Congratulations! Moving out from your parents’ home is a tougher accomplishment today than it has been for past generations. It’s your first real taste of independence, and it’s delicious. But it can be terrifying, too, so try these tips for living on your own for the first time. You’ll probably be hearing a lot of unsolicited advice from your elders, so nod politely and figure out what works for you.
Use Your Math
Credit cards make it tempting to charge first and hope you can afford it later. But if you don’t have a handle on your budget from the beginning, slipping behind in bills can snowball quickly. Sit down with old-fashioned paper and a calculator and make a list of your expenses to see how much of your income is already spoken for. Big purchases can wait until you can pay for them, and you can borrow anything until then. If you can learn to live with less (and cut down on designer coffee), soon you’ll accumulate some disposable income that you can use for more exciting things like travel.
Try Out Recipes
If you haven’t picked up a passion for cooking naturally, it’s still worth it to build up a repertoire of a few basic recipes. There’s no need to get fancy or use more than five ingredients, but if you can master some classic dishes, you’ll save money and get a reputation as a great host. You deserve meals that require thoughtful preparation and a little patience. Try to skip takeout at least a few days a week.
Be a Responsible Renter
Just because you’re paying rent doesn’t mean that you’ve bought the right to trash a place. You won’t understand fully until you’ve bought property yourself, but homes need to be taken care of properly. Where you live should be treated with respect, as should your relationship with your landlord. Invest in a basic toolbox, maintain what you can, and at least change your own lightbulbs.
You may not feel as though you were spoiled throughout childhood. Believe it—you were. Your parents still want to do as much as they can for you. But not everything gets taken care of magically, and one day it will be you doing it all. Scheduling cleaning chores, cutting back on bills, planning ahead, developing discipline and healthy habits—take the initiative to learn how to do it all well.
The best tip for living on your own for the first time is to ask questions. There’s no shame in asking for help, and there’s no benefit in bluffing your way through life. Whether you’re more comfortable learning the intricacies of adulting from YouTube tutorials or older siblings or neighbors, get the answers before you need them. Learning the hard way can be painful, embarrassing, and expensive. It may not seem like it now, but soon you’ll be the one handing out free advice to young people.