For decades, young people only left their parents’ houses when they got married.
It could be that the boy, when he enlisted in the army, spent some time away from home, or if he was from a wealthy family he would study abroad in order to maintain the family’s tradition and profession. The girl, on the other hand, devoted herself to manual accomplishments such as music, sewing, embroidery, and helping her mother in her daily duties to learn domestic services and to cook in order to be a good wife and mother in the future.
But, the world has changed and education has become mandatory for children, teenagers, and young adults. Higher education became more accessible and many, to achieve this goal, had to leave their parents’ homes to live alone, in dorms, or with roommates.
I lived this reality, and it was a learning experience. So, I’d like to share five things you need to know how to do, and well, once you leave your parents’ home. Here we go:
1- Whoever wants to eat must know how to cook
At home, it’s likely that your mother cooks the food and prepares lunch and snacks. But when you’re far away from her, if you don’t pay someone, you will certainly need to cook. Student life is busy, and we end up eating out or eating a lot of junk food. I made this mistake early into my life living away from my parents, and it cost me a week of horrible stomach aches, unable to expel, and feeling so faint that I began to believe I was going to die. Don’t wait until you’re in trouble. Learn how to make fast and healthy dishes. Freeze things like hamburgers, hand pies, mini pizza dough, and daily portions of beans and rice. When buying fruits and vegetables, sanitize everything and keep them clean, so they will be ready for you to grab and eat on the go. This habit will save money, time, and help maintain your health.
2- Clean clothes run out. Wash them!
Few mothers demand that their children wash their clothes at home, and therefore many find themselves in trouble when living alone. So let’s start at the beginning:
- Separate clothes by colors: white and light colors; colors; black and dark colors; jeans, and finally, delicates. Wash each category separately.
- If you don’t have a machine, fill buckets with hot water from the shower and soak your clothes overnight. The next day, you will have less work to scrub them.
- Hang T-shirts and formal clothes on hangers to dry. This prevents them from becoming too wrinkled. When bringing your laundry inside, fold, and put them away immediately to avoid wasting time ironing.
3- Be careful to not lose track of time
Parents often remind their children of appointments and help them when they are late. You won’t have that help when living alone. Become organized and write down your appointments with location and time, either on a physical agenda or on your cell phone. Set alarms in advance so you don’t miss the bus, subway, or the time you need to start driving. You won’t always have a car at your disposal or money to pay for an Uber. You are responsible for your punctuality.
4- Bathrooms aren’t self-cleaning
And not just the bathroom, but the rest of the house is also only clean if you keep it clean. A good way to keep the floor clean longer time is to designate shoes you only wear indoors and leave them near the door. When you get home, change your shoes at the door. Learn how to organize your refrigerator, cupboards, and closets and keep them in order. Whenever you take something out of its place, put it back, and don’t make a mess when looking for something that’s out of place. This way you will avoid wasting time looking for things or having to take a whole day just for that.
5- Learn to manage your money
Students are always “broke”, but generally, it’s because they don’t know how to control what they receive. Unfortunately, few families educate their children financially. So, let’s learn the basics:
- Make a budget for the month. Track on paper or in a finance app, everything that comes in, whether it be help from your parents, a scholarship, or salary. If you don’t know how much money you have, how will you know how much you can spend?
- Make a note of all fixed outgoing costs, such as water, electricity, and Internet bills. Never forget to return tithes and offerings, after all, these values are not yours and, in many moments, this will be your test of faith. If you are faithful, your relationship with God will be strengthened, and you will be greatly blessed.
- Record everything you spend, even if it’s twenty cents. Calculate and designate and amount for groceries, printing, transportation, trips to your parents’ house, and other necessities. Always keep set aside something for emergencies. Divide whatever is left by the days of the month, and you will have an approximate amount of what you can spend per day, so you don’t run out before the month is over.
When you’re ready, take a look at our Personal Finances series, which will help you manage and grow your income!
This information may seem obvious, but most people only learn it when they leave home. So the sooner you learn these five things, the fewer problems you’ll have when you leave home to study and, especially when you get married.
Have you ever been a student living outside your parents’ house? Tell me about your experience and what you learned!