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10 Biggest Money Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20s

10 Biggest Money Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20s

Your twenties are a tumultuous time. From courtship to education, the temptation to shell out hefty sums is constant. Sail into your next decade financially secure by avoiding the biggest money mistakes made by twenty-somethings:

1. Loving, gettin’ down, or marrying in a way not supported by your income.

Whether it’s rounds of $10 drinks, or shelling out thousands for an engagement, modern courtship is expensive. Remember that you are looking for a partner who shares your values, and one that you can build a future with. Futures require money. Instead of expending it on a wedding, put it toward homes, cars, or anything else your long-term vision holds.

2. College “just because.”

Many young people enter their twenties already saddled with student loans, to be carried throughout this decade and perhaps into the next. Before you commit to an expensive educational path, confirm that your desired career field requires it–perhaps a trade school, certificate, or apprenticeship would be equally effective. If you do not yet know what you want to pursue professionally, work for a year and explore that question. Do you want to find out the answer while you’re making a little money, or throwing it away on classes you may not like or need?

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3. Going into debt.

Talk to nearly any financially successful individual in their 40s and 50s, and they will laugh about the days of eating nothing but cheap pasta, hitting up the laundromat, and meeting new friends on the city bus. They had these adventures in their 20s. Now, before you have a family, want to make a career change, or need to buy a house, is the time to pinch pennies. Pinch them hard, and be careful to distinguish between needs and wants–every cent you save will be used in the years to come.

4. Living off credit cards.

What’s a surefire way to end up in spiraling, increasing debt? Living off your credit cards. Limit yourself to one card with cash rewards. Purchase only what you can afford at that moment and pay it off regularly.

5. Borrowing money for cars.

If you’re in your twenties, you don’t need a fancy ride. Period. You definitely don’t need a car note. What you need is a reliable vehicle with great gas mileage. You may not be able to afford a car immediately. Urban areas likely have buses or van pools; rural communities may have ride-sharing boards. Get creative.

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6. Neglecting the future.

We never know what the future holds but, with proper planning, we can prepare for it. Start saving for retirement now, with an eye toward investment options that earn tax breaks, such as contributions to a Roth IRA.

7. Harboring illusions about the present.

An appropriate emergency fund includes sufficient savings to cover up to six months of living expenses should you suddenly lose your job. More is better. What if you lose your job, your car breaks down, and a child needs braces, all in the same week?  Stranger things have happened, so start building up your emergency fund today.

8. Forgoing insurance.

You are not invincible. You can either learn that now, or when you are plunged into debt to pay the ambulance fee and surgical costs from a medical emergency, when the other driver sues you after a car accident, or when struggling to replace personal items after a break-in. Shop around for competitive rates, then budget and properly insure yourself and your property.

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9. Failing to plan.

A good financial plan is absolutely necessary to maximize your income, help you invest smartly, and avoid unnecessary taxes every year. Invest in an annual session with a financial planning professional, hire a good CPA come tax time, or hit the library and study up on your own.

10. Turning to family and friends.

Relationships end when money gets involved, especially if you borrow and are later unable to pay them back. Preserve your friendships and family ties by going to an appropriate source for loans if you do find yourself in need of extra funds–the bank.

Sound like a tall order? Creating a solid financial state is not easy, but with diligence and perseverance, you can use your twenties to build the foundation you dream of.

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Need more specific guidance?  Check out these tips from a professional financial advisor.

Featured photo credit: Jennifer Correa via flickr.com

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Published on January 8, 2021

How To Pay Off Credit Card Debt Fast: 7 Powerful Tips

How To Pay Off Credit Card Debt Fast: 7 Powerful Tips

Ever wondered whether your credit card debt is the reason you’re in a bad financial situation? You can’t enjoy any fun activities because a good chunk of your money goes toward debt payment. Heck, you’re even behind on some of your monthly bills.

The effects of clumsy debt management are too many to list here. This guide is going to help you discover how to pay off credit card debt fast and start chasing your financial goals.

Debt problems are the last thing anyone wants to encounter. But things can get out of hand when all the “little debts” you take accumulate in interests.

What if you knew some simple and proven ways to be debt-free quickly? Implementing them would mean better financial health for you. It becomes possible to free up cash for your “wants.” These include taking a trip or buying something you’ve always desired. All that while paying your bills on time!

Let’s not wait any longer. Here are 7 powerful tips for paying off credit card debt fast:

1. Pay More Than the Minimum Credit Card Payments

Many people only pay the monthly minimum on their credit cards. Truly, that’s the right amount for staying on good terms with your credit card company. But you need a different approach if you’re looking to achieve financial independence within a short time.[1]

Most of your payments go toward interest costs when you only pay the minimum amount. A substantial sum of your balance remains standing. As a result, it becomes more expensive to eliminate your debts.

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You don’t want to wait more than 10 years to get rid of debt while it’s possible to do it sooner. All you have to do is double that $100 minimum payment to $200 or go higher.

