Lipstick and wallet with money on wooden background
Image: Shutterstock/321092684

As you approach your mid twenties, you may begin to realize that you have some quick growing up to do when it comes to finances and avoiding money mistakes. As those first few paychecks at your new job start to flow in, it’s tempting to use all of this newfound money on splurge-worthy items because you deserve it. While an occasional treat yo’self day is absolutely necessary, it’s really important to be smart with your money from the very beginning and avoid any money mistakes.

Here are the top money mistakes to avoid in your twenties.

Don’t go crazy

After acquiring a salary and having more money coming in than you’re used to, don’t spend it all at once. Chances are, you will have new expenses along with your real job, like rent and car payments. Continuing to live like a broke college student for about the first year of your big job will allow you to get a handle on all of your new finances without going into debt quickly.

Don’t ignore student loans

Getting your student loans or any other debt taken care of will make everything easier later on. Making small payments every month will make the process gradual and easy. No need to rush this, but making sure you’re on top of it each month will keep your financial ride smooth and easy.

Limit credit card debt

Don’t spend money you don’t have! If you are going to buy something, make sure you have the money before you buy it. Other than emergencies (disclaimer: emergencies do not include Urban Decay’s new lipstick collection) there really is no reason for you to be swiping your credit card enough to accumulate debt. Once you’re in the credit card debt hole, its really hard to dig yourself out.

Have an emergency fund

Saving a little each month for emergencies that may happen (like car trouble or health issues) will give you a little cushion to fall back on. Having about $500 put away for cases such as these will likely be enough, as people in their 20’s usually can’t create a huge financial cushion at first. You will never regret saving.

Open your own accounts

Since you’re slowly becoming independent of your parents, create your own checking, savings and retirement accounts to manage your own finances. The retirement fund is the most important, since starting to save in your twenties will end up giving you thousands more later in life. Even if your job doesn’t offer a retirement plan, starting your own independent retirement account (IRA) is really smart. You’ll thank yourself later, trust us.

Start saying no

No, you don’t need those four lipsticks and that ungodly priced moisturizer from Sephora. If it means that you will struggle later, it’s not worth it. If you are tempted to make a purchase, at lease push it back and wait until you have enough to splurge a little on something for yourself. Find the willpower inside yourself, and put that Sephora bag down. You can do it.