Money Mistakes I Made in My 20s That I Won’t Repeat in My 30s

Money MistakesI had a lot of fun in my early 20s. Maybe too much fun. I was a young and carefree college student living in this naïve bubble world where I had access to thousands of  dollars of student loan and the best part was I did not have to work for a cent of it! Partying like a rock-star was my life.

I made a lot of money mistakes while I was spending like Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw; mistakes that I am here to share with all the young ladies and gents who read my blog so that I can possibly prevent at least one person from repeating the same offenses.

Here are some of the ways I was literally throwing my money in the garbage when I was in my 20s…

1) When I was really strapped for cash, I would take a cash advance out on my credit card. Interest on credit cards are already high but interest on cash advances on credit cards are sky-rocket high and they start the second you pull out the cash. I swear I am still paying the interest on some of the cash advances I did years ago…

2) I never paid my credit card balance in full but I kept asking for an increase to my limit. For some mysterious reason or maybe not so mysterious greed, my bank kept allowing the increase.

3) I was on interest relief from my student loans and didn’t have to make any required payments towards it so I chose not to. I literally want to cry when I think of all the years I wasted not putting money towards my student loan considering I graduated in 2007.

4) I was buying boyfriends and friends expensive Birthday and Christmas presents when I couldn’t really afford to.

5) I was buying my friends rounds of drinks at the club when I definitely couldn’t afford to.

6) I decided that I wanted to collect makeup so I proceeded to build up a very nice makeup collection.

7) I wasn’t saving anything. Retirement seemed too far away in the future and I hadn’t even heard of an Emergency Fund.

8) I was living paycheck to paycheck and relying on credit to live beyond my means.

I’m rather embarrassed to admit how bad I was with money but this blog is to document my journey to a debt-free life and part of that will have to be acknowledging where I went wrong in my past…

As you all know, I am dreading my 30th birthday in a few months, but if there’s one silver lining, then it would be my excitement and motivation at not repeating any of these money mistakes as I enter a new decade of my life.

I have to end this post with a cheesy warning line because GMD loves the cheese…

Please don’t make the same money mistakes I did because I promise you they are costly! *insert groan* :P

Thanks for reading friends,

GMD

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43 Comments on Money Mistakes I Made in My 20s That I Won’t Repeat in My 30s

  1. The Norwegian GirlNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 1:03 am (1 year ago)

    I used to buy too expensive birthday/christmas gifts too, but I´ve learnt that I just can`t afford that right now, so I come up with new ideas and other ways of cutting down the cost.

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 9:19 am (1 year ago)

      I now only buy presents for my family during Christmas and lasy year I got creative in trying to find ways to save money on gifts. I told my friends the truth that I couldn’t afford to exchange gifts with them. I guess I’m lucky J writes a PF blog too so he never expects fancy gifts from me. ;)

      Reply
  2. Glen @ Monster Piggy BankNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 3:34 am (1 year ago)

    I remember buying rounds of drinks too, what a waste of money! I don’t even keep in contact with half of those people anymore :(

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 9:29 am (1 year ago)

      Ugh don’t even get me started on buying rounds of drinks for people that I don’t even keep in contact with anymore…that would be a long rant post altogether haha.

      Reply
  3. Johnny MoneyseedNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 6:21 am (1 year ago)

    I’ve never taken a cash advance, but I can feel your pain. I had a few credit cards go into collections when I was young and dumb. Oops! I don’t know if you read the last post that I wrote, but what I was trying to say is that you shouldn’t dwell on the past. You have your whole life to fix your financial problems, and beating yourself up about it now won’t change the fact that you were young and didn’t understand how money worked yet. I feel like having a blog is going to be a great resource for you.

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 9:42 am (1 year ago)

      I try not to dwell on the past for too long but I can’t help it, sometimes I feel a bit sad and ashamed at how young and dumb I was with my finances but I agree with you in that having a blog will be a great resource for me in paying off debt. It’s only been 4 months but I’m a whole new Girl with my finances and I know a big part of it has to do with joining the PF community. :)

      Reply
      • Lauren @ Cheapstudents.caNo Gravatar
        April 10, 2013 at 6:29 pm (1 year ago)

        Honestly I don’t think it’s a bad thing that you are reviewing it, and going through the mistakes you made. Not only will readers benefit form your mistakes but the fact that you are admitting them means you are trying to fix your spending habits. Some people don’t realize they have a spending issue or choose not to change until its too late, congrats on your success so far. Love the post by the way!

