Open Instagram and it seems the whole world is on a jet ski in Ibiza with the cast of Riverdale. Not everyone’s life has turned out to be one long DJ Khaled video, and that’s completely OK. No one’s has (well, except for DJ Khaled).
The truth is, the younger generation is entering adulthood with some legitimate challenges. Underemployment makes repaying escalating student loans nearly impossible, while the rising cost of healthcare is only slightly less terrifying than the polar ice caps melting.
But fear not, because we want to help. We’ve got five good ideas to help you live your best life.
1. Spend on Experiences
We get that money is tight, and there is that overwhelming feeling that every dollar spent could be used to pay down bills. That’s why you should set aside a little money each paycheck to spend on experiences. Instead of trying to buy things (you know, like a car), use your disposable income and time to do things worth remembering.
That could include riding in a hot air balloon, driving to eat a 7-pound omelet, or volunteering at an animal shelter. It may also mean entering a Spartan Race, finally learning to play piano, or following Taylor Swift on tour for a few weeks.
“Adulthood” brings more responsibilities, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking the time (and the funds) to do activities you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
2. Start a Side Hustle
Yes, gainful full-time employment with benefits may be difficult to find these days, but the economy has created a giant market for part-time work. Companies, especially startups and small businesses, need workers, just not all the time. Scour the internet for part-time or freelance jobs that play into your skill set:
Good at writing? Some companies are in need of blog posts.
Got an eye for graphic design? Websites don’t make themselves.
Like talking? Teach English to kids abroad or online.
Think about the skills you have and look for any and all work that can offer a little bit of bonus money, while making you feel like you are in control of your career.
3. Take a Risk
One day several years from now you’ll be toting three kids to Lowe’s where you’ll spend the better part of 20 minutes debating the pros and cons of different pieces of crown molding. This is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, of course, but something that might not be currently on your mind. Before you have these responsibilities, try taking a risk.
Learn to speak French. Take some hot yoga classes. Go backpacking through Europe. Move to Portland (just kidding, don’t move to Portland). Drive across America and just visit Portland!
If it doesn’t work out, then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
4. Get Super Thrifty
Remember when we talked about money for experiences? Here’s a way to get some. Start clipping coupons and hunting for deals like a retiree. Unless you hit it big, finding deals will always be important.
Load up on essentials like toothpaste and toilet paper during big sales, learn to cook quick and easy meals for yourself instead of calling Postmates, and visit discount grocers like Lidl and Aldi where $40 will make you feel like Jeff Bezos.
5. Unplug… A Little Bit
Netflix, Snapchat and PUBG can allow you to experience different worlds from your couch. Just remember to do some stuff in the real world once in a while too. Season 3 of “Narcos” will still be there when you get home.
These, of course, are just some ideas. The larger purpose is to take time to think about the things you really want in life. There are pressures that exist now, and will only strengthen later. Don’t let them be excuses… live your best life.