Whether you are on your own for the first time or 45 still feeling 25, “adulting” is a never-ending process. Adulting encompasses all those tasks that come with being a responsible grown-up, even though you may still feel like a kid at heart. Don’t stress. We’ve laid out five goals anyone can master in the game of adulting and save money as you go. And if you’d rather watch Netflix tonight than learn German? #YouDoYou
1. Adulting Goal #1: Do your own taxes
It’s that time again! If you have a phone and your tax forms, you have everything you need to file your taxes yourself in one sitting. And if you’ve already achieved that goal before, challenge yourself to not wait until the last minute this year. Double adulting points! TurboTax asks you questions about your life to ensure you get the biggest refund possible: you can even get free help for a live expert with SmartLook.
2. Adulting Goal #2: Stick to a budget
You already keep track of your calories and daily steps, why not how much you spend? Creating a budget is not as hard as you think: start by tracking your monthly expenses like rent, utilities and car payment. Then, subtract those expenses from your monthly income to determine the discretionary money you have to pay down debt, put in an emergency fund or just live your life! Take a look at your last few months’ spending, and try to identify areas where you can reduce.
3. Adulting Goal #3: Accept you’re not invincible
Health insurance covers essential benefits critical to maintaining your health and protects you from unexpected medical costs. Plus, the Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to maintain health insurance – if not, you could be on the hook for a penalty. Though Marketplace open enrollment is closed, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in a new plan if you experience a life change like getting married, having a baby or changing jobs. And if you weren’t insured in 2015, check out the IRS free online tool to determine if you may qualify for an exemption from the penalty!
4. Adulting Goal #4: Save for retirement
Remember when turning 30 sounded light years in the future? Time moves fast, so the time to start saving for retirement is now. It’s smart to take advantage of an employer-offered 401(k) plan because they often offer percentage match and automatic withdrawal from your paycheck. Or look into opening your own IRA: in fact, you can still reduce your 2015 taxable income (until April 18) by depositing money into your retirement account!
5. Adulting Goal #5: Learn to cook
When steady income meets Instagram FOMO, there’s a constant urge to dine out and go out on the town with your friends, especially when you’re in a new city. Why not bring your friends together at home as you try out some new recipes?