Kelly the Culinarian: 10 Things I Wish I Had Known About Being an Adult

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

10 Things I Wish I Had Known About Being an Adult

Mandy doing her Maid of Honor duties
Welcome readers!

My sister, Mandy, is moving into her first post-school pad this week.  She found the place in a hip neighborhood in the city that's near her work and friends. I was thinking about my past apartments in Arizona and Washington, D.C., and what I wish I had known back then. I have the best roommates ever now, which makes life a lot easier, but it wasn't always that way.  Here are a few lessons I learned from living on my own.

  1. Pay yourself first. Sign up for a 401K as soon as possible and contribute as much as you get a match for.  
      My "spacious" D.C. kitchen
  2. Start saving now. Beyond a 401K, which is a long-term savings solution, you need at least two other savings accounts. Set aside $1,000 for emergencies so when something breaks or goes wrong, you're not in a panic. Next, set aside at least another $500 so that when a friend gets married, you need something like a suit or want to take a vacation, you have the resources to do so.
  3. Set a budget. It sounds not fun, but many parts of adulthood are. You choose your hard: what's harder, living within your means or having to pay someone else back later?
  4. Take care of yourself. Keep up-to-date with your dentist and doctor. You body is the only place you have to live.
  5. Find a way to workout. Closely related to No. 4, a little activity helps any number of maladies, from boredom to blood pressure.
  6. Pay for insurance. You may think nothing in your place is valuable, but when your apartment floods or someone breaks in, you'll realize how wrong you are.
    My Tucson apartment
  7. Discover a passion - a hobby that you love. Living by yourself can be lonely. Figure out how you want to spend your downtime, because you can only watch so much TV.
    1. Always, always, ALWAYS lock the doors. It should be the first thing you do when you get in your car or in your home. Just do it.
    2. YouTube is your friend. Whenever something breaks, just search on YouTube. Chances are, you will find a video that will tell you exactly how to repair it for free.
    3. Give yourself a mandatory waiting period for big purchases. If you're going to buy something over a certain dollar amount, write it down and wait 30 days to decide if you still need it. Also, put out the word that you're looking for something. I was able to borrow a circular saw from a friend when I posted about it on Facebook, and found a dehydrator on Craigslist for a fourth of the price.


    Maggie W said...

    DEBT SUCKS! Avoid it at all costs. Get rid of it as quickly as you can. Sure, living on a budget may be hard, but you know what is harder? Living with your parents at 30. I wish I had done a few things differently 5-6 years ago.

    Erin said...

    Excellent tips! I think you covered all the bases. The only thing I would add is to not compare yourself to other people you know. Just because someone else appears to be doing "better" doesn't mean that they are.

    Alissa said...

    I think I would add: Be Realistic. In the society we live in, it's so easy to get caught up in what we "think" we should have, or be doing, or be thinking, and the truth is, there's no right answer for everyone.

    Also, it is still totally okay to buy cereal with cartoon mascots on the front. Just sayin'.