Produce goes bad way faster when you’re the one that purchased it.
This might arguably be the most frustrating fact we deal with on a day-to-day basis. Luckily with our close proximity to California, veggies for us are now relatively cheap…but even with that being said, we’re at a point in our lives where a dollar wasted is one too many. I am a stickler when it comes to balanced meals and I believe veggies are the best part! Unfortunately, we have busy lives–and no matter how much we try to “meal plan,” we just can’t seem to use up our veggies before their obvious expiration dates (and trust me, we push the concept of expiration). Over the last few years, we have developed a few strategies to tackling this issue; the first being to brainstorm (and COMMIT TO) a weekly dinner plan. If you can do this, it allows for you to decide exactly how much produce you need before going to the market, therein reducing the amount of waste. Second, we try to utilize the same veggie in multiple meals, cooking it in a variety of ways to help “spice up” the tastes. That way, if you have to buy more than one meal’s worth, you can be sure to use it up before it goes bad. Third, FREEZE EVERYTHING. You can do this initially to have as future produce, or if you start to notice your broccoli yellowing. It is usually a last-ditch effort for us (particularly with fruit). Definitely spend some time to figure out what methods of freezing you like best. We prefer IQF, then storing in excess tupperware containers. However, there are plenty of other options, especially if you want to go plastic-free!
You will need more than just one junk drawer.
At this point, I’m going to assume that all of you understand what the purpose of a “junk drawer” is. Just admit it: we all have one (or five). As I move into my sixth year of living on my own, I have accepted the fact that I am just not capable of organizing my shit the second I get through the door. I’m tired when I come home from work, and let’s be real, my priorities are heating up dinner and pouring myself a glass of wine. The harsh realization is that we, in fact, need a junk counter. Throughout the week we pile everything into one designated area and don’t spend a single second stressing about cleaning it. Instead, we normally take 30 minutes or so every week to clear it off, sorting and storing all of our shit away. I have a tendency to be more on the sloppy side, while my husband is an OCD freak (love you, babe). This tactic of cleaning the counter once a week has seemed to put both of our minds at ease–I don’t have to stress about cleaning every night after work, and he gets the satisfaction of a deep clean to start the week fresh.
Doing laundry at the laundromat is fucking expensive.
Stay close to home as LONG as you can. You might think laundry isn’t a factor to consider when you move out, but it should be at the top of your “worry” list. Depending on where you live (and how much laundry you go through), you could spend anywhere from $15-$50 a week on laundry. YUP, that’s right. As a couple, Kyle and I did our laundry about once a week. In the cheapest place we lived, it cost us about $20 a basket. However, we have had laundry trips that costed more than $50 (those that included bedding, snow gear, etc.). It’s not something we ever considered before moving out and have made it a point to bring our laundry home to our parent’s house as frequently as possible. My only other advice is to budget for this cost, and do NOT let that laundry pile up!! One of the first things we did when we moved to Oregon was shop for a washer and dryer….. BEST purchase ever made.
***PS you don’t have to sort your whites and colors if you wash with cold water***
You definitely should NOT treat yo’ self (for the fifth time this week).
If you think you have enough money for that *extra* splurge, newsflash- you don’t. Put that $40 concealer back. You might have the bills to cover the cost at the moment, but you’ll be crying later when you’re attempting to stretch $50 over the course of the next week. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for treating yourself….on occasion….when you need it….and you have more than enough money to spare. The truth is, this can be SO hard to judge. Some weeks are harder than others, and some days can seriously test your sanity. But once again, I ask you to trust me; you will be stressing out more when you’re struggling to pay your bills. I promise you, you won’t be thinking about how worth it that concealer was–instead you’ll be more focused on feeding yourself.
Target is the devil. You and I both know why.
Unless you plan on spending at least $100, don’t do it. Just don’t.
Cheap wine does the trick.
Hell, I’ll even go as far to say that boxed wine does the trick. As an immense lover of wine, I will obviously admit that there’s a direct correlation between cost and quality. There have been a few times that we’ve splurged and bought a very “special” bottle, for a special occasion. I can still recall the name of the bottle, and the winery we purchased it from–they are just that “special.” However, on most nights I come home from work and just want something to take the edge off. I don’t always want beer (that makes me gassy), and liquor is often way more than I can handle on a work night. Wine is what I have my heart set on. As we know, that can quickly become an expensive desire. I will forever be grateful for my college education, partly for the fact that it taught me how to find cheap wine that hits the spot. It doesn’t compare to those “special” bottles, but why would we ever bother comparing it anyway? It’s in it’s own recreational, non-competitive league. If all you’re looking for is that smooth sense of comfort, a quick fix to help you sleep at night; why spend more than $12?
Dogs are cute. But if you get one you must choose between cleaning your house every day or being covered in dog hair 24/7.
How many of us actually clean our house every day? I don’t mean organizing, I mean CLEAN clean your house. I’m going to assume, if you’re anything like me, you likely have no desire to clean your baseboards every day. If you are one of the normal types of people, and want a dog more than anything, my advice is to stock up on lint rollers. They will be your newfound best friend. Oh, and invest in a vacuum cleaner specifically made for dog hair–it’s worth the extra money.
Fun things cost money.
This is one of the cruelest facts about adulthood. Sure, you can make your own adventures and build forts in your living room…but let’s face it: most fun things cost money. Even books nowadays are $25 a pop. Oh you want to see a ballgame? Go to a concert? Hit a few bars? See a movie? Snowboarding? Bowling? Shit, even hiking costs money depending on where you go. It’s tough to find a balance between a budget and a healthy social life. As much as we try to ignore it, we need to have fun for our sanity–whatever that “fun” may be. Over the years, my husband and I have found nice little hobbies that will keep us busy (and happy) when we can’t go downtown as much as we’d like. Gardening is one of our favorites, and a darn good example to elaborate on. Seeds cost money; so over the years we have done our best to collect and store any we can get our hands on. This includes allowing our plants to go to seed and harvesting what we can from our own garden. It might sound silly, especially to those without a green thumb–but this is an activity we can spend hours on, physically reap the benefits, and soothe the itch to be outdoors. If gardening isn’t for you, and you can’t find a similar hobby to help save money, then I recommend reevaluating your budget. Now, I’m not telling you to skip meals, but maybe there are some other luxuries you can cut in order to make room for some fun. It’s easy as adults to lose that side of us; the carefree, childlike happiness. We can get bogged down under the stress of every day living. However, the older I get the more I realize just how important happiness is. I have recently decided that it is not something I’m willing to sacrifice in my life, regardless of my own personal situation.