Adulting – no longer within easy access of home cooked meals, an abundant fridge and a bill-free lifestyle. For those twenty-somethings out there who are done with school and have entered a life of habitual 9- 5’s, you know what I’m talking about. But the upside to being on your own? Well, freedom. It may not be financially, but you do get more of a say in your choices. You don’t have a “head of the household” giving you the whole “well, if you live under my roof…” lecture sessions. You also get the sense of gratification of making it out on your own. There’s the feeling of self-reliance and an automatic assumption that you are responsible since there’s no one taking care of you. Because outside the grounds of where you were nurtured, you have to take care of you. Let’s be honest, that makes us pretty damn proud.
Last March, I was blessed to have the opportunity to buy my own home. After college I had saved a ton of money staying with my parents. Although my property had cost me my whole life savings, several disagreements, a few sacrifices and countless disappointments, it was worth every minute and cent.
Now remember I had mentioned the “automatic assumption that you’re responsible?” Yeah, that’s actually an inevitable reality. You HAVE to be responsible to live out on your own. I know you’re thinking “DUH” but people really don’t show or talk about the hard lessons they learn when they first live out on their own. Here’s what I’ve collected:
- Budgeting is Everything
This again might be an obvious one, but trust me, you don’t really know about finances until you’ve started paying for EVERYTHING. So before I even bought my home I had to see if 1.) I could afford it in the first place; where I could afford and how would I afford it and 2.) if I could continually pay the roof over my head without going utterly and completely broke. I figured this out by organizing everything I would pay for on an excel sheet. More crucially, I would prioritize certain payments by importance. I named off the essentials: mortgage, bills (water, heat, electric), HOA – this is a homeowners association fee; they charge you for the maintenance of the your front yard area and complex, food/ groceries, and gas. Offering/ donations to my church is another crucial one for me. Then there’s everything else – cosmetics, entertainment (netflix account), gym memberships, etc. Once you sort out your crucial and important payments, you can see if you can do or do without the other stuff. It’s hard, I know, I basically cried when I had to do away with my weekly mani & pedi. Okay, I really didn’t get weekly pampering, but I always thought it would’ve been nice if I did.
2. Tiding up before you go to bed goes a long way
I made it a habit to always clear the sink and tidy up the kitchen and living room before I went to bed. It made me feel so fresh the next morning. Clutter-free space also gave me a clutter-free mind. I can concentrate and be way more productive when I have a nice and tidy workstation and living space. Plus the food stuck on the plates start to smell and since I have a small area, the whole place will stink up. I’m lucky because my roommates are pretty good at not leaving any dirty dishes, granted they always eat take out so they rarely use the dishes or pots/pans. I do a quick wipe down of the counters and quick sweep to keep everything dust free. Tidying and cleaning gradually helps so you can avoid accumulated clutter, dirt and grime. Overall, it’s made an easier cleaning experience.
3. You an never have enough storage bins
This has saved my tupperware cabinet and the bottoms of my kitchen and bathroom sink. It has also given a home to medicine bottles, dog toys, random electronics and other miscellaneous items. Organization can never get any easier without storage bins.
4. There are different places to buy certain groceries
So who would’ve thought that you don’t have to buy everything at Target. It’s cheaper to buy produce at Sprouts or Trader Joe’s. Plus the quality of meat and produce are so much better. AND it’s cheaper if you grocery shop on certain days, I’ve learned that there are more deals on Tuesdays (no idea why). But I’ve learned you could also get snackie bags, foil and simple storage bins from the 99 Cents store or Daiso to save a couple of bucks. Now, don’t freak out, but Walmart is another good alternative too, their hair products, shampoo and lotion are just as good, plus I’ve found them to be a couple dollars cheaper. So don’t judge the store guys, Target is great, especially with the convenience of it all. But you guys will definitely go a long way by saving some money here and there by shopping at other places.
5. Invest in candles and air fresheners
For a small place like mine, as I’ve mentioned, along with a nose like mine (literally I have a dog-like sense of smell) stenches can take over like crazy. I’ve invested a good amount of money in plug-in air fresheners, scented oils, fabreeze air sprays and lot of candles. One time I came home to my brother and his roommate playing video games with a gust of MacDonald’s french fries smell welcoming me as I came through the door. Of course they had thrown it all away, but the smell lingered. Might I also mention that in my asian household we also take off our shoes at the entrance. So that distinct aroma of sweaty feet tends to also welcome any innocent visitor. This is why I keep a plug-in Fabreeze air freshener equipped with the Hawaiian Breeze scented oils at all times right next to the slipper/ shoe rack. Nothing a couple of sprays and an a few minutes of candle burning can’t fix.
6. Finally, enjoy every single part of your journey to adulthood
As intimidating as that word sounds, the journey is worth the hard lessons and struggle. With grown-up responsibilities comes grown-up benefits. Aside from throwing parties till 2am, I can also reap the financial rewards such as built-up equity and tax benefits. There’s also that sense of self-reliance and independence from living off on your own. The feeling of accomplishment every time I see that checkmark next to a utility bill is a very fulfilling one. I’ve also realized that I’m blessed to have learned these lessons early on in my life so it’s not so much of a shocker later on. I’m getting hit with reality now and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Adulting doesn’t seem so bad after all.