How I blew through $1,000 before I turned 22.

No, there are no extra 0’s missing there ;) I just got finished reading Jacob’s incredible story on how he blew through his $100,000 inheritance before he turned 21, and thought I’d copy him. With a much less exciting story, haha…

Like Jacob, I, too, did not know or care about budgeting back in the college days. I was constantly watching my accounts to make sure I had enough for beer and pizza money every week (priorities!) and rarely had over $500 in it. The rule with my parents was that they’d help pay for college and books, but I was on my own for everything “extra” – a fair deal to say the least.

So I’d work my ass off during the summers to fill up my spending account, and then drain it entirely by the time the semesters ended :) Floating by with some part-time jobs I’d take in school too – like working at the bookstore to pick up girls help people find books, helping out at the local mall, and working for our university paper (I was a budding photographer for a bit).

Anywho, at graduation I got all kinds of gifts and checks as one usually does from their loving family, and I was dead set on moving into my own place by my own beach with my own very best friend. We had found a room in a house for only $500/mo (we were going to put in bunk beds, haha…) and I figured my lump of graduation winnings would tide me over for quite some time while I “did the responsible thing” and look for a full-time job ;)

This lump sum was $1,000.


So, being the non-future-planner I was back then, I signed the lease, packed up my stuff, and drove Eastward towards the salty waters of my new dream locale. It was summer time, I had cash in my pocket, a new degree, and I’d soon be sitting at my cushy job designing logos with a view of the ocean in my office. ‘Cuz I was *that* good to get my own office for my first job, haha… Life was good!

Until it wasn’t….

Fast forward 3 weeks and I was out of cash (who knew you had to pay for rent in advance?), out of roommates (my friend bailed the week before moving in), and I had a grand total of 0 jobs lined up. It was pretty embarrassing to say the least – especially after I mouthed off about how awesome and famous I was gonna be living my dream a the beach ;) Oops.

Days later I was back and moved in with parents where I got the “real world” talk. I’m pretty certain they knew what the outcome was going to be – and probably had my bed at home all made up just waiting for my return – but being the loving and brilliant parents they are, they allowed me to go out and fail on my own so I’d come away with some life learning lessons. And there was a small chance of me succeeding too since I do get lucky every now and then…

Anyways, I went from $1,000 in cash to broke in a matter of weeks and learned an important lesson along the way: You have to plan ahead, no matter how much it bores you. Maybe not 12 months, or 12 years, but definitely at least 3 weeks :) At least when it comes to your finances.

Now Jacob learned an entire other set of lessons along his adventure – and has the humor to realize how much of a bonehead he was (which I hope you’ll read about and enjoy when you get a sec), but I think it’s important to look back at these times of ours every now and then and appreciate how far we’ve come. We’ve all done some pretty stupid things in our lifetimes – especially while young!

I’m proud to say that just one year later I got my act back together too :) I set out on job/life excursion #2 to New York City with just a few suitcases and some cash (double what I brought to the beach), and lasted a whole 2 and a half years all by myself with a new set of friends and adventures. And more parties and trips around the world than I knew what to do with! (It turns out working for the airlines has some advantages :))

We live and we learn, right?

What are some of the ways YOU blew through some money back in the day? What did you end up taking away from it all?

Photo by jlegate

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  1. Free Money Minute June 25, 2013 at 6:25 AM

    I blew through a lot of money on football and basketball cards. Oh how I wish I had saved all that money and let it grow in a savings account. Now I have a bunch of cardboard that is not worth that much and thousands are gone.

    1. J. Money June 25, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      Hah! They have to be worth *something*. I’ve still got my box of cards, but luckily I ended up collecting mainly only Jordans :) Figured mid-way through my collecting career that if I’m going to hold on to something, they might as well be from the best player in basketball!

  2. Lance @ Money Life and More June 25, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    I was always a planner so luckily I didn’t run into these problems. I did end up moving in with my now-fiancee’s parents for the summer… that was a whole different can of worms!

  3. Shafi June 25, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    Title for Jacob’s post is “How I Blew Through $100,000 Before I Turned 21”. Your anchor text link to his post is “how he blew threw his $100,000 inheritance before he turned 21.” The title for your post is “How I blew threw $1,000 before I turned 22..” Shouldn’t it be through and not threw? Or is it that you intentionally used threw and not through? Blew and threw one after the other don’t make a good sentence. If not done intentionally to make a point (???), then it could be a genuine mistake. But then again English is not my first language.

    1. J. Money June 25, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      haha… no, you are right – I’m bad at grammar :) Totally a mistake – now changed, thx.

  4. Michelle June 25, 2013 at 8:19 AM

    I blew a lot of money when I was younger. UGH!

