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  1. Thanks Teresa for the subtle reminder that personal finance is personal. Everybody’s situation is different. Everybody has different goals and aspirations. Good luck with balancing your life and finances this summer while you obtain your masters.

  2. “Financial decisions…are meant to facilitate your life, not dictate it.” Wow – I love this! And “trade in larger expenses for smaller expenses” is always good. You mention Netflix for $12/month. Just yesterday my son told me he’d downgraded to a $7.99 plan, and we’ve still got our original plan for less than $6, which I believe hasn’t been available for years but they haven’t forced us to upgrade.

    You mention that personal finance 101 is to increase income and decrease expenses. I know this is conventional wisdom but I think it’s backwards. If you can decrease expenses enough, you don’t need income – and that’s where you reach true financial freedom. I realize that it’s not realistic to live with no income but my point is that decreasing expenses should always be the first priority with increasing income secondary.

    The key to accomplishing anything is found your final question, “What small changes can I make now to support my long term goals?” I’m big on making small changes over time to move steadily forward.

    Best to you with your future plans. Definitely spend more time with your son while you can – I know it seems a long ways off but he’ll be grown and gone before you know it!

  3. Crystal,
    I see where you are coming from in terms of not needing to increase your income if you decease your expenses, and I wish my life were in a position to do that. But it is not. My career has only gotten me a part time job so far and I feel it would be irresponsible of me to not look for ways to supplement that income. I always make sure to balance my finances with my life, for example how I get to spend more time with my son than if I was working full time, but I also need to be financially responsible. To finance an adult life, things like saving to replace my 1994 car and paying down my student loans, I need to use my time and money wisely, which for me includes finding ways to increase my income.

    However, I do completely agree that there are always to decrease expenses, and I am finding the challenge of finding them exciting.

  4. Oh I wish that the people who come running to me to help “bail them out” would take some time to sit and really think about these points.

    Its a process – there is no overnight “fix” just a series of gradual adjustments and refining of your plan – so naturally you must first have a plan