When we were younger we were sold dreams of what adult life would be like. Working hard, seeing friends and family whenever we wanted, being able to do whatever we wanted, because hey, we’d be finally old enough! Society sold us dreams of what university would be like. They also screwed us over when we graduated and were unable to find jobs we were qualified for.
We made it through all of that bullshit to get here. So you finally have a solid job, and some money in the bank, life should be perfect right? Wrong. The truth is we’re now on the hamster wheel of life and there’s no getting off. (Unless we become self-employed, or find ourselves a sugar daddy/mama).
Being young, and naive I underestimated how tiring work life would be. Commuting adds another 3 hours on to my 9-5, I know I’m not the first person to travel for work but damn… I thought I’d get used to it after a while but 4 months later I’m just becoming more tired. Socialising is a myth, and getting dinner after work is a chore. Goodbye friends, farewell social life…
You’d think that all this grinding would mean some extra coins in the bank right? Wrong again. After travel (TFL is a bump), bills, food, and the cost of anything in London your bank account is back at 0 by the end of the month. (Or in my case, deep into my overdraft).
I’m still trying to navigate this broke and tired adult life so my advice is limited, but here are a few things I’ve found helpful so far:
- Going to bed earlier. Getting an extra hour’s sleep can make a huge difference the next day. I’ve found that I’m the happiest at work when I’m in bed by 9pm or 10pm the night before. Yes, that means my evenings end before they’ve begun, but I’d rather get an hour’s extra sleep than waste time watching netflix (…I’ve fully converted to the dark side).
- Wash the night before. You can definitely get away with washing the night before in order to save time in the morning. Wash before bed, moisturise and make sure you put on deodorant. Every minute of sleep counts, and showering in the morning takes more time than you realise.
- Make-up free weekdays. I never thought I would enjoy going to work without wearing make-up but I really do. Not only was make-up taking up valuable time in my morning routine, it also made my hands dirty during the day when I’d casually touch my face whilst thinking things over. *Insert thinking emoji* I’ve started to enjoy leaving the house without make-up and I love getting 15 minutes more sleep because of it – Sleep is bae.
- Decide what to wear the night before. And iron if you need to. Choosing clothes for work can take a while, especially when you can’t remember whether you wore a certain shirt last week… Is it too soon to recycle this outfit?? Having your clothes ready for you in the morning means you can get up, get dressed and get going.
- Packed lunches. If you want to save some money, making healthy and tasty packed lunches is the way to do it. But again, make sure you prepare these the night before because you don’t want to rush around in the morning trying to dry off lettuce leaves or cut cucumbers when you’re still half asleep.
- Eating clean-ish. Fruit and veg will help keep your energy levels up, so make sure you’re getting enough vitamins in your diet. On the other hand, at work having some chocolate or a biscuit when you’re struggling or feeling tired can give you a real pick-me-up. Keep a good balance between these two and you’ll have your healthy nutrients and some cheeky treats in check.
- Plan regular meet ups, ahead of time. You won’t always have time to socialise, but missing your friends isn’t good either. Schedule in regular dinner dates, whether it’s once a month or once every two months, just plan something and stick to it. Friendships can stagnate when we’re all busy trying to get our lives together, but it’s important to keep making an effort. And if you can’t meet, schedule in phone calls on the weekend.
- Create a monthly budget. This is probably my hardest task at the moment. I’m still getting used to the cost of living, and trying to save at the same time. Calculate how much you spend on travel roughly, how much you spend on food and going out, bills etc every month. Then take what’s left and put it in your savings account. Every month when I get paid I move my money straight away so I only have a certain amount left to spend for the rest of the month. If I go over it’s not the end of the world, but it gives me a clear idea of where my money’s going and allows me to prepare for the next month.
Being broke and tired feels like crap, but it’s not for forever. Try to make the best of your work life, get enough sleep, eat right and watch your spending. Our 20’s are for learning, and although adult life seems to have come at us fast, we still have plenty of time to learn how to handle it. x