Life for Dummies: Staffer’s tips for how to be a functioning adult

Life for Dummies: Staffer's tips for how to be a functioning adult

Rachel Cannon, Staff Writer

How often do you wash your own laundry?
Make yourself dinner?
Change a tire?
Pay a credit card bill?
Rely on yourself instead of having everything handed to you by others?
For most of us, the answer is almost never.
Yet, won’t we have to do all of these things once we get to the real world, whether we attend college or seek our professions after we graduate?
If only someone could write a “Life for Dummies” handbook explaining the mysteries of the adult world. Unfortunately, such a book has not yet been written, but here are some tips for surviving life after high school.

DOING LAUNDRY 
(For when you’re running out of clean clothes to wear. Sorry, but you can’t wear the same jeans every day for a week.)
If a stain didn’t come out after washing it, don’t dry it as the stain will set.
Instead, try another method of removing the stain. If you have already dried the clothing, put it into a solution of an equal amount of water and hydrogen peroxide. Then, wash it right away.
Unroll sleeves, pant legs, and hems before drying so you don’t have to do more ironing later.
To prevent body oils that have gotten onto your shirt collar from attracting dirt, paint a line of shampoo on a dirty collar before washing the shirt.
If clothing is especially dirty, you can soak it overnight to release grime.
Don’t put too big of a load in your dryer because the air circulation won’t be even, and the clothing may be damp or wrinkled.
You may have heard that putting tennis balls or tennis shoes with a load of clothes will make them dry faster. In fact, these can get your clothes dirty or melt and ruin them. Substitute a dry, plush towel instead.

PERSONAL FINANCE 
(For when your parents send you off into the world of paying for your own stuff. Crazy, right?)

Every day, take any loose change you have acquired and put it in a jar. Every couple months (maybe at the end of each semester for you college students), deposit it in the bank, and cash it when you need to buy something big.
Instead of just going to the closest store, ask others to see where to shop. Find out where things are cheapest so you save money for things you want to buy.
Take care of yourself. Shower. Wear deodorant. Shave. Dress up once in a while. These simple things are important to feeling confident, which will help you make good decisions and stick with your budget.
Be cautious about getting a credit card. Sure, it may seem to make things simpler, but by not getting a credit card, you will avoid credit card debt.
It’s easy to not buy something when you actually don’t have enough cash on hand to get it. Save yourself the trouble, and just avoid situations that can lead to overspending and debt in the future.

Easy Meals
(For when you get tired of Ramen Noodles.)

English Muffin Pizza: Homemade pizza is delicious, but what college student has time to make pizza dough? Instead, use an English muffin cut in half as a crust for a quick and easy dinner or snack. You can also get rid of leftovers by using them as creative toppings.

Thermos Oatmeal: Do you love warm oatmeal in the morning but don’t have time to make it before your first class? With a little preparation, you can have delicious oatmeal ready for the morning or in a few hours. First, put a cup of water and any fruit (half-cup frozen, fresh or dried) you want into a saucepan, and bring it to boil. Put about a quarter-cup of steel-cut oats into a thermos. Add the boiling water and fruit, stir and then put the lid securely on the thermos. Let it sit until the oatmeal is fully cooked, and then you can add syrup, milk or any other garnishes you enjoy.

Brown Rice Cereal: Want a filling alternative to typical breakfast cereal? Though you may not first think of it, brown rice makes for a great substitute. Bring one cup of rice and two cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, and then let it simmer until the rice has absorbed all the water (about 35 minutes). Add apple, nuts, raisins, etc. to about half of the rice, then top with a sweetener such as sugar or syrup. You can then refrigerate the rest of the rice for up to a week, and use it when you need a quick meal.

Banana Dream: Need a quick but delicious dessert? Fill a plate or short dish with maple syrup, honey or chocolate. Roll a banana (or pineapple, apple, etc.) in this sauce, and then dip it into a topping such as butterscotch, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, coconut or granola. You can also try freezing this dessert by loosely wrapping it in wax paper.

Fresh Fruit Dip: This healthy dessert is perfect when you have some fresh fruit on hand. Blend two tablespoons of brown sugar with eight ounces of sour cream. (You can use a low fat variety as a substitution.) This serves as a yummy dip for any kind of fruit, and you can also add granola, vanilla extract, strawberry extract or another flavor.