There’s a moment in every young woman’s life when it’s time to move out of her parents’ home. Perhaps you’re about to experience this transition yourself. Before you make the leap, here are five skills you should learn that will help you to be prepared.
1. Create (and stick to!) a budget
This is incredibly important! Whether you’re moving out to attend college, start a job or marry the love of your life, chances are you’re going to have limited financial resources, at least at first. Whether through student loans, a low-paying job or other factors, you’re going to need to know how to be wise with your money so you won’t go into massive debt upon leaving your parents’ home.
Sticking to a budget may feel incredibly stifling and restricting, but it doesn’t have to. It can actually be something that provides you with an uplifting feeling of freedom as you realize you know where your money is going and what it is accomplishing.
To begin, write down all of your monthly income that you receive from whatever job(s) you have. Next, make a list of all your predictable monthly expenses—these are things like rent, utilities, phone, TV, Internet, gas, car payment/repairs, etc.—the cost of which all remain about the same from month to month. (I also include tithing.)
Now subtract that amount from your monthly income and, based on what’s left, determine how much you’ll spend each month on things like food, clothing and anything else you might need, as well as how much you might put into savings. If there doesn’t seem to be enough money left for this step, it may be time to cut down on expenses where you can, or see about boosting your income in some way.
2. Learn basic healthy cooking and meal planning
This is the single most important skill when it comes to being able to stick to your budget. If you can learn basic cooking skills and then plan out your meals ahead of time, basing them on what’s on sale at the grocery store that week and any coupons you may have, you’ll be amazed by how much money you save!
3. Manage your time
Whether you’ll be a full-time student or working full-time—or working while attending school—you’re going to have to learn and implement basic time-management skills. This can include everything from being intentional about getting your work/studying in before you log into Netflix to coming up with a cleaning schedule you can stick to for your home or apartment.
4. Present yourself well in many different environments
Chances are you’ll have at least a few meetings with professors, job interviews, meetings with a boss or some other important company to interact with, and you’ll need to know how to conduct yourself well. Little things like offering a firm handshake, dressing well, having good hygiene, looking a person in the eye when talking to them, and being polite, kind and courteous all go a long way.
5. Walk by the Spirit through it all
The most important thing that will get you through all of life’s many transitions—not the least of which being this one—is to learn how to walk by the Spirit, seeking and relying on His direction. Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” You will encounter many questions to sort through and decisions to make in the coming years, but if you keep your eyes fixed on Christ, you’ll be okay.