Let me tell you something. Once you graduate, life is a sudden whirlwind and you feel as if you’ve been thrown into a sprint when everybody has been telling you “It’s just a marathon.” Taking one step at a time seems more like taking multiple steps at a time as urgently as possible. But, there will be the moment when you get on your feet at a perfect pace and life seems great again (NOT a Donald Trump reference, by the way).
After I finally received a job offer, I had the joys of taking my next steps into adulthood. It was time to find a place to live. I wanted to create this post to cover all the truths behind moving into your first place on your own because I’m pretty sure nobody actually has an idea of what they’re getting into. (Even writing about moving seems heftier than expected).
Finding A Place
Nobody really tells you how to find an apartment. I got very lucky and happened to get a job in the same area where I went to college, so I knew of apartment complexes in the area. I also was able to ask my friends who also stayed after they graduated as a frame of reference. So if you are trying to find a place, here is what I found helped me with the process:
- Ask your friends and family who know the area
- Look on social media for opportunities (especially Facebook)
- Look into complexes – they make your start a bit easier
- The obvious – Google it
Figure Out Your Costs
Finding a place is the fun part. But if you’re looking at multiple options or even when you have decided on the one – break down your costs. Moving is expensive, people.
- Figure out what rent is and make sure your monthly income will be at least triple that
- Have enough to put down a security deposit equal to your first month’s rent
- Figure out what utilities you will need and look at their average prices
- PS: The utilities might have a security deposit too…like my electric did
- Make sure you can afford living there and proper transportation
- If you don’t have a car, look into bus schedules or typical Uber rates even (or even the walking distance it might be from where you work and places you’ll typically hang out outside of work)
- Think of what you’ll need to put in the apartment because that can cost money too – furniture, kitchen supplies, etc.
- Relatives are a great resource – their old furniture can be your new furniture
- Renter’s Insurance is a thing…find out if you need it and look online to find your best options
Find Ways To Cut Unnecessary Costs
Chances are you will list out more costs than you originally planned so time to find ways to cut them. Really think about what you can go without for a little. I opted out of getting cable and decided to rely on other things to take up my time instead. Put a limit on how much you spend each month on going out and activities. Find cheap alternatives (Aldi’s is a great grocery store for baller’s on a budget).
It Might Feel Lonely At First
When everything is moved in and friends and family aren’t around…it might feel a little lonely at first. It will be really silent. But it’s okay. Embrace that. If you have a roommate, you might not have to worry about this…but at some point in your life, you will (probably) live alone. Use that as an experience to get to know yourself.
This is the first time you will start completely new and completely you. Don’t get too stressed in the process – remember to have fun! Look on Pinterest for fun ways to decorate your apartment. You can do whatever you want with your walls, your bedding, your kitchen – it is all yours.
“So here I am in my new apartment in a big city, they just dropped me off. It’s so much colder than I thought it would be so I tuck myself in and turn my night light on.” – Taylor Swift, Never Grow Up