So you’ve finally gone out on your own and into the real world, HURRAY! No parents, no curfew, and a breath of freedom in your lungs. While it can be somewhat daunting at first, we all have to go out on a limb and make it on our own at some point.
When I officially changed addresses from my parents’ house to a place of my own it wasn’t like when you move out for a couple months to go to college and whatnot, this was official. So here’s what I learned from living on my own for that first year.
1.) Pay rent early.
So a lot of places have a little window for when rent is due. For example, my rent is due the 1st of the month but the last day they accept it is the 5th. So naturally, my first couple of months I was in the mindset of “rent is technically due the 5th of the month”. Well thinking this way made me miss the deadline and pay even more than necessary for a couple months straight. Not worth it. Pay rent when it’s due.
2.) Don’t let the dust bunnies pile up.
It is now entirely on you whether or not you want your place to be clean. There aren’t parents around telling you the little things like, “throw away that wrapper” or “put your clothes in the hamper”. So don’t let the little chores pile up! The last thing you want is a surprise visit from someone and having your place an absolute mess (especially if it’s your parents checking up on you to see how their independent, 20-something year old is doing).
3.) Most home décor is DIY-able.
I was so excited moving into my own place and having the complete freedom to decorate my home however I wanted. I would go on sprees of buying a bunch of home décor that I wasn’t sure where to place. A couple months in I decided to use Pinterest to find some decorating ideas and ended up on a search for “DIY home décor”. I could’ve slapped myself in the face seeing all this stuff I wasted my money on that I totally could’ve done myself, USING DOLLAR STORE ITEMS FOR GOODNESS SAKE! So take my “I wish I would’ve known” moment and use the lesson for yourself. DIY IS GOOD!
4.) Find a balance between AC, open windows, & fans.
Here’s what I learned: If there’s a nice breeze outside, open the windows. Use fans to circulate the air, or as a direct contact type of cool down (aimed at you when you sleep). Just because you’re hot doesn’t mean you need to set the air conditioning to a super low temp. Set it to an average room temp, your body will adjust, and your electric bill with be thanking you.
5.) Don’t buy the expensive paint.
As much fun as it going to hardware stores and standing in front of that large wall filled with hundreds of paint swabs, once you choose that color that you’re really set on, it ends up being way more expensive than planned (or necessary). Go for the “mistint” or “oops” paints. These are paints that have been made in the wrong tint or color that the buyer wasn’t satisfied with so they returned it. The paint is just as good of quality as any other, it’s just not the color the person wanted. So steer away from the big colorful wall and go towards the oops paints!
6.) Write down your due dates.
We’re now in the real world. Bills are due when the companies say that they’re due. Once I moved into my apartment there were a lot more bills I had to keep track of. It made me extremely nervous that I was going to simply forget to pay a bill and be screwed as far as credit and everything goes. So I bought a wall calendar and wrote down, every month, when every bill was due. I hung it up in a place that I walk past every day so as not to forget about it. This took a huge load off and helped put my mind at ease.
7.) How to grocery shop on a budget.
We’re adults now, that means no more eating fast food for every single meal. Having groceries at the house is a good way to decrease spending on constant fast food purchases and random little snacks. You can buy things in bulk at grocery stores, which saves you money in the long run. Also, it keeps me conscious of maintaining a healthier lifestyle.
8.) Key factors to a “homey” environment.
Indoor plants and candles seriously make a huge difference when it comes to the pleasantness and “homey”’ feeling of any house or apartment. I’m not exactly sure why, but after I finished decorating I felt like something was missing, and as soon as I bought a couple plants and fragrant candles, my apartment came to life.
9.) Get to know your neighbors.
It’s always a good thing to get to know the people you’re living by. I’m not saying you have to be all out BFFs, but knowing your neighbors, and having your neighbors know who you are, just adds a more secure feeling to wherever you’re living. Also, it’s always handy if you ever need to borrow a cup of sugar 😉
10.) Lock your doors.
Just for security purposes. Especially if you’re living alone, always lock your doors at night. I haven’t personally had a problem with break-ins or people stealing things, but we should never be under the assumption that it will never happen to us. Don’t be ignorant, stay safe!
So there you have it! My top 10 lessons learned from living on my own, in my own place, in that first year away from the parents. If you’re moving out soon and going to try to trek it on your own, don’t worry! You’ve got this! If I did it, then you can too!
If you have any tips or “lessons learned” you want to share with fellow 20-somethings, put them in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!