Sometimes being an adult is not all its cracked up to be. One of the hardest lessons I have learned in my twenties are seeing all the money mistakes I have made. Here's to the thirties being a time of greater financial prudence and wisdom!
Within a few months, we will have paid off my car loan and then its onto the dreaded school loans. Why I took out so many stupid loans to study theology I'll never know. I have said time and again on this space that Dave Ramsey has radically been changing how Jim and I look at and handle money.
So with that being said, here are my best worst money mistakes:
1. Not living on a budget
I am embarrassed to say even for a time after I got married, we totally had no concept of a budget. Did you know 70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck?! Yup we were those clowns. We ate out when we wanted and bought for ourselves whenever we felt entitled. Since last May, we have been living on a budget, and go figure now we stick to it and are able to be financial big kids.
2. Taking out school loans to go to Europe (or just loans in general!)
Yup you read that right. Before I graduated college I took out a several thousand dollar loan to go to Medjugorje and Ireland; because naturally I DESERVED treating myself to a European adventure after 4 years of college. Pathetic I know that now. Here's the things with loans. It is borrowing money you currently do not have and then it ends up costing way more due to interest. Loans are not your friend. I promise.
3. Relying on credit cards
One of the biggest lies American culture tells us is that we NEED a credit card. If you don't have a credit card you may as well be living in the 1800's. My problem with using them was rationalizing I would only use it in an emergency. But then emergencies also slid into a shopping trip to Old Navy or binging on books at Barnes and Noble. Sure I had ZERO lack of self control either but I relied on this piece of plastic in ways that started to control my life. Not.healthy. Its been a little over a year since we've started this financial journey and the amount of reasons as to why I don't miss my old friend Visa continues to grow.
4. Disregarding the future
While I am so grateful we are changing now, I can look back and see how much I did not plan for the future well in terms of finances. Having no financial plan as you grow up will eventually catch up with you; I know that's the case for us.
My high school and college years, were about working so I could spend my money as fast as it deposited into my checking account. Don't just sit around assuming money will magically show up to pay your bills or that someone will help out. Taking ownership and responsibility for your financial future is a lesson I am glad to learn now, so someday I can teach it to our kids.
What about y'all!?!
What money mistakes have you made over the years and had to learn from? What's the best piece of advice you would give to young college student on how to wisely handle money?