Adulting 2.0- The Next Phase
For the most part, the oldest Millennials, born in 1982, have long since grown out of their #adulting days when they bragged online about learning to do grown-up things later in life. Back in 2008 and 2009, the term #adulting first appeared to describe responsibilities and activities that prior generations assumed as expectations upon reaching the age of adulthood. Gen-Xers, Boomers, and the Silent Generation scoffed as those young whippersnappers made social media news for basic adult tasks like working full-time jobs, writing checks, making car payments, taking out mortgages, and doing their taxes.
Now a respected and productive generation, Millennials have reached an age when they are ready for #adulting2.0. However, the next level of adulthood may sneak up inconspicously. One day, you become aware that your parents are no longer the heads of the family; you are. This phase is associated with hosting family holiday dinners, ensuring your estate plan is in order, saving for retirement, and funding kids' college tuition.
Money Savvy Moves
When you get excited about "secret" ways you've saved money, you'll know you've reached the next phase of adulting. Here are a few ways to help you achieve those wins.
- Cancel unused recurring fees or subscriptions. If it's been a few months since you took a look at your credit card statement, you're not alone. A 2022 LendingTree survey found that 25% of credit cardholders fail to check their statements every month. With today's subscription-friendly environment, you can likely find something you forgot you signed up for that you no longer need or want. You may have received a 3-month free trial to Apple TV when you purchased your most recent iPhone but forgot to cancel, and now you've been paying for six months. What about Audible? Are you listening to your monthly quota to make it a worthwhile investment? Have you tried library subscriptions instead? Most libraries have impressive collections of digital downloads and streaming services. Listen to free audiobooks and watch your favorite movie for free using Hoopla, Libby, or Overdrive.
- Negotiate like a pro. A price offered is not necessarily the price you have to pay. You may attempt to negotiate prices when shopping for large purchases like a car or house, but negotiating even smaller ticket items like carpeting, clothes, and cantaloupes might save you money. To negotiate a discount, you must speak with a decision-maker, so you may not be able to negotiate the price of a refrigerator at a big box retailer, but you never know. Customer service representatives at call centers like your internet provider are likely empowered to make you an offer to keep your business and make you happy. The key to negotiation is to make the ask, know the price you want to pay (price comparisons help) then wait for a response. Never demand or ask with entitlement. You can even negotiate property tax bills by calling the assessor's office and appealing their valuation. Remember, it doesn't hurt to ask as long as you are respectful and polite. The worst thing you'll hear is "no."
- Shop around for services. Reevaluate monthly services you've had for three years or more, especially if you don't have a trusted relationship with them. Services like cell phone carriers and property insurance change over time. Find out what new services are available. Perhaps a new carrier wasn't available three years before, or your needs have changed. You may need more or less coverage on a vehicle, or your credit score may improve, and you can get a better rate. Other service providers like housekeepers, hairdressers, childcare, and landscapers spend years proving their reliability to develop trustworthy relationships with you. However, if you still don't trust these providers after working together for a few years, or their costs have increased and may exceed their value, it might be time to reevaluate that service in year three. The cost of all these services has likely increased due to inflation over the past few years, and sometimes the juice is worth the squeeze. Otherwise, switching service providers will help you feel satisfied knowing you're getting the best deal for the services you need.
The Bottom Line
If freeing yourself from unnecessary expenses feels thrilling, negotiating deals gives you an adrenaline rush, and shopping around leaves you satisfied, you are #adulting2.0! Way to go, Millennials! Cheers to you for reaching this next milestone. You are navigating middle age like a boss!