While I only have a few decades of life experience behind me, I can say the most substantial personal growth has occurred in the years between my early and late twenties. Relationships ended, new ones began, and a decade that started with certain career aspirations saw others come into fruition.

My beliefs and life directions have changed in substantial ways, but perhaps the largest change has occurred in my relationship with money. Looking back, I used to passively hoard money and now, with bigger dreams and more knowledge under my belt, I actively manage it instead.

Many of us enter the workforce strapped with student loan debt and very little knowledge of money — a double whammy when you consider how challenging the personal finance arena can be to navigate as it is. But while funds may be lacking, it’s the most important time to be proactive in deciding how we want to take charge of our money — instead of allowing our money to take charge of us.

Here are a few money milestones that made my twenties the years I took the reigns and laid the foundation for financial stability going forward.

I stopped expecting my parents to pay.

Millennials are routinely referred to as the boomerang generation and I won’t pretend that I was any different. While a few hiccups sent me back to mom and dad’s, I finally reached a point where I knew that financial stability would feel so much better than a cushy place to call home (one that I wasn’t paying for).

Once I was standing on my own two feet, I also realized how amazing it was to be able to give back to my parents. Instead of always expecting them to foot the bill when it came to things like going out to dinner, I started covering them — and that’s when I finally felt like a full-fledged adult.