So you’re graduated and this thing called “adulting” is starting to feel too real and maybe too unfamiliar. But Distraction has got your back. We’ve come up with some helpful hints you can use in the real world.
Often we find ourselves overspent by the end of week, already thinking about when that next paycheck will come in. Similar to keeping a to-do list or an agenda, budgeting is basically a plan for your money. The benefits are plenty – you might even end up identifying wasteful spending habits and the true worth of what you’re purchasing. The way to avoid this? The 50/30/20 rule: 50 percent on your needs, 30 percent on your wants and 20 percent into savings.
How to Get Started
Calculate your after-tax income. This is the income that remains of your paycheck after taxes are taken out, such as state tax, local tax, income tax, Medicare and Social Security.
Go through your bank statements and receipts and write down all the things you buy regularly; that daily cup of joe, extra lunches out of the office and Friday nights on the town tend to add up more quickly than you might think.
Set fixed amounts for regular purchases—for instance, $3 for coffee, $7 for lunch, $30 on a night out, $100 on groceries and $800 per month on rent. These costs, added up on a weekly basis, are known as your needs. See what you can cut or shift around, and remember to keep it below 50 percent of your biweekly or monthly paycheck.
Even better: divide monthly needs down to daily amounts, and keep track at the end of the day to make sure you stayed within a daily budget.
Take 20 percent of every check and put it somewhere safe. We recommend a savings account, but cash under the mattress never goes out of style.
Extra pro tips: Download free online programs like Robin Hood or Acorn and see where you can start investing extra money; take advantage of credit cards that offer points and financing, but make sure you pay them off regularly; use a cash-only method to get started and get your friends to buy into the plan as well, so you can keep each other’s spending habits in check.
Your life is a business and the margins are razor thin. Find your fixed costs (your needs), keep watch of variable costs (your wants) and keep the profit positive. Follow this mantra weekly, and you’ll find yourself one step closer to becoming a responsible adult.
Finding an Apartment
Part of being an independent and responsible adult is having a home of your own. Depending on your income, this could either mean an apartment or a house. While owning a home allows you to invest in an asset that can be sold to make a later profit, a lot of us don’t have this type of income fresh out of college. An apartment can be a more convenient choice if you’re simply looking to pay the rent and move on as needed.
What to Look For
Utilities – Which utilities are included with your rent? And how much extra money will this cost you? These are some of the first questions you should be asking when you consider moving into an apartment. Although the rent may look promising, a lot of what is missing from the rent price can be found in extra utility charges. The best way to escape this is to ensure that the rent price is fixed and that all charges are included.
Rent – You should be spending anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of your income on your rent.
Commute – No one wants to travel far to go to the grocery store, let alone work every day. If you don’t own a car, living near the closet metro or subway station could help you to avoid extra charges from ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft. Your best bet is to find a place close to work, shops and entertainment, even if it means spending a little more on rent in the short term. Websites: Abodo, Apartment Guide, Appartments.com, Craigslist.
Finding a Job
To find the perfect job, first you must start with the perfect resume
Structure of Resume
Your resume must be one page. List your relevant work experience first, followed by GPA, honors and awards.
Interests are listed at the bottom of the resume to provide the interviewer a comprehensive picture of the applicant.
As for the look of the resume, you must know your audience. For a financial position, a simple approach is key. But if the position happens to be for graphic design, the layout should complement your skills accordingly.
Cover letters show you’re eager to sell yourself to the employer. You want to convey why you want the job and why they should hire you.
Who is the employer? What do they want, what is important to them? Know the answers to these questions.
Do your due diligence in getting to know the employer so that you can tailor your answers to best suit the skillset they’re looking for. The best way to improve in interviewing is to practice.
Despite popular opinion, posting online isn’t enough to find the perfect job. Employers expect students to find them. The more you can convince somebody you’re the real deal, the more motivated they are to be to help you.
Many adults will tell you that the formula to happiness is overall work-life balance. That balance comes in the form of time management.
Know your goals and prioritize accordingly. A steady to-do list and a well-managed calendar can go a long way if you stick to them. You don’t have to plan your life down to the minute, but your calendar should definitely keep important appointments and obligations blocked off far in advance. That way you won’t forget what needs to be done, and you can let your friends and colleagues know when you’re free with certainty.
Learn to say no and delegate when you can. Sometimes we find ourselves wanting to do it all; this can lead us to say yes to every request that comes our way. If the request is not dire and doesn’t require you to be the one to accomplish it, then let them know. Additionally, if you know that someone else can do it better, then delegate. It may seem awkward at first, but delegation is the way to becoming a leader,
Work-life balance does not necessarily mean living in a constant state of calmness and peace, absent from stress. It’s about knowing when you’re going to be busy and being flexible enough to work when needed. There will be busy weeks and there will be calm weeks just as there will be time for work and time for play. It’s important to remember that the balance doesn’t have to be perfect all the time. It is often during the stressed-out periods that we overcome our discomforts and actually learn from mistakes to better our
words_jorge chabo. photo_gianna sanchez.