Recent college grads are heading out into the real world for the first time. While it’s exciting to live life on your own, it’s also scary and overwhelming. You are in control of your future and the decisions you make now will affect your financial stability and health.
Securing a Place to Live
Your resume was impressive and landed you a good-paying job. Now, you need to find a place to live. Working in the city comes with both convenience and expenses. Finding an affordable apartment can be difficult, however, it is not impossible. If you have a friend from college who’s also in the market for an apartment, you could go in together. This will allow you to split the cost of the rent, utilities, and food. If you prefer to have your own space, then you’ll need to find something small or opt to live outside the city limits to afford to carry it on your own.
A Mode of Transportation
You need to buy a car to get to and from work and run errands. Checking your budget tells you that you need to find something in a modest price range. A good option is one fresh off a lease or one that is for sale by an owner. With no established credit, securing your first loan can be challenging. However, you can find a first time car buyer loan where your credit history is not a requirement.
A Healthy Diet
With only one person to take care of, you may end up ordering take out and eating out more than you should. Not only is this expensive, but it can also take a toll on your health. Fast food doesn’t require the nutrition your body needs to stay fit and energized. Instead, go to the supermarket and stock your fridge and cabinets with things like fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, and yogurt. To save money, check the store’s fliers online to see who has the lowest prices on the things you need.
It takes an entire year of living on your own to figure out your true expenses. Spending money going out each weekend can put you at a greater risk of losing your apartment, your car, and your independence. Finding things to do that cost little or no money is important. Take a walk in the park and enjoy the fresh air, visit museums, go to the beach or rent a movie. If you want to spend an evening with friends, have everyone chip in for the drinks and snacks, and have fun at home.
Create a Budget
It’s essential to establish a household budget from the beginning. This will allow you to allocate money for weekend getaways and vacations and have money tucked away for emergencies. Make a list of your bills on a sheet of paper or print out a free budget worksheet and fill in the areas that apply. A budget will be your savior during the first crucial year and help you secure financial stability going forward.
Needs and Wants
With a new life in front of you and your first try at living on your own, you may want to go out and buy everything you need and want. Instead, be mindful of your expenses and make it a practice to weigh the pros and cons ahead of any major purchase. You need a table to eat at, so it makes sense to save money for this purchase. While you may want a gaming system, other needs are waiting in line.
Living on your own for the first time is exciting. You can survive the first year if you create a budget and limit your spending to things you need.