I remember well the first year when I was out of college, and out on my own. Scoring a job as an international sales and marketing specialist in the town where I went to college, the transition into becoming a townie was actually not that difficult. But there was a lot of learning I did in that first year (and beyond) about living on my own that I’d like to share with you today. Please pass on to anyone who will be moving out for the first time!
Invest in Some Personal Security
Personal safety is something you should never take for granted. Now that you aren’t living with people who are deeply concerned about your welfare, you should take some extra precautions that really won’t cost you much.
And don’t forget this is also in terms of your roommate whom you might not know very well (or who might allow other guests in and out of the apartment much more freely than you would like). Check out these inexpensive diversion safes where you can stash some of your valuable items.
Read More: 8 Ways to Save on Moving Costs
Don’t Pick Roommates on a Whim
I fell victim to this…and it took two times before I learned my lesson.
It’s difficult to find roommates. So sometimes it’s convenient to just take anyone who is offering. But there is a lot to think about in terms of your future roommate to ensure that not only do you feel comfortable in your own home, but that you are safe.
Things to consider include: gender, attitude, whether or not they are a morning person or a night person, how sociable they are, if they have ever lived on their own before, how fiscally responsible they are, etc. Will they have pets? Will you bring pets? Are either of you allergic to anything or any type of animal that the other needs to know about?
Batch Cooking Really Saves You Time + Money
Maybe you don’t like the idea of cooking every meal for yourself (even though you know it’s a great way to not only save lots of money, but to eat much healthier). What might save you is doing batch cooking. For example, you could chop veggies and fruits in prep on Sundays to take in lunches over the next few days. You can do batch freezer cooking so that eating a healthy meal after dinner by yourself is as easy as picking it out of the freezer and reheating. Or you could just make larger quantities of a dish, and then eat from it over 2-3 days. A piece of equipment you might want to get that will help you over and over again (and allow you to come home to a hot meal even if you’re living alone!) is a Crockpot.
Interested in learning more plus viewing a bazillion recipes for this? Search for the terms “batch cooking” or “freezer batch cooking” on Pinterest. You’ll be amazed at the mouthwatering meals time-pressed people have come up with!
Read More: Can Once a Month Cooking Save You Money?
Keep Living Like a Student for as Long as Possible
This is my favorite piece of advice for recent graduates. If you ward off lifestyle inflation for a few years after graduating, then you will get such a head start financially. You can use the extra money to pay down student loans, to save up for travel experiences, and to create a great emergency fund (because it’s never fun to ask your parents for money, especially now that you are out of the house). Did I mention you can also start to save for retirement? The earlier you start, the less of your own money you will need to invest overall.
Continuing to live like a student – after a few splurges of course (like the juicer and down comforter I purchased for myself upon scoring my first post-college job) will set you up for an amazing life financially.
Do More than Just Go to Work and Run Errands
My last words of wisdom have to do with your quality of life. The fact is, it’s hard to meet people your own age when you are no longer a student. And it’s easy to get into a routine of just going to work and running errands.
It’s very important to pursue hobbies, get out of the house for something other than the office, and meet new people. You never know where it will happen (and oftentimes it’s in the oddest of places). So get out to that yoga class, or go to the Saturday Farmer’s Market, and start to get to know your new community!