Home > Financial Literacy > Getting Financially Real: Financially Literacy Awareness Carnival

Getting Financially Real: Financially Literacy Awareness Carnival

Getting real with your money

Today I’m honored to be participating in the Financial Literacy Awareness Carnival hosted by the lovely Shannon Ryan at the Heavy Purse. I have shared my story of getting financially real in the past, and I can’t say enough about how financial literacy provides the keys to becoming debt free, building wealth, and financial independence. As a way to promote this most important topic, I’ve made up a bit of a quiz to test your financial literacy. While it’s meant to be all in good fun, hopefully if you get an F, you’ll read some of the other posts in the carnival today and start taking steps to get yourself financially real.

What is Your Debt to Income Ratio?

A) Under 35%

B) Over 35%, but I’m working hard to lower it and have paid off loads of debt over the past few months.

C) I just make my payment and don’t pay attention to stuff like that.

It’s the 25th of the month. Which best describes you?

A) The 25th is no different than any other day. I keep track of my expenses and know how much money I have left to spend before the end of the month.

B) I’ve spent too much, but I can dip into savings if I have to. I’ll do better next month.

C) I’ll have to use my credit card so I don’t overdraft. I have to take my friend, Esmeralda, out for her birthday and my black shoes are worn out, so I have to get a new pair before we hit that new sushi bar. I bet we’ll at least get a free dessert because of Esmeralda’s birthday!

What Percentage of Your Income Are You Currently Saving?

A) I have evaluated my current income and expenses to determine the amount I can comfortably save, then I bumped it up a few percentage points. I want my savings rate to sting just a little bit so I don’t spend money on stupid things, and it helps me remember how important saving for the future is.

B) Whatever my employer signed me up for when I enrolled in my 401(k).

C) I can’t afford to save right now. I am going to start saving after I pay off my car/get my tax refund/buy my kid a new pair of soccer cleats, etc.

How Much Do You Spend On Groceries Every Month?

A) My budget allows for $400, but I am OK up to $500 if I need to stock up on non-perishables.

B) I spend about $600 a month on food, but it’s because I’m a gourmet cook and I like to treat myself.

C) I really don’t have time to sit and count it up, but probably not that much.

To Be Debt Free, I’m Willing to……..

A) Take a side job and get up an hour or two early to work on extra income

B) Not buy clothes this season

C) I don’t think I’ll ever be debt free. Isn’t it normal to always have a car, house, and credit card payment?

When You Hear the Word Budget, What Do You Think Of?

A) My financial road map that helps plan my future.

B) A tab at the top of the Mint.com homepage.

C) I think my Grandpa had one of those.

Which Sounds More Exciting?

A) I am still driving the car I had in college and it has 280,000 miles on the odometer.

B) I just bought a two year old car with very low interest payments.

C) I just traded my 2010 SUV for a great deal on a brand new hybrid. My payment is almost the same as it was on the SUV, and I’m going to save a ton on gas!

Where Do You See Yourself in 10 Years?

A) I’m living the dream because I have enough options and streams of income that I’m not forced to work in a job I hate. I work because I enjoy it and not to make payments.

B) I hope I get a couple of promotions or maybe a better paying job.

C) I want to enjoy the moment because you only live once. It’s depressing to think about being 10 years older.

How Did You Score?

Mostly A’s

You are financially real. You have plans and goals and are working hard to make them happen. Even if you have a slip up or run into some bad financial luck, it’s not a big deal because you know that there are tons of ways to produce income. Heck, you already have several streams of income and an emergency fund, so there isn’t much that’s going to stand in your way.

Mostly B’s

You are like many of us in that you try to make good financial decisions and stay financially real but don’t really take tons of time to consider if you’re making the very best financial choices for your future. If you did a little more work on your finances, I bet you could be in the A category in no time. You probably plan on working until traditional retirement age, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that if it’s a conscious choice.

Mostly C’s

While I’m never one to tell people how to spend their money, I would guess that you probably are living in a bit of denial and could be in for some rough times if an emergency hit and you weren’t able to bring home a paycheck. I used to live in this world myself, so I know how easy it is to think you’ll get started tomorrow. I would strongly recommend C category persons to at least start working on an emergency fund and some simple ways to start getting out of debt. Once you start getting financially real, the rest kind of falls into place.

How financially real are you? Do you think all people have to eventually face financially reality or is it possible to always keep your head buried in the sand?







