Basic Adulting: What You Should Have Known Last Year
Whether you’ve just graduated college or have already entered the “real world” you start to wonder why no one ever told you how to manage finances, shop for groceries, or separate the light laundry from the dark. The sooner you learn these basic adulting skills, the better you'll feel — and the better off you'll be! That’s why we’ve came up with some tips to get you going in the right direction when beginning adulthood.
Making (and Sticking to) a Budget
You can't spend more money than you make and expect to last long out in the "real world." It's important to keep an eye on your bank account balance online and keep track of any transactions that haven't deducted yet. Additionally, use a simple spreadsheet to record how much money you bring in versus all the expenses you're responsible for each month. You'll know how much money you really have remaining for brunch with your friends.
Paying bills goes hand in hand with making your budget. Many companies make it easy to check amounts due and their due dates with online accounts. However, some towns still rely on old-fashioned paper billing for certain utilities. Learn to read through each bill and make sure that the amount is correct. Keep track of when each bill is due, and ensure you have enough money set aside to pay it on time. Late payments incur fees, affect your credit, and can lead to service interruption.
Just because your parents no longer control your curfew doesn't mean it's wise to stay out until 2 a.m. with friends when you have work in the morning. Learning how to say "no" is an essential skill. If someone invites you out or asks you to do something, don't automatically agree. Check your schedule. Make sure you have enough time and energy to pencil it in without interfering with your other responsibilities.
Cooking With More Than a Microwave
Pizza rolls and frozen burritos are tasty snacks every once in a while, but they don't make for a healthy diet. Learn a few basic recipes to enjoy healthful, home-cooked meals. This is a great way to save money and avoid artificial ingredients.
Dealing With Disappointment
You can do anything you put your mind to, but that doesn't mean everything will always go your way. There's a good chance you'll make a mistake or two as a new adult, and you'll be the one who has to handle (and learn from) the consequences. There's also a good chance that you won't land the first "real" job you apply for, or that you might get passed over for a promotion. Deal with these disappointments in a constructive way by looking at them as learning and growth opportunities.