Adulting 101: Advice on Navigating Independence

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Whether you want it or not, there will come a day when you will have to step out of your comfort zone and accept the fact that whatever you do, those consequences now lie on you alone. That’s what being independent means. But it’s not all gloom and doom. There are perks to being able to make your own decisions. Freedom comes with independence, but sometimes you can’t avoid a little confusion coming into the mix. Especially when faced with adult tasks, no one ever sat down and talked to people about taxes and bills. If you need some solid advice on how to make your adult life a little less confusing, follow the tips below:

1. Follow the Money

Being an adult means you also get to exercise monetary independence. Financial independence means you earn your keep and get to spend it however you like. Take note that splurging all your money on short-term rewards is not something many financial experts recommend. Getting into debt is a mess you might spend years trying to get out. To get a handle on your finances, keep track of your money flow. Set aside some time to sit down and plot out your income and where all of it goes in expenses. Rule of thumb: spend less than you earn and invest the rest.

2. Be Financially Responsible

Earning your own money means that you will also have to be responsible for your taxes, bills, and investments. Building on the first advice, make sure to stay on top of any financial responsibilities you have. Take the initiative to utilize free tax consultations to figure out how much you need to pay on your tax returns and your current tax status. If you’d like to invest in something (real estate, life insurance, or even a business), connect with someone knowledgeable about that field and take notes.

living and working independently

3. Get Moving

When you’re your own person, no one is going to force you to do something you don’t want to do. But the one who will suffer the consequences of a poor diet and lackluster sleep habits will be you. Your health is another thing you should be investing in. No one will be around to parent you or nag you to exercise, which means you should consider this and find ways to get moving. Pick a sport that piques your interest—running, biking, swimming, hiking—anything that gets you hot, sweaty, and moving. Make it a regular habit.

4. Learn to Cook

One part of investing in your health is making sure you eat healthy. No amount of exercising will help you outrun a bad diet. Sure, takeout and pizza are delicious. But repeat that several times for a week (or more), and it gets repetitive. Not to mention there’s only so many nutrients you can squeeze out of processed food.

Think of this undertaking as a learning opportunity to discover the variety of cuisines out there. Love Mexican food? Try making your own homemade guacamole. Have an insatiable sweet tooth? Fruit smoothies and frozen yogurt bars are a much healthier alternative to candy bars.

Cooking is a life skill that will help you make your way into the hearts of friends and family if you get good enough at it. And even if you never become a jaw-dropping home chef, at least your wallet and body will thank you for cooking meals at home now and then.

5. Schedule a Tidy-Up Session

Lastly, don’t let the clutter build up at home. Working a nine-to-five or dealing with your own business can leave you with little time or energy to clean up at home. But procrastinating on small chores will have you facing dishes that have piled up in the sink, rotting garbage that is creating its ecosystem, and a wardrobe’s worth of dirty clothes that need to be laundered.

Set aside a few hours every night to take care of small pieces that will keep your house spic and span. For more extensive cleaning or renovating tasks, you can set aside one day per week depending on what fits your schedule so you can tackle these. For home renovation fixes that are out of your hands, schedule an appointment with a professional to get it fixed as soon as possible to avoid any additional damage to your house or apartment.

Remember, no one has adulting totally figured out. Some know how to manage their lives better. And you can too. Use the tips in this post to help get you started and enjoy the journey of learning to be a more responsible and holistic adult in all aspects of your life.

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