Aside from the usual not saving, not investing, not having an emergency fund mistakes, below are the major money mistakes that cost me a lot in my early 20s.
- Accepted a new job with a lower salary than my previous one. This one should be on top of my list because this has cost me a lot. I agreed to take on my current job only because I resigned from my previous job without an emergency fund and without another job waiting for me. I was already two months out of work and the little savings I had at that time was already depleting. I don’t have my family here with me in Cebu and I didn’t want to ask money from my mother thus, I was forced to accept the job. I also didn’t bargain because I was so shy. So yeah, this was one bad decision after another. I’m still here though after 5 years and even though the pay was not initially good, there had been changes to our incentives system that made me stay. But this still makes me sigh thinking about the money I lost.
- Spending all my savings for vacations. Well, I did know how to save money before but I was saving without goals. Instead, I spend all of my savings on my quarterly vacations. Once that’s all spent up, I save again. I save, spend then replenish it again. Yep, I was a typical millennial YOLOer. Did I regret my quarterly vacations? No, I don’t. I loved all the places I’ve been to and I don’t regret spending money for vacations. However, when my brother needed money for an unexpected project at school, I didn’t have anything to give right away. I needed to wait for the next paycheck. I always end up being in debt (I swipe everything on my card) for Christmas gifts because I didn’t plan ahead. I knew what were my long term goals then but I didn’t do anything about it. Now I have 4 different savings account each with different goals. Read all about it here.
- Saying YES all the time when a family member asks for money. You all know how family ties work in the Philippines. Family members can be really dependent on another family member for their financial needs even if they are perfectly capable of earning money themselves. I am the eldest and for a short while, I was the only family member with a job so naturally, everyone would ask me to buy stuff for them. They weren’t really 100% dependent on me but sometimes I wish I could’ve said no more often. I could have saved up for other things than my vacations.
- Thinking credit card is free money. Joke’s on me when I thought I could buy materials things by just swiping my card without actually thinking that I need to pay it later. I accumulated a 5 digit credit card debt years ago because I didn’t feel the need to pay for my credit card. I thought it will just go away. I ended paying more than the material things that I got from that card because of the accumulated interest. I wrote about my debt story on my IG account @mycentsofwealth.
- I thought I’d have this job forever. I really loved the second job I had for the first few years. I thought I’d be there forever and my future was secured there. In my third year, I suddenly realized that I didn’t like what I was doing anymore. I told my boss about it and to my surprise, she didn’t care. We were pretty close even outside of work so I was surprised that she never asked my reasons for leaving. I was kind of hoping she’d offer me another job role that she’ll feel I’d belong more but it didn’t happen. I’ve included this as a money mistake because it prevented me from learning other skills. I was so contented with what I was already doing which cost me a lot of possible opportunities with better pay. If there’s something good that came out of being quarantined for months, is that I finally had the time to try new things.
I know better now than to repeat these mistakes although number 1 could be unavoidable if ever I change careers. But let’s cross the bridge when we get there.
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