When it comes to money, it can be really easy to get hung up on our mistakes. It makes sense — money mistakes can be expensive and stressful, and you might even think that dwelling on everything you've ever done wrong will somehow help you prevent more mistakes in the future (spoiler alert: it probably won't).
So I asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share the best financial decisions they've ever made. Here's what they had to say:
Some of these tips might work for you, and some of them might not. Always take your personal situation and goals into account before you make any money moves. At the end of the day, the best money decisions for you should reflect the things you care about the most.
1. Keeping your emergency fund in a high-yield savings account is a smart way to earn a little interest on your money.
2. In some cases, ending a relationship can be a great money move.
"I got divorced. I know this isn’t a good answer for everyone. But I had no kids or shared property but a husband who would spend my money and his frivolously. I was finally able to start a savings account since he wasn’t out spending all my money."
Speaking of money and relationships, financial abuse isn't talked about enough, and it can cause lasting emotional and financial harm. If you don't know them already, you might want to check out some of the warning signs of financial abuse.
3. Investing sooner rather than later can be a great way to build a fund for your future. The longer your money's in the market, the more time it has to grow.
4. And saving or investing extra cash, like gifts or bonuses, can really help you grow your money.
"Invest all the money you are gifted. Every birthday card with cash, graduation gift, etc., was put in a savings account, and when there was enough, my father invested it when I was a teenager. My parents were teachers and never had much money for non-necessities, so I was always annoyed when I was a kid because I wanted to buy toys, clothes, or whatnot, but now I have enough money to pay for two years of grad school."
5. If a big fancy ceremony isn't important to you, you don't have to spend a lot on your wedding.
6. Depending on where you live, a mortgage payment might be more affordable than renting.
"Buying a house! I had to save up quite a bit for a down payment and some new furniture, but my mortgage is about a third of what rent would be. I also picked a small house, mostly redone with a small yard to make upkeep easier. I want to make upgrades, but it's still totally livable!"
7. And if you can, going solar at home can help you save a ton in the long run.
8. College isn't for everyone. There's no shame in dropping out if it's not working for you.
"I dropped out of college after two semesters. I was going to a private college and the expenses were really high. I’m grateful I chose to drop out for the sake of my mental health and my finances. I only have 11K in student loan debt when I could have done worse. I wouldn’t have been happy in my chosen field either. This was definitely for the best."
9. If cannabis is a regular and legal part of your life, you might look into growing your own.
10. The stock market isn't the only way to invest. If you're interested in real estate, you might look into an income property.
"When I graduated college with a degree I’d never use, my father told me 'I don’t care what you do, just don’t pay someone else’s mortgage.' I worked my butt off bartending and waitressing and bought a house when I was 24. I then took out equity on that house eight years later to buy my primary residence with my family while keeping my first house as an income property. Three years after buying our primary, we pulled out equity on my first house again for the down payment on another income property. We’ll keep doing it a few more times while our tenants keep paying our mortgages for us! I share this advice not to brag, but to say it can be done. My husband is a line cook and we have three properties currently valued at a total of $1.5 million that we’ll cash out for our retirement, seeing as we don’t have a pension coming our way."
11. Getting out of debt can be truly life-changing.
12. If you've struggled with debt, avoiding credit cards or seriously limiting their use might help you stay on track.
"No credit cards, no matter what. My ex-husband and I got in a LOT of credit card debt early in our marriage, when we both worked terrible jobs and made no money. It took a six-year hardcore debt management program to pay them off, and I declared I would never have a credit card again. With the exception of cars and houses, if I can't pay cash for it, I don't get it. If an emergency comes up, I can get a small loan through my credit union with much lower interest rates than a credit card."
A credit card can be a useful tool, but on the other hand, the high interest rates that come with credit card debt can really drain your budget. You know yourself best — if credit cards aren't a great tool for you, then it might be better to avoid them. But if you're trying to raise your credit scores, then you might consider using a credit card for just one bill each month and always paying it off in full. That way, you're adding positive information to your credit report each month while still avoiding debt.
13. And finally, spending money on experiences instead of things = more memories and less clutter.
Is there anything you would add? Share your best financial decision in the comments, and check out the rest of our personal finance posts for more money tips and tricks.
Note: submissions have been edited for length and clarity.