The fear of going on your own after college is real and quite honesty scary for many including myself but it can be done. Growing up I can honestly say that I had a mother who took care of my sister and I, provided for like any good parent not fully realizing the full sacrifice until I got older. Some of you reading this may be in college or even high school happy that you have a bed to sleep in and food on the table and just happy to focus on school or college.
When I grew into college-age I lived at home, worked part time and went to school, a decision I appreciated at the time. For many that is not option or a choice as I have heard many students say well I was kicked out of the home at eighteen, I wanted to live on my own. If that is you than I can say that you probably had to grow up really fast by paying for rent, a room and making it on your own.
We All Have a Journey, Here is mine
I am not embarrassed to say I lived at home into my late twenty’s early thirties because frankly due to fear and feeling I would be unable to survive the high cost of living especially in California. Now I will say my first real full-time job was when I finished college at twenty-two and that is when I got my first full-time job. The pay was low because frankly I had no real job experience just my bachelors, so it was not quite enough to make it, but I am sure if I had tried it would have been possible with a roommate.
In college, I will say it was just a struggle getting to school at times as I had an older model vehicle that leaked transmission fluid and oil like crazy, would constantly break down but luckily it seemed to break down when I was not at school. Living at home was also not the most pleasant experience as I lived with my father at the time along with my grandfather who suffered from Alzheimer’s. Money was tight as I worked part-time enough to pay for some food, gas and minor car repairs if need be.
My very first apartment did not come until I got married along with the responsibilities of my other bills like a car payment, student loans and credit cards. I was not prepared for what was to come with the responsibility, but many have probably experienced what I have experienced and could truly offer advice to those trying to overcome the shock of what it costs to live. Here are some tips to help you overcome and be successful.
Make a Budget
It pretty much boils down to money, but you need to figure out what you can afford. There will be many different guides on what you should consider. It’s recommended that housing expenses do not go over thirty percent of your monthly gross income. To be honest, that can be a real challenge for many because not everyone makes a whole lot at first, but it’s perfectly doable. Like mentioned I live in California and for a one-bedroom, the average cost is about $1500.00 or more. This is why so many young adults start off with roommates to give them a chance to save and once you can save a good chunk of change, you may feel more comfortable living on your own.
Know your expenses
Out of college, you should not have too many expenses aside from student loans, a car and some minor expenses like a mobile phone bill, maybe some credit cards but nothing major at this point. This goes along with creating a budget-breaking down each expense including perspective rent if you haven’t rented yet, giving you the best picture how much income you will have after taxes and after all expenses have been paid for the month.
Pay off Debt Stat
Whatever debt you can pay off aside from student loans try to pay off before you decide to rent this will alleviate extra stress of having to pay rent and those costs that go with it such as Utilities such as water, gas and electric.
Getting a roommate
Roommates can be a great way to share expenses, but choose someone trustworthy. All too often I hear of those who pick random strangers for roommates only to have a roommate from hell, leaving you with the cost and burden of all the expenses.
On the other hand, it may seem like a good idea to choose a friend be cautious to really consider this because you really have to ask yourself the question “Are you going to be comfortable asking a friend for their late rent check or setting some ground rules about how to split household chores” If may be easier to choose someone you don’t know but do your research on the person and protect yourself.
Its going to be a challenge
Moving on your own, paying your own expenses can be very stressful at first but it will get easier as what you are experiencing is quite common for anyone starting out. In time you see that you enjoy the cost of your freedom from living at home with your own privacy and space and worth the cost and frustration.
Talk to someone
All too often we as people like to go at major life events alone but don’t go at it alone, if you need to seek help from family and friends for emotional support do it. Most of us know what its like starting out and the fears you may have. If your fortunate enough to have a strong family life lean on them during this time it can make all the difference.
I know easier said then done right now with all your expenses but attempt to put away a little each week for a rainy day fund, giving you more confidence that living on your own will be ok and you have a backup. I love taking a small amount of monthly saving it and turning it into a larger sum.
Stay on Track
This may be one of hardest tasks to stay on track as life happens, remember your first responsibility is your home, your food, your living expenses. I know it can be easy to apply for that new credit card, take out that additional loan, but don’t do it, it will hurt you later and you will regret it later.
It won’t always be perfect
You will make mistakes, it happens but cut yourself some slack and just start over, correct your mistakes and learn from them. We don’t all have a trust fund some of us live paycheck to paycheck to survive and you may have to live like that for some time. But know you are making it on your own, on your own terms.
There is so much one can say to help you prepare for those big life decisions and getting your own apartment living on your own is a big responsibility but well worth the trouble as a majority of us have to survive and can’t always live at home. You can do this, so I encourage you to be positive, be excited about this time in your life.
If you want to prepare for major life events such as these save, save and save some more to best protect you from the struggle of worrying about how that next expense will come from. Again its never going to be perfect but prepare the best way you can.