I am so GRATEFUL for the growth mindset I have established towards money! But now, I’m in my early twenties attempting to clean up the financial mess that I made several years ago.
But now, I am making my financial security a top priority this year because I’ve hit the age where not having a financial plan made is a major issue. Between signing up for any credit card that was thrown in my face when I was 18 and now having students loans on my credit, I really have my work cut out for me in the process of fixing this.
In this post, I want to talk about a few money mistakes that I made AND what I’m currently doing to fix them. One of the habits I wanted to develop this year is to just to be more mindful of where my money actually goes because I’m done questioning myself at the end of every month going…
1.) Not shopping at Goodwill
When I was younger, I loathed going into goodwill because I had the idea of “I can just go and buy that same thing, but brand new”.
I recently went to my local Goodwill and scored a few button up J. Crew shirts for $8 each and they were still in great condition! It’s actually kind of crazy the kinds of things people are willing to just give away, especially if you’re in a big city where people take really good brands to Goodwill. If you go in the spring where most people do a huge cleaning purge, that place is a gold mine for really nice clothes and even home decor. Saving money that way by buying second hand is a good way to start if you’re trying to get your finances in order!
2.) Eating out too much
Now this is one I know everyone can relate to. I bet we would all cringe if we saw how much we spent on fast food, or just eating out in general. Between classes, I would get lunch and a snack while doing schoolwork because I would just go to work right after that. I never planned out what I was actually going to eat and that was my number one problem!
Now, I plan my meals each week from breakfast to dinner for 2 reasons: #1- It saves money and stops me from overeating #2- It helps knowing what i’m going to eat so it won’t be tempting to order Chinese food through Postmates.
3.) Signing up for unnecessary credit cards
This was HUGE mistake that I made while I was in school! I had an American Eagle, Victoria Secret, and a Target credit card….yes, a Target. Obviously I had no real intent to better my finances this way.
I really thought having a credit card like that back then was actually good for me to “build credit”, but in reality it was doing nothing but making my finances worse. I’m also willing to admit that I was irresponsible by missing a few payments and letting late fee interest build up. But now, here I am some years late attempting the snowball effect with my debt (which now includes student loans) and staying smart with credit. Proud to say that I have one credit card for the sole purpose of building my credit back up to where it needs to be.
4.) Not saving money…like…at all…
Okay this one is pretty self explanatory. When I first started college, the thought of an emergency fund was the idea of saving enough money to cover my food expenses for at least a month. I had no real bills at the time and I made enough money a my part-time job to cover basic necessities, so I really didn’t see the idea of saving a ton of money very important.
Since I’m taking full control over my finances this year, I went over to Pinterest to find an infographic that goes over a savings plan of how much you could save each week to have a certain amount of money by the end of the year. My hopes is that I actually don’t touch any of this money since it’s the actual purpose of having savings.
5.) Impulse buying
This is one that I know can be a touchy subject, but it needs to be addressed so it can be stopped! I had those days where I would leave class and go swipe that Target credit card just because I aced a project, or “treated myself” to an UNNECESSARY trip to Victoria’s’ Secret and swipe that credit card on sweaters that I no longer own because I sold them on Poshmark. **
I was the epitome of impulse buying at its’ finest. Now I actually think about the items that I purchase and rationalize it to ask myself, “will this be useful to me in another year?” The other day I went to Target and saw a few cute items, but by the time I finished walking around in the store I went back to the section I got the item and put it back because I realized I didn’t need it. Can you say…PROGRESS!!!
6.) Not having a budget before I moved out on my own
The day after I graduated I moved into my apartment on my own and I honestly couldn’t be more proud of myself! But with independence comes a price tag. I was so excited to move out on my own that I wasn’t prepared for the little fees in the moving process like activating the utilities within my apartment, or paying to have my internet connection installed. Having a budget prepared before moving is one of the best tips I can give because it helps the process go by so much smoother!
There are so many other mistakes to avoid with money during this age, so these are just a few that I ran into along the way. Thankfully I am learning day by day of how to make smarter decisions with money and knowing where each dollar is going. I hope someone out there found this post to be super helpful and can relate to hopefully trying to fix their mistakes now like I am. Let me know some of the mistakes you ran into!