        Reply
  4. Mr. 1500No Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 6:29 am (1 year ago)

    Ha, we’ve all been there. I remember spending something like $500 on stereo equipment while in college, putting it all on the credit card. Brilliant idea when you’re making $3.35/week.

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 9:49 am (1 year ago)

      At least you were working in college. I was a slacker and did not but it’s kind of hard to find time to work when I was partying like a rock-star. :P

      Reply
  5. MichelleNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 7:00 am (1 year ago)

    I used to go out dancing with friends probably 3 or 4 days a week and I have worked full time since I was 16, so I would go into work hungover. Spent way too much money!

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 9:53 am (1 year ago)

      I can’t even count the times I was in class miserable and hungover from the night before. I can’t believe you were working full-time while going to college and going out dancing 3-4 times a week! So you were superwoman even back then? ;)

      Reply
  6. Grayson @ Debt RoundupNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 7:02 am (1 year ago)

    I remember those days. As I get close to 30, I am glad I changed my ways or I would be screwed. Good luck to you in the future.

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 9:59 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks Grayson. I agree with your sentiment completely. I would so be screwed if I didn’t start changing my ways now!!!

      Reply
  7. MorgaineNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 7:02 am (1 year ago)

    I made almost every mistake you’ve listed above (with the exception of makeup but maybe insert other personal care items like shampoo and lotions) and then some! Coming into your 30s can really be a wake up call, I know it was for me. But I admit that I’m loving my 30s its already been a great 2 years and I know the next 8 will be amazing! Great post! :)

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 10:02 am (1 year ago)

      It’s nice hearing I wasn’t the only one making cringeworthy money mistakes in my 20s. I am sooo NOT looking forward to this wakeup call you speak of in my 30s though. :P

      Reply
  8. Lisa @ Elle SeesNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 7:20 am (1 year ago)

    I was just reading a 30th bday post on another blog this week and the blogger wrote something that I thought was amazing — “The biggest lesson I learned on my birthday is to not be scared of time or obsessed with it, but to just be grateful for it.” (credit to NeonFresh.com)

    I’m a few years away from 30 but have already been dreading it…that line really struck me, so I wanted to pass it on!

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 10:30 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks for passing on the wise line Lisa! :D

      Reply
  9. John S @ Frugal RulesNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 8:15 am (1 year ago)

    Good post GMD! I so remember those days when I would take cash advances to further fund what I was wanting to do. I was guilty of many of these others as well and thankful to have learned my lesson. Keep up the great work and keep your eyes on the future of what being debt free will feel like.

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 10:42 am (1 year ago)

      Cash Advances should be illegal!!!

      Reply
  10. CassieNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 8:21 am (1 year ago)

    Oh geez, I’ve been guilty of many of these. I was bad for picking up the tab at dinner. At least you’ve made yourself aware of it now. Some people just keep their heads in the sand forever.

    Don’t dread turning 30. If you dread it I’ll end up doing the same thing next year. Keep yourself upbeat girl! :D

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 10:44 am (1 year ago)

      I picked up the dinner tab for everyone one too many times as well. And as for turning 30, I am sad. You should be sad too lol :P

      Reply
  11. annaNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 8:31 am (1 year ago)

    I used to buy expensive gifts for loved ones, too, and now wonder what the heck was I thinking. I still wince now when people spend lavishly on each other when I know they don’t have the means to, but feel hesitant to say anything. At least you’ve learned now, and girl, don’t fret about 30 – if it’s anything like my experience, I think you’ll find you have a better handle on life and yourself, and these are all very good things. :)

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm (1 year ago)

      I see people spending lavishly on their loved ones when they don’t have the means to either. It’s hard to say something because they are doing it out of well-meaning good…and as for turning 30, I already know who I am…can’t I just stay 29 forever? :P

      Reply
  12. Michelle's Finance JournalNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 9:20 am (1 year ago)

    My biggest expenditure in my twenties was eating out every single day. I don’t know why I didn’t learn to cook a few things and just go out on weekends. Well~ live and learn. I’m learning alright.

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm (1 year ago)

      I’m still learning to cook lol. I can’t believe some people actually ENJOY it!

