Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What Should They Know Before They Go?

I'm reviewing my notes for two workshops I'm giving at a homeschool conference this weekend. One is about blogging; basic and fun. The other is about preparing our teens for life on their own.

One of the hardest things about that subject is deciding what are the most important things they should know before they go?

The answer to that question is very subjective, of course. It depends on you and your life experiences, really---what you think is important, but also, what you wish you'd been prepared for back when you set out as an adult.

One thing I was prepared for, that helped me a lot, was knowing how to stretch a dollar when necessary. I passed that knowledge on to my dd23, who uses it a lot these days as a self-supporting young person living in an expensive city. One of her habits is to bring a home-packed lunch to work. She has found that doing so saves a lot of money, but reports that she is the only person who does so where she works. The others go out to lunch or pick it up and bring it back, spending at least $5-6 per person.

Most of her coworkers are young and have college degrees but were not able to find work in their field, so they ended up working retail. They complain about being poor, being hounded by credit card companies, not being able to afford their own place like dd can, etc. But do the math: they're spending at least $5 a day more on lunch than dd does. Five days per week times 50 weeks/year equals at least $1,250 they could save annually, just by bringing a lunch. (I won't even go into the health benefits of choosing homemade over fast food!) They should have been taught to stretch a dollar; it would make their lives a lot easier financially.

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