Finding Gainful Employment
First things first, I knew I needed to have enough of an income to cover all of my living expenses, and since I was unemployed I knew it was time to start looking for a job. I was living rent free at my parent's place, giving me the perfect opportunity to build up a savings account. I knew that my move in costs would be higher than my month to month expenses, so I planned to save up enough money for a deposit, first and last month's rent and a modest emergency fund so I could finally get out of my parent's basement.
Learning To Budget
One of the most important skills I had to master in order to manage living on my own was learning how to budget. No one wants to find themselves in a situation where they can’t afford their bills, so I knew it was important to know exactly how much money I needed to bring in each month to cover my overhead. That meant rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, and incidental and emergency funds. It began to feel like bills were piling up all around me, but I was able to handle the experience by calculating a solid budget of my expenses and keeping my bank account in check.
While most young people are eager to have their own car, I was able to get out of my parent’s house a lot faster by foregoing this extra expense. This may not be an option for everyone, but I was lucky enough to live in a city with good public transportation and could easily get by without a car. If I ever needed to move something by car, I could always rely on friends to help out. By opting to not own a car yet, I cut my overhead down quite a bit. Cars are convenient, but after factoring in the cost of saving up for one, paying monthly auto insurance and keeping gas in the tank, I realized how much expense it would have added to my monthly bills.
Strength in Numbers
Another thing I realized is that there were other young people my age who were attempting to get their first place as well, and it hit me that there is strength in numbers. I put up an ad on Craigslist and met with a number of prospective roommates before settling on a suitable co-tenant. A roommate can help ease the financial burden of living on your own, but they can also derail your life if you pick someone who is irresponsible with their finances. Luckily I was able pick a good roommate by holding interviews, and most rentals will run a background check anyways, which gave me extra peace of mind. There was certainly a lot to take into consideration the first time I lived on my own, but luckily I didn't have to rush into a bad financial situation. My parents were in no rush to kick me out of the house, affording me plenty of time to save up money and look for a decent place to live before I signed a lease. I did my homework on choosing the right place to live, and took into consideration the proximity of each potential location to my work and other places like the grocery store. Once I settled on the right apartment, I gave my parents a tearful goodbye and excitedly moved on to the next chapter of my life. Living on my own seemed scary at first, but it wasn't long until I had the hang of things and could enjoy my new found freedom.