Monday, March 2, 2015

Things I Wish I Learned In College

Its true, that you don't know what you don't know. That is, until you come across a situation and wonder to yourself how people just know this kind of stuff. Ronnie and I have officially started the search for our first vehicle purchase as a married couple, as a family.  I'm currently still driving my two-door sporty Scion tC that my parents generously bought me in college, and as it turns out, getting an infant carseat in and out of a two door car is no easy task. In fact, to get a carseat out you basically have to turn it upside down and sideways which is fine when you're practicing with an empty carseat but I am pretty sure its frowned upon when theres a real baby in there!  As we've started searching for my "mom car" I realized that it sure would've been nice to have an Adult Life 101 class in college to teach us how to buy a new car, and a few other things!

1. How to buy a new vehicle- Including answers to the questions like how you do a test drive from a private seller. I asked Ronnie if the seller was going to drive with us when we test drove his car, or was he going to just hand a stranger the keys to his car and say have fun?!

2. How to fill out a W-4- Because its not as simple as claiming "Married" with 0 deductions. Did you know that because Ronnie and I both work, one of us actually has to claim single to get taxes withheld at a higher rate to avoid owing money at the end of the year? ME NEITHER.

3. How to negotiate on your salary-The first time I did this, it was the most uncomfortable thing I've ever done and it makes me cringe thinking about doing it again. There is an art to negotiating with a potential employer on your salary, and sometimes the answer is no, but there is a way to increase your chances. One thing I've learned is that the answer is always no if you don't ask, but things like the right timing and right language would've been nice to know before I fumbled through it!

3. Home maintenance- We bought our house just under two years ago, and aside from the easy stuff like mowing our grass and washing our windows, our maintenance strategy has been a "fix it when it becomes a problem." Like, when I see three spiders in our house, Ronnie sprays the perimeter with bug spray. When we notice our air filter is looking black, it reminds us its time to change it. How do people just instinctively know all the different things they should be doing to keep their home taken care of? I googled it, and found this Seasonal Maintenance Schedule, and immediately felt overwhelmed because we've done maybe 1/10th of the recommended chores since we bought our home. #homeownerfail

5. Money Management- Its insanely difficult to figure out exactly what we should be doing financially. My whole adult life has been a lot of trial and error when it comes to my finances, and thankfully my parents are financially savvy and have shared that knowledge with us, but still, sometimes I wonder should I be investing more into retirement? How much should we save for home & auto repairs per year? How do we build an emergency fund while trying to save for a new car and a new baby and new tires? What takes priority? There's only so much extra money each month and it seems like there are a million good ways to save it but whats best? If you have all this figured out, please let me know!

6. Time Management-I have been out of college for three years now, and I'm still trying to figure it out. I still struggle every day with working full time and finding time for things I have to do like clean my house and do laundry and grocery shop while still finding time for things I like to do like spend time with my husband & family, invest in my friendships, exercise, volunteer, blog, and have downtime. How do you do it all? Maybe the reason they don't teach this in school is because no one really has the answer to this after all.

Maybe thats the beauty of our twenties, that we get to continually keep learning even after we leave college. These are the kind of lessons we will learn, most likely the hard way, in our twenties and then spend years trying to teach our kids these lessons, who inevitably will want to learn it the hard way themselves. What do you wish you would've learned in college? 

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