So, you’ve picked out a place to move out and live alone for the first time. It seems okay, is quite safe, and is located in an awesome neighborhood.
Now what should you do?
If you’re reading this and you’re all set to live alone, especially to attend university, congratulations and welcome to one of the most exciting and scary parts of your life! As of August 4, 2016, I have officially experienced what living alone is like for an entire year. I haven’t got everything figured out yet, but for now, here are some tips I can offer for you which I’ve learned from my own experience of living alone.
Bring the Comforts of Home with You
You have a favorite tea you like to drink before bed? Then bring it. You like to play your guitar? Then bring it. You have a favorite pillow or stuffed animal that makes you feel safe? Then bring it with you to your new place.
Whatever makes you feel comfortable at home, bring it with you to your new place to make it easier to settle into it because the first couple of nights usually feel strange, especially if your new place has more or less noise than home.
Spend at Least Three Weeks in Your New Place Without Coming Back Home
When I first moved out, I didn’t go home for about three or four weeks to really settle into the apartment and learn about my surroundings. Throughout those weeks, I explored the area around my apartment, figured out where the cheapest and best groceries are sold, the best places to dine, and how to do things such as laundry and commute there and afterwards I’ve become a lot more comfortable with my surroundings and confident about what to do and how to do them.
It may take you more or less than three weeks to figure everything about about your new place, but make sure to spend some time there before you actually start working or attending university to get an understanding of the place before the busier parts of life get in the way.
Set Up Your Internet
Contacting an ISP and setting up your own internet can be quite costly financially, but it is actually a great investment. I recently learned that hackers require only less than 10 minutes to gain complete access to your device when you connect it to an open wi-fi hotspot, so relying on open hotspots for the sake of free wi-fi is definitely not the best thing to do if you want to keep your data secure.
Setting up your own internet and using it is a way to decrease the likelihood of your devices being hacked, even more so when you protect it with a strong password. Plus, it’s often times a lot faster to use your own internet than an open wi-fi hotspot as well. Make sure to learn how to control and change the settings of your own IP address and create a really strong password.
Download a Financial Management App
This is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made while living alone. It’s so easy to get carried away with spending money that we forget about things we want to save money for, such as a super fun trip. Downloading a financial management app has helped me immensely in logging in every single spending as it happens, checking my monthly balance and how much I have left to save at the end of each month which unconsciously drives me to want to spend less. I’m currently using Daily Expenses 3 on Android which is free and has awesome graphics to report your financial state.
Ask The Million-Dollar Question Every Time You’re about to Buy Something
This question has saved me a lot of money and will probably help you too. The question is simple: “DO I REALLY NEED THIS?” Every time I feel like buying something I might not need, I ask this to keep me on track with my financial goals. Do I really need that milk tea? Do I really need new clothes? Do I really need a new novel? Do I really need to go out for drinks? This will save you a huge amount of money, especially if you’re living on a tight budget and want to save money for other things. Of course, it’s okay to spend money on random things every now and then, but it helps in saving money to only do it once or twice every now and then and not most of the time.
For Your Own Sake, Learn to Cook Some Healthy Food
When I first moved out, I relied heavily on takeouts and instant food which really got sickening after a while. Eventually, I started digging up old recipes from my junior high cook book and tried them out while learning new recipes through YouTube and greatist.com which really helped in turning my meals into somewhat healthier options.
If you haven’t already, then I encourage you to learn how to cook some healthy food using fresh ingredients because a) it saves A TON of money and b) it’s a good investment for your health (less trips to the doctor’s = more money to save!) Pick up recipe books, learn from YouTube or food blogs, learn with friends, but try to actually learn how to cook a balanced meal for yourself.
Learn about Food Shelf Life
I made a huge mistake this one time by leaving a pizza unfrozen and discovering it to be moldy after a couple of days. It was not fun trying to clean up my place from mold and getting rid of the smell.
Since then, I started educating myself about food shelf life and paid more attention to expiration dates as well – something I think everyone should learn how to do. I found this really awesome chart from Pinterest to help you in learning about food shelf life.
Socialize with the People Around Your Place
Get the security guards some free lunch. Talk to the receptionists of your apartment. Say hi or at least give a polite nod to your neighbors. And don’t be that annoying neighbor that turns up the music loudly at night or leaves their trash anywhere but at the garbage disposal. Even if you’re not a people person, socializing with the people around your place can help you out a lot, especially when you need their favor with something. Plus, it’s fun to get to know people’s life stories and talk to them.
Google and Your Parents Will Be Your Best Friends
Have a stain you can’t remove from your clothes? Google or ask your parents. Don’t know how to unclog your sink? Google or ask your parents. Seriously, Google, Mom and Dad will be your absolute best friends once you’re living alone. Whatever life hacks your mom or dad has always told you to do, they will be the first things you recall when you need a life hack on your own. If you don’t know what to do and your parents are not answering, Google will help you out as well. So listen to your parents, contact them every now and then and have a Google search app on your phone – this is the ultimate survival guide.
Create a Daily To-Do List, but Make Room for Spontaneity
The thing about figuring out life on your own while trying to do your job or work on university assignments as well is that it can get super tough when there’s so many things to do. Writing a daily to-do list the night before really helps me clear my head and drives me to focus on getting the things I really need to do done. My to-do list usually contains my assignments, blogging stuff, as well as chores and errands. But remember that you’re living alone! You’re free to leave your place and hang out with people at any given time without needing to ask for permission or telling anyone so find that balance between spontaneity and daily habits, do the things you love, have fun, and make room for spontaneous stuff.
Living alone is a bit terrifying at first, especially when you’re not quite sure what to do. But it has made me grown a lot more mature and though I miss home at times, I don’t regret spending most of my weekdays (and half of the weekends each month) in a different place. I’ve grown comfortable in spending time by myself and learned to do mundane yet valuable life skills as well.
A year after my first day alone, I’m still trying to figure this whole thing out and I’ll share more tips as I experience more. But I really hope these tips will allow you to see that living alone is actually manageable and yes, it’s actually quite fun once you know what to do.
Let me know you tips on living alone in the comments section below!