look won’t happen again.

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