This is a guest post from Katie from Along for the Journey. Katie is a 25-year-old mother to two girls. She is currently pursuing her accounting degree and blogs at Along for the Journey about her financial mistakes and aspirations.
My financial journey didn’t always start out strong. I’m happy with where I am at now but I’ve made a lot of mistakes a long the way. Instead of beating myself up about all of the dumb decisions I’ve made, I’d rather learn from them (and maybe someone else can too). These are the biggest financial mistakes I’ve made so far in my twenties…
Getting Credit Cards
As I look back on the day I received my first credit card offer, I am now baffled. I honestly felt privileged that a company was willing to lend me money and I sure wasn’t afraid to spend it. I didn’t stop with the first credit card offer – I accepted the first three. Luckily, all of my credit limits were low, totaling only $2,500 combined. Of course that doesn’t mean that I paid them off quickly. As soon as the balance went down I would charge them back up. The interest rates on these cards all hovered at around 19%.
If I would have saved all of the money I paid on these cards I could have started out financially sound, instead of just scraping by. About a year ago I read my first personal finance book. It was Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover. Reading that book changed the way I looked at my finances, especially debt. I have finally paid off all the credit cards and have taken a vow not to use credit cards as my spending money. Lesson learned.
Not Having Health Insurance
A month ago my husband had some serious health issues. He went to the hospital with chest pains and ended up getting care flighted to another hospital. We are very fortunate that he is all right but we now have medical bills upwards of $54,000. Being young I have never put much thought into getting health insurance. My husband and I are both healthy, but you really never know what can happen. With neither one of our employers’ offering health insurance I thought I couldn’t afford it on my own. Now I know health insurance is something that I cant afford to be without.
Not Saving Enough
Saving money is something that I always said I would get around to; it just didn’t happen that way. I would put $100 a month in a savings account just to withdrawal it a few days later. Last year my husband dug a trench in our yard and accidentally skimmed an electrical wire. The wire became cracked and we started having trouble with our electricity. The electric company came out and charged us $775 to fix it. I had very little money in savings and had to resort to putting that $775 on a credit card. If I would have had enough cash to cover the unexpected problem, I could have avoided paying interest.
I’ve now started setting small, concrete goals for myself and I am just a few hundred dollars away from finishing my emergency fund. Although this money may have to be redirected toward our medical emergency, I am still happy with the progress I have made.