adulting 101 checklist

Adulting 101: Everything You Need To Know To Survive

Being released into the wild world of adulthood and have literally no clue what you’re doing? Welcome to Adulting 101, your survival guide to living.

adulting 101

Have you noticed that school does everything but prepare us for the real world? There are so many things you need to know when you start life on your own, yet aren’t prepared.

I remember when I first moved out on my own. I started realizing all the things I never learned and was now responsible for doing, like taxes and feeding myself.

Maybe you couldn’t wait to be a real adult but now you’re silently wishing for the days that your parents did your laundry and cleaned the house. Now that it’s your reality, these responsibilities feel like they are weighing you down.

This post will guide you through everything you need to know about successfully adulting on your own.

Adulting 101: Everything You Need To Know To Survive

Before we get into the how of this adulting 101 crash course, let’s talk about why it’s important to figure this thing out. While we all need to know how to survive, living life well goes far beyond that. As Christians, we are called to steward our lives well. We should be using our lives to grow more like Him.

 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

Ephesians 4:15 NLT

So if adulting is all about doing the ordinary tasks of responsible adults, how can we do it in a way that honors God?

While it might feel silly to admit that you don’t know how to do some of these skills, the fact that you want to learn more about them shows that you have a desire to grow and live a life more like Christ.

With that in mind, let’s dive into Adulting 101. The basic skills you will learn in this post include housing, cooking, health and wellness, money, and relationships.

Housing As An Adult

One of the most difficult aspects of adulting is figuring out how to live on your own. It’s also usually the first step to getting started. Whether you are trying to find your first apartment, nailing down a cleaning schedule, or navigating roommates, there is a lot to learn in this area of adulting.

Finding Your First Apartment

Securing your first living space often feels like the most stressful part of adulting. There are so many things to consider in your decision. Lucky for you, this is the area of Adulting 101 I know most about. Through college, I worked as a leasing agent for an apartment complex and picked up a ton of tips along the way.

Moving takes a lot of planning. Here is a guide that goes over everything you need to know about finding a college apartment: Finding A College Apartment: Secrets of Apartment Hunting.

Living With Roommates

Sometimes living alone is not plausible when moving out for the first time. In that case, you may need to consider living with roommates. The people you choose to live with are just as important to consider as where you want to live. Even if you don’t become besties with your roommates, we are called to love our neighbor. If our goal is to become more like Christ, we must do our best to choose a roommate that we can do that with. A good place to start is finding someone whose lifestyle and habits match your own.

Some things to consider when picking a roommate are:

  • Living with friends vs. strangers
  • Rental term you are wanting
  • Price range
  • Noise level preferences

Here is a great video on how to find roommates

Once you have decided on a roommate, check out how to bond with your roommate.

Keeping Your Space Clean

Once you have a space to live and a roommate to live with (if you need one), it’s time to consider how you will organize and clean your space. Since you don’t have a parent to maintain the cleanliness of your living space anymore, this is a skill you need to learn.

If you have spent any time alone already, you might have already noticed how quickly your space can become dirty or cluttered. By maintaining a regular cleaning schedule, you will be able to tackle smaller tasks throughout the week and not have an overwhelming list to tackle all at once.

It’s important to find a routine that works for you so your home can stay clean and feel good. There are also a ton of cleaning essentials that will be helpful in your home.

Related: 7 Surprisingly Dirty Places To Clean In Your Apartment Now

Besides a cleaning routine, having everything organized will keep things feeling and looking cleaner throughout the week.

Here are some options for organizing:

Doing Laundry

Another lovely aspect of adulting is being responsible for your own laundry. Surprisingly, there are a ton of things that we could discuss on this topic.

For the sake of Adulting 101 here are the basics:

  • Do your laundry once per week
  • Split your laundry by colors – darks, colors, whites. If you choose not to split your laundry by colors for multiple loads, at the very least use color catchers
  • Most clothes can be washed in cold water
  • Look on the tag for washing instructions including what needs to be hung dry
  • Dawn dish soap can get almost any stain out

Cooking As An Adult

Cooking is admittedly my favorite part of Adulting 101. I have always loved to cook but when I had to start doing it as an adult, I learned so many things. When I first moved out on my own, I relied heavily on fast food. It can be difficult to balance eating well if you don’t know what to do.

If you have absolutely no idea what to do when it comes to cooking, I have an entire digital cookbook that I created to help you get started cooking in college.

cooking in college promo

Related: Everything You Need To Know About How To Cook In College

Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping

The first basic of cooking as an adult is to make a plan. I can’t recommend this step enough. A good rule to live by is to never go grocery shopping without a list made. When planning your meals, consider doubling up on the same meal for multiple nights. Instead of trying to figure out how to make recipes smaller, I typically prefer to make a whole recipe and get 3-4 meals out of it.

Grocery shopping is best done with a list. This will save you an insane amount of money and time in the long run.

If you are starting completely from scratch, you will benefit from this list for stocking your kitchen.

