Meet Jonathan Sparling

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Jonathan Sparling standing in front of skyline wearing sunglasses and backpack.

Jonathan’s first money-savings tip: It’s free to enjoy nature.

Back-to-school time is perfect for new beginnings. And what better way for us to celebrate that than by adding a new voice to this blog? Meet Jonathan Sparling, a campus engagement consultant for SALT™ and financial literacy expert. Check out his story.

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Growing up, I was a big saver. I remember one time losing a lot of money (OK, maybe it was like $40). I had it in a little pouch that I accidentally put down while at a store with my aunt. I was devastated to lose that money—that money I saved for such a long time. To this day, my aunt still talks about how upset I was.

Looking back, I think I was more upset losing the money itself than the purchases the money could have bought me. I wonder if I’d have the same reaction today. Actually, today, I wonder A LOT about money. For an inanimate object, it certainly drives some of us to do pretty wacky things in the hopes of attaining more.

Looking Into The Future

The older I get, the more I realize what an interesting relationship we (as humans) have with money. I’m quickly entering the post-young alumni years (i.e., 5 years after college graduation) and taking “the next step” in my life. I’m about 1 year into home ownership (and dealing with associated expenses … by the way, heating a home is pricey). I’ll be married in 2 months and, before long, thinking about starting a family. I’m also three semesters away from finishing my MBA, a thoroughly demanding and rewarding experience.

All these major life changes have challenged my own assumptions about pretty much everything—including my views of money. As priorities shift, so too have my spending habits. What I once considered a “must have” has been replaced with a “must have to stay warm.”

As I go through these changes, I consider myself very fortunate. I grew up learning about the value of money (especially from my parents and grandfather, but not my aunt—after all, she let me lose that $40!), and this helped shape my spending behavior. In addition, unlike many of my friends, college loans have not drastically affected my life. While they are a monthly fixed expense, my payments and interest rates are manageable.

So, What Can You Expect From Me?

In this blog, I plan to take on some of the money-related questions I frequently ask myself: Should I spend money on things or experiences? What is the most effective budgeting technique? Why do we care so much about cash?

Expect that plus my own techniques for saving (and spending) smarter, general money-related banter, and all things related to personal finance. Check back soon.

Want personal finance topics do you want to hear about from Jonathan? Let us know in the comments.

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