The Most Essential Tips if You’re Living on Your Own for the First Time

By Brittany Loeffler on September 12, 2020

Living on your own for the first time can be both exciting and intimidating. As someone who has always lived with a roommate, you’re probably ready to move out and experience what life is like when you have ultimate privacy. No longer will you have to worry about being too noisy while your roommate is sleeping or leaving your dirty dishes in the sink for too long.

To live on your own means you become self-reliant and independent. You prove that you can take care of yourself and be on your own. However, there may be times that you feel lonely and make you question why you’re living on your own.

With these essential tips, you’ll learn how to live on your own while combatting loneliness, staying safe, and making the most out of having your privacy.

living on your own

via Pixabay

Getting Out of Your Current Lease

There are many different situations where you may decide that living on your own is the right decision. Maybe you have a terrible roommate that you can’t stand. Maybe you just got a new job and your salary now allows you to pay rent on your own. Whatever the situation may be, you’ll have to find a way to get out of your current lease.

Most people will wait until their lease term has ended before moving out. However, if you have a situation where you have to move out of your current apartment before your lease ends, you may find it more difficult than you expected.

If you have to move out in the middle of your lease, you will most likely have to find a subletter to take your place. This can be quite the process, especially if your roommate wants to have a say in who moves in. Make sure to interview your potential subletter to ensure they can be trusted to take care of the apartment and pay their rent each month.

You’ll want to make sure that you are in contact with your landlord during the subletting process as well. They will make the ultimate decision about who can sublet your apartment.

Lastly, consider the security deposit. When you and your roommate first moved in, you paid a security deposit for damages that you could receive back at the end of your lease. However, this is typically only paid back when the lease term ends. So, if you are moving out in the middle of your lease, you will either have to wait until the lease ends to receive it back or you can ask your subletter to pay you your portion and they will receive your original deposit back. Work this out with your roommate for more clarification.

Consider Your Budget

A good rule of thumb to go by when budgeting for renting an apartment is that 30% of your monthly income should be budgeted for rent and utilities. Now that you are living on your own, you’re going to be responsible for every single bill that comes along with renting an apartment. This means you are fully responsible for the electricity, gas, Internet, water, renters insurance, and more when it comes to utilities. Along with utilities, you should also budget for household items such as cleaning products, groceries, furniture, and decorations.

Before deciding to live on your own, it’s important to go over your finances and budget accordingly. You don’t want to live outside of your means!

Apartment Hunting

Now that you’ve set your budget, it’s time to start hunting for your new apartment. While you are the only one who has to be happy and comfortable with the apartment you choose to rent, it’s a good idea to take someone with you while apartment hunting. They may notice something you didn’t that could be a dealbreaker for you. It’s always a good idea to get a second opinion.

Make a list of must-have features that you won’t budge on when it comes to your home. This will help you narrow down which apartments are right for you.

Add Some Extra Security

Once you’ve settled on your apartment, make it more secure if you don’t feel safe enough living on your own there. Ask your landlord if you can add an extra lock or even change the locks when you first move in. Look into setting up a security alarm system in the apartment if there isn’t one already. You don’t want to worry in the middle of the night about someone breaking in.

A great tip is to put bells on your door handles. This way you when you think you hear someone in the apartment, you know you’re alone because the bells didn’t ring.

living on your own

Infographic by Brittany Loeffler

Make It Feel Like Home

One of the best benefits of living on your own is the chance to decorate your apartment exactly how you want it. You won’t have to worry about consulting your roommate or having to compromise on that ugly wall painting they found at a flea market.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on new furniture or decor pieces for your apartment. Visit secondhand stores, flea markets, and even the Facebook Marketplace for affordable pieces. If decorating a small apartment, there are plenty of ways to optimize the space and get it exactly how you want.

Give Someone a Spare Key

Living on your own means you don’t have a roommate to let you into the apartment when you forget your key. It’s a good idea to give someone nearby that you trust a spare key to your apartment. Whether you get locked out or there is an emergency at your apartment and you’re out of town, knowing that someone else has access to it can be very reassuring.

Learn to Cook for One

It’s tempting to order food every night or eat easy microwave meals while living on your own. There is nobody there to judge your food choices or comment on how much money you spend eating out. Part of successfully living on your own is to take care of yourself, especially when it comes to health and wellness. Cooking for yourself is a necessary skill to learn that you’ll take with you throughout life.

