Not just financially smart, she’s a super saver

Heather Riley is not your average 26-year-old, especially when it comes to saving.

Heather is a homeowner, has a “big number” in her retirement account, and a more-than-fully stocked emergency fund for herself and one for Charlotte and Max.

Who are Charlotte and Max? Her cat and dog. Don’t laugh, Max’s emergency fund came in very handy when he ate some glass last year, as an 8-week-old puppy.

“”You have to have an emergency fund for the animals, too,”” she said during a January interview.

Heather credits her parents for her savings philosophy.

“”My parents are big savers,”” she said. “”The way that my brother and I were brought up is that you don’t spend money on things you don’t need.””

“And you don’t rent.” “You should own something,” she said. “”You’’re working toward something, you’re paying it off and you’ll own it in the end.””

Heather took a year and a half off after graduating from high school to work as a server and save money, and then headed to Alverno for her nursing degree.

“I went to my parents and told them that this was my deal and not theirs, and I paid my way through Alverno, and I kept saving,” she said. “I did take out loans for the last two semesters because the money was running out.”

Now, she’’s working as a registered nurse and saving and paying extra each month on her house, her car and her student loan.

““I always think, ‘What else could I be doing with this money?”’ ” she said. “I do that every day of my life. And I usually end up thinking, ‘I don’’t need this.’ ”

A saving tip

Heather said one easy way to save money is to collect your change: “Any time I use cash, I put the change in my coin jar and I save it up for six months or a year. And I’’m not missing it because it would have just been sitting at the bottom of my purse.”

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