How to Prepare for Living Solo

Male student at home using Tablet PC.When I graduated from university, I didn’t get much time to prepare for apartment living. I basically went from the dorms, to my mom’s house, to my apartment, all in the span of 3 months. Having been tossed into living solo and supporting myself by myself so quickly, I’ve had to learn a lot of things from experience, without the leisure of time. I know how busy life can be with exams and applying to jobs, so I hope this list will help for your transition to living on your own!

Keep going out for lunch to a minimum

For the first month of living on my own, I spent sooo much cash on eating out for lunch, instead of bringing lunch to work, because I honestly I had no idea where to begin. Now, for the first few days or week of living on your own and at your new job, it is totally fine to grab a bite to eat during your lunch hour – with all the stresses of unpacking and learning the ropes at your office, you probably won’t have a lot of time to create some awesome meal plan for your work week. That’s okay! Just be sure to do this for a short amount of time – $7 lunches every day for even just two weeks really add up. Some things I wish someone had told me to do is to buy a cheap roll/hoagie from the supermarket in the morning (I would usually spend $0.89 on a roll), and bring other ingredients from home that day or keep them at work. Your lunches will cost you barely $2. It’s not the most envy-inducing lunch, but you’ll feel satisfied knowing you’re eating something you prepared while saving money!

Prepare to conquer your fears

Some of my biggest fears pre-move were bugs (specifically roaches), break-ins, and terrible neighbors. I’ve been lucky to only have to deal with one of them so far (the roaches), but that still was a huge challenge for me. I remember the first morning I saw a roach – I was sitting at my new dining table, eating my bowl of Cocoa Krispies, when I got up from my chair and saw the corpse of a roach laying near my floor vent. In shock, I ran to the furthest corner away from the roach, and lo-and-behold, I saw another dead roach near the air mattress I’d been sleeping on. It was a horrible morning. I had been hoping against hope that mine would be the one lucky apartment that didn’t have any roaches, in an area and state known to have roaches. Obviously, I am not the exception to the rule, and neither are you. This is all to say that do your research for your area – find out how safe your area is through using SpotCrime or any other website that lets you search crime in your city. Figure out if there is a bed bug, mouse, or roach problem in your neighborhood, and prepare yourself for the possibility with some roach spray and mouse traps. Also, at the first sign of a problem, ask your landlord to schedule the exterminator.

If you do ever have to deal with something you were hoping you’d never need to, feel free to treat yourself after you take care of it – I took myself out and bought myself a nice pair of shoes!

Set up automatic draft for your bills

I never thought I’d forget about a bill, but then it happened! I remember getting an electric bill for $70, and I was so confused. Turns out I forgot to pay last month’s bill. Thinking I’d learned my mistake, I kept paying as I received electronic/paper bills. Guess what happened? I forgot to pay a gas bill. Things slip our minds, and we might think we’re completely on top of things, but when you’re dealing with other issues, it can be easy for “I’ll pay it tomorrow” turn into “Oh my god, I forgot to pay the bills!” Do yourself a favor & set up autodraft for as many of your bills as possible. You’ll never miss a payment again!

Hopefully some of these tips help you. There are clearly many things to know prior to moving into your apartment, like setting up your utilities in advance, checking out the place before you rent if feasible, etc., but these are some of the less-obvious ones I experienced first hand. Good luck!

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Author My First Apartment
Amanda S

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Amanda Szymanski is a 2015 graduate from High Point University in North Carolina, from where she earned a BS in psychology. She loves all things related to scientific research, art, and mindfulness. Currently, she is employed as a research assistant working on a study investigating Alzheimer's Disease. When Amanda is not working on research, she enjoys painting with watercolors, hiking, and reading.

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