“Adulting” is a new craze of lifestyle tips and hacks that have been splashed across all of the social media feeds. The term has spawned adulting 101 books, adulting kits and memes. And while the term tends to be mostly used by millennials who find themselves doing adult things for the first time, the term can apply to anyone who is struggling with their grown-up responsibilities.
I was thrust into the world of adulting recently when I rented my first apartment, bought car insurance, and did my taxes for the first time on my own. Here are some tips that helped me in my transition to being a full-time adult:
Adulting Survival Tips
- Create a budget and save a small amount each paycheck for emergencies. Ideally you should have 3 to 6 months of take-home pay saved as cash reserves as a buffer for job changes or other expenses. Already have that? Great job! Now that money can go towards longer-term savings where you can take advantage of compound interest.
- Take a cooking class. If you’re just out of college and have never cooked anything beyond grilled cheese, check out local or online options for easy weeknight recipes. Bonus—if you do a class locally, it’s a great way to meet new people as well.
- Get a credit card and put recurring expenses like your car insurance payment, rent, streaming subscriptions on it, so long as you know you will be able to pay them off at the end of each month. This will help you establish on-time payments in full, which will help boost your credit score.
- Set aside time to clean your home. This can help keep you from putting it off, and decluttering helps to lower your stress level.
- Make sure you get that 401(k) match through your employer. Even if it’s as small as a 2% match, contribute at least the max match amount to grow your savings.
- Fall in love with some form of exercise. Regardless of if you work a 9-5 job, try and find time before, during or after your day to move for even just 15 minutes. Take a lap around the building, hit the pool or spin class. If you develop a positive relationship with exercise now, it benefits you for life.
- Consider getting life insurance now, while you’re young. Getting underwritten when you’re young and in great health means getting a better rating, which means lower premiums, and having your own policy means it goes with you when you change jobs.
- Set a weekly reminder to water your plants, feed your fish, feed your sourdough starter, whatever you need to do that you know will forget.
- Stock up on cold weather clothes when its warm. Many will be on sale because it’s off-season.
- Make those doctor’s appointments: your annual physical, dental cleanings and eye exams. Set aside 30 mins after work and call your providers or schedule online.
- Create a “fun” fund. You could use the money to pay for your first vacation on your own, finally get your mom that Mother’s Day gift you’ve always wanted to get, but could never afford, and overall feel on top of your game. Adulting means having control over your life.
- When in doubt, ask for help. There’s a plethora of resources available in your friends and family network, along with the modern benefits of YouTube, Google and NerdWallet. All you have to do is search.
Relax…You Never Really Grow Up Completely
You don’t have to have it all figured out. The great thing about adulting is that most people are struggling with it 100% of the time. We never stop growing and learning, so lean into your adulting and enjoy the ride.