Maybe you’ve just moved out of your parents’ home and you’re setting out to live on your own for the first time, or perhaps you’ve been daydreaming about the day you finally get to. Either way, this step comes with a lot of change from the comforts you’ve acquainted yourself with and it requires a lot of preparation.
When you live on your own, it’s a step towards doing everything yourself– this includes working to earn money for rent, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and so on. Put simply, it’s not gonna be easy. To help you get on your feet, here’s a guide to get you started:
1. Create a budget and follow it
Create a budget and sticking with it is one of the most important things you should do. If you’re unsure how you’re supposed to go about it, you can track your expenses for about two weeks and observe your expenses from there. Here are a few things you could include in your budget:
- Rent: this will probably be your biggest expense
- Utilities: electricity, gas, internet, water, etc
- Meals: Groceries, take-out, restaurants, etc
- Transportation: commute money, gas money, etc
- Entertainment: movies, date nights, vacations, etc
- Clothing and Toiletries: soap, shampoo, shaving cream, etc
- Subscriptions and memberships: gym membership, Netflix, Spotify, etc
- Pet Care: annual check-ups, flea medicine, etc
When it comes to budgeting, you can follow the 50-30-20 rule. 50% of your income will go to your necessary expenses, this includes your rent, utilities, insurance, groceries, and so on. Next, 20-30% will go to your savings. You need this to reach your financial goals. Lastly, the remaining money will be used for all the fun stuff or your discretionary expenses, which includes all the times you eat out, go on vacations, shopping, and all the like.
In connection to creating a budget, it is very important you learn how to save money.
When you live on your own, you carry all the household expenses and it might seem impossible to save. Nevertheless, you should still continue to save even if it’s 5 or 10% of your income. This fund will come in handy in case your apartment will need repairs or any of the like. When creating an emergency fund, keep in mind that it should be able to help you survive for three months in case you lose your job. In the time you have no income coming in, your emergency fund will help you until you find a new job.
2. Don’t go crazy buying unnecessary stuff for your apartment
When you first move into your new apartment, you might have the urge to fill in the empty space with stuff. You might feel like it’s the perfect time for you to personalize your space. For example, maybe you think you’re gonna need ALL the kitchen tools and appliances. I’m telling you now, resist the urge to do so. Start with buying the basics and then work from there. It’s far more important to save money than to spend it all on things you might not even use. As you slowly but surely fill your apartment with things, you’ll see that your personality will shine through sooner than later.
3. Live within your means
When you live within your means, that means taking out all the unnecessary expenses. That means taking out your Netflix subscription, your Spotify subscription, your gym membership, and all the like if you find yourself not even using it. Other than that, you need to remind yourself to avoid eating out so much if you can’t even afford to do so. Keep in mind that it’s much better to go about life knowing you don’t have debt resting on your shoulders. Disciplining yourself with your expenses will ultimately help you in life in the long run.
4. Do it Yourself
It pays to know how to do things yourself. It pays to know how to cook. You can control how much you spend on food and it’s also a healthier alternative than going out and spending money on fast food and take-out. You can opt to plan your meals in advance so you don’t ponder on too long on what you should cook. If not that, you can cook all your meals in one go, freeze your food, and simply reheat once it’s time to eat again.
Other than cooking, you should learn how to clean your apartment yourself and do your laundry yourself. Knowing everything that goes around in your apartment when you live alone teaches you accountability and responsibility.