No matter what age you are, there are some financial regrets that you can think of in your life. No one can escape from it, but the only thing to do now is to learn and grow from them.
As someone in their 20s, my biggest financial regret is not saving money to travel more when I was in my college years. Granted, college students have a super tight budget since most of the money goes to school. Books, tuition and even basic living can take up most of the budget. At the time, I had a paid internship as an engineering intern for a transportation design firm in San Jose, California. I was working part-time there while still going to school full-time. That way I would not have to borrow as much money to pay for expenses. Even though I was saving, I still did not feel ready to spend for vacation or travel.
One day when I was fed up with my internship, I was introduced to a “business opportunity” by someone I considered a friend at the time. I was hooked on the idea that I could make a lot of money and do it fast, so I committed to it. But after just a few weeks, I was not making any money and was discouraged from the experience. But believing that I could still make something out of it, I spent even more money on education courses and lead lists so I could cold call people to pitch my product that I was selling. When everything was said and done, I spent thousands of dollars that year.
I think back to that experience and thought how I didn’t have the money for vacation, but spent so much money on this business opportunity. So the money was there all along, I just needed to better distribute my existing funds to achieve those goals. Even if I wasn’t suckered into the opportunity, there were lots of opportunities to cut back on my spending or to divert my current funds to travel, such as spending less on eating out, looking to used books or even borrow a copy from a classmate.
You can look into your current spending habits, too, and cut back on certain things so you can divert your funds to something you really wanted to do. I know my example is travel, but it can be applied to anything you have been neglecting to buy for yourself. Do you really need to buy all those lattes every morning? Do you really need that smartphone data package every month for your iPhone?
I feel the biggest thing that prevented me from traveling was that I felt I didn’t deserve to travel. I felt that traveling was too much of luxury for myself. Because of that, I did not even look into cheap or affordable ways to travel. I simply thought it was out of my range.
Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” said that you should turn “I can’t afford it” to “How can I afford it?” That simple switch in mindset can make a huge difference to whether or not you continue to neglect to buy that item for yourself whether it is a vacation, a gym membership or even a dance class that you’ve always want to try. So next time when you think you can afford it, think of ways you can make it affordable with your current budget.