Well it’s been exactly 349 days since I graduated from college, or as I like to think of it, my 349th day in my crash course in adulting. While I am nowhere near having figured it all out (will I ever??), I have learned a few things along the way. Maybe it’ll help some of you “adults” out there or soon-to-be college grads. Here are some Adulting Struggles and how I’ve attempted to solve them.
Money, Money, Money
Oh, finances. It’s funny, as soon as we start making a REAL salary, all we do is think about money. Everything about adulthood costs something, and it’s easy to blow half your paycheck on a shopping spree and then realize you can only afford Mac & Cheese at the end of the month (or so I’ve heard…).
I found that the best way to stop stressing over that precious cash is to get organized. By keeping track of how much I’m spending, it makes looking at my bank account way less scary. Mint is a great way to see where all your money is going, plus it syncs up to your bank account, which means less work/math for you. Or you can try Level Money which predicts your future spending/budget based on your month-to-month spending. And if you’re old fashioned (like me), a simple do-it-yourself Excel spreadsheet can do the trick.
While we’re on the topic of money, we should probably chat about Credit Cards. As adults, most of us probably have a credit card but have no idea how to use it (responsibly). Before you wrack up mountains of credit card debt, read this helpful guide from Credit Card Insider about building credit, or this glossary of common credit card terms (and finally figure out what an APR is!) Want even more resources? Credit Card Insider has a whole YouTube channel devoted to helping us spend our money wisely. Hopefully now we can stop stressing about our salaries and actually start enjoying them.
That Daily Grind
That 9-5 life ain’t easy, and sometimes our days are even longer than that. It’s definitely an adjustment going from rolling out of bed a noon and heading to class to taking public transit at 6:45 a.m. just to sit at a desk all day. Why did we graduate again?
Well, good news about the daily grind is that we have jobs when some recent grads don’t. That’s always something to be thankful for. And there are tiny ways to make your work day suck less. As a commuter, I religiously use the app Transit to track how late my bus is going to be and the Starbucks app to order my grande misto ahead of time so I can avoid that terrible line. I absolutely love these whimsical (and work appropriate) desktop backgrounds and these free printable calendars keep me on track. Give me a good pen, a new notebook & jammin’ Spotify playlist and I’m good to go. It’s all about the little things.
Trying to Be Fit
I worked out a decent amount in college, but when I started my job, that all fell to the wayside. At first I blamed it on “not having enough time,” but skipping exercise actually made me feel more stressed, so I made it a priority to work it back into my routine.
Exercising isn’t easy, especially when gym memberships are so expensive. Luckily, there are a ton of affordable fitness apps, like Nike Training which lets you do you work out at home, or free YouTube videos (I love Yoga By Candace!) to help you get fit on a budget. If you do have some money to spend on a gym membership, consider downloading Class Pass. It lets you try a bunch of different studios in your city for one monthly fee which means more awesome workouts and fewer reasons to skip.
Two Words: Student Loans
College was great, but student loans make us question if it was worth the price tag. In reality, all of us have SOMETHING to pay off from college, whether it’s just to our parents or to the bank.
First, it’s good to understand the different ways to pay off debt, and this article does a way better job of explaining it than I could. Second, it’s about being organized and planning to pay a certain amount every month. A great resource is Tuition.io which shows you how much you owe, your interest over time and how to pay it back. If you’re smart about your loans in the beginning, they won’t haunt you forever.
Playing Interior Decorator
You have an apartment (yay!) but hate those white walls (booo). Renting an apartment is great, but when it’s empty, it’s kind of depressing.
Of course you know about Ikea, but I also like Wayfair for furniture because everything over $49 ships for free. HomeGoods is basically heaven and HomeDepot is the best place to find rugs (not kidding). My roomie and I solved our white walls with these gold dot decals ($13), and the Buzzfeed DIY Newsletter is a great way to find easy (and cheap) decorating ideas.
Constantly being tired
Only one solution: coffee.
I am by no means an “adulting” expert, but I’ve figured a few things out along the way. And when I’m really on the adulthood struggle bus, I just remember that we’re all pretty clueless and faking it until we make it, together. &.