When I first heard the announcement of a new course called “Adulting 101” that many colleges and universities are offering this fall, I thought they were crazy! Why would people spend tuition on courses to learn how to – among other things – save money? Or, how to operate as an adult in life by learning how to cook, prepare a budget, do taxes, and manage stress? The class is reported to have originated and is now being taught by a 20-year-old junior. Surprisingly, more than 100 students at that school wanted to take it!
Then I remembered . . . when I got married, I didn’t know these things either. Despite having a part time job and a checking account, I had no idea of how to budget. I had no idea what my father’s income was or how that was allocated at home. I didn’t know what it cost for the requirements to run a home (electric, gas, water, general maintenance, etc.). Nor did I know much of anything about taxes, insurances, or so many of the other financial means to our ends of comfortable living! And unfortunately, my new husband didn’t either.
When our daughters were growing up, I made sure they knew these critical pieces of information. I wanted to ensure they did not learn lessons that could easily be taught at home the hard way as adults.
You, if you haven’t already, would especially benefit by participating in your family’s finances as they did. In fact, you can make it part of a home school math course, regardless of your age. This will be much more cost-effective than paying to learn this on a college campus! It also will give you an appreciation for how hard your mom and dad work to provide for your family, and why some things you ask for may not simply be possible, though they might like to give them to you.
Perhaps your whole family can do this together as a project. Basic financial specifics to ask about include monthly income, a list of the monthly “outgo” (what’s going out as monthly expenses – either fixed (the same every month) or an estimate based on past bills), insurances that occur monthly or maybe that come due once or perhaps twice a year (life, automobile, medical, home or renter’s insurance, etc.), food, gas, money set aside for unexpected costs, and so on. Many families also tithe their income by giving 10% to their church. I think that is hugely important.
There are many financial resources available that can also help you. Check out resources from Crown Ministries or Dave Ramsey, for example, or other established financial experts. And as for the college course offering to help you manage stress? Learning these skills now is a great way to avoid stress – one less you will have to manage as you grow into adulthood!