When it comes to saving money and budgeting, the finalists in the Equifax Family Money Matters video contest have plenty of advice to share. How did these financially savvy folks learn their best money tips? Get more money-saving tips and drinks from the finalists.

Vote for Rebeca in the Equifax Family Money Matters Video Contest 

Q: What are your financial goals? Short-term? Long-term?

My short-term goals are to live a comfortable and happy life. Now that includes being able to travel to see loved ones across the country, eat out occasionally, and do activities I enjoy. My medium-term goals include saving to buy a house and being financially secure enough to provide for children. My long-term goals include paying off my school debt and having a secure retirement fund.

Q: What is your biggest budgeting challenge?

Balancing saving, paying off student loans, and planning for a long-term financial future all at once. There are always unexpected expenses that come up and that can be a challenge to address and prioritize.

Q: What was your biggest money mistake?

I put a semester of graduate school classes on credit cards and it took me years to pay that debt off due to the high interest rates associated with the cards and being underemployed.

Q: What has been your biggest money success?

My biggest money success was paying off my credit card debt and building up substantial savings again.

Q: Have you had an “A-ha!” moment with your finances? How has that changed the way you handle your finances?

I have lived through some difficult financial periods and I now work actively everyday to add to my savings and “what if” fund. Having been underemployed and unemployed before, I know that can happen again and so having savings feels important now and not later.

I have set things up so that my bank account automatically puts a certain amount of money into my savings every month. That way I don’t even think that I have that money to spend. Tricking myself like that has helped me to make saving into a monthly habit vs. a “once in a while” activity.

Q: How did you learn what you know about mone? An example in your family? A finance expert? Books?

I learned about saving and living modestly from my parents who worked hard to give us a comfortable life that was rich in quality experiences. They’ve always said that their goals for our family were to be able to provide great education and health care and that all the rest was a bonus. I’ve also asked the advice of people in my life that I respect and admire about how they have managed their money. And I highly recommend Ilyce Glink’s book, “50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Improve Your Personal Finances.”

Q: What is the number one money lesson you want to pass along?

Besides avoiding credit card debt at all costs, the number one money lesson I would share is that it is possible to save and pay off debt while also having a high quality of life (check out our video to hear some ideas). I’ve been able to make certain lifestyle choices that involve my community and household, which not only feel good because they are in line with my values, like not living in excess and having a lower environmental impact–but they also have put me closer to achieving my financial goals. By doing so, I’ve made more room in my life for other things that matter to me.

Find Rebeca at www.rebecabeeman.com