Ah, yes. Money. I love it and I hate it. I’ve never been particularly great with handling money the right way. I cannot save money to save my life. I have champagne taste on a beer budget, and I literally cannot stick to my beer budget! I’ll admit that I love the finer things in life, and sometimes I can’t find it within myself to compromise. My parents always said that money burns a hole in my pocket. The moment that I have it, I have to spend it! It’s truly not a good problem to have. With all of this being said, bad financial decisions were definitely on the horizon for me.
I moved away from home when I was 18 for college, but I never really had to worry about managing all of my finances. I knew nothing about personal finance, and I honestly still don’t four years later. Being 100% responsible for all of my finances hasn’t been a thing until very recently while in graduate school. I’m 22 years old and still learning the ropes of money management and budgeting. My parents don’t (unless I have a money emergency) pay my rent or utilities. Learning how to manage my income to sustain my current ways of life has been a real challenge this year. I’ve had to give up a couple things and also make decisions about where my money should really be going.
I’ve made some really, really dumb money mistakes in my teenage years and within the first two years of my 20s. Some of them, I didn’t regret at all in the moment. However, a lot of these things are causing me some serious stress right now (it’s called debt, people!). Here are some of the worst and dumbest financial decisions I have made in my 20s so far.
1. Buying a Celine Handbag
Yep. Just reading that sentence sounds dumb. I had wanted a Celine Micro Luggage Tote for years, literally since I was a junior in high school. In December 2018, I decided that the time was right. I found a bag on a secondhand website that was gorgeous, in completely mint condition. And it was a beautiful seasonal color and only $1100. I sound totally crazy for saying only. For those of you who don’t know, a Celine bag like this usually retails new for around $2900 or more depending on the materials used. I had never ever found an authentic Celine in this good of condition for $1100, so I decided that I had to have this bag. I, being super impulsive as always, decided to take out a loan for this purchase from a service offered on the website I bought the bag on. Yep, I took out a loan for a purse!
With interest (which I didn’t even realize was a thing when I took out the loan), I owe about $95 a month for this purse until it is fully paid for in December of 2019. These payments have been stressful! I always forget that they are due, and $100 is a lot of money to be investing in purse debt each month on top of rent, utilities, gas, and food. So, I’m currently looking into consigning this bag in hopes of making a little money from it. Then I’m hoping to pay off this annoying loan and use whatever I have left to buy a new Fount bag or pay off some credit card debt. However, because Celine just changed creative directors, I may end up keeping the bag in hopes that it will gain value over time. Insert face-palm emoji here!!
2. Getting a Credit Card with the Intention of Spending
My first credit card arrived in the Fall of 2018. I was so excited; I felt like I was becoming more of an adult by getting one. However, I got this card with the full intention of using it to pay for expensive things over time. This should not have been my thought process! What I should have done was educate myself about building credit and learning other important things (like what interest is, what a credit score is, why people care about your credit score, etc). At first, I used my card only for small purchases but then I became more reckless. Now, I rarely even use my card. I’m still paying off my Boston trip which is alllll still living on my credit card. Truly one of my worst financial decisions!
3. Taking on Too Much Student Debt
I am over $100,000 in the hole with student loan debt. YEP. For me, I hope it will be worth it. With pursuing music, I knew that education was super important and that I couldn’t compromise by going to a school that was more affordable but not as good. I am so, so grateful for my time at Indiana University and feel like I got the best undergraduate education I could have ever imagined. However, I feel like I should have done more planning for how I’m going to pay off these loans after I’m done with graduate school. Personally, I think that education is 100% worth taking on debt- but thinking about and making a plan for paying it off is super important.
I also wish that I would have fought harder for better scholarships in graduate school. Majoring in music is hard in this aspect since most of the best schools (besides large state schools and Juilliard) have very little money to give out.
4. Not Having Roommates
Granted, all the places I have rented apartments in have been amazingly affordable compared to places like Boston, San Francisco, and New York City. However, if I would have had roommates, the stress of having to pay my rent could have been way less. I cannot believe that some people only pay $300 a month for rent, but these people I know also live with two or three other roommates.
Another thing I will add to this point is that I should have gotten used to living without nice appliances, central air conditioning, and an in-unit washer and dryer. Now that I have had all of these things in previous apartments, I’m going to want them in all of my future apartments. If I had learned to live a more “simple” lifestyle without all the bells and whistles I love, I could be saving a lot of money on rent right now.
5. Eating Out Too Often
This is pretty self explanatory. Eating out is always so tempting! When I lived in Indiana, my friends and I would eat out at least three days a week. Now, I try to eat out only once a week (although I don’t really count fast-casual places as “eating out”, which I really should). Things have improved, but I constantly go over my monthly grocery budget as well. I love food and spending money on it. This whole thing is definitely a learning process!!
I’ve made a lot of silly financial decisions in my 20s. This decade is definitely one to enjoy but also one full of hustle and learning from past misdoings. Of course, I am incredibly grateful for all the nice things I have spent my money on, but I am beginning to realize that it is time to shift my focus towards the future. Eventually, I do want to buy a condo or a small house, go on vacations, and get married. And all of those things require saving for and planning ahead!
I hope you guys learned something from this! What are some of the dumbest things you have done in your younger years? It doesn’t have to do with money! Let me know below. Thank you so much for reading; I am always so, so grateful!