What I Learned in My 20s About Money

How has your attitude to money changed – and evolved – over the years? Are you a better saver now than you were when you were younger? We look at some key learnings from our 20s and discover if any financial goals we set ourselves* have stuck.

“I vowed to have a huge amount of savings by the time I reach 40” – Laura, 39, Huddersfield

Thirty-nine-year-old Laura from Huddersfield tells us that, while she didn’t have a great attitude to saving when she was in her 20s, she’d vowed to have a lump sum set aside by the time she was 40.

Now, a mere year before her 40th birthday, can she say she’s reached the financial goal she’s set?

“I certainly thought I’d have more money saved up, that’s for sure.” she tells us. “I’ve always had the attitude that you can’t take your money with you, so you may as well spend it – well, not all of it, but some treats here and there are nice.

“I really wish I’d saved sooner, but spending more in my 20s has taught me to be a bit more frugal in my 30s. I plan to carry this forward in my 40s by putting more money aside – in my savings and for my pension.”

“I wish I’d saved more when I was younger.” – Sandie, 61, Lancashire

Sixty-year-old Sandie from Lancashire fondly remembers spending all her money on treats for herself and others; she wishes she’d been more careful but doesn’t regret enjoying any spare cash, saying “that’s what your 20s are all about.”

“When I was younger, I spent every penny of my wages going out, buying clothes – not that I earned a lot. On Saturday afternoons, I’d take my nieces and nephews into town for a little toy or something. As my own kids came along, things changed. Our money went on the house and kids.”

Sandie wishes she’d saved more but adds that it’s “hard when you have children and a house – there’s always something to buy.”

“Now that I’m older, if I’ve got a bit of cash to myself, I still like to treat the grandkids, but I also save what we can.”

“We’ve never spent what we haven’t got” – Caroline, 65, Lancashire

Sixty-five-year-old Caroline, also from Lancashire, says her attitude to money hasn’t altered much over the years. While she did enjoy the odd splurge on clothes and days out in her twenties, as she started her family, money was tighter, and essentials came first.

“We’ve never spent what we haven’t got – and that’s always been my mantra: if you haven’t got the dosh, don’t buy it.”

Now she is retired, though, she says “we don’t have to think as much [about money] – now that we haven’t got any commitments as such.”

“I’m still on an intense learning curve” – Leonie, 25, Manchester

“Being in my mid-twenties, and being a mum to a young son, I’m still on an intense learning curve.” says Leonie, who’s from Manchester.

She says she’s ‘learned the value of living to my means’, adding that “nice things are nice but if you don’t keep within your budget, you’ll always end up struggling by the end of the month.”

“I’ve recently challenged myself not to spend money on non-necessities until the end of the month. You never know what’s going to crop up between pay days, so if you leave treats until just before pay day, you know you can truly afford them.”


“We’d rather save the money to make memories as a family” – Luke, 28, Sussex


“Finances have been tough on myself and my partner,” explains Luke from Sussex, who’s also in his twenties and plans to enjoy any spare funds, but doing so sensibly.

“Until very recently we’ve always lived relatively pay-check to pay-check. We’ve found ways of figuring out which spending is really necessary (although she’s a lot more frivolous than me) and cutting costs by buying non-branded items on things like the food shop.

“Although the instant gratification of shopping is nice, we’ve learned along the way that you don’t remember the stuff, it just becomes clutter – we’d rather save the money to make memories as a family instead.”


Has this article inspired you to treat yourself more often – or save more? If building up a savings pot is a goal – in your twenties or beyond – view our range of financial products** – from our Lifetime ISA to our Stocks and Shares Flexible ISA.

Plus, if you have any questions about any of our accounts, do not hesitate to contact our friendly team.

Until next time…


*Some names have been changed

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