The struggles of being financially independent

May 05, 2017
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Like many aspects of adulthood, being financially independent is a double-edged sword. Sure, you think you can afford a third bag of Maltesers, but then you realise you really can’t cause then you won’t have enough for rent. You remember the days when you used to spend all your money on clothes and food, you suddenly find your disposable income gone because your house needs new dishrags or something. It’s a whole plethora of things to figure out, and can take a while to master.

All the costs add up

As the proverbial “they” say, life is fun until you have to pay for it yourself. And that’s mostly because of the sheer volume of things that go into living life. There’s the obvious things like food, but then there’s garbage bags, kitchenware, toothbrushes and a whole bunch of things you didn’t even think about. They may seem like super cheap items, but when you need thing after thing after thing, it adds up to a lot more than you’d anticipated spending. Especially in the first few months of independence, the tiny things will ultimately be the things that tip the boat and bankrupt you.

Changing up your daily habits

Transferring your life from the budget of being under your parents’ roof to your own budget inspires a whole host of change. While there once was a time when you’d gorge out on snacks with the knowledge that they’ll magically reappear next week, you now find yourself rationing out that packet of Oreos because you can't just get more when you finish them in a day. While you usually would go out, you opt for more pizza and Netflix nights because drinks are fucking expensive.

It’s around this time that you realise all the stuff your parents said about restraint is painfully true. Being financially independent, at least living a functional life independently demands a certain degree of restraint and control, and for some that means a personal change. Sorry guys.

Compromising and going without

As utterly unromantic as it sounds, life is ultimately a series of compromises, and your finances are no exception. Whether it be filling your house with home brand everything to afford a fancy dinner with friends, or taking a 10-minute walk to save petrol, taking your first waltz into independence hits you with the fact that you can’t have it all. All the bells are whistles you had while living off your parents and your part-time income just aren’t possible anymore. You’re gonna have to take a good look in the mirror and know what you’re willing to sacrifice in order to live without going broke, while still leaving room to enjoy life. It can be a tough balance to strike.

Becoming too proud to ask for money

Being financially independent is perhaps one of the biggest ego boosts ever. Yeah, that’s right, you’re a responsible adult with bills and disposable income. You have control over your life.

But no matter how much you overshoot your budget, or suddenly find that your bank balance is lying to you, you can never quite bring yourself to ask your parents for help. You’re an adult, dammit! You’ll solve all your problems yourself. It may be to your detriment, but you’ll protect your pride until you absolutely have to swallow it.

The road to becoming a responsible adult is a long one, and is strewn with mistakes and miscalculations. But with enough time, dedication and restraint, you’ll be able to create the life you want without breaking the bank. Here’s to the next paycheck!

Kim Koelmeyer

Kim is and Arts (Journalism)/Law student at Deakin, who has transplanted her life to Shanghai, China for the year. She deals primarily in memes, teas and blogging.

Image: Girls official Facebook page