I wish I had been more financially responsible back when I got out of college. I was living at home, rent-free, had few bills, and made decent money. but, I spent way more than I needed to, and when I cleaned out my savings to pay closing costs on our house, instead of building it back up, I put the money I had been saving toward the mortgage, and continued to spend, spend, spend. Then we got married and we were really spending - eating out, decorating the house, going out with friends. The credit card balances went up, but we did not care - we made great money and could pay it off, right? Wrong! We got pregnant, then we got pregnant again, and then we were stuck with a huge tax bill - my husband's business accountant screwed up our taxes. We had to wipe out our stock account to cover the tax bill and we have been living paycheck to paycheck ever since. Now, we are great with money. I got a new job to the tune of a significant raise, my husband's business continues to grow, and we are slowly paying off debt. But, boy is it slow!
I love my kids, but frequently find myself thinking "if we didn't have daycare this month, we could pay off that card.", "if we didn't have to pay daycare, we'd have our car paid off next year", and so on. We will get our debt paid down, and our cars and house paid off one day, just really far in the future. The thing that worries me is that my parents are great with money. We did not have a lot when I was young, and even when we did have a good amount, we never ate out and spent frivolously. My parents always told us to pay off credit cards, never have more than three, and taught us the importance of money. They even paid off their house long before my dad retired! With all that great advice, it is amazing I screwed up so bad. I hope that we can teach our kids to do better!