This is my last week of advice posts for the month of September. I may come back to doing a theme every month, but I have thought about so many other things that I want to write and tell you guys! Well now that I’m officially no longer a teenager, I figured it was an appropriate time to post my tips on adulting. 😉 But in all seriousness, being in college has made me adult more, and as a result, I have acquired a pretty good list of tips over the last three years that I want to share with all of you!
- Spend paycheck to paycheck- Don’t take this the wrong way. I hope nobody has to LIVE paycheck to paycheck. I hope you always have enough money for things like bills and groceries. No, what I mean instead is indulge paycheck to paycheck. I get paid biweekly, so that’s how I spend money on things I want. This helps me avoid instant gratification. If I really want it, I will wait for two weeks until I have the money to pay for it. While we’re on the subject of money…
- Save your big bills and stretch your small ones- This could mean saving your $100s and spending your $20s. This could mean spending your $20s and saving your $5s. I don’t know what your situation is. For me, this usually means I only spend until my nearest $100. So, hypothetically, I get a paycheck that takes my bank account to $350. This means I have $50 I could spend. Then, let’s say the next paycheck (after I’ve spent $50) takes me up to $430, which means I would only have $30 to spend with that paycheck. It doesn’t always work this way, but this is what I try to aim for.
- Have a savings account- This also helps stretch my paycheck. I have it set up so that half of my paycheck immediately goes to my savings. That may be a little much for some, so as always, find what works for you. You’ll be surprised what you can save up. I’m fortunate that I don’t have a lot of bills right now so I can save that much. And it does add up. No matter if it’s $10 a week. I feel so much more comfortable with a savings account. That way, if something were to happen that would require quire a bit of money, I would be covered. It also helps me not to spend it all.
- Practice quality over quantity- Alright, I’m done with financial tips. These next couple deal with people. One key sign of being an adult is surrounding yourself with quality people. I have cut some people out of my life. Those who are still there deserve to be there. Life is too short to have toxic or fake friends. Real friends are the ones who encourage you but who tell you the truth. They are the ones who will build you up instead of tearing down. They will celebrate your victories and mourn your losses with you.
- Own up to your mistakes- Another key sign of successful adulting is being able to admit your wrong. I recently did something wrong that it would have been easy to blame the other person for. Nothing major, but still a mistake nonetheless. But instead of blaming the other person (“Well, you should have told me”), I understand that it was my fault (“I should have asked”). Along with that, I’m going to do what I can to make it right because that’s what needs to be done.
- Have unproductive days- Being productive and adulting is great (a couple weekends ago, I made some food for the week, swept and mopped my apartment’s kitchen, and vacuumed the living room and rug in like an hour). But, there are also days where the most productive thing I do is sit on my couch and watch Netflix. Life is about balance (This does NOT mean neglecting responsibilities to “relax” in the name of self-care). A year ago, I had a friend who is a year younger than me post on Facebook basically asking if grades or mental health is more important. At the time, she was in her first semester of college and felt overwhelmed. I told her that both are important. I suggested that if she didn’t have anything immediately due within the next day that she maybe take the night off. If she had stuff that needed to be done, I suggest she watch an episode of Netflix or something, and then start with the smaller tasks. I have found that it is easier to work up to bigger things if you realize what small things you have already accomplished.
- Have a routine- It could be something simple. I have a morning routine of how I get ready for the day, including my skincare routine. I also have a nighttime routine that I don’t feel right going to sleep if I haven’t completed those things. One of those is I have a closet app and usually set my outfit for the next day using the app. Well, Sunday night, I actually forgot to set my outfit! Even though I woke up on time on Monday, I felt so rushed and stressed in the morning simply because that one thing was not done. I feel so much better once I have everything done in my routine for that certain time period.
- Take time for yourself- You need to love yourself. But just like any other relationship, you grow to love yourself by spending time with yourself. For me, my Sunday night routine is much longer than all my other nighttime routines because I get to spend time preparing myself for the week. On the same note…
- Take care of yourself- You’re only given one body and one life. Make sure it’s your best one by making it last a long time. I’ve had injuries in high school that left me unsure if I could ever do certain exercises and other things. One of them was my wrist. Years of cheerleading and gymnastics wore my wrist down. There were times that I would go to carry folding chairs (lightweight plastic ones) and I could only carry one in my left hand because any more would hurt my wrist. But you know what? It gets better. I do 30-day workouts that I find on Pinterest to target certain areas. The one I just completed involved planks. I found that even with my wrist the way it was, that hurt less than on my forearms. It started out okay, but the plank time increased each day. Eventually, I realized that I couldn’t do it all at once. So I built in some time for a break on my wrist. And I ended up finishing that 30-day workout holding a plank on my wrists for 2 minutes and 35 seconds (not counting my built-in break). That’s incredibly impressive! I went from barely being able to carry a second chair to holding almost my entire body weight!
- Make changes- If something is not working out, then make changes so it does. It could be something as small as your profile picture on Facebook. I’ve talked about getting stuck in a rut before and making changes when that happens. That’s how I feel. Something that may be small to most of you, but I just changed my laptop background. I have had the same picture for like one and a half years. But changing it has kind of refreshed me. I have other things I’m working on changing, but that’s definitely a start. On that note…
- Learn to stay the same- Not everything needs to change in your life. Bring in things that make you happy, but keep what already works for you. I bring up frequently that I’m working on getting in shape and being healthy. But this absolutely does not mean I’m on some kind of restrictive diet. I eat ice cream, I enjoy pizza, and I love cookies. But I work on eating in moderation. I’m not eating pizza every night for dinner. I bought miniature ice creams so I don’t feel guilty. I found some delicious waffle cookies that are pretty low calorie. Being healthy doesn’t mean I have to radically change my diet. It just means I understand and balance what I eat.
- Go after what you want- Nobody and nothing should stand in the way of your goals. I hope you have the strength and courage to visualize what you want and to go for it. It’s scary at times, but so worth it. Even with all my course load and everything I’m doing to become a teacher, I don’t regret a single day of it. I have my bad days and my good days, and they have shaped me in so many ways. There has never been a time since being at college where I have been like “yep. Teaching isn’t for me. Time to switch majors”. If that’s you, please don’t think I look down on you for any reason. It is important to know what you want. If you don’t, that’s okay too. Start small. What do you want out of this week? This month (about 5 days at this point)? This year (3 months left)? Whatever it is, go for it. Yes, it’s scary and hard at times. But it is so incredibly worth it.
- Understand that it takes time- Adulting and becoming better at life doesn’t happen overnight. People say it takes 21 days to make something a habit. 21 days is 3 weeks. That’s a lot of time. Three weeks ago, I had barely started school this year. And now, I’m coming up on midterm season and fall break. A lot has changed in three weeks. I’ve gotten better at being “on my own” (with a roommate) in my apartment, and I’m working on taking care of me. It takes time. I’m not where I want to be, but you can bet that I’m better than I used to be.
I hope these tips help! As always, I would love to hear from you on what you have found what works and what doesn’t. That’s the beauty of life. It varies from person to person.
Let me know if you have any thoughts or comments!