  5. cashrebel June 25, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    I remember spending $200 on a steak dinner in Vegas… that was silly :)

    1. J. Money June 25, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      Hah! ME TOO! But luckily it was my boss’s money ;)
      Did you order a Kobe steak by chance?

  6. TeachingDownDebt June 25, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    I think I did a pretty good job of working a ton of hours during school and summer, finding scholarships, etc. but I never budgeted. The Fed paid for my tuition and rent and I paid for all other expenses, which seemed like I was doing great, but 72k in student loans later, I wonder how much I could have saved if I had a budget instead of simply keeping a keen eye on my balances. Like J$, I still watched my money, but didn’t put together a budget. Over 5 years of college I bet I could have easily came out $5k better had I put a budget together.

    1. J. Money June 25, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      On the plus side, you now get a fun blogging experience out of it all ;)

  7. Slackerjo June 25, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    I try not to think too much about my stupidity with money when I was in my early 20s otherwise I’d focus too much on the past and that can be paralyzing. Sometimes you just have to recognize your stupidity and move on.

    1. J. Money June 25, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      yes, but that doesn’t make for fun blogging :)

  8. Aimee June 25, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Before I did my 1 year national exchange to California I had a going away party and collected somewhere between $1000 and $1500. I flew out there with pretty much nothing but clothes and toiletries and went to Target where I dropped a couple hundred on things like towels, office supplies, kitchen items etc.. The rest was gone well before Christmas! Don’t ask me where it went. Probably restaurants, bus fare, booze. Nothing real. Luckily I landed a paid internship in October that lasted through my time out there, but I always had my pay spent on my low limit credit card before I received it. I’ve always been pretty good with money, but it was hard to keep up with the Californian lifestyle.

    1. J. Money June 25, 2013 at 2:28 PM

      I bet! It’s crazy expensive out there. Good for you on landing that paid internship too – not that easy to do.

  9. Jake @ Common Cents Wealth June 25, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    I definitely blew through some money, but it was just little things here and there. I bought quite a few items that had costed between $100-$300 each, but I had the money each time so it wasn’t a huge deal. My parents allowed me to make mistakes, but they didn’t allow me to make any huge ones which I’m thankful for.

  10. Brian @ Luke1428 June 25, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    How many birthday/Christmas/Valentine’s/3,6,9,12-month anniversary gifts did I buy for girlfriends in high school and college? Ugh! That all seemed so important at the time. Would have been money spent better elsewhere since I didn’t end up marrying any of them…well, except the last one! :)

    1. J. Money June 25, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      True, but perhaps you’d then be labeled a Bad Boy and never have gotten your wife! Oh wait… girls love bad boys.

  11. Alissa June 25, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Blowing through 1,000 isn’t TOO terrible. With a job making only 30-grand a year, you’ll get that back in one paycheck. Sucks to know you blew that kind of money, I know, but in the scheme of your entire life (or even the next few years assuming you’re gainfully employed), you can easily make it back. Don’t beat yourself up. Life’s too short.

  12. Brian June 25, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    I spent $600 on margaritas in a bar in Boston once… Still feel like it was worth it to this day for the stories that came out of that evening!

    1. J. Money June 25, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Ahhh, you’re not gonna share any with us?

  13. Retire By 40 June 25, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    I never had any money to blow when I was young. :) At least $1,000 isn’t 100,000, right?

  14. Nick @ June 25, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    When I was in high school I drove a brand new Toyota Tacoma. When I graduated, I had the choice to take over the $375/mo payment or leave the truck with my parents. I decided to keep the truck. After driving the truck for a year I decided it was too expensive and I needed a cheaper car (good choice right?). So I “sold” the truck back to my dad and went car shopping. Literally the first day of shopping I walked off the lot with a brand new Mitsubishi Lancer with a monthly payment of $372. I saved $3, yay!

    I learned not to impulse by cars, I learned that buying new cars is a great way to make sure you are upside down in a loan, and I learned later that no one, especially a 19 year old, needs a $20,000 car. :)

    1. J. Money June 25, 2013 at 2:31 PM

      WOWWWW haha… a damn good lesson to learn early on! :)

  15. Savvy Financial Latina June 25, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    I don’t want to think about all the money I spent on fast food during college. Ekks.

  16. Jacob @ iHeartBudgets June 25, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Holy snapple-sauce Batman, you blew through a TON OF CASH! ;-)

    You know, blowing through all your cash and having to move back home is a lesson you’ll never forget (I know I didn’t). There’s something humbling about completely running out of money when you think you’re “independent”. I think your parents did well, as you learned the valued of hard-earned money after that, and have obviously taken that to heart and hustled your way to the top. I think most people learn their financial lessons the hard way, and at least yours on have 3 zero’s at the end!

