5 Practical Living Skills Every Graduate Needs

practical living skills - messy apartment

Prepare your graduate with a few practical living skills

After my son graduated from high school, I realized that I had one last chance to teach him a few practical living skills before he left for college. Even though my previous attempts seem to have fallen on deaf ears, my hope was that he would take these last-minute instructions to heart. Fortunately, most of the lessons seemed to stick this time. (except for #4)


If you have a high school graduate who is preparing to leave home, they may also need a little guidance on how to take care of themselves.


With this in mind, here are five practical living skills every graduate needs:

1. Cooking

One of the first practical living skills they need to learn is basic cooking. Start by showing them how to make some simple meals at home. Be sure to mention that cooking is a great way to impress a date. That was very motivational for my son.


Spaghetti is always a winner. For more simple meal ideas, take a look at one of my favorite sources of online recipes, allrecipes. They have over 400 easy to make recipes in the campus cooking section.


You should attempt to educate them on making healthier food choices.


Offer your sage advice on the joys and perils of inexpensive foods, such as ramen noodles (cheap, but salty), instant mac & cheese (no real perils, this is just delicious), and microwave popcorn (great study snack, but easy to burn).


Which leads me into the next skill – mastering the microwave. My son tried to heat up cookies in the microwave and set them on fire. Enough said

2. Laundry

Another practical living skill every graduate needs is doing their own laundry.

Start by demonstrating how to use the washer and dryer. Since all washers and dryers have different controls and settings, cold water for washing and the permanent press setting on the dryer is usually a safe choice.


Of course, explain to them why separating colors is very important. Some simple laundry math may be of benefit here:      

  white + red = pink

And to prevent those pesky fires and cut down on drying times, remind them to clean the lint trap in the dryer after each load.


Finally, discuss the wonders of Febreze on clothing in between laundry days. This cannot be emphasized enough.

3. Time management

Teach them about prioritizing tasks. Show them how to use the calendar app on their phone so that they keep appointments and arrive on time. Equally important, caution them on the dangers of the snooze button.


And remind them that speeding is not time travel. If you leave late for your destination, you’ll be late, but in one piece. Also, you won’t risk a speeding ticket.

4. Housekeeping

Basic housekeeping is another practical living skill your graduate needs. Start by introducing them to the vacuum cleaner and clothes hangers. Also, show them how to wash dishes without a dishwasher.


Explain how living free of mold, mildew, and soap scum can make their life, and that of their friends, more pleasant. Mention how taking out the trash more frequently helps you maintain an air of, let’s say, sophistication.


And remind them once more of the wonders of Febreze in restoring that air of sophistication when they are behind on housekeeping/laundry. (You will appreciate this whenever you visit them.)

5. Money knowledge & skills

Lastly, your graduate needs to acquire money knowledge and skills. For instance, paying bills on time, balancing their accounts, establishing credit, managing credit wisely, savings, debt, interest, living expenses, and taxes are just a few of the everyday money matters your graduate will need to be familiar with.


The objective is to help them avoid the common, avoidable money mistakes that so many inexperienced persons make. Not only will this save them money and stress, but it will probably save you money as well. After all, your wallet is usually the safety net when your child has money troubles.


For this reason, give them books and articles to read on each topic. A money course, like the Hire Your Money® course, is a great idea to quickly and easily help them acquire the money knowledge and skills they will need to manage their everyday money matters successfully.

By the way, if you’d like to learn more about everyday money matters, consider the Hire Your Money® course. It is a cutting edge, cloud-based interactive course that empowers young people to take command of their money lives. You will be able to access the course on your favorite internet-enabled device. No reading required. Included are presentations about must-know money topics, videos, and downloadable money tools.

Elaine Johnson

Elaine Johnson

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