5 Horrible Money Mistakes Made in Your 20s

All three of my siblings got married this year! Kinda crazy right! It’s been a bit of a busy year. But incredibly awesome!! Our family has pretty much doubled! So. Much. Fun!!

SO! Me being the oldest sibling and about to leave my 20’s, say what!!! I can’t help but think about all the things I wish I had done differently.

First years on your own, FREEDOM! Livin’ the college life! Late night runs to the drive thru. First years of marriage. Kids. A lot happens in your 20s! Which can make a statement on your bank account if you’re not careful!

Your 20s are a time in your life where you learn a lot about growing up and living on your own. Unfortunately, a lot of times those lessons are learned the hard way.

I am the type of person who loves to hear others advice. I don’t always take it but I definitely will learn from it. I hope that’s what these five financial cautions can offer you.

Even if you are a little past your 20s, maybe you can relate and have made these money mistakes when you were in your 20s. Are you making these mistakes even now that you are out of your 20s?

It’s never to late to change! Following these five guidelines to avoid money mistakes and they will help you no matter what your age is.

5 money mistakes millennials can learn from now so they can be ahead of the game later! A letter of love to my younger siblings to help them learn from my own money mistakes.

In an effort to help others avoid some money mistakes, that I may or may not have made myself, wink wink, I am sharing some money mistakes that everyone should watch out for.

But if you are in your 20s, take advantage of these warnings because the one thing you have on your side right now is t-i-m-e. Time.

5 Horrible Money Mistakes Made in Your 20s

1. Debt
This is a big one, right? Being in your 20s you are super excited about all the potential your life has. You see others who have their careers and all of the luxuries that have come as a result of their hard work.

But guess what, you haven’t done your time yet. You have to work before you get your reward.

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to “keep up with the Joneses”. Do not and I repeat, do not go into debt.

We have never had credit card debt but our student loan debt as followed us our entire marriage! We decided to take control of it, we researched how to do it on sites like https://www.creditfix.co.uk/debt-solutions/trust-deed/ for many endless nights and FINALLY, right before our ten year anniversary we will be debt free!

Don’t be like us, stay far away from debt. Work through school, it might take you a little longer to finish, but you truly will be far ahead when you graduate with ZERO DEBT!

You can read more about our debt free journey here.

2. Not Saving
No matter what your age, it is always a good idea to put some money into savings. Even if it is only $5 a month, do it! Put aside as much as you can. The biggest reason is that you cannot predict the future. Side note: if you can, then please message me!

There is no guarantee that you are going to get a job straight out of college and there is an innumerable amount of things that could happen to tank your finances. Health problems, car problems, housing problems are just a couple to give you an idea.

It was amazing the burden of stress that was lifted as soon as my husband and I were able build our first $1,000 emergency fund. The frequent car problems we were having all of the sudden didn’t seam like the end of the world.

3. No Budget
I know. Once you get your first “real” job it is going to feel like you won the lottery! You went from making close to zero dollars and paying for school to making a steady income. First I would say, after taking into consideration your bills for the month, take a small amount (maybe $100) and go celebrate.

Now that you got that out of your system, you need to sit down and make yourself a budget. You probably have some new expenses that you aren’t used to paying. Your gas expenses might be a little higher then they once were. And don’t forget about putting money away for your emergency fund and other savings goals.

Here is an article on three steps for starting a budget. Plus, it has a free digital budgeting template that you can download!

Here are a few more articles you will like about keeping your personal finances on track:
7 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget
5 Tips for Planning a Vacation on a Budget
Really Life Plan to Buy a House in Two Years
How a Budget Can Strengthen Your Marriage
Spending ZERO Dollar Challenge

4. Overspending
If you followed my previous piece of advice about setting a budget then this one should already be on your radar. Do not spend more than you make. It is kinda that simple to say but maybe a little harder to follow.

All you need to do is exercise a little self-discipline, stick to your budget, keep your end game in site, and live within your means.

5. Not Investing
This one came from one of my college finance teachers. I can still picture him standing at the front of the classroom begging us to use our money wisely and invest!

He said we (college students) had a jump on the game because of our age, because we had time on our side. When it comes to investing, time is a major piece to the puzzle.

There are many different avenues to take when investing and I am not going to tell you which one to take. But I know that you are smart. Start small and educate yourself before you make the investment.

Don’t ever use money that you need to live on to make an investment! An example would be if you can’t afford to make two mortgage payments, then don’t invest your money into an income property.

Set aside your investment money completely separate from your other money you need to live on. It’s the safest way to avoid making a horrible money mistake!

Have Fun!
You can still have fun! If you manage your money wisely by following all of these tips you won’t have to live with heavy financial burdens hanging over your head! Keep your end goal in site. For a little extra motivation read this article on how you can still live on a budget and live happy! You can do this!

Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_maglara’>maglara / 123RF Stock Photo</a>


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  • Alli
    October 12, 2015 at 5:49 am

    For years, I taught a high school elective class on Personal Finances. I really do hope the kids listened well. Your tips are all spot on! I wish I had known all these things when I was in my late teens, early 20’s.

