Thirty Things I Learned Before 30

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Tomorrow I turn 30 and as I reflect back, I realize that there is so much that I have learned. If I would have known what I know now when I was 20, I probably would have made drastically different choices. But I will say, everything that I have done has lead me to where I am today. For that reason, I wouldn’t change how I got here. That being said, here are thirty things I learned before 30:

1. You have to pay credit cards back.

2. Don’t be afraid of failure, learn from failure.

3. Be on time or call if you’re running late.

4. Keep change in the car for homeless people and for parking meters.

5. Have written goals and post them where you can see them.

6. Listen more and talk less.

7. Don’t say yes to everything, you have to set up boundaries.

8. A happy wife equals a happy life.

9. Do what you say, no matter the cost.

10. Sometimes you have to say “no” to the good things in life so that you can say “yes” to the great things in life.

11. Whether you say you can or can’t do something, either way, you are right.

12. You can’t help someone unwilling to help themselves.

13. Don’t speed in Paradise Valley, AZ. They always have photo radar somewhere.

14. Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere.

15. You can’t please everybody.

16. Find out what you are wired to do and do it. 

17. Be persistent but not annoying.

18. Others will care what you have to say when they know that you care.

19. Buy a good bed, you’ll spend 1/3 of your life in it.

20. Learn from successful people who have gone before you.

21. Motivation follows action. Act first, then be motivated.

22. You can afford something if you have the CASH to pay for it.

23. Put the interests of others ahead of your own.

24. Rest at least one day a week otherwise you will burn out.

25. Avoid the use of debt by finding alternative ways to pay for things.

26. It is more of a blessing to give than to receive.

27. Character is best seen in how we act when no one is looking.

28. Just because you have a degree doesn’t mean you will be successful.

29. The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you.

30. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

What is something you learned before you turned 30?

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  1. What a fantastic list. I just came across your blog from the carnival of blogs listings that someone posted. We used to live close to Paradise Valley and INDEED my husband probably received about 4 speeding tickets through there within a year!! Luckily, now we live int the midwest where photo radar is unheard of. Anyway, I don’t usually comment on financial blogs as most are fluffy with no substance, but this list was great.

    The 30’s are better than the 20’s, in my personal opinion. 🙂 I won’t miss my 20’s at all!!!

    1. He got 4 tickets in one year? Wow! That definitely breaks my record. I’m glad to hear you don’t have to worry about photo radar much anymore. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Valerie!

  2. KK @ Student Debt Survivor says:

    Happy Birthday a little late! I just turned 30 so a lot of these ring true for me. Number 29 especially. It’s crazy how stressful having “stuff” can be. When we moved into our condo I was amazed and horrified by how much stuff we’d accumulated. Then we had to pay someone to move it. Then we had to (and still have to) pay to store it every month. Crazy! I wish the bf was less attached, I’d just get rid of everything. But he’s sentimental.

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes. I know what you mean about having too much stuff. When Kim and I got married we combined two households worth of “stuff”. Let’s just say that I learned how to sell stuff on Craigslist and eBay really fast. 🙂

  3. Felix Lee says:

    These are some good lessons. I’ve also learned to be on time, I feel like being late shows disrespect to the other person. Also, always doing what you say is very important. Happy 30th to you!

  4. Sicorra@TacklingOurDebt says:

    Happy Birthday!

    This is an excellent post! I keep reminding my husband about this one that you listed, “A happy wife equals a happy life”, but he just doesn’t get it. Or at least he pretends not to.

    1. Thanks, Sicorra! It is so true, a happy wife does equal a happy life. I have found that when I do things that make my wife happy, she in turn tries to do the same; It is amazing how that works. Keep reminding your husband and if he still doesn’t believe you, have him read my blog 🙂

  5. DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    Happy Birthday! I have a few years until 30, but one thing I learned is that you have to protect your time. There are (and always will be) 1,000 demands on it. If you don’t prioritize how you spend your time, others will do it for you!

    1. Thanks, DC! I totally agree with you. Learning how to manage your time is very important. I’m glad to hear that you have already learned that – and you’re not even 30 yet! 🙂

  6. Jon @ Grown Up and Stuff says:

    Happy Birthday buddy!

    This is a great list!

    I think if I were to sit down and think about what 25 major things I have learned, and would like to share with the world, it would be a very fulfilling lesson in itself! 🙂

    Thanks for the tips, but I’m sure I’ll learn most of these the hard way 😉

    1. Thanks, Jon! If you end up writing your list of 25 things that you have learned, be sure to send it my way!

  7. Veronica @ Pelican on Money says:


  8. Veronica @ Pelican on Money says:

    I’m really curious what you mean by #10. Oh, and I’m so happy I didn’t go to Paradise Valley on my trip to AZ. I would have definitely gotten a speeding ticket!

    1. Great question, Veronica. I have realized that sometimes I have to say “no” to opportunities that come my way so that I can be available to say “yes” to better ones. For instance, I was offered $750 to create an entire semester worth of curriculum for a charter school. But, I would have had to teach it. Although I would love to teach middle school kids about money, I don’t have the time to invest in doing that for such little money. I then was offered the opportunity to create a financial curriculum for a large organization that will pay me much more then the first offer. I had to say “no” to the first one to be able to say “yes” to the second one. I only have so much time in a day. 🙂

  9. John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    Great post & Happy Birthday! I like #2 ,15 & 27. One thing I learned is that 30 is just another number, and to live life to its fullest.

    1. Thanks, John! I agree, 30 is just another number and living life to the fullest is a great way to live.

  10. 31) 30 isn’t the end, there’s always a greater number.
    32) 30 is the new 21.

    I like #13. Super specific!

    1. So true. I will always keep learning new things. As far as #13, I put that down because in the past 10 years I have gotten two speeding tickets in Paradise Valley, AZ. You’d think I would have learned the first time! 🙂

  11. You’re off to a strong start! Happy B-Day and Merry Christmas!

    1. Thanks, Drue! Merry Christmas to you too!

  12. Holly@ClubThrifty says:

    I love these! Some of them I definitely didn’t learn until after 30, like #12, and #15. I’m learning!

    1. Thanks! I know what you mean. Being a PF blogger you want to help as many people as possible, but there are people out there that cant be helped until they are willing to receive the help. Keep up the great work at Club Thrifty!

  13. Grayson @ Debt Roundup says:

    This is an awesome post, Deacon. Also, Happy Birthday! I have learned most of these as well, but I don’t turn 30 until October 2013. It is funny what you learn when you think back. It is really eye-opening!

    1. Thanks Grayson! I look forward to reading your list when you turn 30. 🙂