Alright, let’s get this straight first: this is not an article about being lazy. It’s an article about being efficient. If you’re here to find out how to completely disregard being an adult, sorry, but I can’t help you.

I can help you, however, to learn how to do the bare minimum and be considered a successful “adult,” and that way you can spend the rest of your valuable time working productively towards your other goals. Or, you know, watching Netflix, then continue reading.

Before this section can even begin to apply to you, you need to have a job. It doesn’t really matter what I tell you to do with your money if you don’t have any coming in. Yeah, job hunting can be bamboo-shoots-under-your-fingernails fun, but you gotta have one.

What do you do with your money? Conventional wisdom says that you should never pay more than 30 percent of your income on housing, but that’s becoming less and less realistic in today’s age. Obviously, to make a balanced budget, you need to limit that amount, but there is no end-all-be-all rule.

Set aside 10 percent of your income for retirement AND savings. Oh, and start now!

Look, I know that some people will tell you to save at least 10 percent for retirement alone, but I like to realistic. You’re not going to put away 10 percent away for retirement and then a separate amount for savings. Not when you’re pinching pennies with loans and rent and car payments. So at least get started and put SOME of your money aside. You can freak about separate accounts for retirement versus savings later.

After that, keep ahead of loans whenever possible, otherwise the interest rate will kill you. And then you’ll have some padding in months where you’re especially tight.

For most young people, this can be one of the most neglected areas of adulthood. We’re young, we’re healthy, we’re fine. It’s not worth spending all that money on a doctor when you can just grit your teeth through it, right?

It’s true that medical debt can have long-lasting financial consequences, but it is undeniably more important to take care of your health. You may be young and healthy now, but that might not always be the case.

So. What’s the minimum you need to do to successfully “adult”?

Get health insurance.
Even the barest bones will do. It’ll help if an emergency strikes or if you contract some super unlucky illness. Just do it, you’ll be glad in the long run.
Like, at least a couple times a week. Lots of people aren’t fit and they’re adults, but at least have a passing interest in basketball, running, rugby, spinning, rock climbing, something.

Cook for yourself at least two-thirds of the time.

And yes,“cooking” includes cereal and sandwiches, let’s be real.

Protect yourself from the sun.
If you’re gonna be out all day, rub some sunscreen on and wear some sunglasses. Everyone knows about the risks of UV rays and skin cancer (at least, every adult does), but you gotta realize that it can damage your eyes too. You’re old enough to worry about this kinda thing, get over it.

Wear a seatbelt.
You’re past that rebel phase.

That’s it. Pretty simple, right?

Yep, this is getting a whole section. Truth is that, no matter where you live, a big portion of us treat our living spaces like college dorm rooms. If you want to entertain, or just not be embarrassed when you open the door for the pizza delivery man, you might want to get your space situated.

Dishes will never always be in the dishwasher. Magically, some will scamper into the sink instead. That’s fine, but the sink should never be full. Vacuum depending on your needs. If you have a pet, do it more often. If you live
with several people, do it more often. If you are a messy person, do it more often. Get a candle. It’s even better if it’s just decorative, but you are allowed to use it and still be an adult. There are some things that belong in certain rooms: Plates belong in the kitchen, NOT your bedroom. Clothes belong in the laundry room or your closet, NOT on the floor. Your towel belongs on the rack, NOT on your bed. Keep these things where they belong.

None of these things are that hard. It can be overwhelming all at once, but the whole point of this is to make adulting as manageable as possible. So focus on each of these sections for a week, and by the time you get to the end, you’ll feel just as accomplished as any other adult, or at least you’ll have some idea of what you’re doing.

Photo by Alexandra Kirr on Unsplash


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