Your 20’s are supposed to be a great time, but my 20’s weren’t quite all I expected them to be. I started to be filled with a lot of worry and anxiety when I made some huge money mistakes. I’m hoping to help you avoid the same mistakes I made with debt, credit cards, and more! Here are the top 10 money mistakes I made in my 20’s!
Here are the top 10 money mistakes I made in my 20’s:
#1. Getting a credit card before I was ready.
I got my first credit card when I was 18. I had a student worker job in college and made minimum wage. I had absolutely NO business taking out a credit card.
I did not receive any real information about credit cards other than they could get me in trouble and I should be careful. I thought as long as I was paying on it, I’d be okay. Things spiraled out of control quickly though in my early 20’s.
#2. Overspending on clothes.
Not only did I purchase clothes pretty well ALL the time, but I also shopped at the mall, of all places!
This really has a lot to do with my mindset about money when I was that age. I grew up “poor” and did not ever have a lot of clothes, shoes, and makeup, and I always had wished that I did.
I always had plenty, but I always wanted more. I was always super jealous of the girls my age that got to go to the mall and buy clothes because I never did. I always struggled to fit in and this was just yet another way that I didn’t fit it.
That mentality didn’t go away overnight. It actually took me a long time to change my money mindset and realize that more things didn’t actually make me feel better or feel like I fit in more!
This is why starting with your mindset is so, so important when you are tackling money.
#3. Taking out and using more credit than I could afford.
I should have really stepped back and assessed the amount of debt I was already in before I took out additional credit cards to every department store that I could.
I eventually got to a place where I couldn’t afford all the minimum payments for each one and that’s when I really found myself in trouble!
#4. Taking out too many student loans.
Instead of making a plan to pay for my schooling or only taking out the absolute minimum amount of loans to pay for my degree, I took out every loan there was!
I also used them to pay off my credit cards then ran the credit cards back up again. I continued to overspend my money for many years, not caring if payments were late or forgotten and not worrying about eventually paying back my student loans. Totally wrong move!!
I should have only taken out enough student loans to pay for my education only. Ideally, I should have at least figured out a way to pay for my books.
#5. Getting divorced… twice.
I do not regret getting divorced but I regret the way I handled them both financially. I got divorced at the age of 22 the first time and the second time I was 28.
I had to buy a lot of stuff for my apartments, pay deposits on apartments and utilities, among other things. I wish I would’ve planned my expenses out a little better even if it meant being uncomfortable where I was living for a bit longer.
#6. Not paying off my credit card balance at the end of each month.
Obviously, if you are taking out a credit card and going to use it, you should be paying off your purchases ASAP. But I didn’t do this. Instead, I normally maxed the card out and only paid the minimum payments.
My parents are great with money, but I moved out when I was 17. I didn’t really have a chance to actually learn their strategies with money ever. They also don’t teach budgeting and basic financial information in school. There were no budgeting blogs or Pinterest or any of that, so I was left to my own devices. And those failed me!
#7. Paying bills late.
I should have at least paid the minimums on my credit cards, but sometimes I paid them super late or even worse, let them go to collections. I should have called my creditors and worked out something with them versus letting it go and get worse.
#8. Not asking for help sooner.
I definitely wish I would have asked for help a bit sooner! I could’ve saved myself a LOT of financial woes if I had someone who could have helped me.
Instead, I tried a lot and I failed even more. It wasn’t until I was almost 30 that I really started getting serious about paying off debt.
#9. Using negative self-talk.
Any time I would fail at budgeting or mess up financially, I immediately went into a mental spiral. I would tell myself “oh well, I’m never going to get out of debt anyway so who cares if my payments aren’t on time” and a whole host of other negative things.
I wish I would’ve realized making mistakes is okay and kept trying to pay off my debt and not take out new debts.
#10. Not having a budget.
Yep, that’s right. I didn’t have a budget AT ALL.
For almost 8 years, I fumbled around spending money on stupid stuff, thinking I was fine when I wasn’t. I didn’t realize I should be budgeting EVERY dollar until I was in a place where I could allow money to just sit in my account.
My scarcity mindset made me spend every dollar, worried there would not be more which was dumb because I always held at least two part-time jobs or one full-time job!