What I Wish I Would’ve Known About Money in My 20’s

What I Wish I Would’ve Known About Money in My 20’s

What I Wish I Would’ve Known About Money in My 20’s


Here’s a quick and snappy list of all the Do’s and Don’ts I wish I would’ve known and followed in my 20’s.  These are real and attainable things you can start implementing immediately.



DO:  Start putting away money into a 401K towards retirement.  Take FULL advantage if your company matches your contributions.

DON’T:  Get credit card crazy.  Never charge more than you can pay off in any given month, unless it’s an emergency.

DO:  Remember that you’re never too young to start investing your money.

DON’T:  Pay the monthly minimum on your credit cards.  Pay those babies OFF as soon as possible.

DO:  Save more than you spend if you’re living at home with your parents.

DON’T:  Live beyond your means.  If you can’t afford, then you don’t need it.

DO:  Consider purchasing off-brand products.  Whether that’s clothes, shoes, groceries or more, you don’t always need the best name brand of everything, especially when you’re a broke college student.

DON’T:  Buy any and everything that’s cheap.  Shop smart.  If off brand is basically the same, then go off brand.  If off brand quality is a joke, then skip it.  Sometimes you get what you pay for, others it’s a total steal.

DO:  Take advantages of coupon codes and websites like Groupon.

DON’T:  Spend money to impress others.  The satisfaction of impressing others is fleeting.  Debt follows you around everywhere you go.

DO:  Start paying down your student loans as soon as you possibly can.

DON’T:  Lend money to friends or family.  There’s a good chance that either you, the lender, or the lendee, will get either burnt or offended.  It’s not worth it.  If you want to help someone out, give the money as a gift, that way there is way to be let down.

DO:  Be generous.  I have always tithed and it remains important to me to this day.  We are blessed to be able to bless others.

DON’T:  Be stingy.  Use wisdom to discern the situations that require your generosity.  In the case of legitimate need, help when you can.

DO: Pay off your car.  The quicker that car note disappears, the happier you’ll be.

DON’T:  Buy a car you can’t afford.  Reference the note above about impressing others.

DO:  Have an emergency fund.  If you’re not familiar with Dave Ramsey and his financial principles, stop what you’re doing and go check him out.

DON’T:  Forget about the importance of a budget.  A budget will help you keep everything in check financially, so you’re not overspending.

DO:  Use cash whenever possible.  This way, when the cash is gone, you know it’s time to stop spending.

DON’T:  Make impulsive purchases.  Walk away and think about it.  Sleep on it even.  Be quick to think and slow to spend.

DO:  Use only ATMs from your bank…  Those ATM fees from other banks add up fast!

DON’T:  Subscribe to too many unnecessary services.  Cut back on the Netflix AND Hulu AND YouTube TV AND Roku AND AND AND…  Pick one!  Get rid of the rest.

DO:  Use your library card!  I use mine to subscribe to free apps like Libby, Overdrive and Hoopla to check out my audio books, movies (stream to Apple TV!) and more for absolutely free!

DON’T:  Feel pressured by anyone to spend your money a certain way.  It’s your money, you worked hard for it and you deserve to spend it how you see fit.

DO:  Take the overtime hours!  When I was in my late teens and early 20’s, I always had a minimum of two jobs, even when going to school full-time.  I worked my butt off because I liked having nice things.  I refused to have debt, so I took on all the extra hours I could manage.




  1. Katie
    / 2:04 PM

    Love this! I’ve always been really good with my money, but wish I would of done a few things differently as well!

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:30 AM

      We all make mistakes but that’s so awesome that you’ve been smart with yours!

  2. Erin Core
    / 4:33 PM

    This is awesome! I had some bad credit while in my 20s and paid it off! So it affected my credit score. A month ago I checked my score out of curiousity and it has improved a lot and is better score than it was yrs ago. So now in my early 30s I am just working to keep improving my score and stay debt free. This is why I don’t have credit cards. Too much of a hassle and if not paid it can get you into trouble and affect your credit. I had one when I was in my early 20s to use to help pay for college and other stuff. I ended up having to get my parents to help pay it off and then I cancelled the card. I have never had another one since then. I learned my lesson and I just prefer using my debit card or cash. I have def learned things about handling my finances over the yrs since being in 20s to now my early 30s. Through my experiences I will be able to help teach my son when he is older to not do what I did. I don’t want him to have bad credit because it takes a long time to improve it and can affect things like buying a home and other important things in life.

