Early adulthood is the land of difficult choices, less money than we would like, and a whole lot of confusion. Most of us flounder in some way or another, but you can set yourself up for a solid future by making some key investments. This isn’t about monetary investments- see a professional financial advisor for those- but rather investment items that worth the time and money of picking the right one. As I come to my late twenties, I’ve learned over the years where to spend and where to save, and I’m passing that knowledge on!
A quick note- I personally don’t believe that electronics are investments in most cases. While it is nice to have an iPad mini or the newest Samsung Galaxy, most of us don’t need them. (Yes, we all try to justify that they help with work or it’s a necessity, but it’s not for 98% of us, myself included. If you do need it for work, they are probably paying for it, not you.) I know that at 21, 22, it seems sooooo important but from personal experience, they are nice but not crucial. Onto the recs!
Small Kitchenware and Appliances
Once you are not a college student, you really can’t get away with eating the same three meals and an array of junk food. (And if you can, you shouldn’t. You won’t thank yourself in the future.) You will quickly find that many recipes require appliances and kitchenware that you don’t own. While you can certainly grab some things the dollar store/Walmart/Target/Insert cheap store here, when you are looking at things like baking sheets, mixers, and baking dishes, it does pay to invest in quality items. Poor quality items don’t last for any length of time (meaning you will be paying to continually re-purchase) and your food can actually leach harmful chemicals from it. A good kitchen appliance will serve you for decades!
Skincare and Make-Up
The draw of cheap make up sucks all of us in at some point- $2 eyeshadow, $7 foundation, $4 toner. While occasionally you will find a gem hidden in the rough, overall it’s not terribly wonderful. I’ve found that high levels of cheap talc (common in drugstore eyeshadows) will make me breakout and just leave me with generally unhappy skin. Pay attention to what you are putting on your skin and into your body (because it will enter your blood stream in typically 30 seconds to 5 minutes), as that can have consequences down the road. You don’t need to spend $200 for a full Shiseido skincare line, but don’t opt for the cheapest simply because it is. Be conscientious and thoughtful with your purchases- make up doesn’t seem like a lot when you grab it here and there, but if you totalled your entire make up bag, you would see a different story.
When you enter you career and professional life, you will most likely not have a ton of extra money kicking around and everyone will understand that you are just starting out. However, I would recommend investing in a high quality complete outfit for work- it doesn’t have to a brand name or cost you thousands, but quality fabrics and well cut pieces will go a long way to presenting a polished and professional look. It might not seem like it, but it will serve you well when you have a conference, a large meeting, or even presenting a large project!
I’m not trying to be a jerk, but an entire wardrobe from Forever21 and H&M is not going to do you any favours- it is cheap clothing that is typically identified as very young, and most likely won’t last for more than a year of continuous wear. A mix of price points is perfect to maintain a polished look without bankrupting you!
While making the adult choice isn’t necessarily “fun”, it will pay off and help you in the short and long term. What is your best lifestyle investment advice?