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Old 12-15-2012, 05:29 PM   #1  
Lifestyle Changes
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Default Moving out for the first time.

Maybe it's lame, seeing as I am 21, but I have never lived on my own before.

I can't afford to do it alone and I won't risk a 'random' room mate or room mate I don't really trust. My parents don't mind me staying at home as long as I'm working and in school, buying my own groceries and gas...

So the only friend I ever would have considered living with is also finally ready to move out and we've decided to start looking, because as much as I love my parents it's pretty much time for me to start gaining some more independence.

I am excited and nervous. I have gotten used to having a lot of spare cash. Don't get me wrong, I pay bills. I have a car that I make payments on, insurance, my phone...

But after all that I still usually have a lot of spare cash to do stuff, like see movies, eat out, buy alcohol, get a new pair of pants...just random stuff.

When I move out I will be on a much tighter budget. I'm also currently in college, which is actually cool because I get a student discount at some places and there's oftentimes free food on campus. But I am still scared.

Is there any advice you can give me on moving out for the first time? Some tips, or mistakes to avoid?
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Old 12-15-2012, 05:44 PM   #2  
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Avoid credit cards at all costs.
Make a written monthly budget.
Save whatever you can for a "rainy day"

Good luck and enjoy your independence!
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Old 12-15-2012, 05:45 PM   #3  
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How exciting! I loved having roommates and have lived with friends, fellow students, and a couple while I interned in another state. As long as everyone is clear on the ground rules and generally respectful, it should be fun.

I'm terrible at budgeting, but what worked well for me was setting my food and fun money aside in cash- so much easier to stay accountable when I can see exactly how much I have right there in front of me.
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Old 12-15-2012, 06:03 PM   #4  
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That's such a great idea, junebug!

I usually use my debit card for everything and it's tough. I'm always stopping and trying to do math in my head, or calculate on my phone, or check my account cause I can't remember where I spent money that week, lol.

I am going to try to start off strong with some money in savings for emergencies.

Luckily my parents are very supportive and have always been there to help me, financially and otherwise. We aren't rich, and when I was younger we were actually what some would consider 'poor'. Although I wasn't starving, I had a walkmen way into the age of mp3-players. I only got new clothes each school year, unless my pants were literally torn to shreds or falling off. We ate hot dogs and mac-n-cheese for a lot of dinners.

So now that my parents are doing much better for themselves they are very generous and I appreciate it very much. They don't want to see me make the mistakes they made. We've had the 'credit' talk and because of them I've managed to do pretty well for myself and have a pretty good credit score. I am only in debt as far as my car and some student loans, which I think a lot of people are.

I will start setting aside my grocery money and spending money!

The next couple weeks I'm going to pretend like I've already gotten the apartment, and act like I'm saving for next months rent. Like a practice budget, haha. I also need that money for the deposit. Let's see how my practice budgeting goes.
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Old 12-15-2012, 06:24 PM   #5  
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Budget. I used to spend all my money very early and then I had to borrow. Now I've gotten cheap: I eat lots more veggies from the greek equivalent of a farmer's market. I look at what's on sale at grocery stores and try to plan my meals around that. I pretty much only do things that are on sale, really... I only buy toiletries when they're on sale, I only buy clothes when they're on sale, I only go to the movies when they're on sale, I usually go to places that have a student discount, I clean the house with vinegar and baking soda and sometimes I also wash my hair with it, I always have knorr soups for when I'm completely broke, I always have money in a prepaid credit card and I buy things through groupon, I invite friends over for coffee or I go to their places, we buy coffee to go and sit outside and drink it... I've become sooo cheap... But I have a cat who I have to spend a lot of money on, I get to live alone, I save money every month and I also save for things that really matter to me.

As for living with your friend: set rules and boundaries immediately. When I first went to college I moved in with my best friend since elementary school. Towards the end she would leave me notes and sometimes she'd say good morning and it would make me want to punch her in the face repeatedly. After she moved out, we became bff immediately. Then I lived with a complete stranger who had done it before and he was the perfect roommate, even though he was ridiculously ocd and he would freak out over the fact that my cat had fur and used a litterbox (he wanted me to clean it before she even got out of it and once I caught him grabbing her and cleaning her paws and butt with wipes).
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:18 PM   #6  
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Okay, I'm not a 20-something, but I worked for many years with college students out on their own for the first time. In addition to the budget plan, notice what you use every week - add those often-forgotten items into your plan - detergent, fabric softener if you use that, cleaning products for kitchen and bath, personal care products, etc. Save up the amount that you need to cover for your deductible for your health care plan and your auto insurance - have that amount available in the emergency you'll need it. If you have pets, save a percentage of their annual care each month (food, vet bill, toys). It seems that the once-a-year bills are the ones that are a surprise at times.

