Living on our own tastes like sweet freedom. No rules to follow but ours. We’ll learn how to be independent, finally feeling like the adults we are. But as with anything in real life, living alone isn’t as glamorous as what the media portray.
The costs alone are enough to take away the freedom we thought we’d have. If you used to go clubbing every weekend, you might have to let that go to save money for rent. And you’ll probably appreciate the home-cooked meals your mom makes more.
Indeed, living alone can make us realize that we’ve taken so many things for granted, like comfort and convenience. But as a grown-up, we cannot wallow over those for long. We should make things right immediately, and it starts by knowing what to expect about independence.
Learning How to Budget
Rent or mortgage isn’t the only expense you’ll have. There’d be utilities, cable, internet, groceries, and other daily expenses you’ve probably never thought about before.
You may also be subject to renter’s insurance, security deposit, and association fees. And if you’re paying student loans, that’ll add up to your expenses, too. Are you thinking about having a car? The auto loan payments will be another item to your long list of costs.
Therefore, exercise budgeting while you’re still at your parents’ home. Learn how your parents’ pay for essential services every month. Even if your expenses are lower since you’re only paying for yourself, your household budget will still provide a basis for estimating your costs.
If you’ve never paid a bill in your life, start by contributing to your household’s monthly expenses, like the internet. But if your parents insist on paying for everything, put your money straight to your savings; it will be useful for your security deposit later.
Use your time at home to pay off your debts, if you have any. Prioritize high-interest ones, like credit cards. You can pay the minimum of your student loans until you’re well-off enough. The earlier you eliminate crucial debts, the more you’ll save for the future.
And of course, don’t forget your emergency savings. Contribute at least 10% of your pay check to a separate savings account, and be sure not to touch it unless you lose your job, get sick, or experience an unexpected financial crisis.
Choosing an Apartment
Aside from the rental rates, assess the neighbourhood, too. Chances are you’ll encounter many people fresh out of college like you, but consider your security as well.
Visit the apartment during the day and night, and again after 10 o’clock. Walk around the area, see its commercial areas, and determine if they fit your lifestyle. If security is your top concern, perhaps you’re better off in an apartment without pubs nearby; drunken customers may cause trouble.
Ask the landlord or property manager about the maintenance of the apartment. That will define whether you’ll be living in a habitable unit. They should show you an electrical installation report and other documents proving that the units and the entire building are safe and well-maintained.
Once you’ve chosen a good apartment, read the lease carefully. Ensure that the terms are legal. Follow every clause, and tell your guests about them, too, because you can get evicted if one disobeys a rule.
Enjoy The Perks
Living alone is truly a handful, but the perks are all true. You’ll become more responsible, more self-reliant, and happier because you’re in control of most of your life. The first few months to a year will be difficult, with the adjustment period and all, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize that it’s one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.