      Reply
  13. MackenzieNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 9:23 am (1 year ago)

    Ugh, I remember buying gifts for people on credit cards. Half of those people, I don’t even talk to anymore! Jeez…

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 12:46 pm (1 year ago)

      So many of my lavish gifts were charged on credit cards as well…Ugh…

      Reply
  14. Alan@escapingmydebtNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 9:55 am (1 year ago)

    Although I am sure you are still fun to be around. I wish I knew you then. I am always game for free drinks and nice gifts, lol. Glad it sounds like you learned a lot of the past several years.

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm (1 year ago)

      Lol. I wish I could meet a younger me right now so I could enjoy some nice gifts and free drinks too :P

      Reply
  15. Do or DebtNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 10:59 am (1 year ago)

    So glad you have come so far! Glad you are paying off your debt….it’s better late than never. I have totally been guilty of #4 and #5. I am very generous with friends and loved ones, sometimes to a fault.

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm (1 year ago)

      I’m just learning to show my generous nature to family and friends in other ways than money I don’t have. It’s a learning curve for sure.

      Reply
  16. TheBantuGirlNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 3:26 pm (1 year ago)

    Can I just say, been there, done that – never going back!!! I came up with this idea a few years ago for christmas, we are only allowed to spend $10 or less for gifts. Guess who won the challenge two years in a row? I find that it allows you to be very creative which is lots of fun!!

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm (1 year ago)

      I think that’s awesome that you won the challenge and had lots of fun doing it 2 years in a row! :D

      Reply
  17. debtperceptionNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm (1 year ago)

    Wow, you mentioning Carrie Bradshaw JUST made me realize that The Carrie Diaries is a spinoff of Sex and the City. I’ve only ever seen the movie but they say, “Before there was Sex and the City” in the show’s opening. How could I have never noticed the connection before? Duh me!

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 11, 2013 at 7:00 am (1 year ago)

      Yup, The Carrie Diaries is a prequel to the TV series :)

      Reply
  18. JW_Umbrella TreasuryNo Gravatar
    April 11, 2013 at 3:19 am (1 year ago)

    I’ve definitely made a few mistakes in my time. Namely, spending extra income rather than saving it. I had babysitting and coaching gigs in grad school, in addition to my assistantship. I was able to cover my expenses with the assistantship, so I viewed the babysitting and coaching money as “fun” money. I spent a ton on stuff I didn’t need. But at least now I know to do differently.

    I think it’s fine to make some mistakes, as long as we learn from them. I have a coworker who has a great mantra: “Always make new mistakes.”

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 11, 2013 at 7:01 am (1 year ago)

      “Always make new mistakes” – I like that mantra! Thanks for sharing JW :)

      Reply
  19. Holly@ClubThriftyNo Gravatar
    April 11, 2013 at 4:05 am (1 year ago)

    Oh, I hear ya! I did a lot of stupid stuff in my 20′s. I once bought a $25,000 car and I didn’t have a job to pay for it yet!!!

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 11, 2013 at 7:03 am (1 year ago)

      You inspire me that it’s not too late to start kicking ass with my finances Holly :)

      Reply
  20. Financial Black SheepNo Gravatar
    April 11, 2013 at 8:55 am (1 year ago)

    I believe mistakes help you learn, otherwise they will haunt you forever and you will never move on. I made mistakes when I was young, but I believe I paid for them and am working on making my life better. I paid off all my debt and I am back in school to fix all that was wrong in my life. I wouldn’t change anything I went through in the past.

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 11, 2013 at 9:11 am (1 year ago)

      To be honest, I’m not quite yet in the stage where I don’t regret or wouldn’t want to change anything I went through financially. I’m hoping I will get there soon though. Writing this blog is rather therapeutic! :)

      Reply
  21. Jacob@CashCowCoupleNo Gravatar
    April 12, 2013 at 11:28 am (1 year ago)

    I’m still in my lower 20s and I definitely relate to this post. I haven’t made many big money mistakes but just buying drinks for myself to go out and be cool was such a waste of time and money. The future’s bright for us both!

    Reply
    • Girl Meets DebtNo Gravatar
      April 12, 2013 at 11:47 am (1 year ago)

      I couldn’t agree more Jacob! The future is bright for both of us! :)

      Reply

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