1. Make herself a meal with food items she keeps around the house. You don’t need an elite spice rack with Himalayan salt, truffle oil, or fresh cardamom, but you should have basic spices and non-perishables on hand that you can make into a decent meal. Having risotto ingredients in your pantry can keep you from ordering Seamless when you don’t have time to grocery shop.
2. Put together an outfit together with thrift shop finds. Shopping purposefully at a thrift shop is an acquired skill, but one that will yield great results and quell any desire to make a mid-week mall trip. You don’t have to go full Macklemore, but if you can find pieces you like at consignment shops and pair them with the staple pieces already in your closet, you’ll find your wardrobe even more satisfying.
3. Negotiate. You should know when it is appropriate to ask for money, and you should be able to sit down with a superior and discuss the possibility of a raise. You should also know that it’s okay to ask for counsel from friends or family before having this conversation with your boss.
4. Take herself out on a date. There’s an episode of Sex and the City where Carrie takes herself out to lunch and says something along the lines of, “every woman should be able to sit by herself at a restaurant, without the comfort of a date, her friends, or even a book, and not feel ridiculously uncomfortable.” Though I truly believe that some of Carrie’s life lessons are utter bullshit, I think she has a point here.
5. Ask someone she is interested in out on a date without worrying about it coming off as “non-traditional.”
6. Realize when her partner is holding her back. While it is incredibly difficult to realize when you are in the thick of it, you will never believe the friends who tell you that you’re in a bad situation. It is too easy to make up excuses or assume that your friends are too far removed to understand. The only person that can remove yourself from a relationship where your partner is holding you back is you. And the first step toward extricating yourself is accepting that there is a problem.
7. Sell her old furniture. If people from Craigslist are coming over to check out your bed frame, personally, I think it’s a good idea to have a friend around to help — I’m a firm believer in safety in numbers. But every woman should be able to take a few pictures of her furniture, find appropriate pricing, and post that $40 end table on Craigslist, Broke List, and other like sites.
8. Pay to move out of her apartment in an emergency. This is a frustrating thing to save for, but the reality is that shit happens when you’re renting. You might end up with crazy neighbors. The partner you’re living with and you might break up. If something unfavorable ever happens in her apartment, every woman should be able to pay to move herself out of that situation.
9. Wash sweaters without shrinking them. Personally, I am still working on reducing my number of sweater casualties per year.
10. Talk to the landlord about problems in her apartment. And politely insist that the problems are attended to in a (somewhat) timely manner.
11. Travel comfortably by herself. By no means does that require traveling the world solo to reach some nirvana-like happiness trance that can only be summed up in perfectly-penned Pinterest script. Every woman should simply be able to navigate the airport herself, pack a bag that will sneak through under the weight limit, be aware of her surroundings, and get safely to her final destination.
12. Use tools. And change light bulbs. I understand that to many women this seems simplistic or trite, and I’m in awe of all of those women. But one of the most embarrassing facts about me is that, until earlier this year, I used to call my building manager to change my light bulbs for me. Fortunately, my roommate staged an intervention and that part of my life is now in the past.
13. Find good information about what is going on in the world. You should have go-to credible sources for news that you check with some regularity.
14. Calm herself down. Stress relief is hard to deal with on your own, but the sooner you have an effective routine for handling anxiety, the more you will feel like you are in control of your life. Even if it’s as simple as stepping away from your computer for five minutes and making yourself a cup of tea, try to have a specific habit you turn to when combatting stress.
15. Find a work environment that will increase her productivity. Of course, we cannot all have the perfect standing desk with fresh-cut flowers next to our computer and an unlimited supply of ripe berries and Perrier in our mini fridge. But most people tend to know what environment they work best in — whether it’s at a meticulously-organized desk or a crowded café that guarantees background noise. You should seek that out when the opportunity presents itself, even if that just means occasionally working in a conference room when it is free.
16. Make a budgeting spreadsheet. If you’re looking for some budgetspo, yesterday we featured a new budgeting technique from a contributor who tracked his earnings and spendings for five years. Lauren also made a step-by-step guide to creating a flawless monthly budget.
17. Do her own nails, makeup and hair. You don’t need to somehow manage a just-walked-out-of-the-salon look every day. But you need to be able to feel like you’re ~treating yourself~ without springing for a $40 mani-pedi. If you’re going to a nice event, you can practice your selected hairstyle and makeup beforehand so that you can execute it by yourself and still feel 100% pampered.
18. Make a go-to dish to bring to a friend’s house. Maybe 2016 is the year you discover what your signature potluck dish is. Mine is spinach and artichoke dip — the ingredients are inexpensive, it’s appropriate for any season, and people absolutely love it.
19. How to scan a document into a computer and email it back to someone as a PDF. Related: how to use Excel and all of the other Microsoft offices. And how to reboot a computer when there is an issue just to see if that solves the problem.
20. How to present herself at a job interview. You should not only know how to dress and behave, but should know what questions to ask and have talking points prepared so that you can comfortably discuss your related experience.
21. Re: getting a job, she should be able to put together a resumé and write a typo-free cover letter.
22. Motivate herself, instead of relying on other people to push her forward. Because that is one of the truest, non-financial signs of independence.
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