8 Money Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20s

Posted by Kristen on June 26, 2017

When I graduated, I was thrilled to be done with college, start working and move on. Then, a few months down the road, I got my first student loan bill. And suddenly all of the loans I took out over the past several years for tuition and living expenses were very real.

Taking out too much in student loans is one mistake; here are more common mistakes people make in their 20s.

Money Mistakes to Avoid

(Photo Credit: charamelody/Flickr)

Money Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20s

Learn from other 20-somethings’ mistakes. Check out these common mistakes before you make them.

  1. Taking out too much in student loans. Taking out student loans often starts before you even hit 20. The real problem with student loans is when you’re taking out too much. If you’re still in college, apply for grants and scholarships first. Don’t have the mindset that you’ll take out a little extra while you’re in school and pay it back later. Only take out the bare minimum for student loans. You may have to sacrifice during college, but you’ll be happy you did later on. See 9 student loan mistakes people make.
  2. Ignoring this student loan debt. If you’re in school, don’t ignore your loans. Keep track of what you’re racking up, and consider paying the interest while you’re still in school. Don’t just ignore your loans when you’re done with school. Learn about your repayment options and what’s best for you. Also be sure to check out How to Get Rid of Your Student Loans (Without Paying Them Off).
  3. Spending money without a budget. It’s hard to have a budget when you’re living on loans or have very little money, but make a monthly budget and stick to it.
  4. Abusing credit cards. Like student loans, credit cards can be a means to living a life you feel you deserve. It can help fund your lifestyle until you’re making the money to do so. The problem with that thought process is you may never make that large salary you think you’re going to.
  5. Going without insurance. Your 20s can mean you’re in between your parent’s health insurance or student insurance and whatever insurance you may get from a full-time job. If your job doesn’t offer insurance or you are unemployed, get some type of health insurance to protect yourself in case you get sick (and avoid the penalty for no health insurance). You may also qualify for the health insurance premium tax credit.
  6. Going into debt to get married. The average wedding can cost upwards of $29,000 and depending where you live and what your expectations are, that could actually be a modest estimate. Too many 20-somethings go into debt to fund their wedding. Dealing with debt isn’t the way to start your marriage. Instead, learn how to cut your wedding budget and implement inexpensive wedding ideas to have something you can afford. If you can’t cut it down, then save up for it instead and postpone your big day until you can afford it. Once you are married, discuss how to manage money in your marriage.
  7. Overpaying in rent. You are finally out of your parent’s house and your crappy college apartment so you might be tempted to opt for that fabulous first apartment you dreamed of. Shop around, and only rent an apartment you can actually afford. In fact, you might want to opt to go even under budget to put that extra money towards your student loan debt or saving for a rainy day. Also explore the secret costs of moving out on your own.
  8. Relying too much on your parents. Many 20-somethings are still relaying on their parents for financial assistance and opting to move back in with their parents. Establish your independence, and start supporting yourself. Not only will you develop more of a sense of accomplishment and confidence, but you’ll be able to formulate more accurate career and financial goals for the future.

What money mistakes are common in your 20s? What money mistakes did you make in your 20s? What are the best money moves you made during that decade?

More Financial Tips



New Capital One Premier Dining $100 Sign Up Bonus

Posted by Madison on June 23, 2017

A reader just gave me a heads up on a new card from Capital One. The Premier Dining Rewards credit card offers a $100 sign up bonus. I know the easy $100 sign up bonuses are popular with readers! The card offers 3% cash back on dining, which is great if you don’t like switching […]

Continue reading…



3rd quarter cash back is here! It’s time for summertime 3rd quarter cash back. Organize, activate and put your credit cards into a regular rotation. Quarterly Cash Rewards It’s our quarterly check-in to reevaluate the cards we are carrying to take advantage of the best 3rd quarter 2017 cash rewards credit card bonuses. Every quarter […]

Continue reading…



A reader, Dave recently asked about the best way to offset the airfare expense to Hawaii. During my recent $4,927+ Credit Card Application Spree I mentioned the US Bank Skypass card. Most people will gloss over this card and Skypass bonus miles if you aren’t familiar with Korean Air. However, if you have ever wanted […]

Continue reading…



4 Low Cost Ways to Improve Your Home

Posted by Don on June 14, 2017

Our houses are our largest expense. While you might not be able to make you home your smallest expense, you can do some little things to improve your home. You will save money and ideally, increase your selling price should you decide to sell one day. I will walk you through 4 low-cost ways you […]

Continue reading…



10 Fun and Frugal Gifts Ideas for Father’s Day

Posted by Madison on June 12, 2017

Are you looking for the perfect gift for Father’s Day? A frugal gift for dad will be much more appreciated if you can match the gift to his favorite hobby! While I was browsing for the perfect gift for my kids to give their dad, I found lots of great ideas. Some of them are […]

Continue reading…



Southwest increased their signup bonus on the Rapid Rewards Plus credit card from Chase for a limited time to 60,000 miles. It was 40,000 bonus points. Last time we reviewed Southwest a longtime reader, Richard, sent us a survey that tested airlines for frequent flyer award seat availability. Southwest topped the list five years in […]

Continue reading…



15 Inexpensive Wedding Ideas

Posted by Kristen on June 7, 2017

Weddings are supposed to be about celebrating the love we have with the person we want to spend the rest of our life with. It’s about vowing to be together and celebrating that vow with our family and friends. Unfortunately, many times getting married becomes all about money. People become so caught up with weddings […]

Continue reading…



Chase Sapphire Preferred $500 – $625 Sign Up Bonus

Posted by Madison on June 2, 2017

I mentioned in my $4,927+ Credit Card Application Spree for Summer Travel that I was skipping the Chase Sapphire Preferred card because of the 5/24 rule (see more about that below). However, if you are just starting out in pursuing sign up bonuses on credit cards, or if you haven’t opened lots of new cards […]

Continue reading…



29 Financial Tips for New College Graduates

Posted by Madison on June 1, 2017

Years ago readers shared their favorite financial tips for new graduates. While some things change over the years, some things stay the same. Financial advice for new grads is apparently timeless. There were lots of incredible tips for new grads; here are 29 of the best financial tips for new graduates to get started on […]

Continue reading…