Over at Get Rich Slowly (I don't know how to do links; someone care to enlighten me?), J.D. has been running daily contests. Today is the last day to submit your financial success story to be qualified for the Wii. Head on over and check his blog out. It's quite swell, to be honest.
I've been thinking about this for a couple days now; mentally, I've been stewing over what I thought was my biggest success economically. All my achievments are always intrisically connected to some form of independence. That's when it hit me: my biggest financial success has been attaining independence!
At nineteen, I was living at my mother's house and didn't exactly enjoy the living conditions. To be honest, I was rather depressed and miserable with the relationship (that isn't to say she isn't an amazing person). At one point, I nearly moved out overnight due to some big hoopla. My mother and I discussed things; I told her that I'd give it another six months of living there. Towards the end of that six months, I knew I was still dissatisfied with the conditions. I sat down and drew up what I thought my expenses and income were (waitressing creates a variable income). Based off that, I began looking at my options. I thoroughly looked at EVERY aspect. Many of my coworkers wanted to move out and I had a lot of opportunities in that regard. I was mature enough though to realize that there were far too many negatives to living with someone in my age range. Furthermore, I didn't have a car and needed to stay local to be able to commute to work easily.
At twenty, I moved out. After weighing my options, I had decided to rent a room from a house. I looked at several places and finally found the perfect one. Renting a room from a house is ideal when you are young. Appliances such as a refrigerator and microwave are already provided. In my situation, utilities and cable were included too. Since we couldn't get the wireless working, the houseowner even let me use her computer often times to access online bills and school work. The situation worked out perfectly and I was genuinely happy. I had done my research, weighed out all the economic factors, and reaped the benefits.
I'm twenty-one now and I've lived in this house for a little over a year. I'm still impossibly happy. During this time, I saved up enough for a downpayment on a car AND got an awesome deal. It took me a long time to buy a car, but when I did, I found the perfect one for me. Once again, I utilized those research skills and the desire to be frugal, to attain more independence.