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.