1. How to Wake up to an Alarm Clock
Your first alarm clock as a baby was an internal one that screamed for food or a diaper change. Your second one was your parents waking you to daycare, preschool, or school. Most teens have their own alarm clock, but parents are the backup alarm that you are used just in case you press the snooze button one too many times. When you are out on your own, you will have to wake up on your own to get where you are going on time. This can be challenging if you are a really sound sleeper. You won’t always be able to depend on your roommate to wake you either; so before you move out of your parents’ house start practicing waking up to an alarm.
2. How to Clip Coupons
If your parents have enough cash to cover the bills and luxury items, they may not be clipping coupons or bargain shopping because they have outgrown that necessity. However, new people out on their own are on a budget and coupons are your best friend. You can find coupons for free movie rentals, discounts on pizza, and discounts on life’s essential: toilet paper. You can find coupons in the Sunday newspapers, online, and in store circulars.
3. How to Buy Groceries
Refrigerators do not fill themselves, and the pantry shelves don’t restock themselves all by themselves. You have to go to the grocery store and buy the necessary ingredients to have meals for every day. Never go to the grocery store when you are running on an empty stomach, you will only buy snacks and while snacks fill an immediate need, they are not going to sustain you like real food will. Ask your mom to show you her grocery shopping tricks, and you should make time to go on a grocery run with her so that you can take notes. Learn to make a menu and a shopping list for when you are out on your own.
4. How to Cook
You may not be a gourmet chef yet, but you should know how to make some essential foods that are cheap and quick. Spaghetti, tacos, a breakfast casserole, meatloaf, and baked potatoes are a few staple meals that will get you through. Pizzas, hotdogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches sound great, but after you have eaten them day in and day out for weeks on end, you will be thankful for a home cooked meal. It is a budget buster to eat out all the time. You can eat in much cheaper than you can eat out, and it will be healthier for you.
5. Bills Add up Quick
When you are living at home with parents, you really don’t see the budget crunching that goes on with paying the bills. Everything from water to utilities comes with a bill. Cable is a luxury you may be living without when you are first out on your own because the specialty packages come with a hefty price tag. Before you move out, you must consider that rent is also a regular monthly bill, along with a car payment, insurance, and groceries. Stretching your pennies until they squeak is something you’ll need to learn how to do.
6. Throwing a Party Is a Bad Idea
If you are hosting a party, you have to provide all of the snacks and drinks. This costs cash that could be going toward bills. If you are hosting the party there are hidden costs as well. Extra bathroom flushes can raise your water bill. It can also cause your neighbors to complain to your landlord. If you want to party, let someone else handle the stress and cleanup of the morning after.
7. When Garbage Day Is and Why You Need to Know This
If you miss garbage day, you will notice it in a few days. A wise person once said that the more garbage you have, the more blessed you are. You will notice how blessed you are when the garbage stacks up and starts to stink. If you want to skimp on doing a chore, take our advice and don’t miss taking out the trash. There is a reason your parents had you doing it all along!
8. Nice Stuff Is Expensive
If you like the soft fold-out sofa and the beautiful dining room table that your family eats around at Thanksgiving, and you have visions of having furniture like that in your own apartment, think again. Nice furniture is expensive, and your parents waited to buy that nice furniture until they were settled with a career and a good paying job to get it. Secondhand thrift store furniture will work just fine for your first apartment.
9. Shop at Thrift Stores
If you are used to shopping at the mall in the trendiest stores, when you leave home all that changes. There are new places to shop called thrift stores and flea markets. You can find other people’s cast offs and make them your own. You can find name brand things that have been gently used, and you pay a fraction of the original cost. This is bargain shopping at its finest!
10. You Don’t Have a Maid
When you move out of your parents’ house, you will find that Mom the Maid no longer lives with you. Things that seemed to magically get done, like dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathroom toilet, no longer will be getting done for you. You need to invest in a good toilet brush and cleaning supplies before you move out. You are officially your own maid when you move out on your own.
11. How to Do Laundry
If your laundry has been taken to the dry cleaner or your Mom has been your personal laundress, when you move out this service stops. You need to realize that you have a limited wardrobe and if you don’t do laundry, you will soon run out of clean things to wear. Sorting laundry loads is an important skill to have, and those settings on the machine really do have meanings. They’re not like vending machines, and you can’t just pick the button you like. Ask Mom for a laundry lesson before you move out.
12. You CAN Do Whatever You Want Whenever
At your new place, you make all the rules. If you want to cook supper at midnight for a midnight snack, there is no mom to tell you that the kitchen is closed. You can open and close the kitchen for meals any time you are hungry. You can play video games as late as you want or even in the middle of the day, if you have time. Just remember to take time to do the important stuff first.
13. How to Balance a Checkbook
Before you move out of your parents’ house, open a bank account and learn how to balance a checkbook. It was a skill they taught you in math class, and you really will use math as a grownup in the real world. Keep up with your receipts and write down how much you spent because odds are good that you will forget how much you spent. You really need to know how much money you have so that you can pay the bills.
14. How to Change the Oil
If you are moving out on your own and you own a car, you will need to know how to change the oil yourself. It is cheaper and faster to do it yourself than to take it to the quick lube place and wait. It is simple car maintenance that has to be done. You will make your car last longer if you change the oil on schedule.
15. How to Fix a Flat Tire
Once you are out from under your parents’ roof, you won’t have AAA on your side because that is another expensive bill for someone starting out in life. If you get a flat tire and are stuck on the side of the road, you will be glad that you know how to jack up the car and put on the spare. Before you move out, practice taking it off and putting on the spare in your driveway. One day this skill will come in handy because one thing you can count on in life is this: flat tires happen.
16. How to Make Coffee
Coffee is the mainstay drink in adult world. Most adults drink at least one cup of coffee to start the day. Starbucks is a luxury stop, and you can make a whole pot of coffee for a fraction of the cost of one designer latte. Make sure your housewarming gift is a coffeemaker. You will be glad that you have one when you stay up too late and still have to get going in the morning.
17. Your Parents Are Smarter Than You Think
It is easy to think that your parents are dumber than dirt, but they didn’t get to be their age without picking up some handy information. Ask them for tips on what they wish someone had told them when they first moved out on their own. You will find that their advice comes in handy, and it is okay to ask them for advice once you are out of their house. They will never stop being your parents no matter where you live.
18. How to Laugh When You Have a Bad Day
If your parents have been your cheering section when you have had a bad day, realize that there may be bad days and you won’t have an instant cheerleader by your side. It might be tempting to drown your sorrows in booze, but don’t do it. Find something to laugh at in the situation instead of crying. Remember you get a brand new start on the next day.
19. Say Thank You and Visit
Before you move out, thank your parents for all the things they have done for you. They have paid all the bills, made sure you had a roof over your head and food in your tummy. They have protected and sheltered you from real life, and you are about to walk out of that cocoon and into adulthood. You will find that you are homesick, more often than you might think, and it is okay to go home again to visit.
20. Invite Your Parents Over
Your parents will respect your adulthood, and they probably won’t drop in without calling you first. They will come over anytime that you invite them, and they will be thrilled when you ask them to drop by. A bonus for the visit is your Mom will bring groceries, and she might even toss in a load of your laundry for you. Chances are she won’t resist tidying up your kitchen either. It is a win-win situation for you both. She has missed mothering you, and you will realize that you have missed being mothered.