5 Ways You Think About Money, As Told By What Age You Are

by Nikhita Mahtani

Ah, money: You either think you have too little, or you have just enough to live responsibly. But obviously, you never have as much as you "need" at any given point.

From drunk nights out to unexpected expenses, like your computer crashing the second you're in the middle of an important assignment (Thanks, Mercury retrograde.), your sense of what's important to you monetarily changes as you grow older.

Here are a few ways your attitude about money grows with time:

Ages 15 - 18: What's A Budget?

This is the age where you're sadly still (mostly) dependent on your parents, even though you may have that side job waitressing because hey, you need to live a little.

You're sick of being told what to do, and you're ready to move out and be on your own -- in time.

Right now, you're pretty much blowing whatever money you can get your hands on on things you "need" – as in, you just really want to keep up with your friends.

You have no concept of money, but that doesn't stop you from feeling so adult when you throw down some cash you earned YOURSELF on a fancy meal out.

Enjoy it; there are more complicated times to come.

Ages 19 - 21: Blame It On The Alcohol

COLLEGE. At this age, you feel so independent and grown-up. You're working toward your career goals, meeting new people and seriously thinking about your future.

But you're also partying: A LOT.

At this age, most of your money is going toward experiences... which is a good thing, because it's been proven people who spend money on experiences tend to be happier than those who spend money on material things.

Again, you're so caught up on going out, meeting new people and figuring out exactly the kind of person you want to be, money kind of takes a back burner.

Aka, you only think about it when you realize you have none left.

Ages 22 - 25: Treat Yo'Self

OMG! You're finally out on your own, and even that pathetic, entry-level paycheck makes you feel like a millionaire. You can't wait to go buy EVERYTHING you've wanted to get your hands on.

But hold up: You can't go out and spend $50 on a bottle of champagne every week if you want to still have a place to live at the end of the month.

Yes, you can DEFINITELY afford some serious adulting perks you couldn't in college. (Real furniture, anyone?) But you're also not going to be able to get everything you want.

So, you have to learn to pace yourself.

But don't worry; I promise you'll get the hang of it soon. In time, you'll be able to buy the things you love AND pay rent.

Who would've thought?

Ages 26 - 30: Adulting 101

You're at that confused age when you're either not earning as much as your banker friends seem to be, or you're earning so much, you don't actually know what to do with it all.

Cue the mistakes.

Don't get me wrong; it's not like you're TRYING to blow all your cash on impulsive purchases... but when that Zara dress calls your name and you just got paid, what's a girl to do?

There will be days you think you know what the hell you're doing, and there'll be other days when you'll wonder if you really HAVE to save that emergency fund, especially since going on vacation with all your friends seems like a pretty big emergency by itself!

But deep breath, my dears. Mistakes are part of growing up.

You shouldn't have left your phone in the cab, but now you know better, and you'll be more than ready the next time you go over your budget.

Above 30: Finally Have It Figured Out

You're finally at an age where you have your priorities in order. Rent, utilities, groceries, fitness and yes, even "treat yourself" money all has its place in your budget.

Maybe you're saving up to buy a home. Maybe you're starting a family.

Whatever the case may be, you have clear goals and an idea of where you want your life to be. Your focus is more on building a LIFE for yourself, as opposed to throwing cash just because you can.

You know retirement is a long way away, but that doesn't mean you're not already thinking about it.

THIS is what adulting really is, and you have to admit, it feels pretty damn good.