I feel like I’m in this weird position as a college student. I know many people that are getting married, buying houses, and having babies. On the other hand, I know many other people that live at home and aren’t sure of what they want to do with their life, but they are definitely figuring it out. Both situations are great and if that person is content, then that’s all the matters.
However, I’m in this middle position where I’m still in school, I’m in a steady relationship, but also eat dinosaur nuggets and Redbull as an occasional breakfast. I feel like I’m doing somewhat okay for someone my age, and then *BOOM* I see a young adult on Instagram that started their own business and they’re making bank. Then I think to myself, “Am I doing the right things?” Well, I have finally understood that there is no right way or wrong way to do life. We do not need to compare ourselves to one another. We need to encourage, motivate one another, and ask plenty of questions! Everyone has incredibly unique paths and I hope everyone is able to reach their goals one way or another. But here are some tips that every young adult should be doing, no matter what their path is like!
- Establish Credit
My mom always told me that I should never get a credit card because it’s silly to spend money you don’t have and the bills can quickly start to pile up. Although this can be true, I wish I started a credit card at age 18 (the earliest you can apply). I didn’t realize all the long term benefits it can have. For example, if you start to build good credit at a young age, it is way easier to buy large ticket items, like a house or car, later down the line. You will be able to apply for these items earlier in life, pay less interest, and acquire loans easier than if you had no credit established.
I always wanted a boujee travel credit card so I could have the “amazing” benefits, like sitting in the lounge at the airport. But as a first time credit card user with student debt, that’s just not going to happen. When looking for a credit card as a young adult, it’s important to apply for one that has a low interest rate, no annual fees, and good rewards. I have listed below a few credit cards a young adult can apply to in order to start building credit.
Graham Stephen on YouTube helped me discover more facts about credit, which were super helpful. A few important things I learned from his videos about using your credit card is that you need to schedule a date to pay it off (many people like to even do it weekly) and don’t come close to going over your limit. When in doubt, check Experian to see what your credit score is!
- Save Your Money
Continuing the financial talk, it’s important to be saving your money! Saving your money is important just in case there is an emergency or if you want to buy something big in the future. There are many variations of this budgeting plan but the one I live by is the 50-30-20. With this budget, every paycheck you receive you’re supposed to use 50% of it towards things like rent, groceries, gas, insurance, and other essentials. Then, 30% of my paycheck I will put in my savings (or invest a little bit) and then the remaining 20% can either go to non-essential items like new shoes or mini golfing! It doesn’t matter what variation you do of these budgeting tactics, but as long as you have one that works for you and you are consistent, that is the most important thing!
- Travel on a Budget (Solo or With Friends)
Whether you like to travel with friends, family or on your own, I recommend you do it starting now! There are so many amazing states and other countries to see. Although traveling can be expensive, there are many ways to travel while being money conscious as well.
— For flights I recommend using Student Universe to get the best rates! Also booking in incognito mode on a Tuesday has also been helpful.
— For hotels you can do your research, find rates on third party websites, and then call the hotel to see if they price match (they usually do) which will get you the best rate. If you don’t mind sharing some of your space, you can also look into hostels which usually have great deals and student discounts. Lastly, you can also look into renting either an entire place or just a room through AirBnB or VRBO.
Here are a few TikTok accounts that have shared their budgeting travel tips that I have found useful!
- Try Meditating or Yoga
The pandemic has been a stressful time for many of us. Many people have been spending a lot of time inside which can make us feel very congested and distressed. Something I have incorporated in my life is a five minute mediation in the morning. If you don’t want to do meditation, yoga can also relieve stress and built up pressure in your body. Even breathing exercises for a couple minutes a day can help relieve stress!
- Try Cooking
I tend to eat a lot of chicken nuggets or Top Ramen, but sometimes I like to try new recipes I find online. Although cooking isn’t everyone’s thing, I recommend trying at least one new recipe a week that you haven’t had before! This will allow you to understand other culture’s flavors, save money, and maybe find a skill you didn’t know you have.
- Invest in Stocks
Even if it’s $5 a paycheck, I recommend every young adult should learn how the stock market works and how to invest their money. There are several apps that are super helpful for beginning stock investments (Webull and Robinhood are the ones I used).
- Learn to Have Fun on Your Own
I always enjoy being with my friends, significant other, or family. But something I have discovered in college is the importance of being by yourself and learning how to have fun on your own. Whether you are traveling solo, going to a movie by yourself, or even just going for a walk, learn how to be independent. Ask yourself questions. Reflect on your life. Learn how to be confident in your own skin, learn who you really are and what you like to do.
- Start a Business
There have been numerous times where I’ve said, or my friends have said, “This is such a great idea! It could be a business.” Sometimes the business already exists and sometimes it doesn’t! But if it doesn’t, why don’t we pursue it? Because we’re scared, don’t have money, or don’t know how! Being in college is the perfect time to mess up and learn. I recommend if you have had that amazing invention or great business idea, you should pursue it. There are many online free business courses where you can learn what a startup is all about and many times, there are angel investors there to give you guidance or potential financial support. Now is your time!