About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. Being real opens so many truth about ourselves. For instance, when I admitted that I needed help in financial matter and got someone who gave some advice that is when I realized so many things and it helped me become more prepared and attentive to managing my money.

  2. Love the quiz! This was a great approach to get people to think. I do believe it’s possible for people to continually keep their head buried in the sand…whether they are blinded or choose not to see. The blinded have more of a shot to change because they just need some education or a wake-up call of some kind. They have more of a chance to turn it around. The defiant who choose not to see have little hope.

    • It’s very sad to me when people don’t want to make changes, even if they are unhappy with their situation. It does sometimes take a wake up call. Too bad more people don’t try to be more financially real before a crisis hits.

  3. My real moment came when I opened up my foreclosure notice on my home. I paid off almost 80K in under three years and never looked back. Every time I write an article I write with this in mind – how best to communicate how real you’ll need to get if you’re serious about getting out of debt. Good quiz. Will help a lot of people get clear and real.

  4. Setting this post up as a quiz was a really cool idea Kim. Unfortunately I got mostly B’s …. hmmm

    • B’s are better than C’s! These questions are too easy for you. If I’d done some complicated long term retirement savings ones, I bet you’d have gotten A+++’s.

  5. These are all great questions! I think most people could benefit from taking your quiz and being real about it, but I guess that would only work if they actually did anything about it.

  6. I really liked this format, Kim! I believe financial “reality” is inevitable and it’s really just a matter of “when” it happens. I think those who focus on it in their 20s and 30s have a huge head start, though, and over time they will be much more secure and reach “freedom” earlier. It’s interesting how with the old model of working for one employer you could rely on a pension for retirement. Today you really need to be on top of things, especially with social security running out within a few decades.

    • If you start early, you really do have a huge head start and don’t have to save nearly as much at a time. It’s sooo much harder to play catch up.

  7. I love this Kim! I definitely used to be a solid C gal until I got financially real about 3 years ago. It’s crazy to think that all of those choices seemed like “good ones” back in the day and now I cringe when I see them.

    • I rationalized keeping my car payment the same was a good reason to buy a new car. I had a continuous car payment for a decade. Wish I could go back, but it’s kind of funny to see how I rationalized it back then.

  8. Awesome idea! I got a couple of C’s for being too lazy to check the grocery bill or the DTI ratio thanks for the reality check 🙂

  9. LOL, love your “C’s”! That was SO us years ago. I remember as we began our debt payoff journey that we analyzed our spending from the previous year. Our $600 a month grocery budget, which I was pretty sure was “in the ballpark” because we didn’t actually keep track then, was actually more like $900 a month. OUCH!

    • It’s amazing how you can convince yourself you aren’t really spending that much. If you don’t check the numbers, you can assign any value you want!

  10. I love the quiz Kim!! I scored mostly B’s…I’m financially sensible, but just make a low income….and yup, side hustling my butt off! 🙂

    • I think you’ve done amazingly well with all the work changes and income shifts you’ve been thrown over the last year. Here’s to good things in the future!

  11. I’m glad I am now financially real because before I was a mostly C’s. It took some studying and hard work to get out of being a C student, but now I get straight A’s!!!

    • I used to make straight A’s in school, but I was certainly C or worse in my financial life for a long time. Glad to be back on the A path again.

  12. I love the quiz, Kim. What a fabulous idea! What I find so often is there are so many well-meaning people in denial because they don’t know better. They fell hook, line and sinker for the “everyone has debt” and paying the minimums on credit cards and budgets are bad and so forth. A lot of these people aren’t really happy either. I truly believe that getting our financial lives in order and building a healthy relationship with money is the key to happiness. Thank you again for your continued participation in the Carnival, Kim. I appreciate your support!

    • I don’t think you can be truly happy living the life of payment to payment for things that don’t add wealth or bring real value. You certainly reinforce that every week with the excellent content you’ve been putting out.

  13. What a fun quiz! I would love to keep my head buried in the sand, Lol! We are actually pretty financially real:0) Thanks for the quiz!

  14. There was definitely a time when I would have failed this quiz, even though I didn’t have debt. But I never really paid attention to how I used my money. As long their was money in my checking account, I was good to go! Such a waste!

  15. For a lot of people reality only hits once they get children. That’s when they realize that all those excessive spending pre-kids was a huge mistake. It’s never too late though. Money can always be earned, one way or another and budgeting is a skill one can learn if he/she wants to.

  16. So this was crazy fun! I ended up in A’s but got a few B’s, too.

  17. I definitely got mostly Bs, but am working hard to be an A!

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