Try cooking different recipes and find what kind of foods you like. Experiment with different ingredients and dishes. Cooking at home isn’t only healthier for you, but it’s also easier on your wallet.

Resist the Urge to Be Messy

When you first start living on your own, you’ll absolutely love the freedom of doing whatever you want and leaving things where you want. You don’t have a roommate to tell you to wash your dishes or pick up your shoes in the living room. However, this can get old pretty quickly. Resist the urge to be messy and leave things lying around. Take a day or two out of your week to clean your apartment. When you live in a clean environment you’re healthier and it’s great for your mental health.

Become Self Reliant

Living on your own means taking care of yourself and your apartment. It’s time to learn how to fix that leaky faucet, call your utility companies if your bill doesn’t seem right, and do your laundry without shrinking your clothes. Sure, you can pay people to do some of these tasks, but these are great lessons to learn as you grow up and become self-sufficient.

When you don’t know how to do something, like install a shelf, YouTube is a great resource! It has plenty of tutorials and instructional videos on how to do things around the house.

Buy Yourself a Tool Kit

While you become self-reliant, it’s a good idea to have a toolkit in the house. You don’t have to buy anything crazy! A simple kit with a hammer, screwdriver, wrench, and pliers will do the trick. You never know when you might need to hammer a nail in the wall to hang a picture or need a screwdriver while putting together some Ikea furniture.

Meet Your Neighbors

When you first move into your apartment, make it a point to meet your neighbors. Getting to know your neighbors is a great way to learn about the neighborhood and get insider tips. It’s also beneficial for your safety! When your neighbors get to know you, they are more likely to look out after you and your apartment. Plus it’s always great to know that you can knock on your neighbor’s door when you need one more egg for that cookie recipe.

Invite People Over

Since living on your own means you don’t have any roommates, your friends will probably prefer to hang out at your place. You will have ultimate privacy and won’t have to worry about roommates eavesdropping or disrupting. Host a movie or game night or a Sunday brunch with your friends. This will help you make your apartment feel less lonely and empty, which is bound to happen at times.

living on your own

via Pixabay

Enjoy Being Alone

There are some people who naturally love being alone. Then there are others who have to learn how to enjoy being alone. It’s an important skill to learn. You can’t always rely on people being around to entertain you or make you happy.

Enjoying being alone is a self-journey that doesn’t happen overnight. However, living on your own is a great first leap into this journey. You’ll learn a lot about yourself while living on your own, which also opens your eyes to things you may want to change or work on.

Pick Up a New Hobby

Being alone means you have to find ways to fill up your time. Rather than sitting on your computer or watching Netflix all day long, try picking up a new hobby. You can try painting, dancing, yoga, baking, photography – literally anything you desire!

Recognize When You Feel Lonely

You are bound to feel lonely at times when living on your own. It happens to everyone. When you come home from a rough day at work and just want to vent to someone can be very frustrating when you don’t have anyone around to talk to. When you start to recognize that you’re feeling lonely, do something that makes you feel less lonely. This can include giving a friend and family member a call or inviting a friend out to dinner.

When you are aware that you’re feeling lonely and have strategies to get rid of that feeling, you have successfully combatted one of the hardest parts of living on your own.

Get Out At Least Once a Day

It isn’t a good idea to stay in your apartment all day long, especially if you work from home. Try to get out of your apartment at least once a day, even if you don’t have anywhere specific to go or anything that you have to do. Take a walk through the city or go to a nature trail to get some fresh air. Sit at a cafe to enjoy a cup of coffee and read a book. Run to the grocery store to replace that empty Nutella jar that has been sitting on your counter as a reminder. Whatever the task is, make it a priority to get out of the apartment and be around people. This will also help you combat feelings of loneliness you may have.

Living On Your Own Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

Deciding to live on your own is a wonderful new chapter in your life. You now have the chance to become self-reliant and learn how to really take great care of yourself. You’ll learn how to cook for yourself, fix things around the apartment, deal with feelings of loneliness, and get to know yourself even better. While living on your own can be scary at first, it just takes some time to adjust and a little extra effort in certain areas for it to be one of the best experiences of your life.

By Brittany Loeffler

Uloop Writer
Brittany is a senior English major with a concentration in creative writing at Temple University. After growing up in a very rural part of Pennsylvania, she found her calling in the streets of the big city of Philadelphia. Aside from writing, she enjoys reading, movies, baking, and photography.

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