It might be a post college spreading of your wings or maybe it's the parents who decide for you, but everyone eventually needs to leave the nest. And unless you are a lottery winner or have inherited an abandoned haunted mansion left to you in the will of a forgotten uncle, you will be headed to your first apartment.
Taking the step to move out on your own isn't one to be taken lightly. You also have to decide if you are going to have roommates or go it alone. It's nice to have friends with you but nothing makes you feel like a successful adult more than getting a place that's all your own.
You first solo adventure might also have you moving to a different city because of a new job or maybe you're just looking for a change of scenery. If you are moving to a new town don't just rely on a vague post on Craig's List. Do some research before you even start to look for a place.
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You'll find your wallet is the primary decider of where and how you can live. And depending on the city you live in, there is a huge difference in Los Angeles, Chicago or Detroit apartments in terms of size, location and amenities.
Before you take your fist steps here are the three things to consider when you decide to live alone.
- Can you stand to be by yourself? It seems like a no-brainer as we all crave some personal space but we, men and women, are social creatures by nature. You might spend all day at your job talking to customers, having meetings and being bombarded by your co-workers. Perhaps your home is your sanctuary away from all the hustle and bustle. On the other hand it could become a lonely place with no one to keep you company and the constant silence around you is deafening.
- Learn how to make and stick to a budget. Without roommates or parents, every expense falls on your shoulders. Rent is due every month. Utilities must be paid every month. And sometimes that means occasionally you will have to go without the latest fashion craze, concert ticket or video game. Don't fall into the trap of pulling out the credit card. Learn to do without if you can't afford it. You'll save money today and your future tomorrow.
- Learn how to cook. You don't have to be a gourmet chef to eat well. Eating out is a nice treat occasionally but it's expensive and by eating three times a day every day, the cost adds up quick. You parents have been feeding you for years; ask for a cooking lesson and some recipes. Consider taking a cooking class locally. You'll meet new people and learn how to make food beyond spaghetti and microwave dinners.
Being on your own can be scary at first, but it's just a new adventure and part of growing up. Have fun.