Gear Up for the Real World: Helpful tips they don’t teach in school

After graduating college, you will know the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, that as “X” approaches “0” the limit does not exist and that it’s frowned upon to use a passive voice in writing. But how do you do your own taxes? How do you save money and pick a health insurance plan that best fits you? We’ll cover a little bit of every category from health, to money, emergency and travel tips so stick around to learn a bit about the real world!

Learn tactics for budgeting

Saving Money

That is the single-most important advice as you near the real world. Open a savings account and make it a goal to put away at least 10-15 percent of your income. Keep track of all of your expenses, and start organizing your dollars into categories. This will help break down your spending and help realize where you might be spending too much money. Getting started with your taxes can be an intimidating task, but once you jump into it it’s pretty self-explanatory. Consider buying a tax-prep software over hiring a professional, as it often lowers the cost. If you have additional questions or don’t understand some of the terms, head over to www.irs.gov to get help.

Make health a priority

Health Insurance

If you’ve struck gold after graduating and landed a job, they’ll have the cheapest options for as far as health insurance goes. You can compare prices in the marketplace, but most open-market plans are generally more expensive. You’ll encounter some acronyms you haven’t seen before such as HMO’s, PPO’s, EPO’s or POS plans. Ask someone in your company’s HR department to explain the differences, and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. You want to be sure you’re making the very best decision for your health. Whatever option you choose, be sure to find out what your out-of-pocket costs may be.

Prep for the unexpected

Car trouble

Make sure to keep some essential survival items in your car like jumper cables and a first aid kit. Other items to consider include water bottles, a flashlight, extra pairs of clothing, spare tires and most importantly, snacks. If you ever find yourself stuck in a rut—literally!—you’ll thank yourself for being prepared.

Travel tips

Airplane Travel

If you’re taking a year to explore the world after graduating – or if you’re planning a trip for the future—consider these helpful travel tips.

  • Make a list: Lists can be a lifesaver. Write down everything you think you’ll need a week before your trip as making mental note isn’t always efficient.

  • Learn some language: If you’re traveling out of the country, take some time to learn the common phrases of the local language. The locals will appreciate your effort!

  • Always have an extra pair: Last but not least, pack extra underwear! You never know when you’ll run into an emergency and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

While “Surviving in the Real World 101” should be a mandatory course, this list helps cover some simple topics not taught in school. Get out there and use the knowledge we’ve provided you to ace the real world!