The beauty and ugly of living on your own

August 14, 2008 at 1:00 am (General Moving Advice) (, , , , , , )

So assuming you’re in a position now of making a modest amount of money and are looking for your own place for the first time, where do you start? How do you go about it? Where is the best place for you?

These can be difficult questions to answer because the cost of living is different everywhere. The resources I have will not be the resources you will have. What is important in an apartment to me will not be so to you. But I can provide some starting ground for how to begin.

I’m going to assume that because you have never lived on your own before, an apartment will be the best choice for you. With house ownership comes massive amounts of bills and otherwise that make it hard for a beginner to handle. Soooooooo apartment it is! The following are good places to begin your apartment search:

http://www.rent.com

http://www.apartments.com

http://www.forrent.com

http://www.move.com/apartments/main.aspx

http://www.apartmentsearch.com/

The list is truly endless for places viable to check. Simply go to yahoo, google, or any other search engine and type in “apartments”. You can be extra clever and type in the name of the city you plan to move to (hint hint). You can easily eye what’s available right now. And you’re going to notice, living on your own isn’t cheap! And rest assured, the less the rent is? There is a pretty good chance you won’t be getting a whole lot with it. Hopefully you’ll have penciled up your budget by now. What is your monthly income? Now start subtracting things you KNOW you’ll have to pay for: gas, food, clothes, entertainment, clothes washing, cleaning supplies and general maintenance, utilities bill, THE RENT!, etc etc. The list could go on. Quite simply, if you’re looking to live on a tight budget, there is a lot you can cut out. I don’t watch TV often, and when I want to, I can simple drive to a friends. So I just saved myself about 30 dollars a month in the form of a cable bill. 30 dollars times 12 months is 360 dollars a year!

WHOA.

Alright, let’s pick up our faces and move on to the next bit of mind blowing information.

Moving. Sucks!

I hope you have friends because you’re going to have a rough time hauling all of that junk yourself. And how are you going to pack it all? If you visit local convenience stores, many receive product shipments all the time and simply tear up and throw away those valuable pieces of cardboard gold. Find out when they receive new shipments and pop in to snag some boxes. Hopefully you’ve been planning the moving process in advance and can actually, you know, take the TIME to plan carefully. Don’t pack things like a crazy person without thinking of how heavy the box is going to end up being when you’re done, or if things will break because you packed your porcelein figurine next to your small set of freeweights. Are you storing the boxes somewhere? I hope none of your electronics are heat or cold sensitive!

Another thing to think about? Label your boxes. FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, LABEL YOUR BOXES. Do you have any idea how many are going to be splayed around your apartment? Wouldn’t it be nice to know where the bathroom stuff is versus the kitchen stuff in case you don’t get everything unpacked right away? It helps to have ‘box priority’ in a time crunch.

Consider this, while I consider more advice.

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