8 Bad Habits to Kick in Your 20s

8 Habits to KickWe remember those days long ago—or not so long ago—when we thought the only thing standing between us and a great night out was a fake I.D., and the days when every hurt could be soothed with a new pair of shoes.

Until now, we'd always chalked those notions up to our own youthful silliness, but it turns out we weren’t alone: According to a recent study, 20-year-olds actually think that having debt is cool.

“The more credit card and college loan debt held by young adults aged 18 to 27, the higher their self-esteem," the researchers concluded. Only that effect didn't last long: By the time participants in the study reached age 28, their feelings of mastery and empowerment had corroded into stress over the money they owed.

Student Loan Debt

Readers' stories of how they got in and out of student loan debt in LV Discussions.Share Yours

Surely celebrating your debt isn't the only habit worth kicking by the time you near 30. So, we asked you, what other habits that seemed cool, empowering and fun at 20 did you drop like a hot potato a few years later?

Your answers, which ranged from money choices to lifestyle mistakes, were hilarious, insightful ... and a testament to the power of experience. Read on.

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What bad habits did you drop in your 20s? Let us know in the comments!

  • I avoided making a budget and keeping track of my spending because I was afraid it would mean having no more fun.  Very naive of me!

  • Taquila mhhhhhhhjmmmm i’m strait lol

  • taquilla mhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmm no thanx

  • Alyzwunderland

    Back in the mid 90′s I opened up a credit card specifically for buying Madonna merchandise.  That lasted about a year or 2.   About 10 yrs later I have sold most of those items on eBay to clear out the clutter.  I still LOVE Madonna, but no longer love the “stuff”…LOL

  • Alyzwunderland

    Back in highschool my goal was to be able to drink a 12 pack just like the “guys”.  Eventually, I think I reached that goal and for about 10yrs my weekends consisted of heavy drinking and hangovers.   My kids keep me sober now  :)

  • Smartgal

    I can honestly say I am 20 and do not do any of that stuff, except maybe text. If you are tanning and smoking at my age, not only you are being ripped off but also will never reach 28 if you develop cancer…  so go figure.

  • Megg

    Being wedded to your cell…kick it?? If you’re committed to your job, which sometimes means overtime / working outside your typical 9-5, there’s no way you’ll be able to kick this habit. And therefore, not so much a bad habit in my opinion :)

  • I’m out of my 20s and I still need to work on the texting thing, I find it super convenient when I’m unable to answer or simply not in the mood for long convos of nothing-ness.

  • Lsrms3977

    Of course, guys will force you to be dependent no matter what age, even if you’re very successful. Even in the later 20s and up, it’s greater as well. Sleep around with other men while you’re married, it’s common among women of every age. Women use men for money as well.

  • Wow, I relate to so many of these! And am happy to say that at 27 I’m almost through all of these habits (and some I never started – smoking, etc.). I only have a few hundred dollars to go in paying off my credit card, but I still really need to work on an overall budget. And that’s exactly how I stumbled across this website – so I signed up for the Bootcamp and hope it will offer some insightful tips! I actually maintain my own blog on today’s 20-something experience and recently wrote about my financial woes and goals. Here’s the link: http://20somethingrevealed.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/whats-money-got-to-do-with-it/.

  • Melissa

    I’m not sure I know many people that can relate to this article… I 25, have a bachelor’s degree, and 3 jobs to make ends meet. If i didn’t text people I would barely communicate with anyone. Whoever wrote this is slightly out of touch with reality right now.

  • Hannahgru

    Instead of being dependent on a man, I let my generosity get the best of me and assisted my boyfriend way too many times financially. When I look back at the probably thousands of dollars, one hundred here, a couple hundred here, that were always promised to come back to me (but never did) I think about how that money could have grown by now in an account.

    I really like the subject of this article, as it addresses the habits that women are raised to perform, that we end up doing without even thinking about the consequences. I remember when I first moved to New York, and felt like I needed to be buying something constantly, new shoes, clothes, coffee, fancy treats. Now, before I spend my money, I stop to examine where the desire to spend is rooted: is it coming from a real need, or a longing to “treat” myself for a job well done? Or is it satisfying boredom, a feeling of inadequacy, sadness, anger, loneliness…When I take the time to reflect upon where my habits are coming from, I usually realize pretty quickly that my hard earned money (which is ENERGY) would be better conserved and spent somewhere more essential to thriving and survival.

    Now, it’s more important to me to save my money, and put that towards paying off debts I accrued when I was less thoughtful about my expenditures. When I place my value in responsibility and integrity, the decision to snack on a coffee and a cupcake or buy new jeans becomes replaced with one that gives me a deeper satisfaction and fulfillment in the long run.

  • Changing habits is vital to leading the life you want to life for the rest of your life. I’m 30 now and can’t imagine living the same life I did when I was 20. But, just because I turned the decade page, doesn’t mean that I don’t still need to keep adjusting….


    This manual helps with HOW to move in the direction you need to.

  • Pamela

    I think the “texting” comment is referring to those who still pay for texting related packages, i.e. 500 texts a month.  Most cell plans today come with unlimited texting.  I can say that I fell victim to the “texting” but not in that way.  I was naive and easily talked into buying a BlackBerry Pearl (when they were new!) on my own plan when I was 18 and just starting college.  I payed $250 for the phone and $120 a month for 2 years for that stupid phone.  Now I stick to a simple text/call plan with no data package (internet).  Makes things more simple!

  • wkm

    Thank you for representing different sizes of women in this article, as all body types should be equally respected. I am disappointed that the women are not as diverse in terms of ethnicity, orientation, creed… LearnVest should have a broader scope when including all photographed women in their articles. Let’s be inclusive instead of exclusive!

  • Sam

    Do you have the ‘Take Control Bootcamp’ in Spanish?

  • AHyeahAustin

    yes ladies … read & heed : you will HAVE TO have these things in check to be successful …