    So easy to get caught up in credit cards and spending carelessly because you have a card but then it gets out of control and you’re in debt. Plus the interest rates don’t help make it easy to pay it off sometimes.

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:33 AM

      So smart! Thanks for sharing with us, Erin!

  3. Rachel
    / 5:18 AM

    Totally get this! I’ve recently got my self out of a credit dark hole because of trying to ‘keep up with the joneses’ it’s just so liberating to think I’ve paid it all off now! I will never get myself in that position again. 😊

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:35 AM

      So proud of you, Rachel!

  4. Gemma Louise
    / 5:19 AM

    This is great! So much good advice. I’m already doing a lot of these but going to implement even more!

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:31 AM

      I’m so glad!!

  5. Mallary
    / 5:19 AM

    Yes! I love this! It is so easy to get caught up with credit cards and what not- I had quite a few that I’ve been paying off with the help of my husband and it feels great not to have that debt! I have always loved a good deal or a coupon and I can thank my mom for that! When we are in our 20s we don’t rally know the importance of things or don’t pay attention to them. Being in my early 30s now, I get it.

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:34 AM

      You’re definitely not the only one! Most go a little crazy in their 20s.

  6. Kelley
    / 5:56 AM

    100% agree with everything on this list! Dave Ramsey would be proud!

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:31 AM

      Thanks, Kelley!

  7. Yurece
    / 6:34 AM

    Absolutely love this! Thank you for sharing, I’m currently cracking down on myself about saving more and spending less. Lots of good info here! & this picture 😭 PRECIOUS! ❤️

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:42 AM

      Thank you!

  8. Mindy Diegel
    / 6:59 AM

    Love this so much! I’m a proud 35 year old that did this in my 20’s and 30’s while still being able to afording studying abroad a semester in Rome in college. Stateside travels throughout my 20’s and 30’s. But finally got the bug guns out and did larger travels abroad almost once a year throughout my 30’s. This was my first year in 5 years that I was not abroad in July, stinking Covid!!! (Years previous:England & Scotland; England & Scotland; spain Morocco Portugal; Japan & Vietnam)Managing money is important!!

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:44 AM

      That’s amazing!!

      • Mindy Diegel
        / 2:08 PM

        It is but worked out for the best this year since my Grams passed away in July. I would never have been able to forgive myself if I was on the other side of the world when she passed and could not get home.

  9. Jennifer Searls
    / 7:13 AM

    Dave Ramsey is great. We went through that and it helped so much. Don’t even use credit cards anymore. Unless it is a store credit card that helps benefit sale prices – like Kohl’s and Macy’s. But- I have very low limits on them so they are easy to pay off when I do use them.

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:44 AM

      Love that, Jennifer!

  10. Morgan
    / 8:15 AM

    Love this post!! Wonderful reminders what to teach my kids someday and what to keep trying for myself ❤️

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:45 AM

      Thanks, Morgan!

  11. Kristi Campbell
    / 9:54 AM

    Love Dave Ramsey’s method. So simple and made me wonder why I didn’t think of it sooner. Hate debt…it will suck the life out of you. Get out of it as soon as you possibly can.

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:46 AM

      I completely agree, Kristi!!

  12. Megan Brewer
    / 11:03 AM

    Amen! I remember when I was like 24 and had been working at my first”big girl” job when my boss at the time was doing my annual review, and somehow the topic of 401k came up, and he was like “wait you’ve worked here for three years and still haven’t set it up? I’m not signing your review until you’ve set the account up.” We then proceeded to set my 401k account. I wish that were something that when you are working your first “adult” job after college, like a checkbox on your orientation paperwork. It’s little things that you should know but often don’t think about when you are first starting in your career.

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:43 AM

      I completely agree! It should be taught in school.

  13. Maxanne Clark
    / 11:40 AM

    Some great pieces of advice in this post! I wish I’d had this in my 20s. My husband and I are climbing out of the credit card hole. We just recently decided to set aside an hour every Sunday to go through our budget and plan for the week ahead. These conversations have actually been really good for our marriage since one of our biggest fight topics was usually around money. There a couple of gems in your post I will definitely be sharing when we talk this week. Thanks Angela!

