Well here we are, the moment we’ve been preparing our whole lives for… Adulthood. It’s time to toss out the skater skirt and crop top, set down the red solo, and kiss Tuesday night binge drinking goodbye.
Unfortunately, there comes a point in everyone’s life where we start to enter adulthood, or what many refer to as “the real world”. To many, this can be defined as a 9-5 job, taking care of your own finances rather than dear ole mom and dad, and a list of responsibilities a mile long.
Sometimes the real world comes at you a lot faster than planned, at least that was the case for me. Coming out of College, I realized I had been living in a perfect little bubble for the past few years, shielded from real life responsibilities. Sure, you are expected to go to class and do your homework, but how harsh are the consequences if you choose to sleep in after a wild night out and miss that 8am psych class? You may be behind on some notes but you probably aren’t going to be kicked out of the class and your professor likely didn’t even notice your absence. But in the real world what would happen if you chose to sleep through your alarm for work because you were too hung over? Not only would you miss that day’s pay and have less money for groceries, odds are you would be out of a job.
What’s crazy is we live in this bubble for four years and the second we graduate it becomes completely unacceptable to go out every night of the week. If I went out every night of the week now, people at work would start to question my health and I would be regarded as an alcoholic. But a few months ago this was behavior was not only normal… it was encouraged.
But how do we make that transition?
The biggest lifestyle change I have come to realize is to be FRUGAL. Who knew an alcoholic drink costs an average of $8?? Do you realize how many hot pockets this could buy? Opt for water instead of a drink when you go out for a bite and watch how much you start to save. We no longer can get free beers at a tailgate; in the real world you likely have to pay for your own drinks. I didn’t even realize how much I was spending throughout college until I had a reality check going through my bank account. No, I do not need a Grande Non-Fat Chai Tea Latte every single day from Starbucks, even though I would love one, I will live with out it. Now this doesn’t mean that I don’t treat myself to a Starbucks on occasion, but it is not a regular purchase for me. Drink tea from home, it is way healthier and much easier on the wallet. I’ve always thought it was ironic that college students often claim they are so broke, yet can afford a $5 Starbucks on the daily?? It doesn’t line up. Another big money saver? Rather than buying premium sandwich bread, pick up the generic brand. It tastes pretty much the same and will save you an extra 3 bucks, which adds up.
I have come to realize that the people who spend the most are often the most in debt. We live in a society that continually needs instant gratification. For example, if we want something, we buy it, regardless of the financial consequences. At this time in our lives, transitioning into adulthood, we need to be conscious of our spending. For every dollar we spend, that is a dollar further away from becoming a millionaire. While becoming a millionaire seems impossible, I’ll let you all in on a secret… EVERY single one of us is capable of achieving the millionaire status. We live in a culture so dependent on who has the newest shoes or who has “the next best thing”, but this constant spending hinders our future goals and our chances at becoming financially independent. How many can say they could live an entire year without another paycheck? At this point I sure couldn’t, but since I have started becoming money smart and frugal, I’m well on my way to that point.
While this is just the first step at becoming financially secure and transitioning into the adult world, there are endless other adjustments we can be making to set ourselves up for success. Check out my next blog, 5 Tips to Cut Spending!, to learn more tips and tricks to build your bank account and live a richer life!
As always, I love feedback so please leave a comment below on your thoughts and any other tips you use yourself!
xo, Heather Marie