1. Pay your bills on time. The struggle bus is not a fun bus to be on.
2. Live BELOW your means. Again, the struggle bus is not a fun bus to be on. If you try and live above what you make, you will quickly find yourself on that bus.
3. Those student loans of yours? Pay them. Oh, goodness, pay them. They have such an impact on your life. I want to go back and smack 19 year old me upside the head for not jumping on it.
4. Research your landlord first. Read all those reviews. Take the time to read the fine print. Know your rights as a tenant. Ask the landlord to explain everything in their lease. You do not want to have huge regrets later and wished you had asked about it sooner. Like a cap on your “all included utilities”.
5. If you are going to modify a binding document, such as a lease, get the landlord to write it and get signatures. Verbal agreements get you nowhere. Signatures have power.
6. Invest in a calendar and actually use it. In my “one” bedroom apartment, I had a dry erase calendar on my fridge. Since I was an adult on my own, I was responsible for myself. I had bills to pay. I had a job. I had a “social” life. If I did not have it on my calendar, I WOULD NOT REMEMBER IT.
7. WRITE STUFF DOWN. #6 goes right with this one. I had to write everything down. I was an assistant and had tasks that I WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR. If I forgot to contact that service vendor, that was on me. If I forgot to contact that candidate to set up an interview, it was on me. If I screwed up enough, guess what? I would have been without a job. When I got a promotion to BOSS LADY, writing notes and writing stuff down has saved me far too many times to count.
8. Prioritize. Holy cow. I want to strangle my past self. Making sure all bills are paid first is much more important than that makeup haul or that clothing haul.
9. Splurging and spoiling yourself is fine on occasion. No. You do not need to order food AND buy stuff on Amazon twice a week just because you *insert-justification-for-spending-money-you-do-not-need-to-be-spending-here*. Starbucks every day because you did not scream in frustration and murder all your coworkers is not a good reason either. I would reduce that to once a week, once a month, whatever. Just do not do it constantly – it won’t be a treat anymore.
10. Save your money. You want to be able to afford that nice whatever you desire? Keep your money; do not burn it.
11. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with telling someone you can’t do something because you can’t afford it. I used to feel anxious telling someone no. I would check my bank account 30x before agreeing and regret it the next day. That anxiety is not worth it.
12. Brush your teeth and floss. Gross, I know. You’re probably appalled that that is on the list. But, sometimes, when life gets crazy, this little piece becomes less routine. It’s only done when it is remembered.
13. Take your vitamins. I have my first roommate out of college to thank for that lesson. She got me on them. It made me feel so much better once I started to take my vitamins regularly. Maybe it was all in my head, but it is true. Vitamin C in the flu season gave me the magical boost I needed. A multi-vitamin gave me what I needed. I am no doctor; it just makes me feel better.
14. Eat your fruits and vegetables. My diet when I dropped out of college and was an adult on my own consisted solely of microwave food, ramen noodles, sugary cereal, and dollar store junk food. It worked, but I felt like crap. Once I added fruits and vegetables slowly into my diet, I felt better. Leafy greens. Plump blueberries. Yum.
15. Invest in better quality. I learned the hard way that you are better off saving your money, researching, and buying something that is actually worth it instead of something cheap that you will keep replacing. Furniture. Electronics. Clothes. Shoes. You name it.
16. Build positive relationships. Being an adult is different from being in high school. You are your own person and have control of your life. Finding people that have a positive impact on your life is very crucial. Coworkers. Supervisors. Neighbors. Friends. Your partner. What you give is what you get.
17. Make time for your loved ones. Work does not matter as much as those who love you. If you do not make time for them, you will not have them.
18. Dump the ones that drag you down. Toxic people are bad to keep around. That friend of yours that keeps blowing you off and putting you down? Not worth keeping. How about the one that keeps ditching you for their other friend and makes up excuses when you need help? Not worth keeping.
19. Tell your partner how much they mean to you. I have been blessed with a wonderful partner. They are my better half, my rock, my cheerleader, and much more. I try and remind them everyday how much they mean to me. I have watched friends neglect their partner and are shocked when the relationship falls apart. I have no desire to let that happen.
20. Dance around to loud, obnoxious music while you clean. It’s much more fun.
21. Schedule a self-spa day. Or mental health day. Whatever you wanna call it. There is nothing more relaxing to me than those days I turn my phone on silent, run a hot bubble bath, and spend hours taking care of myself. Clean up, pluck those eyebrows, and lounge about in a towel with a bowl of chocolates and some nice wine because WHY NOT!
22. Buy random gifts for people. Or make them. Who cares? It brings me joy to give people small presents. It shows that someone is thinking about them. Makes them feel good. It makes me feel good inside. My assistant loves turtles and caramel Frappuccinos, so I gave her a turtle air freshener and surprise Frappuccinos. It makes her happy, which makes me feel lovely. My partner loves surprise coffee and breakfast in PJs, so that’s what they get. My employees get candy and cards. I could go on and on. It’s the small stuff.
23. Never stop learning or growing. Life keeps going. Life expands. So should you. Read a book. Watch a TedTalk. Go on adventures. Just keep learning. Keep growing.