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 16, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      Thank you so much Alli! I wish I would have had a personal finance class in high school. When I was on my own for the first time I had no idea where to even start!

  • Michele D
    October 12, 2015 at 7:28 am

    I made tons of mistakes in my twenties. Luckily it’s been many years since then and I’ve learned the hard way.

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 16, 2015 at 10:49 pm

      That’s life, isn’t it? At least we can learn from our mistakes right? Thanks for stopping by Michele!

  • Jenn @ EngineerMommy
    October 12, 2015 at 8:00 am

    This is great financial advice. I think too many people take on too much debt! Being financially savvy does not have to be difficult- it can be achieved with just a few simple changes!

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 16, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      You are so right Jenn! Making a few small changes at a time can make a huge difference in the long run!

  • Carmen Perez (listen2mama)
    October 12, 2015 at 9:51 am

    I think the main ones would be no budgeting (they’re not used to it) and definitely overspending (they have their own money now and lose control). Great list.

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 16, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      Thank you so much Carmen! I think you are so right, no budgeting can be a horrible mistake.

  • Coolchillmom
    October 12, 2015 at 10:53 am

    It is true that those are mistake that unfortunately are not exclusive to twenty year olds. Investing at an early age is such great advice

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 16, 2015 at 10:43 pm

      It’s to bad that there isn’t more financial education in public school don’t you think? That would be helpful before we are all sent out into the world.

  • Angelic Sinova
    October 12, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Although I am in my early 20’s (23) I pride myself on being very money wise. I save more than 45% of my paychecks for raining days (and my travel fund.) I think a big mistake a lot of people my age make is buying everything on credit. That’s a big no no <3

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 14, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      You are SO right! Buying on credit has to be the worst money mistake you can make. You are awesome for saving so much money! What are you tips for living on almost only 50% of your income?

  • Sophie O'Reilly
    October 12, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    When I went to Uni back in 2009 and got my student loan I spent it like water and didn’t think! These days i’m more careful and save up.

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 14, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      I don’t think you are the only one! I had a bunch of friends who tool student loans out as much and as often as possible. Good thing we can learn from our mistakes!

  • Valerie@Occasionally Crafty
    October 12, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Oh, these are all so important! I’m so grateful my husband’s employer has a mandatory savings- 12 percent automatically goes into our retirement account, plus we direct deposit money from each paycheck into an emergency savings fund. It has saved us more than once! Everyone should avoid these mistakes!

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 14, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      That is awesome! I have never heard of an employer having a mandatory savings. What a great boss!

  • Sara-Jayne
    October 12, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Oh my life. I made all of those mistakes – and I AM a Jones! My twenties were a financial disaster and I went into so much debt for law school. Such an awful way to start my working life.

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 14, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      Although I don’t have a crazy amount of debt I do wish that I didn’t have to take on any while in college. All we can do is make changes and move forward and try to correct our mistakes. 🙂

  • Felicita Moncada
    October 12, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    These are great tips! I didn’t have any debt when I graduated from college but I did not save or invest. I had no budget either. I wish I can go back and change that!

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 14, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      Not having any debt when graduating from college is a HUGE success! Nice work!

  • Tiany - Social Savvy Mom
    October 12, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Fabulous list of tips, I wish I would have had this advice in my 20’s… so many mistakes made when it comes to budgeting!

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 14, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      I think 20s is the time when a lot of people wish they would have been smarter with their money. All we can do is learn from our mistakes! Thanks for stopping by!

  • tammileetips
    October 13, 2015 at 12:22 am

    I think I made most of these mistakes when I was in my 20s!! I wish I could send this to my past self, great mistakes to avoid.

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 14, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      Haha! Don’t you really wish that! It would be so helpful! Definitely some pieces of advice I am going to be sharing with my kids when they get a little older!

  • Tatanisha Pitts-Worthey
    October 13, 2015 at 2:19 am

    I’ve made a handful mistakes too back then. It is important to learn and always keep the lessons as you go along with life.

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 14, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      I love that you said you need to learn! We all make mistakes and it’s totally okay as long as we learn from them.

  • Franc Ramon
    October 13, 2015 at 6:11 am

    I attended a Finance talk and it was suggested that you set aside 20% of your earnings for savings and investment. It really helps to save and invest at a young age since your earnings would really be compounded.

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 14, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      Exactly! When you are younger you have the time for the interest to compound. Setting aside money for savings and investment is key!

  • Elayne
    October 13, 2015 at 11:49 am

    In my 20s I didn’t have a budget and I didn’t save money. Perhaps I didn’t save money because I didn’t have a budget. Now that I’m 40 I regret not investing sooner.

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 14, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      I still have about one year left in my 20s and I really wish I would have been a lot smarter with my money. It’s never to late to change, right?

  • lisa @bitesforbabies
    October 13, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    When I was in my 20’s I lived in London, England and made a good amount of money. At the time the pound was more than double the Canadian dollar. IF I had put away money every month I would have gone home with a nice nest egg!!!

    • Brittany Cooper
      October 14, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Don’t you wish sometimes you can jump back in time and give yourself some advice!?

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