The good thing is that minimum credit card payments are affordable in most cases. By paying a higher amount, you reduce your interest costs, lessen your borrowing period, and boost your credit score.

2. Start With High-Interest Credit Card Debt

If you have more than one credit card debt, prioritize putting the extra money toward the ones with the highest interests. This debt pay-off strategy, known as the debt avalanche method, is essential for being debt-free quickly.[2]

First, you need to list down all the credit card debts you have in the order of their interest rates. Next, you choose the one with the highest interest and pay a significant amount toward it each month. It can be an amount twice or even thrice larger than the minimum payment.

At the same time, you make monthly minimum payments on the other debts. Their interest charges won’t be as costly as that of the first debt on your list. You only move on to the next high-interest debt after the first one is gone. Remember that your focus is on the interest rates and not the balances.

3. Revisit Your Budget

Budgeting is useful for tracking your financial moves. Once you create a budget, some tweaks along the way can make it work for you better. One situation that requires you to revisit your budget is when you’re struggling with debts. It might hurt a bit to slash some expenses. But you also don’t want to miss out on achieving financial freedom in the long run.

You can reduce some variable expenses to free up more cash for credit card debt payments. They’re the ones that change from time to time. Some examples are groceries, fuel, and clothing.

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Other opportunities for cutting down your spending lie in non-essential expenses. Instead of dining out all the time, you can cook at home more to save money. You can also share some subscriptions with friends and pay a fraction of the cost.

If you’re determined enough, you can eliminate all your unnecessary expenses and focus on paying off your credit card debt first.

4. Avoid Using Your Credit Cards

Do you want to know how to pay off credit card debt with a low income? One simple way is to stop using them. Having your credit cards everywhere you go means that you’ll be more tempted to buy unnecessary stuff. In this case, you spend money that you don’t really own and get deeper into debt.

The quickest fix to stop the debt build-up is spending with cash. You’ll be more aware of everything you can afford at any particular time. If you decide to keep one or two cards to ease the transition, always make wise choices. For instance, only use them when experiencing financial difficulties.

It’s best to categorize your fun activities under “discretionary spending” in your budget. This way, you won’t need more debt to kill your boredom. By halting your credit debt from accumulating, it’s easy to pay down what you already owe and be happy with the progress.

5. Start a Side Hustle to Boost Your Income

You’re probably turning away a lot of money by not monetizing your skills. Everyone has something that they’re good at doing. And you can use that to generate extra income for attacking your credit card debt.

If you look around your neighborhood, you can find several side hustle opportunities. It can be pet sitting, tutoring, or lawn mowing. You can start an online business by offering services such as digital marketing, content creation, and web development. Such skills go in high demand on freelance sites and job boards.

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Finding clients on social media is also a good strategy to utilize your skills and make more money. Facebook groups, Quora Spaces, and subreddits are some places to look for side jobs. You only have to join a niche-specific platform, share your services, and respond to any opportunities.

It’s possible to learn a skill, practice it, and earn from it. Use the free resources online or purchase some e-courses to get started.

6. Sell Your Used Items for Extra Cash

Starting a side hustle isn’t the only way to generate extra money. You can turn unwanted items into cash for paying off credit card debt. Whether it’s an old TV, book, or furniture, there is always someone itching to buy your used stuff.

A garage sale, as much as it’s old-fashioned, is perfect for getting your neighbors and passers-by to buy from you. You keep all the money because there are no business permits or taxes involved. While you may not make much cash, it’s better than leaving your stuff to go defunct in your storage.

Other than that, you can sell your used stuff on online marketplaces. Facebook groups are great places to start if you want quick approvals and hence sales. You only have to ensure that your listing follows Facebook’s commerce policies.

When selling any pre-owned items online, ensure they’re in good shape to avoid problems with your buyers.

7. Know When to Seek Help With Your Debt

Asking for help with your credit card debt can be challenging to do. But letting it drown you is a road you don’t want to take. While you may feel embarrassed at first, it’s the best way to get back on track when you run out of options.

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There are tons of non-profit credit counseling organizations that can offer you free guidance on how to escape the debt trap. An example is The National Foundation for Credit Counseling. They simply review your finances and help you determine the source of your financial problems. After that, they match you with an actionable debt management solution.[3]

In extreme cases, the debt solution can be:

  • Debt relief – where your debt is partially or wholly forgiven
  • Debt consolidation – taking out one loan to repay others
  • Debt settlement – the creditor forgives a significant portion of your debt
  • Bankruptcy – legal process for seeking relief from some or all your debts

It’s necessary to carefully weigh your options before deciding on the way to go. Find out how it might affect your credit score and any other risks.

Wrapping It Up

Debt is a major setback when you’re trying to prosper in life. Paying off credit card debt is essential if you want to reach your financial goals. That means having more free income, a good credit card score, and even a chance to retire early. You become more productive each day because of the peace in your mind.

So, you now have some tips on how to pay off credit fast. Go ahead and get rid of that good life progress killer!

More Tips on How to Pay Off Debt

Featured photo credit: rupixen.com via unsplash.com

Reference

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