Welcome to the dark side! Transitioning to #Adulting is hard. It can be really overwhelming to keep track of the amount of responsibilities you have now that you’re on your own. But with just a few minor tweaks to your routine, you can live your best (grown-up) life.
If you’re renting or owning your own place for the first time, it can be really tough to create a budget and manage bill paying. We’ve put together some tips to help you simplify money management and master #adulting.
Where to Start
Just like with all those papers you wrote in college (and stared at with blank pages and blinking cursors for hours), the hardest part of managing finances is getting started.
So push through that mental block and just get into it. Take a moment to think about all the things you have to pay for on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. Odds are, a lot of those things have changed recently so it’s a good idea to have everything fresh in your mind, especially if the payments are for things you’ve never paid for before (rent/mortgage, student loans, etc.).
Planning Your Budget
Budgets can be really overwhelming to people, but in reality they’re pretty simple. Split a piece of paper into two columns (or open an Excel spreadsheet, for those who left paper behind in middle school). On one side write everything you spend money on for the whole month (yes, daily coffee included), and on the other, all of your income.
Do this for a month or two to get a good idea of your spending habits. If you’re spending more than you’re taking in, what can you cut back on? If you have extra income, how can you save it so that it grows over time?
Next, you can plan for future budgets. Make sure all of your essential costs are covered first, factoring in adjustments for things like utilities that change month to month. Also be sure to look at any annual charges you incur, and adjust that month’s budget accordingly.
Coming face to face with the reality of what you spend and what you earn each month is important to keeping your money in check now that you’re on your own.
Getting Organized: Managing Due Dates
If you miss a payment by even a day, interest will build up at a staggering rate, and you can do serious damage to your credit score. Make sure to manage your due dates so this doesn’t happen. For bills offering autopay, consider it—just make sure to keep the necessary amount of money in your bank account. This allows you to set a specific recurring due date where the company removes the money automatically, which fits conveniently into your monthly budget.
Otherwise, write notes on your calendar or set reminders in your phone to make sure bills are paid on time. The few minutes of planning this takes every month is well worth the peace of mind that you’re not accidentally putting yourself into debt.
Streamlining Your Energy
Another way to master bill management is to look for sneaky ways your finances are being drained. If you live in a deregulated energy market, odds are you are paying more than you need to on your energy bill.
No, we’re not suggesting that you pour over every possible energy plan to see what will save you the most money. Nobody has time for that. Instead, use a service like AutoPilot, which is like a financial manager—but for your energy.
AutoPilot handles your electricity supplier switching for you; it tracks the market for you, and at the end of each term, automatically switches you to the plan that makes the most sense for your budget and guarantees your satisfaction. Best of all, they make sure that at least 50% of usage is renewable—just another thing to feel good about.
So take a deep breath, you got #adulting in the bag.