FTC: This post is not sponsored and I am not a financial advisor. This is just some tips from one millennial to another. All weird thoughts and comments are my own! 

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We are now 30… take a moment to cry about that if you must. Now that that’s over… we absolutely shouldn’t make the same financial mistakes that we made in our 20s. Speaking for myself… I know I made many mistakes with my money in the last decade of my life that has really cost me thousands of dollars. Since I now know better, I don’t plan on doing that in my 30s if I can help it.

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money mistakes to avoid

6 Money Mistakes To Avoid In Your 30s

1. Not Saving For Retirement: I know in my 20s I didn’t want to think, plan or prepare for retirement because I was well over 30 years from retiring. Why save my money now to worry about 30 years from now right? The only reason I even had any money flowing into a retirement fund was because my job forced me too. Then with every raise I got, my work mom would advise me to increase the percentage of my salary that would go into my retirement. Though I won’t be a millionaire, if I decide to remain a teacher for another 20 years then I’ll have a pretty solid foundation.

I say all of that to say this, though you may not have been too focused on retirement funds in your 20s, your 30s are the right time to invest in your retirement and take big risks (ask big of a risk as you can mentally handle). Think about your future, because before you know it, you’ll blink and be 62.

2. Carrying Too Much Credit Card Debt: This is definitely something I know many people in their 20’s did and that is not a habit you want to take into your 30s. Keep your debt to income ratio in mind and remember that the higher your credit card balance is the more it will negatively affect your credit score. If you can’t afford to pay off the purchase at the end of the month, you most likely don’t have any business making the purchase in the first place. Carrying balances over from month to month is an expensive habit that’ll cost you more than it should.

3. Not Trying To Get Out Of Debt: If you’re a regular healthy millennial like me chances are you have had student loan debt much throughout your 20s. I’ve had it throughout my entire 20s, and after this major purchase I just made it is likely that I will have it through my entire 30s as well. It certainly won’t be student loan debt! Though I am blessed to have paid off just about 100,000 dollars in student loans over the course of ten years, I’ll still have debt to pay. But… I’ll be trying my damndest to pay off my mortgage on a 10 year time frame, and avoiding taking on any other debt.

By the time you enter your 30s you have become accustomed to dealing with debt, and paying off your monthly bill. While I was furniture shopping all I heard was: “do you want to finance?” “you can finance this couch”. And I refused every time… here’s why.  Become complacent will debt will prevent you from ever being debt free. My eye is on the prize and I will be focused on hustling my ass off to get out of mortgage debt in far less than 30 years. I refuse to be in debt until I’m 60 years old… thats a big fuck no! Keep your eyes on the prize: get out of debt and don’t take on any new debts.

4. Paying For A Home You Can’t Afford: Buying a home is a part of the American Dream that has been sold to us over and over again. But the thing that really will ruin your money management in your 30s is purchasing a home that you really have no business purchasing. Lowering your mortgage payment is rather difficult and quite a hassle. It can not be done with out refinancing, and even in doing that there’s only so much of a “discount” you can get on a house that costs 500,000 thousand dollars.

Real estate is expensive, and it is important that when you do decide to purchase property that the monthly mortgage payment does not exceed 25% percent of your take-home salary. When you start shopping for a home, you’ll realize that (or you should realize) you’ll have to give up a lot of things you thought you wanted/needed in order to fit into your budget. Stick to that budget or stay where you are (whether at home / or renting) until your budget matches what you want.

5. Not Saving Money: This is probably the craziest thing I’ve mentioned on the list but it has to be mentioned. Though I understand that some people don’t have much of a choice but to live paycheck to paycheck which makes it immensely difficult to save. But… you still should have a nest egg for emergencies. You never know what life may throw at you, so it’s important to at least have 1,000 tucked away in your rainy day fund, and keep on adding what you can. Your nest egg will grow as long as you keep putting into it. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see it growing fast enough, the point is to not remain stagnant! Any growth is a positive!

6. Expecting To Live Beyond Your Means: Many times when you enter your 30s you feel you have to keep up with the Joneses. The fact is… the only person you need to keep up with is yourself. Your 30s are not the time to go out and buy luxury cars, jewelry, or clothes. Your 30s are your time to build financial security so you can enjoy financial freedom. Don’t live beyond your means because you see your neighbor or the Instagram influencer traveling all over the world and returning to their perfect marble floored home. Live within your budget, and cut costs where you can. Trust me… though I’m not there yet I can hear my 40s and 50s thanking me for getting my money all the way together in my 30s!

Gaining financial literacy has been the key for me to build financial freedom, and make strides to achieving my financial goals. I want you to do the same! I wrote a 50 page E-book detailing all the steps, tips, tools and info you’ll need to improve your financial literacy too. Because once you know better… you have no choice but to do better! You can get your copy here! 

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Until the next time,

Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.