Whether you’re excited to start a new job in the big city, saying goodbye to things that no longer serve you, or transitioning from the communal living that comes with college life, living alone for the first time can be both an exciting and terrifying venture.
If you’ve decided to make this big jump, it’s essential to prepare for the most common “culture shocks” of living alone. Because even if you prefer loads of alone time, enjoy constant social interaction, or appreciate a solid mixture of both, moving into your first place solo comes with quite a few new challenges. Check out these tips on living on your own and what you should do to cope with the changes.
You Are in Control of Your Finances
Now, when the bills arrive, you’ll be the only individual responsible for doling out cash for things like rent, groceries, and household shopping. That can seem pretty scary, but the best way to cope with this new change is by creating a budget and sticking to it.
Creating a spending plan for your income is an excellent place to start, as it’ll help prevent splurging and ensure that you will always have the money needed to stay afloat. So, take the time to truly consider every detail of your new living arrangement, and make a list of your monthly expenses. Here are a few to consider:
- Utilities such as water, electricity, cable, gas, and internet
- Streaming subscriptions
- Phone bills
- Furnishing your space
- Groceries and household products
- Transportation and insurance
Next, based on those expenses, decide on your budget, and stick to the cash-only method where possible. Do this by labeling envelopes with each expense category (e.g., groceries, utilities), and then put your predetermined dollar amount into each one after every paycheck.
It’s also a good idea to budget for miscellaneous expenses like eating out and going to the movies. This way, when the money’s gone, it’s gone, and you won’t be tempted to overspend or put extra items on your line of credit.
You May Feel Lonely and Isolated
Maybe you’re used to venting about work or school by walking down the hall to your roommate’s bedroom and airing it all out. But now, you’re in your domain, and although a little “me” time can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered, human beings are social creatures.
Becoming preoccupied with negative thoughts and struggling with feelings of isolation can both come with the territory of living alone for the first time—combat loneliness with these tips.
- Live within your means. It’s easy to become driven only by what you can and can’t afford. Make it a priority to find a space that you feel connected to and comfortable living in. Consider factors like commute times, safety, and the accessibility of things you like to do.
- Be proactive about making new friends. If you’ve moved to a location where your loved ones are not easily accessible. Relocating alone can feel scary, but making new friends doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. Try volunteering, joining a club, or online group to find people that get you out of the house and help you to acclimate better to your new space.
- Stay in touch with loved ones. Whether you check in weekly with your parents or Facetime with your long-time friends, it’s essential to stay engaged with the people who know you best.
You Have Full Autonomy
You enter your new space, moving boxes from your cohabitating days are everywhere, and you have no idea what to do with this blank canvas in which you’re finally free to express yourself.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about moving into your own space is the freedom to decorate with your flair as well as clean (or not) at your leisure. Whether your parents furnished their home with items you found questionable, or you heavily relied on your old roommate’s design prowess, starting from scratch can feel both intensely refreshing and also a little daunting.
However, making your new space feel safe and homey is crucial in helping you adjust to these lifestyle changes. Here are a few tips for coping with your newfound autonomy:
- Find design inspiration. Check out magazines and furniture inspiration websites to boost your imagination. Whether industrial and rustic or coastal and minimalist — focus on items that speak to you and your personality.
- Figure out the necessities, first. You’ll need a place to rest your head, somewhere to eat, and a bin to store your laundry. So, prioritize essential items for your new space before splurging on nonessential ones.
- Experiment with your space. Gone are the days where you have to answer to anyone about your design preferences. So have some fun, decorate in a budget-friendly way, find your unique style, and most importantly, make your space feel like home!
Independence (For Better or Worse)
As fun as decorating your new space can be, other responsibilities come with living alone, such as dealing with broken appliances, leaky faucets, dirty laundry, and cooking your own meals. The difference now is that resolving these issues is your sole obligation.
As overwhelming as these things can be, you must take them in stride and learn from each task. Because eventually, dealing with these matters will become routine, and you’ll know just what to do should they crop up again. To prepare for this new freedom and independence, consider these tips:
- Check your lease. Your rental agreement has information on what you should do and who to call if you need assistance with household matters. Landlords are required to resolve major issues with things like electrical, plumbing, heating, and water issues.
- Bolster your “living solo” skillset. Consider taking cooking lessons or purchasing books on appliance repair. Either way, take control of matters and circumstances that seem scary and turn them into strengths.
- Start a weekly routine. Choose a day in which you will intentionally simplify your day-to-day life, tie up loose ends, and ensure the remainder of your workweek is filled with stress-free comfort and satisfaction.
Now that you know a little more about how to live alone and ways to cope when you’re not so confident, are you excited for life on your own? Rent the furniture and houseware essentials you need to liven up your space and embrace your newfound independence with CORT Furniture Rental.