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:46 AM

      So glad you liked it, Maxanne!

  14. tamra
    / 3:08 PM

    So many good points!

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:41 AM

      Thanks, Tamara!

  15. Jennifer Alexander
    / 3:12 PM

    I love this! I’m still in my 20s and I can still learn so much from this. Thankfully, I was able to pay off my car within two years because I followed a lot of dos and donts that your provided. However, I will say that it is easier said than done lol

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:41 AM

      That’s amazing!! So proud of you!!

  16. Cheryl
    / 5:16 PM

    These are such good tips! I definitely try to live by them

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:40 AM

      Thanks, Cheryl!

  17. Yolie912
    / 6:08 PM

    This is great! I shared it with my 20 year old son. Great timing. Thanks for sharing

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:39 AM

      So glad you liked it!!

  18. Courtney Davide
    / 8:38 PM

    Love Dave Ramsey!! Thanks for sharing- the small things we tend to forget about but have great impact

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:39 AM

      It’s so true!!

  19. Stacy Hobson
    / 9:55 PM

    This is a fantastic read. I most certainly did many of the “don’ts” early in life. We always had brand new cars, used our credit cards and paid the minimum payments until one day our debt caught up to us. It’s always a hard lesson when it comes to money. Now we don’t have any credit cards and pay cash for things. If we don’t have the cash we don’t buy it. And the cars we now drive are paid off. Still working on some of these do’s but headed in a much better direction. Thank you for sharing this with us. I totally forgot you could use your library card for other things!

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:39 AM

      That’s amazing, Stacy!!

  20. Alice
    / 12:43 AM

    Those are very good tips 👏🏻 I love it! Thanks

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:39 AM

      Thanks, Alice!

  21. Jill
    / 4:48 AM

    Also, try to find a bank with no fees. And don’t buy something right away. If you are still thinking about it in 2 weeks then get it.

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:38 AM

      Love those tips! Thanks, Jill!

  22. Lauren
    / 5:04 AM

    VERY good tips!!!!! thanks for this article!!! was definitely nodding along to alot of these and a few I didn’t realise I needed to consider {especially the over time part those days have come in handy lol} thank you so much for this

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:38 AM

      Thanks for reading, Lauren!

  23. Lori Leung
    / 10:47 AM

    I have always been a saver and I have taught my sons to put money away. My oldest has a 401k and I told him to put the maximum allowed in every year. My youngest is a little more stubborn, but he is finally starting to save. My credit cards are always paid off as soon as I see the bill it is paid. It wasn’t always like that especially our first year with a newborn, OMG they need so many clothes, shoes, diapers, etc. We got behind on the bills and that was that, never again. We have a high credit score now over 800 and we worked for it.

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:36 AM

      That’s amazing, Lori!!

  24. Stephanie Loverde
    / 9:28 AM

    These are very good tips! I definitely went a little crazy with credit cards and excess checks in my early twenties but am trying to do better! I took a personal finance course online in the spring and it taught me a lot about buying and selling homes, mortgages, 401ks, all that stuff. Now I just need to get my career settled so I can start making real money! Need to get back into PT school first and if that doesn’t work pick something similar. But I want to do PT. I think it’s much harder for second generation millenials than first generation millenials to start careers and save money because the world is just too different from when they were our age even if that was only 10 years ago. So many people even in late twenties or early thirties are continuing to live at home because they can’t afford to live on their own or they’re saving for a house, find a hard time starting their career because they can’t find jobs or they’re still in school, etc. But I’m sure things will work out! God has a plan for all of us!

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:36 AM

      So proud of you for taking control of your finances! Better late than never!

  25. Leonie
    / 6:05 AM

    Yes to all of this

    • Angela Lanter
      / 6:34 AM

      Thanks, Leonie!!

  26. Gracia
    / 5:13 PM

    I needed to hear this! I know for me, personally, it’s been really helpful to have this reminder about saving and more than one stream of income. I was wondering if you can make a blog post about what to do when you have a pay increase and how to adjust your spending and saving goals? Would really love to hear your thoughts on this! I’m just like you, I’ve always had two jobs until this year but went from hourly to salary and it’s been a change! Thanks Angela 💜

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