    And thanks for sharing my story :)

    1. J. Money June 25, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      Dude, I know I’ve told you a ton already, but I’m seriously in love with your story. Really just refreshing to read and quite inspiring. Glad you put it all out there for everyone to see!

  17. Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries June 25, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    I totally have blown through a ridiculous amount of money when I was younger, and I still don’t know where half of it went. Mostly food, I think. I have a passion for dining out that cannot be satisfied.

  18. Kevin @ RewardBoost June 25, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    I got like $10k when I was in college from back benefits that were owed to me through a scholarship program. I used that money to pay off my credit card.

    I had been expecting the money and while I was waiting for it I was charging everything to a credit card that had 0% interest for 18 months. I got the $10k right before the 18 months were up and paid it off.

    1. J. Money June 25, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      I can’t tell if I should be congratulating you or not? Haha… Did you put all this stuff on there just to buy stuff knowing you could pay it off at this time, or was it all stuff you would have picked up anyways? I guess yay for no c/c debt? :)

  19. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans June 25, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    On my 18th birthday/graduation party, I received tons of money. I blew it all on shoes. The end. *sigh

    1. J. Money June 26, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      Hahahaha. that’s awesome :)

  20. Debt Blag June 25, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Oh man. It would hurt my feelings to relive every bad mistake I made in my early 20s with money. Especially because there are so many to choose from… Would I start with the sports cars or the drinks? Sigh…

  21. Financial Black Sheep June 25, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    I feel like I have been in survival mode all my life, because I rarely blew money on stupid things. After I got married I started collecting video games and fixing up the house, but never spent money on things I couldn’t at least, eventually sell.

    1. J. Money June 26, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      Well aren’t you smarter than all of us! ;)

  22. Mike@WeOnlyDoThisOnce June 25, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    I’ve had similar stories and, as yours is, they’ve all been formative!

  23. Russ@padtheedges June 25, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    After getting my first job out of college, I didn’t want to have a roommate, so I got an apartment on my own. Luckily I made enough to get by, but a few years later after spending a large chunk of my income on rent, utilities, etc., I finally moved in with a friend. I saved a ton of money! Wish I had banked the income I blew on being a big shot in an IRA. Lesson learned!

    1. J. Money June 26, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      Have you ever calculated how much it would have all added up to? ;) I don’t know if I could stomach it, haha… I’m sure you had a killer bachelor pad though!

  24. Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen June 26, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    The stupidest thing I ever spent my money on was pogs!!! The stupidest game ever and I can’t believe I got into it. Even bought myself a pog maker! If anyone doesn’t know what pogs are, they are discs of paper with some kind of graphic on it. Usually costing 25 cents each. You stacked a bunch of pogs, then used a slammer (heavy metal or plastic disc) to slam the pile and try to knock off as many pogs as possibly. Stupidest game ever!

    1. J. Money June 26, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Hahhaha YES!!! I totally remember those!!! And luckily I sucked at it so I never got involved all too much ;) Pretty funny stuff though – thx for the trip down memory lane, haha…

      1. Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen June 27, 2013 at 4:08 PM

        Haha I gave all of those away except for the Peanuts ones. My fave cartoon strip. Eventually I kicked myself and gave those away too only a few years ago. I wish I could have all that money back!

  25. Alexa June 27, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    I feel like although this story is a little extreme, there are PLENTY of young adults who can relate. Who doesn’t spend all the money they make right away when they’re young? All the while thinking that $1000 will last them forever. I am a student and I can definitely spend $1000 in less than a month on bills and groceries alone, no going out and no recreation. It’s also seemingly impossible for young adults to save anything at all, and they usually have NO savings and NO rainy day fund.
    Hopefully reading an article such as this and some of the feedback can open up their eyes to the importance of saving and money management.

  26. Sam Gill June 28, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    When I was young, I received money on Christmas eve and next day I blew it up on clothes and toys. That was the 1st time I blew it up all in one go but thanks to my parents who taught me savings and debt, which helped later Christmas years.

    1. J. Money July 1, 2013 at 5:42 PM

      Haha… I do the same thing now actually, but I have an excuse – the day after my bday ;)

  27. Mary Anne @ BillGuard July 1, 2013 at 6:16 AM

    Okay, in all seriousness — paying for rent in advance is hard when you’re a college student!! The WORST was needing to put down a security deposit as well as the first months’ rent. That meant that you had to come up with 2 month’s rent, all at the same time … that could easily be $1,000 or more, right then and there, just with that! For a college kid, that’s a ton of money.

    So, my point is — don’t be too tough on yourself for “blowing” $1,000 in a few weeks as a college student, especially if part of that money includes rent.

    1. J. Money July 1, 2013 at 5:43 PM

      That is true. It could have been worse – I could have blown it on crack and strippers, right? ;)