If the idea of stucco repair, changing your car’s oil or filing your own taxes gives you the heebie-jeebies, don’t worry—you aren’t alone. In the many stages of life, major milestones like moving out and getting a new house are undoubtedly daunting and the list of potential problems that one may encounter once leaving the nest is paralyzing. While we may claim to live in the age of information, most youths seem to lack the life skills needed to lead healthy and productive lives once they’re on their own.
Although it may not seem glamorous, there are a number of important life skills that one should learn before claiming ‘independence’. Simply knowing how to make non-microwavable meals and how to make a doctor’s appointment is barely scratching the surface of what proper ‘adulting’ entails. So here’s some skills you should consider learning that will save you a lot of time (and money) down the road:
Basic Home Repair
Wear and tear are par for the course if you plan to settle down somewhere for a while or if you’re the newest tenant of a ‘gently used’ building. This can be anything from leaky faucets, cracks in the wall or that one sink that has trouble draining. While it’s all too tempting to just shrug and sigh (or maybe call a handyman to come down and have a go at fixing it), learning how to fix these issues is often relatively inexpensive and not too difficult.
Most hardware stalls carry what you need to carry out small repairs and the internet is full of helpful step by step guides (with pictures!) that will take you through how to fix the issue. The leaky faucet may be something that doesn’t drive you crazy, but allowing small problems like that to persist can actually result in costly and damaging consequences that will take far more money and time to fix.
In a world full of fast fashion, it often seems easier to just throw away a shirt with a hole and get a new one rather than try to fix it. To be fair, it’s not completely the consumer’s fault. Fast fashion has created a fashion world where the output is ruled by quantity and low prices rather than quality. Shirts are getting flimsier, shoe soles are getting thinner and our wallets get lighter every time we go online to order yet another t-shirt with a funny caption that will likely only last a month before having to be replaced.
Basic sewing may feel like a skill best acquired by fussy mothers and doting grandmothers and a product of a bygone era, but it’s quite invaluable. Most craft shops or even pharmacies will sell a basic sewing kit for under $5 and all you really need to get started is a needle and some thread.
You don’t have to become Martha Stewart or start aspiring to open a tailoring service, but simple clothes repairs like sewing a loose button, mending a hole and stitching up a tear are not only time savers but also save you money. With some practice, such quick fixes generally take less than five minutes and cost far less compared to ordering something new online or having to go down to the shops to buy a similar item. On top of that, if done well, it often isn’t noticeable and can extend the lifespan of a clothing item by several more months.
How To Manage Finances
Budgeting may be the last thing on your mind once you achieve any modicum of financial freedom. This is not surprising considering that many of us see payday as a chance to indulge and treat ourselves to whatever we feel that we have rightfully earned. However, those of us who have partaken in such a carefree mindset, have also often found that money begins to get tight far too early into the month.
While most of us dread the idea of ever having to use math once we graduated high school, learning skills like financial planning and balancing a checkbook are essential to ensuring one’s long term financial welfare. Learning how to budget is important because it helps us to better plan our monthly expenses and what to prioritize in our spending. It also gives us the chance to better predict and plan for emergencies both big and small. Even starting a savings account and learning the discipline needed to regularly use it will set you in the right direction for achieving a healthy bank balance.
As the world grows increasingly complex, the list of skills needed to survive feels like it’s growing ever longer. While many of us champion skills like tech-savviness, good interpersonal communication and the ability to multitask (for good reason as these are important too), it is important to also be able to solve small, everyday problems. Now that basic guides on how to solve most of these issues are readily available online, all the more, we should take advantage of the surplus of resources available to us and add some practical skills to our ‘adulting’ toolbelt.