10 Things 20-Somethings Should Not Spend Money On

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Don't have Kim's budget? Then don't compare yourself to her.

Don’t have Kim’s budget? Then don’t  try to walk in her shoes. 

After a bit of a spending spree this month (where I bought a lot of things I needed and a lot of things I didn’t), I began to think of where all my money has gone over the past few years.

Even with my finances (mostly) under control now, there’s still a few purchases I wish I could erase from my 20-something spending history. Let’s have a look.


1. Bad food. Life’s too short not to eat well—please don’t do this to your body.

2. Moochers. Have a friend or family member that always asks you to spot them a $20 or conveniently runs to the bathroom whenever the bill comes at a restaurant? Cut them off. You are no one’s ATM!

3. Things no one ever sees. Luxury household cleaning products are not better than the store brand; they just have a bigger marketing budget. That no-name dish soap you picked up from the dollar store will get the job done, I promise.

4. Keeping up with the Joneses (or the Kardashians). Aspirational spending is not only a budget buster, but it’s also the hardest to moderate. I always find it baffling when an underpaid intern or graduate student is toting around a Louis Vuitton bag. How? Or better yet, why? If you’re not a celebrity, you can’t live like one. Concentrate on your spending and no one else’s.

5. Things you already own. I know that no one needs more than one little black dress, but I own six. Don’t make the mistakes I’ve made!

6. Souvenirs that are Made in China when you’re not actually in China. Before you pick up a T-shirt from whatever place you’re touring, check the tag. Keep your memories authentic by buying something you can only get in that destination!

7. Credit card interest. I know you know better.

8. Anything that will result in buyer’s remorse. It’s something about the world “SALE” that makes even the most atrocious clothing and decor look appealing. No matter how much you’ll save, it’s not as much as you would by not spending anything at all.

9. Good intentions. Ever buy a ton of new workout clothes to “motivate” yourself to exercise? We’re all guilty of this. Sell what you can and move on. Better yet, make good on your promise and hit the gym.

10. Bar tabs. I was going to say alcohol in general, but I’m not one to turn down a beer or two, so I just want to encourage you to refrain from providing the bartender with your credit card. Any situation where how much you will spend in an evening is determined by your credit limit is a precarious one. Walk away.

What have you wasted money on in your 20s? Share it in the comments.

(Photo: Hollywood_PR/Flickr)

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  1. Matt November 2, 2012 / 7:20 am

    I wasted soooo much money in my 20′s
    I used to get taxis everywhere, never kept receipts, bought rounds for scrounging “friends”, of course they never bought me any drinks when the money ran out >:(
    The bar tab one – It’s so easy to carry on partying when you’ve had a few. I always leave my wallet and cards at home now and take a budgeted amount of cash only. If I run out, that’s it, no more spending and I have to walk home.

    • Ryan Lane November 2, 2012 / 8:52 am

      Thanks for sharing, Matt! Taxis is a great one to mention as well. It’s always so tempting to grab a cab if it feels like you’re just waiting forever for public transportation. Those fares add up!

  2. Sarafina March 4, 2013 / 10:10 pm

    That workout clothes part touched a nerve! I remember I fooled myself into thinking that Marshalls would have better deals on workout stuff. Ended up spending $20 on a hat. Cutting the sleeves off old shirts as we speak to make my own gear :)

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