I read a lot of crap on the internet.  And, for some reason, I keep stumbling upon articles like “25 Must-Have Items for Thirty-Somethings” and “Top 40 Things A 27-Year-Old Should Own.”  And no, I usually don’t own the majority of the things that those articles claim my life requires.  I’m also smart enough to realize that if a pop-culture website claims you need to own something to be successful, you are not required to listen to them.  Having dispensed that sage advice, I will now retire from the world of personal finance. (Just kidding.)

But, the truth is that there is a big difference between your expenses when you’re 24 and your expenses when you’re 34.  When you’re 24, you’re still able to live the student lifestyle, cramming six people into a two-bedroom apartment and living off ramen and Subway.  But then something happens.  You become an adult, usually because you want to.  And, when you become an adult, your expenses change dramatically.

Even though you’re still making roughly the same amount of money that you did when you were 24, you suddenly have all of these new expenses to keep track of. Where do these new expenses come from?  Here are some things adults have to pay for that kids in their twenties don’t:

Real Furniture

Often, the first big step that you take to become an adult is to fill your apartment with real furniture.  Yes, even furniture from Ikea or Target count as the real thing.  And, even the fiber-board stuff that those stores sell doesn’t come cheap since it can cost as much as $250 for a mattress, $150 for a bedframe, $50 for a bookcase, $50 for a desk, and so on.  And that’s only if you get the cheapest, worst versions of all of their crap.  Decent furniture costs at least twice and sometimes three times as much.

Real Food

Somewhere between age 22 and age 32, your friends stop suggesting Taco Bell for dinner.  Instead they want to go to that new artisanal cocktail place with grass-fed beef.  Soon after that, adults in apartments with real furniture begin to throw parties where PBR and jello shots are not the drink of choice.  And, as we all know, alcohol is expensive!


At some point in adulthood, you may want a real vacation.  You know, a real vacation….which is totally different than a trip to Mom and Dad’s or a crazy “friend trip” to New York where you cram seven people in a car and go 48 hours without sleeping.  If you’re like most people, you’re going to crave an actual vacation every year.

Life Insurance

At a certain point in adulthood, salespeople start asking if you have life insurance.  Yep, it’s another marker on the road from irresponsible twenty-something to full-fledged adult.   Fortunately, you don’t have to buy life insurance from the first person that approaches you.  These days, you an even buy it online!


On top of all of that, you may want to have children at some point.  And, trust me, kids are not cheap!  Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save when it comes to your kids.  Not only do you not have to buy them everything that all the other kids have, but you can also buy most of their stuff used.  Trust me, they’ll never know!

What other expenses have cropped up since you reached adulthood?