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September is my half-birthday month (which is nuts to me – halfway to 25?!)! And especially with a bub on the way, I’ve been in a pretttttty reflective mood as of late. So, today I’m sharing 21 things I’d tell my 21-year-old self – if time travel were a thing. 😉 And I’m doing so in partnership with my friends at Citizens Bank. They already helped bring some *baller* money tips to CUR once this summer, so we’re branching out a bit more to share #AllTheThings that woulda/coulda/shoulda been the words to the wise 21-year-old me. If “wise” and “21-year-old” can ever go in the same sentence… 😉
- Simplify ASAP. First + foremost, abide by the age-old adage and KEEP. IT. SIMPLE. Simplify your routines. Simplify your possessions. Simplify your thoughts. Simplify your life. Life is short. Ain’t nobody got time for complicated.
- No one cares about you as much as you do. What you’re doing, what you’re (over)thinking, what you’re working on – you’re in your own head about it, and no one else is watching NEARLY as closely as you think/feel like they are. Unless you’re a Kardashian. Then, everyone is watching.
- Learn how to make a budget. Or at least marry someone who is HELLA good at budgeting. 😉 But really tho, budgets are important. No matter how much you rue the day you stepped into your first Accounting 101 lecture, pay more attention to credits in class than credits while online shopping IN class. The final will be easier that way. Also life.
- When making chicken noodle soup from scratch, clean out the chicken fully BEFORE putting it in the pot.
- Also, wait to put the pasta in until the end. Otherwise, you’ll be left with chicken mush and a salty fiance. 😉
- If you think you’re overthinking, you probably are.
- Be intentional about your savings account. Something that I’ve loveloveloved from the start of my own Citizens Bank account is that every month, $25 is automatically transferred from my checking to my savings. While I can always add more manually, it’s good to have something that I can set on autopilot to ensure that if/when I forget to give my savings some TLC, it’s not completely forgotten.
- It’s OK to let people go. Some people are in your life for a time. Not all time is forever. If someone’s time in your life has come + gone, learn what you needed to learn and move forward with grace.
- Stop buying things that don’t make ya feel like a million bucks, justbecause they’re on sale for 10 bucks. Also, let your style evolve. It will, and that’s A-OK. It’s actually good. Just do yourself the favor and purge anything in your closet that still says “Aero” on the chest or has a mini moose logo. 😉
- Regularly check in on your statements. I do this weekly (if not daily) now as an older + wiser chica in my mid-20’s, but SO WISH I had started sooner. Citizens Bank makes it easy with their online banking + mobile banking app; it logs you in with the touch of your fingerprint (+ a security Q, because #SafetyFirst) and you’ve got access to all of your most recent transactions. I use this regularly for mobile deposits, too, since your check information is stored right there alongside your other account information.
- Don’t get a credit card too soon. Be reaaaaaaally honest with yourself, and only upgrade to swipable plastic when you’re *responsible* with money. It’s way too easy to get swipe happy when you’ve got a credit limit in place and seemingly endless possibilities. But you DON’T have endless possibilities. You have as many possibilities as your current checking account balance says. Otherwise, you just have debt. 😉 So refer back to #10 and wait it out if it’s not essential just yet.
- When you see someone’s wallet on the sidewalk, pick it up and bring it to the nearest building, contact the person on social media, and/or put it in the mailbox to be delivered to their address. Never steal from it. That way, when you forget your own wallet on a late night center city train, karma will come back and you’ll have it recovered, completely intact within two hours. Karma is what you are. 😉
- You become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.
- Give yourself grace. You’re your own worst critic. Chances are, it (and YOU) are not nearly as bad as it (or YOU) seems or feels right now.
- Stop giving so many sh**s about what other people think of you. Care about what YOU think of you. Be the best version of yourself you can possibly be, for YOU. It’s YOUR life – live it accordingly.
- Always know how much money is in your checking account. That way, you never find yourself at the corner Starbucks at 10 pm during finals week with only $3.62 to your name. Thankfully, Citizens Bank’s Student Checking Account requires no minimum balance (and if you’re under 25, the maintenance fee is waived!), so you at least won’t be penalized by the bank for being broke. Not getting your grande is punishment enough. 😉
- Be careful what you’re paying attention to in class besides the professor. Your Zara order can wait, I swear. 😉 If it feels like your passion project CAN’T wait – practice patience, but note how it makes you feel. That passion should follow you in life.
- Know your worth. Then add tax. And stop accepting less than that.
- Set up notification alerts on your phone for spending. If – God forbid – someone gets ahold of your card/bank info, let the nightmare commence if you’re not prepared. It helps to bank with real people who really care – at Citizens Bank, they’re available for 24/7 advice + support, so it’s good to have that backup in place when it counts!
- Get really good really fast at saying no. It’s OK. Really. But know, also, when to say yes. And don’t be afraid to do either when the time is right.
- Refuse to stop learning. Actively KEEP learning. Stay curious. Life doesn’t stop after graduation – it’s only just beginning.
What would you tell your 21-year-old self if you could go back in time?
Would lovelovelove to hear in a comment below.
*Thanks to Citizen’s Bank for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions + thoughts presented are entirely my own. Thank YOU for supporting the brands that support Coming Up Roses!