Adulting 101 for your Health and Wellness

Now that you are on your own, this may be the first time you are completely responsible for your health and wellness. There are many aspects encompassed in your health, it can feel daunting to tackle all of them all of the time. The Bible tells us that we are supposed to treat our body like a temple and in an effort to grow in Christ-likeness, we need to figure out how to take care of ourselves.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Physical Health

In an effort to steward our body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, taking care of our physical health is important. The goal is not to look a certain way but to feel healthy and capable, so that we are able to steward our lives well.

Beyond cooking nutritious meals for yourself, you will need to maintain your physical health through movement. This can look like long walks, weight lifting, group fitness classes, etc. Additional ways to look after your physical health include staying hydrated, sleeping enough, and taking supplements as needed.

Related: 53 Healthy Habits To Implement Today

Spiritual Health

Arguably the most important part of health is your faith. If this area is strong, you will find that other areas of your health also benefit from it. There are some healthy habits you can implement that will not only contribute to growing in your faith but other aspects of your wellness as well. It’s important to note here that physical and mental health can easily become an idol if we aren’t careful. We are trying to become more like Christ through our adulting, so prioritizing our faith over all else will be most beneficial.

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

Matthew 22:37

Mental Health

Another aspect of Adulting 101 that is important is looking after your mental health. This can include mindful practices such as journaling, therapy, goal setting, and morning routines. There are a ton of different ways you can take care of your mental health. This may take some trial and error to figure out what works best for you.

Personal Hygiene

A major aspect of Adulting 101 is maintaining good hygiene. Since you no longer have anyone to hold you accountable, it’s important that you create routines for your personal hygiene. It’s a little concerning the habits I have seen from past roommates and friends.

As a bare minimum, these should be practices you have in place:

  • wash your hands
  • shower regularly (ideally daily)
  • use deodorant
  • brush your teeth twice a day
  • floss once a day
  • basic skincare

Money As An Adult

Money is one of the biggest stressors for young adults. Since this is one of the first times you will likely be dealing with your own finances, you might have no idea where to start. Does the idea of facing your finances make you want to hide? Managing your money might seem scary at first, but when done correctly, it doesn’t have to be impossible.

If you have absolutely no idea where to start with your finances, this book offers a lot of great advice.

Tithing Your Money

If we want everything we do to reflect our commitment to being more like Christ, our finances are no exceptions. Tithing is something that a lot of people avoid for as long as possible. If tithing feels daunting when finances are already tight, it may be easier to just start somewhere. When I first started tithing, I found it manageable to commit to a lower percentage. I started with 4% and slowly increased it. Not only did this help ease me into tithing but it allowed me to joyfully give more.

Budget Your Money

Creating a budget for yourself will be the single best thing your do for your finances. There are multiple ways to stick to a budget, so you will need to find a way that works best for you. Over the years, I have found that YNAB is the best system for me. It allows you to designate each dollar to categories so you know exactly where your money is going.

Saving Money

Saving for a big purchase might feel extremely far off at this point. If you are able to save any money, your future self will thank you. Start by placing a set amount into a savings account that will start building your emergency fund. Once that has 3-6 months worth of expenses in it, you can start saving for other things as well.

Paying Taxes

Taxes were (and still are) one of the most confusing things for me to do as an adult. There is a ton of information out there on how to file your taxes, but you will find it differs depending on the source. I would recommend using an accountant if you are able. However, tools like TurboTax are also helpful in walking you through it on your own.

If you have never filed taxes before, you may find this video to be helpful.

Adulting With Relationships

In the final phase of Adulting 101, let’s talk about relationships. In the grand scheme of adulting, relationships tend to be put on the back burner when learning how to manage everything else. From the beginning of time, God determined it was not good for us to be alone (Genesis 2:18). The final way we can practice growing more like Christ is to be in community.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

It is undeniable that relationships are important to the overall quality of our life. Relationships tend to change as we get older too. While we navigate class schedules, work, and other responsibilities we must also learn how to prioritize relationships.

Relationship With Self

Besides a relationship with God, one of the most relationships you can work on is the one with yourself. If the Bible tells us to love others as ourself, we must actually love ourselves. There are a few things we can do to build that relationship. One way we can build the relationship with ourself is continuously checking in with how we are doing.


One of the greatest relationships we can steward is our friendships. If you have ever felt lonely, you know the value of friendships. A strong Christian friendship can give you a sense of belonging, boost your confidence, and strengthen your faith.

A sweet friendship refreshes the soul

Proverbs 27:9

Romantic Relationships

Romantic relationships are usually the first type of adult relationships people think of. It’s human inclination for us to crave this type of partnership. While I won’t get into the specifics of finding a partner in this section, there are few things we can do to steward the relationship well once we do have one.

Communication is one of the greatest pillars of a relationship. Being able to communicate effectively will help you to handle disagreements better. In addition to communicating, having questions to get to know your partner will keep conversations fun and fresh.

This post was a crash course on Adulting 101 to teach you the most basic survival skills.

We went over a ton of adulting tips in this post. Hopefully by now you are feeling better equipped to take on life on your own. Despite the amount of information in this post, it is not an exhaustive list of every adulting skill that you could learn. The beauty of adulting is that we are always learning.

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