Good luck and set the ground rules down firmly for both of the right from the start - you don't ever want to not look forward to going home because of someone driving you nuts and a bad situation developing. Sounds like you're planning ahead - wise!
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:56 PM   #7  
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I wrote a blog post on this subject a few months ago that I hope you find helpful - definitely check out the comments, too, for a variety of opinions.

How to Move Out on a Shoestring Budget
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:26 AM   #8  
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My biggest thing would be to set up an automatic savings program. Once your budget is set, don't rely on yourself to set the money aside each month. Set it up so that it is automatically withdrawled from your account on payday. You'll never miss it as long as it's within your budget and you'll love that its there when you want something special or an emergency comes up.
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Old 12-16-2012, 01:57 PM   #9  
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Three tips:
1. I disagree about the credit card. As long as you are careful you can make money off a card. I have a card that gives me cash back. So every month I pay it off in full and charge everything... and I get 1 to 5 percent back. Either cash or I can apply it to the bill. Also this helps your credit record. Also, if stolen and used (unlike a debit card) you are only responsible for $50.00.

2. Consider thrift stores. You can get some amazing deals there. There is a chain called "Savers" I don't know if it is around you.... and also Goodwill. I mean you can get a perfectly good coat that someone outgrew for like $10.00.

3. On line there is a place called "plastic jungle" where people sell gift cards they don't want at a discount. You buy those cards, you have the full value of the card at 75% of the cost. You can get some amazing deals.
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Old 12-16-2012, 04:36 PM   #10  
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These are all really helpful!

I have really been going over the things I spend my money on. Over the next month I will be saving hopefully upwards of $2500. The security deposit and first months rent will likely be about $2000, but with my friend's help(though she makes siginificantly less) I should be putting down about $1,200 to get the actual apartment. After that I think it should be pretty easy to get the bills paid as long as I keep myself on a budget and don't let myself borrow from my mom or sister.

When I borrow it ends up putting me behind for a long time because then each paycheck I'm paying someone back and not making ends meet again. I am paying my mom and sister back in full with some of the spare money from my scholarship that way when I move out I'll be starting fresh with just my bills, no debts to friends or family.

Our goal is to be out sometime in February and I think that's a reasonable plan. I am just trying not to get overly excited and focus more on saving the money needed, pay my family back and start assessing what type of things we'll want. My mom is very supportive, as is the rest of my family, and I'm sure we'll be getting dishes, towels, cleaning supplies...stuff like that to get us started.

^.^ I'm pretty excited to be doing it finally.
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:50 PM   #11  
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I don't think it's lame to be not moving out until you're 21 at all! In fact, I think it's really mature of you to have waited until you were financially ready. Good luck with everything and enjoy your new place!
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Old 12-16-2012, 11:29 PM   #12  
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know your income and know your expenses, and try to set some aside for unexpected things...dont underestimate the power of unexpected expenses, whether it's a car repair or taxes due or having to travel with short notice, these things will sneak up on you

do good in school and work your best at your job...and dont get pregnant

make sure you have dishes and silverware....which i forgot when i moved two hours away from home...and remembered when i was hungry that night

learn to cook and learn where to buy cheap, bulk foods

have fun but stay out of trouble...and enjoy your new independence!
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Old 12-17-2012, 06:53 AM   #13  
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I am truly living on my own now for the first time. I'm paying rent, bills, food and I'm earning my own money. I try and be meticulous with my money. When I get a wage I immediately subtract rent, travel and bills. With what's left I put 40% of it into savings. With the remaining 60% of my money I use for food, social events and personal purchases. So I know exactly how much money I have to spend on ME in a month.

I also use a nifty little app called iSpending. I enter in all of my spends and it allows me to keep track of how much money I have left. It also shows me visually using a pie chart how much I'm spending on each "category" so if I see that my junk food category is overtaking the essentials like normal food then I know to cut down.

Good luck, it's difficult being out there on your own but you can do it!
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