Last week we published a blog that was all about the things every young person should know when they move out on their own. “Am I Adulting Right? – Part 1” had a list of things that I learned on my journey to becoming independent. I wanted to continue this list for this week’s blog because I just had so much to write about! Some of these things I learned from messing up, or from watching others mess up, during my early adulting years.
An Adulting Cheat Sheet for New Adults (continued)
Let’s face it – some of us didn’t get all the info we needed for adulthood. Somehow, some info was not passed on to some of us. Whether it was because high school didn’t teach us, our parents didn’t teach us, or it was assumed by one of those parties that we learned it from the other… we’ve had to figure some things out on our own. Luckily, we can share what we DO know with each other and help each other fill in those knowledge gaps.
Try not to judge if you come across a tip in this list and think “how could someone NOT know this?!” You might be surprised by how easily it is for a parent or teacher to assume a young person knows this, and for it to never be taught to them!
#6 – Make your home a sanctuary
It might sound silly, but the space you live in is super important for happier adulting. Your home is your sanctuary from the outside world, the place where you start and end your day. Regularly dedicate time to keeping it clean, whether you clean it a little every day or you have a “deep-cleaning day” each week. A clean place means you aren’t constantly tripping over stuff on the floor. Or trying to track down a suspicious smell wafting around. Or looking for something you need in a hurry. And keeping up with laundry means not being in a rush to find clothes when you are running late for class or work!
And because your home is your sanctuary, it’s super important that it feels like a place you enjoy being in. Decorate your room with your favorite wall art, buy some curtains, and keep some cozy pillows and blankets around. Make it a reflection of the things you like so that it’s a space that makes you happy. Add in some plants that make your space feel alive and comforting. Some plants purify the air around them, so it’s a great way to keep the air in your home clean. Just make sure that the plants you buy are not toxic to the pets living with you!
Oh, and also – this is a reminder to water those plants. Having dead plants around is definitely NOT a good way to make your home a sanctuary.
#7 – Keep your car up-to-date on routine maintenance
It’s super important to stay on top of your routine car care if you do have a car! If you don’t stay on top of it, you risk your car breaking down and it becoming a costly fix. In college, I used public transportation to get where I needed to go, or I would simply walk there. It wasn’t until senior year that I finally got a car of my own. I was a little late to learn about car maintenance, so I’ve had to learn a lot of it from Googling and asking lots of questions. It might have been embarrassing to ask those questions, but I am so glad I did! I’d rather be embarrassed now than have my car be a hot mess later. Here is a helpful article I found about routine car maintenance!
And here’s something helpful that I’ve picked up from my husband recently:
He keeps a small notebook in his car where he keeps track of his car regular maintenance. He includes the dates of each oil change or brake check, writes down what car shop did it, etc. This way he can refer to it and know exactly when it is time for the next round of care care!
#8 – Have an emergency plan for when things hit the fan
Because I went to college on a coast, I had to evacuate because of hurricanes a few times. During Hurricane Mathew, my roommates and I had to hurriedly prepare to leave our apartment to go stay somewhere safer. Luckily, I had my car by this time. So, we all piled into my little Sedan and drove inland to stay with one of my roommates’ parents. But the experience was still SO STRESSFUL! Not only did I have the fear that comes with running away from a hurricane, but I had so many other fears clouding up my brain. “What if the storm destroys everything? What’s the most important stuff to take with us with our limited trunk space? Will I have enough money to pay bills after missing all those work hours? What if I can’t get ahold of my family?”
What made the next hurricane easier to deal with was having an emergency plan established. I keep an emergency bag in my trunk with a set of clothes, phone battery packs, a flashlight, etc. I also have a fire and waterproof bag for important documents (like birth certificates) at home. We keep it in an easily accessible place so we can quickly grab it if we have to run out the door in a hurry.
Another thing to do is have an emergency fund (which, I cover some in the next topic).
#9 – Having a budget makes for easier adulting
Nothing makes being on your own more stressful than having very limited money to work with. What makes having limited money even worse is not knowing where what little you have is going! I am not a very good planner when it comes to finances, so I kept putting it off. And for some time after I had finally started keeping one, I didn’t really stay on top of it as well as I should have been. It was when my husband and I got married that I got more adamant about budgeting… and holy cow, guys…
It was then that I realized how much money I had been wasting. My money was going to unused subscriptions, unhealthy fast food, and other things I didn’t even need. I had always felt like I didn’t have enough money to do things I wanted to do, like save for a house or take off work and travel. Sure I was living in a high-cost area with a not-so-great paying job at the time. That definitely didn’t help. Yeah, I was paying off student debt from college. Kind of a bummer. But not being in charge of where my very limited amount of money went was a BIG PROBLEM. It was my lack of planning that was keeping me in a financial rut.
So if you don’t already have a budget, then please use this as a wake-up call! The hubby and I use a tool called You Need A Budget, and it makes it a lot easier for those that are new to keeping a budget. Maybe this is something that can help you, too.
#10 – We are always learning new adulting skills, no matter how old we get
In Part 1 of “Am I Adulting Right?,” I told the story of how my mom had never known not to put potato peels in the garbage disposal. At first I was flabbergasted by her not knowing this, but then I thought about it for a little bit. We had often lived in older homes that didn’t have a garbage disposal in the kitchen sink. And even once we lived in a slightly newer home, we didn’t really use the garbage disposal much since we composted most of our food waste. It would totally make sense that she didn’t know what not to put in there!
Similar to that, I think of my grandpa, who grew up without the internet or technology like we have now. He doesn’t always know how to spot a shady popup ad and will click it. He has gotten several nasty viruses on his computer and his Facebook is constantly getting hacked. Having grown up around technology, I sometimes jump to thinking “how could you NOT have known that would happen?!” But, I remember how he didn’t have the opportunity to learn these things like I have.
Sometimes information gets missed as we are learning over time.
Maybe there wasn’t an opportunity to learn it because the problem wasn’t around yet. Or like how in school when the teachers assumed we were being taught certain things at home, while our parents thought the teachers were teaching us those exact same things in school! And we wouldn’t know what it was that we needed to learn! So that’s why I try not to judge when someone doesn’t know something yet. While young adults are learning about taxes and car maintenance, sometimes our moms are learning about garbage disposals, or our grandpa’s are learning what links NOT to click.
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