They call it a leap for a reason – moving out of home is no picnic! You have to cook, clean, shop and do a hundred different tasks a week that you probably haven’t even thought of. But on the flip side, it is independence and living a life that is totally yours. If you feel like having ice cream for breakfast, there’s no one stopping you – but you’ll have to live with the consequential stomach ache!
Here are our top 10 skills you’ll need when you leave home:
Two-minute noodles might be a no-brainer and toast basically cooks itself, but it will be handy to learn the basics from your parents or an older sibling before branching out in your own kitchen. Pick two or three simple recipes to master before leaving home to start your personal recipe repertoire. Know how to cook pasta, the right water-to-rice ratio and how to make an omelette before fleeing the nest. Apps like Tasty, Yummly and Taste.com.au are life savers, as well as the free Woolworths and Coles magazines you can find at the checkout. They even have sections each month for ‘quick’ or ‘cheap’ meals!
You might be laughing now, but cleaning is not as simple as it sounds! Dirt builds up. Fast. Unless you want new creepy crawly friends to move in too, we suggest you make best friends with a mop. Start off with an antibacterial or bleach gel for the bathroom, glass cleaner, a general all-purpose spray for the kitchen and some antibacterial wipes for miscellaneous surfaces as well as a vacuum and a duster. There are even Youtube channels dedicated to show you how to clean, and soon you’ll find your perfect routine. To start, try little bursts of cleaning weekly and you’ll keep your space shining!
3. Budgeting and Money Management
How well do you understand money? Do you recognise that just because you have the money for those knee-high boots doesn’t mean you can afford them? Knowing the difference between needing and wanting is critical in money management. We want to make sure you’re saving a little bit of money each week so that if disaster ever strikes (you lose your job, your car breaks down) there’s no need to panic. To become more money confident, read books like A Real Girl’s Guide to Money or try listening to the Millennial Money podcast to learn good money habits. You can even search for free budget templates on Google to get you started. It’s all about spending less than you’re earning, educating yourself and being strict sticking to your budget!
4. Shopping & Getting Around
Now your budget is locked in, you’ll probably want to go shopping for groceries. This might sound like a basic question, but do you know what shops sell what? Target and Kmart are great options for most things, but there are items even they won’t stock! Google is your best friend at times like this.
Next, there’s getting to the shops. If you don’t drive, you’ll need to become familiar with public transport, buying a Go Card and reading bus/train timetables. And if you do have a car, you’ll need to service it often to ensure you’re driving safely.
5. Personal Healthcare
If a spider bites your finger and it starts to swell up into an itchy red balloon, do you know what to do? Never be afraid to visit a doctor, and make sure you hunt down Bulk Billing Medical Centres in your neighbourhood as soon as you move in – these are doctors who choose to be paid less themselves, so your Medicare (that’s your free health care) pays for short GP visits in full.
Have a list on the fridge of emergency contacts, like 000, family or friends who live close by and your local doctor, in times of need. If financially viable, get private health insurance to minimise costs of medical expenses when they pop up, and encourage you to keep on top of annual dental, optical and skin checks – prevention is always better than treating a problem! You can use websites like iSelect to help you choose the cover that’s right for you.
Being on time, responsible for paying bills, knowing when a job is well done and paying attention to the details are all smaller skills that together lead to successful adulting! At school, you’re told when to move to the next class, how long you should be eating lunch for and how much time to dedicate to maths each day. In “real life” you’ll need to set these timelines for yourself, and better yet, stick to them.
7. Social Skills
Outside of school, it can be more difficult to make friends. You’ll have to feel confident talking to strangers and be able to build personal relationships from the ground up, being able to read social situations successfully and knowing how to respond appropriately. This leads to …
8. Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence
Having heightened emotional intelligence enables you to be aware of and control your emotions. This will help you overcome daily challenges, manage stress levels and tackle life with perspective.
9. Admitting Fault
This is a big part of being an adult. The buck ends with you. You have to be comfortable with making mistakes and even starting over sometimes. You’re not always going to have the answer and that’s okay. The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.
10. Having Purpose
Never stop educating yourself to become the best version of you. Being self-motivated and working towards your personal goals without the reminders from family is an underrated skill that will set you up for a life of success. Find your passion and aim to ace being self-directed, an engaged learner and a self-starter!
At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong time to move out of home. The best advice we can give you is don’t feel pressured to make the plunge before you’re ready. After all, the average age Australian kids moving out of home is 23!