Budgeting, General Lifestyle, Saving

5 Major Money Mistakes in my early 20s

5 Major Money Mistakes in my early 20s
Posted by mycentsofwealth

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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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9 thoughts on “5 Major Money Mistakes in my early 20s

  1. Nat

    I can relate to 1 and 5! I’ve mentioned this in other places before, but I took a 23% paycut when I accepted my second job–bringing my salary to less than my starting salary even with 5 years of work experience under my belt. I just really wanted to be in the game development industry!

    And I thought I would be with my new job forever too and didn’t learn any new things outside of it. When I applied for another game development studio, I got a job offer because of my soft skills (I was a project lead and department lead), but they wouldn’t give me my asking price because my technical/industry skills were lacking. =(

    1. mycentsofwealth

      wow. at least you had a good reason why you accepted the paycut. I only accepted mine because I had no savings 🙁 Yes, I read about it in your blog 🙂

      Quarantine has got me learning new skills and these new skills are making me think to shift to another industry and that would also mean a possible lower salary since I will just be starting out this new one.

  2. Triple P

    Most Filipinos are shy in general. Shy to demand a higher pay and shy to say “No” when you really want to say “No.” I know that it is part of the culture, but I hope more and more Filipinos (including me!) learn that it’s okay to say No and to demand for something that you deserve.

    I somehow relate to the learning new skills from a previous job. My colleagues in my first job are now VP’s and handling large groups. I’m almost 100% sure I would be too if I stayed. Although I would have no work life balance, something in me wishes I could be in a leadership role. ?

    1. mycentsofwealth

      I agree. Negotiation is not normal in the workplace like in the US. I am thinking to find a new job next year and I hope I will be brave enough to negotiate haha. I’m in a leadership role right now and I don’t like it. It’s giving me anxiety thinking about other people. 🙁

      1. Triple P

        Aww I might say the same if I was in that role. Just plain curiosity for me (sometimes I get bored at my current job).

        Good luck with the job hunt. You can do it J!

  3. George@20somethinglawyer

    Vacations are expensive but I’ve regretted NONE of them too! Especially at this time… I’m just glad I went to all the places on my bucket list so now I’m more or less ready to sit still for a moment. Who knows when travel will become 100% safe again.

    1. mycentsofwealth

      true. I’m glad I did my vacations when I was younger too. Now at 28 I don’t have that much energy na. wow, 28 pa nga lang haha.

  4. Che

    If this is a checklist, I’d tick all the boxes! Biggest tick for #3 (including friends). Because I didn’t have financial goals, my extra money didn’t have purpose, I find it hard to say no. Tipong “wala naman akong pag-gagamitan ng pera, ibigay ko na lang”. But if I had been saving up for retirement, madaling sabihin na, “hindi na kaya ng budget” because it’s not a lie.

    1. mycentsofwealth

      totoo. and baka ma inspire pa sila if sabihin mo that you’re saving up for retirement 🙂

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