You’re on the cusp of reaching the tender age of 30. It’s been one hell of a ride. You sometimes even think to yourself: "Am I already in the ballpark of 30? No! It can’t be? Where the heck did time go?" Well, you are nearly 30, and you graduated college just a couple of years ago. There’s just one problem with reaching 30, beside the extra weight gain and hair loss: you’re making incredible financial mistakes.
From buying everything on credit to purchasing a $5 or $10 latte every single day of the week (also with credit), your financial mistakes are going into the record books as being the worst in history. In fact, your financial mistakes are worse than Gwyneth Paltrow’s entire acting career. Don’t you think it’s time to confess your wrongdoings and correct the mistakes?
Indeed, your 20s should be about living life, erring from time to time and creating a plethora of new memories. However, as your 20s wind down and you approach 30, it’s about time that you enter adulthood and calm down just a little bit. Remember, your 30s aren’t about carpe diem. Instead, they’re about fiscal responsibility.
Here are 20 financial mistakes you should stop making by the age of 30:
1. Take Out vs. Meal at Home
Rather than enjoying a more affordable and delicious meal at home, you’re hanging out with your friends at restaurants, cafes and fast-food joints. Instead of spending $300 per month on groceries, you’re spending double that on restaurants, even ones that you consider fine dining. Eat a meal at home once in a while, would you?
2. Everything on Plastic
Instead of carrying around cash, your wallet is filled with plastic. In each pocket of your wallet, there is a credit card. In fact, you have about seven credit cards, each with a credit limit of around $1,500. This is unwise. Start using cash. Remember the old adage? Cash is king.
3. A New Phone Every Model Release
Apple and Samsung release a brand new smartphone quite often. We’re up to the iPhone 6 now, right? Well, for whatever reason, you purchase the new iPhone every time it’s released. Yes, you’re at an age where you grew up with cellphones, but that’s no excuse to waste your money on $500 phones.
4. Your Blu-Ray & Video Game Collection
Have you taken a look at your blu-ray and video game collection lately? It’s remarkable, isn’t it? You have an incredible collection. You should be proud. But have you calculated just how much those blu-rays and video games have cost you over the last couple of years? If you have 1,000 blu-ray and video game copies then this probably sets you back several thousand dollars. Yikes!
5. A Hefty Monthly Clothing Budget
It’s really odd to observe people’s budgets that include $100 per month on clothing. Who can spend $1,200 a year on clothes? You can! It’s understandable if you have children, but no single person or couple should be spending that much money on clothing. Ever!
6. Cutting the Cord? Nope! Cord Stacker
The term "cord cutter" is thrown around a lot. Just because HBO, ESPN and Time Warner release some digital streaming subscription, news outlets usually explain that "cord cutters" are going to sign up immediately. What’s not to think that they’ll both continue their cable/satellite subscriptions and sign up for the likes of Netflix and Hulu? We know you have everything, but do you need everything as well? Get your priorities straight!
7. Ignoring Pressing Insurance Needs
People in their 20s think they’re invincible. They won’t die today or tomorrow. They don’t think they’ll die until they’re 100. Therefore, why bother getting life insurance? Let’s get off the depot: millennials don’t want to get any type of insurance, except the car insurance they’re mandated to have. Think about your health and buy some healthy insurance, will you?
8. Saving Money in the Wrong Places
You hardly save money. Your personal savings rate is in the low single digits. But when you do save money you put it in the wrong places, like low-interest savings accounts. If you are going to start saving, at least do it right with the right banks and interest rates.
9. Getting Married? Congratulations! Be Pennywise
So you’re getting married? Congratulations and our condolences, err, best wishes. After taking a look at your budget, you’re going all out and spending $50,000 on the wedding and succeeding honeymoon. If you’re doing this for your wedding then imagine what you’ll do when you’re in your 30s and the anniversary comes around. Or worse! You have kids. You’ll spend a lot of dough on your first child so get saving!
10. Thinking You'll Have More Money in the Future
You decided to purchase a brand new expensive vehicle (see below), buy a house you can’t possibly afford and purchase tickets for a trip to Sydney for Christmas. You made this entire decision based on the premise that you’ll have more money in the future. This is probably the worst financial decision you could make. Never assume you’ll have more dollars and cents in the future- this is just a huge risk.
11. Buying Expensive Cars
For just $200 per month for 72 months, you can drive away in a brand new BMW! This doesn’t seem like a lot to you, but it’s a lot of money as time goes by, especially if you don’t take good care of your car. The next time you decide to buy a car in your 30s, be sure it’s a practical box on wheels.
12. A Job for Short-Term Money
Financial experts say that your average lifetime earnings will be determined in your 20s. In other words, you took a job for the short-term money as opposed to a long-term outlook. In reality, you should always take a job that will eventually lead to higher earnings in your 30s and 40s and potentially 50s.
13. Not Negotiating Your Debts
You’re 29 years of age and you decided to rack up $30,000 over the past nine years (and that doesn’t include your student loans). You think that by just paying the minimum amount, that you’ll be fine. Wrong! Try to get rid of your debt as soon as possible for your own good.
14. Going Back to School
You’re approaching your 30s and you feel that you’ve selected the wrong career. What’s the solution? Going back to school. How many people have decided that the solution to this conundrum is another trip to an expensive university? Going back to school for the wrong reasons is never OK, and it will just accomplish a number of things: delaying adulthood, putting you more into debt and wasting your time. So think hard before you make any reckless decisions.
15. Mixing ALL Finances With Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend
It’s a good idea for a couple or a husband and wife to merge their finances. This makes the pot bigger and makes life easier. You’re a team after all. However, it’s not a good idea to mix all of your finances with your significant other. Just in case you two split up, you’ll have to comb through all of your finances and perhaps hire an attorney. It’s best to have at least some of your own money in checking, savings and investment accounts.
16. $5 Lattes
Who doesn’t like a good latte from Starbucks or Tim Hortons? We all would love to purchase a morning or evening coffee every single day from these two establishments. But we don’t, because it’s impractical and costly. You do this, however. Stop!
17. Buying Brand Names at the Grocery Store
You think generic brand or no name products are gross. You yell out "OMG" when you see a carton of orange juice not from Tropicana. Well, you’d be surprised that if you compare the ingredients, they’re pretty much the same thing. You’re only paying more because of the brand name.
18. Expensive Mobile Data Plans
Every waking moment of your life, you are on your phone. You need to check your smartphone for Facebook updates, new YouTube videos and Instagram pictures. This takes a lot of data. Therefore, you have a $200 cadillac data plan, and it’s costing you dearly. It’s time to wind back to a traditional phone plan. It’s not that hard.
19. Spending Too Much on First Date
You want to impress your first date so you decide to go all out and spend a lot of money on dinner, dessert and some, ahem, after-date activities. Don’t. It’s likely that you won’t meet the love of your life on most of your first dates. It’s simple: just go to a coffee shop and find out if there’s some sort of connection. You don’t need a $250 steak and lobster dinner to determine this.
20. Spacious Living Quarters
How long have you been living alone? Do you think you’ll be moving in with any partner anytime soon? The reason we ask is because that one bedroom apartment of yours may be too much for you right now. Why not save some couple of hundred dollars per month and move into a bachelor apartment? This is a lot better and will put some extra dough in your pockets.
Sometimes living within your means and staying within the confines of your budget can mean compromising and coming up with the right balance between responsibility and fun. Yes, we all die sooner or later and we likely just go around once, but it shouldn’t mean monetary recklessness. You don’t want to spend your 60s, 70s or 80s working at Wal-Mart, right?
What are some financial mistakes you’ve made? Let us know in the comments section below...