I know we’re all so sick of the word “adulting.” But really, being an adult and living on your own is hard! Schools don’t even teach us how to do some of the most basic tasks we’ll have to do as adults and this lack of preparation can make the first few years of adulthood really scary. However, realizing we’re all in the same boat of just trying to figure our lives out can ease some of the stress. Read on for four tips on how to make some of the trickiest parts of adulting much, much easier.
- Car maintenance
If you have a car, you know it comes with many responsibilities. Regular maintenance is vital in order to keep your car healthy and long-lasting. One of the more annoying tasks that comes with being an independent, car-owning adult is staying on top of car service.
According to AAA, newer cars need oil changes about every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Cars also need to be taken to a dealership for service about every 30,000 miles. Many new cars will alert you when it is time to do so. Another part of car maintenance is registration! Depending on the state your car is registered in, laws differ concerning how often registration needs to be renewed. It’s important to know your state’s rules; checking your local Department of Motor Vehicles website is a great place to start.
As for oil changes, you can actually learn to do them yourself! Corinne Gorda, a 2020 Virginia Tech grad, says that her dad taught her how to check her car’s oil level. “You can also learn how to change it yourself. If you want to save on money. It's really not that difficult,” shares Gorda. This is a great option to save money if you’re willing to get your hands a little dirty.
- Getting a credit card
The world of credit cards is an intimidating and confusing one. Some people argue that credit cards will only lead to debt, and therefore should be avoided at all costs. Others recognize the importance and value of having a credit card in this modern day and age — some hotel chains and car rental companies actually require credit cards for making reservations. Credit cards also assist in establishing and building up credit.
That being said, if you decide to get a credit card the options are endless! It’s important to do some research before applying for a card. Different cards have different reward systems, annual fees, interest rates, and more.
So, take into account what you want most out of a card. Is it travel points? Cashback? Sweet discounts at your favorite stores? Some companies offer credit cards geared towards students — like the Discover it® Student Cash Back or the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One.
Gorda also recommends seeing if your parents are willing to open a card with your name on their account, to help you build credit. “By the time I went to go apply for my credit card at 21, then I already had at least something built up,” she says. “I think that the earlier you start your credit the better.” This is not a great option for everyone, but it may be worth looking into!
- Setting up doctor’s appointments
Setting up your own doctor’s appointment can be so stressful! However, it’s important to keep on top of appointments with your primary care physician, dentist, eye doctor, and any specialty doctors like OBGYNs or dermatologists you see.
If you grow out of pediatricians or move away from home, finding a new doctor and forming a relationship can seem like a daunting task. If you have insurance, a great place to start the search is by using your insurance provider’s website. Finding a doctor that’s in-network and will take your insurance is important, so searching through your provider’s website is a perfect starting point. WebMD also has a place to search for nearby doctors and read patient reviews.
Once you find a doctor that seems like a good fit, give them a call. When calling a doctor's office to set up an appointment, make sure to have your insurance card nearby if you have one. It is common to give your insurance information over the phone prior to an appointment, so the receptionist can verify that your provider will truly cover the visit. Also, bring insurance information and identification with you (like a driver’s license or passport) to your appointments.
- Filing your taxes
Honestly, I don’t understand taxes…at all. The very mention of the IRS or W-2s makes my head spin. However, there are a few ways to make the process of filing your taxes much easier.
If you feel absolutely lost when it comes to taxes, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Check if any friends or family members are tax experts and would be able to help you — for a few lattes in return, of course. Accountants or tax services like H&R Block are always a good option too, if you are willing to pay a little for the guidance.
Another option is filing your taxes yourself using online tax filing software. This will walk you through each step and is a relatively easy process. It may be a little more time-consuming, but can be totally worth it if you’re willing to put in the effort!
Adulthood may never be a walk in the park, but there are absolutely ways to make life easier! Hopefully, these little tips ease some of your stress.