For most people, your 20’s are the first time in your life you will actually have your own money. While that first “real” paycheck may seem huge in comparison to what you had been previously making, it might not go as far as you think. Here are 10 money mistakes you can avoid if you are in your 20’s.
1. Taking On Too Much Student Debt
The average 2016 graduate had $37,172 in student debt, up 6% from 2015. It is far better to spend 6 or more years getting a degree and graduate debt free or with minimal debt than to try and cram your education into four years and graduate with up to $100,000 in debt.
2. Overpaying For Housing
After spending most of your life sharing space with other people, it is natural to want your own place. For the moment, however, it is far more fiscally wise to find an economical place to live with a roommate or two.
3. Buying A New Car
While you don’t necessarily have to drive a “beater” car, it’s probably best to leave the purchase of a new or luxury car until you are a bit more financially stable.
4. Racking Up Credit Card Debt
In 2010, credit card laws changed to protect underage borrowers, but that only protects college students until age 21. If you don’t have good disciplines around spending, it’s probably best to pass on the credit cards until you build the disciplines which will help you manage them wisely.
5. Spending Everything You Earn
6. Not Setting A Budget
Setting a budget – and sticking to it – is the best way to ensure that when the first of the month rolls around, you have cash in hand to pay the rent and aren’t scrambling to try and cover it at the last minute.
7. Not Paying Yourself First
Hand in hand with setting a budget is making sure you have some money out of every paycheck to do what you want with. If every dime of your paycheck is going to rent, car payments, loan payments and bills, it’s time to make some cuts somewhere so you have money for you.
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting a big, fancy wedding, you may end up sabotaging your marriage from the get-go by getting yourself in debt to pay for it. Better to stick with a small, simpler affair that you can pay for up front.
9. Failing To Set Financial Goals
Whether it is how much money from each paycheck you want to save, how much you want to cut your spending or what portion of your income you want to spend on housing, goal setting is an important part of fiscal responsibility.
10. Not Tracking Your Spending
You are now working hard for every dime you earn, so make sure you know where every dime you spend is going.